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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Thinking Better of It

When have you felt torn by many conflicting forces and feelings? How did Jesus bring peace to you? How do you need to hear his word of peace right now? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1387).

The challenge for human beings from an early age is to reconcile bodily impulses with intelligence. Impulses stress the present while intelligence modulates the present with longer-term outcomes that with cautionary importunity counsel wisdom. Thinking back over my life I can find many examples familiar to all: sex, the rich and various table of appetites and delights, and–not the least of which–the fight or flight imperatives of the body; say for example, when giving a speech and one must stand deliberately, re-directionally summoning the more productive communicative impulses. The fact that many of us live sane lives testifies to the power of thought and our “thinking better of it” when raw emotions would rule.

The function of Jesus is to provide overarching purpose–and even style–to the whole of our lives.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Essential Duality

Is doing God’s will as essential to you as eating food? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1483).

I hope it will never be God’s will that I fast for days on end cause I really like to eat.  Perhaps such a requirement may be the only way I will definitively know the answer to this question. But short of that, I usually think of God’s will as being less importune as churning hunger pains.  As a young man, I asked for God’s will in relation to my career. This was something that developed over many years, not “wham” all at once.  Even those who are called to a specific career at some definite point in time still must cultivate dimensional aspects of that career which can entail multiple decisions regarding the nuances of development. Once said that God’s will tends to hold sway in the long run for eternal purposes, it remains essential to qualify that with the full knowledge that God can require immediate action on matters both large and small. For example, marriages made in heaven can often have tentative, unplanned, uncertain, even dicey beginnings that require of all parties courage, risk, and ready abeyance to the will of God.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Take on My 72nd Birthday

If you could go back to school to learn anything what subject would you choose? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 623).

Yesterday, January 27th, was my 72nd birthday.  Connie and I celebrated at PoFolks where I ordered double-portion fried chicken and turnip greens. One way to assess my attitude at this juncture in my life is to ask the question-“If you could go back to school to learn anything what subject would you choose?”  For me that is an easy question and is answered by territory where I’ve traveled before.  At 72 I would like to study “Poetry that Blows the Top of Your Head Off.” And that’s literally the course title I would like to enroll in.  It would include familiar lines from Dickinson and Yeats, but would include for me unfamiliar territory like Aeschylus.   I don’t want dainty appetizers and preliminaries,  just give me substance–the  main course.


Snake (by Emily Dickinson)

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him, -did you not?
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun, - 
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How Are You a “Party Person”?

Who are your favorite kind of party people? Your favorite party food? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 605).

In the “Orientation for New Members” sessions at First United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, personality types and their attributes are discussed.  The intention is to help new members find service areas where they would feel most comfortable and be most effective.  Of course, most people do not fit neatly and exclusively to any one category.  The categories are: Organizer; Director; Supporter; and Relater.  These are based on continuums of qualities rather than strict cubbyholes in which to stuff people. 

Like others, I find attributes in more than one category that apply to me.  I identify with the following:

RELATER (with my most matched attributes)
  • Excellent [I don't say “excellent”] persuader
  • Seeks Recognition
  • Easily gets sidetracked
  • Sees the big picture
  • Likes to socialize [my comments will follow below]
  • Can be disorganized
  • Prefers working with others
  • Likes organization and structure
  • Likes to work alone
  • Gets energized by solving problems
  • Has high expectation of others and self
  • Avoids conflict
  • Outwardly demonstrates concern for others
  • Tends to be a hard worker
  • Ambitious
The question today asks “Who are your favorite kind of party people.  The relater attribute–“Likes to socialize”–might suggest that I’m a great “party person.”  That is far from true when that refers to one who is skilled at “working a room” with ready remarks. The communication I enjoy most are small groups in focused conversation, not short-gun sprays of chatter.  However, I understand the dire need for those who can enliven a party while spreading good cheer all round. Such enthusiasts help keep a party alive. But as for me,  I always prefer pizza communion to pizza chatter.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

In but Not of the World

In what ways are you to be “in the world,” but not “of the world” in your worship of God? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 288). 

Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV)
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

"We must accommodate changing times but cling to unchanging principles." (Miss Julia Coleman: Jimmy Carter quotes his favorite teacher. Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 25).

Do not decide for certain in advance how God will choose that you serve him – leave that up to God. Rather than formulating a neat checklist of do’s and don’ts, focus instead on doing the Lord’s will in whatever circumstances he chooses to enmesh you.  To do any less is to worship Self above God. Do not compromise with the world even when the world turns out to be your own sanctimonious will. We should be no less flexible than the ends our Creator requires.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week’s High Point

This past week when and why were you in “high spirits”? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 375).

Thursday my general practitioner said that I should contact a dermatologist regarding a growth of my skin. It was irregular in shape and dark in color. I have seen pictures of melanoma and my growth looked very similar in my opinion. I made an appointment with a dermatologist for the following day. Much to my relief, the dermatologist said that what I had was not melanoma but something else with a long name – in any case it was safe and not hard and shiny like melanoma. This reassurance of good health was a high point of my week.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jehovah Witnesses as Reductionist


noun often derogatory the practice of analyzing and describing a complex phenomenon in terms of phenomena that are held to represent a simpler or more fundamental level, especially when this is said to provide a sufficient explanation. (New Oxford American Dictionary).

Who has been the toughest person for you to explain your faith to? Why? What have you found to be helpful in dealing with people who ridicule your faith? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1494).

For several years now I have been in discussion regularly with Jehovah Witness pioneers. It is obvious that though I am a Christian Protestant (Methodist), they sincerely doubt my faith. They do so on my reluctance to emphasize several scriptures that they place great value on – especially several passages in Daniel, Revelation, and Genesis. (Likewise, several passages which I  emphasize, they discount.) The pioneers also are absolutists in their belief that the symbol of the cross is pagan – has been, is now, and forever will be. Furthermore, since I believe that established religions in concert with government and business can be redemptive; in their view I fail to comprehend the absolute satanic nature of these institutions – especially the great Babylon, established religion (and that would include my own Methodist persuasion).

I describe Jehovah Witnesses as reductionist because whether or not one is considered a believer or not depends solely on whether one is Jehovah Witness and ascribes to their particular interpretation and translation of Scripture consistently held up within their faith’s own emphasis and  understanding. Now in my view Jehovah Witnesses are believers.  They are Christian in the finest sense that they seek to imitate Christ and be a witness for him and Jehovah. What I find exasperating is they do not grant me the same authenticity in my faith.

Today in our weekly meeting, the subject of the Trinity came up for discussion.  The Jehovah Witness hold that the Trinity is a pagan belief--something of a 3-headed monster.  In my view the greatest use of the concept of the Trinity is in defense against those who assert that Jesus was "just a man" (however "good" or "prophetic" in strictly human terms) and that the Holy Spirit is not really divine power but merely an instance demonstrating that attitude is everything.  The Jehovah Witness strongly refute such humanism and flat-out assert the divine nature of Jesus the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.  In this sense, I could only wish that formal protestant recitation of creeds regarding the Trinity always had behind it the unreserved faith and conviction of the Jehovah Witness . 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Tearing Apart

How do you say goodbye to people you love? Quick and painless? Long or drawn out? Weeping and wailing? Like it’s no big deal? Other? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1553).

My uncle Rollin died when I was still a child.  Daddy traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for his brother’s funeral. There, my father and Aunt Estelle surely consoled one another. The next year, we visited Tuscaloosa on a family vacation. At the completion of the vacation, our leaving was particularly hard on Aunt Estelle and  my father. I remember them weeping.

The tearing nature of parting with loved ones depends upon whether the sound of time’s winged chariot intrudes upon the farewell implying a permanent mortal separation. The age, health, and perception of those at the gathering all contribute weight. As a youth I felt remote and separated from the occasional parting sadness, but now I’m becoming increasingly acquainted with these little deaths.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Getting Trumped

What “enemies” (people or things which keep you from doing God’s work) do you face in your everyday life? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 254).

In American politics we now have Donald Trump stumping to be president. While I personally will probably vote for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, I enjoy many of the remarks by Mr. Trump. One of my favorite is when he caricatures someone in the opposition as “low-energy.” Mr. Trump has hit my personal barrier to doing God’s will right on the head. And Mr. Trump is quite right, being “low-energy” is a very serious matter. How many times has someone (say a high-ranking government official) been apprised of a possible serious problem only to dismiss it because it would require a good deal of effort to deal with – thus only compounding the eventual difficulties in handling the situation properly? I remember at the turn-of-the-century many of us found ourselves tediously investigating whether or not a thermostat or an elevator would be able to handle Y2K. Between you and me, such assignments were the absolute pits for one was told to investigate and was made accountable for proving the negative. Going through multiple layers of substantiation to prove the more or less obvious was more dead-on energy sapping than I could effervescently perform.

“Low-energy”, “sloth” (a deadly sin), “laziness”, “a type-Z personality" (for zero), and “complacency” are similar glue traps  (and have much in common with my obdurate lethargic tendencies). If I had been asked by Moses to go scout out the promised land, I would have been one those who came back with a thousand reasons why we should do nothing. My prayer even yesterday and today is for God to shake me awake from my more drowsy tendencies.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blessed Beyond the Ledger

When did you first come to realize that it isn’t so much what you do for God, but what he’s done for you? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1578-9).

I like to begin this question on the human level: When did I realize that it isn’t so much what I’ve done for [my parents, my siblings, my extended family, my friends, my coworkers, my acquaintances, my predecessors, my country, my world] but what they’ve done for me?  And make the question challenging. Choose a needy friend that in your estimation you’ve done a lot for. If you cannot count abundant blessings from them for every one thing you’ve done on their behalf, then you need to seriously examine the degree to which you need an attitude adjustment. All of us are blessed by others in many ways – most of them not material or amenable to tally on an accounting ledger. And as for God – the author of life – the blessings extend before and beyond today’s gift of life.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

I Bib You Happy Eating

What food are you most likely to spill on yourself? Tell about a “bad spill.” (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1610).

To understand how ramen noodles end up both on and in my belly, you must understand the profile of said belly in relation to my torso – it protrudes. And I am not the most fastidious of eaters. In my view, the whole point of eating is getting the grub down the chute in the quickest time possible. If I were not so conscious of slander, I would say that I’m kin to the hog. You need never ask if I can get a second day’s wear out of a shirt. Since a shirt doubles as my bib, it must be washed clean in a sudsy baptismal apparatus every single day.  As with my shirts, I find daily soul cleansing essential. The spiritual and physical closely abut whether in the washer or the shower.

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The Great Liberator

I view Martin Luther King as the Great Liberator. How did he liberate me? Like many Southerners I went to Sunday school and knew what was right. I knew that things needed to change. I knew that segregation must end and that opportunity be available for all. I knew this not only as a Christian, but deep down as an American citizen with our Bill of Rights and the ringing words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence as to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I knew this as well based on simple human empathy. I knew all these things, but was able to isolate myself from the urgency of doing something about Jim Crow. Martin Luther King rose up and rendered Jim Crow a scarecrow. He revealed my reticence and inertia for what they were – a lazy hypocrisy. He reminded me that I mustn’t be too timid at grasping a moral imperative. Thank God for Martin Luther King. I owe him so much because as my brother in the faith his unconditional love helped set me free to act in the best interest of myself and others.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Of Biblical Proportions

How large a social problem are “your poor, your hungry and your homeless”? How could the biblical principle of gleaning (salvaging or recycling) be applied to your situation. (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 389).

I have been called by some a kind and helpful person. Even so, I deliberately practice “out of sight, out of mind” regarding the economically distressed. I of course do not deny that voluntary charity has made significant difference in the lives of many. However due to my own heart of darkness in this matter, I firmly believe that until the poor have and exercise power, economic justice will never occur. Even in the United States where the ballot is practically universal among adults, the progress has been slow in changing economic power structures and arrangements. In America we like to believe that everyone can be a millionaire and we hold up exceptional examples where even the poor and downtrodden have made it big. This gives us hope for garnering own vast fortune at some future point in time. Yet, we see again and again that the general rule is such that poverty is durable in the merciless extreme and the producers of wealth all too frequently do not justly share in the fruit of their labor. Never let anyone fool you about America being a classless society. When the managerial and proprietary classes earn millions and the workers earn poverty, you have a class system in reality however else it may be called or rationalized. The whole matter of just wages will not be resolved until the poor have the power and clout of the privileged classes.  The window that provides hope for change is the ballot; for in the end it comes down to the sway of governance as it influences and bears upon economic structures and arrangements. The biblical call for social justice pertains as much as ever.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

The Long Reach of the Ballot

Do you find yourself putting out fires, or  starting them? What or who tends to tie you up in knots? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 372).

In great matters of state, it would be ridiculous to say that I have a commanding presence. In all such matters, like many other citizens, I feel very restricted – “tied up in knots” if you will.  To the extent that affairs of state are in towering flames, I seem to possess only a toy sandbox bucket with which to extinguish them. This contrasts greatly with matters in my personal life. Here I sense a good deal of control. Fortunately within this private realm lies the ballot. I have strict control over whom I will vote for, and it looks like this coming November citizens will have definite choices to make. In the old days it was said that the Democratic and Republican parties were Tweedledee and Tweedledum with little difference between them. That is certainly not true now.  On November 4th I will seize control of my ballot and with split-second panache  make a private yet public difference.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bridging the Divide

What would you do to bridge the divide and build trust? How willing are you to go to bat for someone else when it’s not your turf at stake? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 265).

When divided on issues, it is important in order to maintain comity for the persons involved not to be ridden by issues, but to remain in charge and steer the issues themselves to mutual accommodation based on trust. As impractical as this may sound, it is essential for progress...for it is indeed true that goodwill is ultimately based on the conviction and  presence of unconditional love. When we sense that another person is willing to put us down and willy-nilly sacrifice us in order to win, we realize it is not the basic issue that is the motive force of our opponent, but rather a determination to dominate us. In fact such a domineering  person has not the purpose of resolution or amenable outcomes, but of denigration and humiliation. It is interesting to note that the special rancor that we now find in Washington coincides with decreasing church attendance. A main function of the church is to teach and demonstrate continually the necessity and practicality of a nurturing unconditional love for the good of all generations.                    

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Conceiving Our View of God

Although we normally think of God as “our Father,” what insight do you gain about him for considering the image of God as a mother... How have you experienced...maternal care from God? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1018).

Please don’t think I’m bragging, but I am blessed by having the parents that raised me. Last Sunday Connie and I traveled to Bowling Green and attended church there. When I was a teenager we lived in Bowling Green and my father was the pastor of the United Methodist Church. Several people Sunday in private told me my father was “a great man” and made a signal difference in their lives. (One of these was Joe Jones who emphasized daddy’s strength combined with his humility and meekness.) A lady came up to me and said although my father was great, she considered my mother greater. She began to relate to me several things my mother had done and said.

My point will be a simple one. For those not as fortunate as me in their “choice” of parents, it would be very difficult to grasp the nature of God even by reference to father or mother. It is a sad thing; but unloving, hard, cold, even abusive parents exist. Only for those with loving parents is it possible to consider the heavenly Father or Mother as being loving, meek and humble. But for those fortunate enough to have had such parents, the divine nature of an all-powerful God as nurturer and creator is readily possible – whether referred to as masculine or feminine.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Never Outgrow “In God we Trust”

On a scale of 1 (trusting God) to 10 (trusting self), how would an impartial observer rate your current trust level? What story lies behind the rating? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 410).

The United States national motto is “In God we trust.”  What really does that mean?  I think this means we recognize that after our best efforts are made; there remains possibility for error in human wisdom, judgment, and honed agendas. We know that human progress and triumphs are doggedly fraught with setbacks, mistakes, and difficulties.  Therefore we trust God to honor the spirit of our efforts; to throw light on our shortcomings; and to buttress us with impelling strength, courage, and redemptive forgiveness.  Our point of view equates mankind’s shared mortality in subordination before the love, wisdom, and power of God.  Therefore (as much as a staid theological assertion), this national motto is a living cultural profile of the sensed dynamic limitations and possibilities of man and the consequent attitude that should entail.  In this sense, we are in deep shit if...infatuated with our latest technological toys...we ever should fancy we have outgrown this positional motto.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Hubris Is Not Cool

Why is humility a prerequisite for asking God to grant a request? How do humility and weakness differ? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 864).

We have come to view someone strong if they are arrogant and bullheaded and someone weak if the are humble and meek.  Any practical application of this viewpoint shows the fallacy of this line of thinking.  For it is the humble who accept facts and assume the servant role before them and it is the arrogant who resist facts and seek to commandeer and dictate reality from their own prejudices.  This may appear to work for a day, but the saying “pride comes before a fall” is operative as facts and reality are sure to hold sway. The Tower of Babel is a stark paradigm of pride’s destructive effects. A more recent example is lead in the drinking water at Flint, Michigan.  

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Solid Answers and Shameful Leaps

In conversation, when do you end up using more words without making any more sense: When more sure of your position or less so? When angry and upset or when happy and joyous? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 732).

I’m sure that every student who has been faced with an essay test knows full-well the answer to the above question. How glad you are when you are fully prepared for the exam and can give a trenchant response that is relevant and concise (and evidences personal integrity). At these times in full confidence you may even enliven your answer with a joyous witticism or two. How much in contrast is the fudged answer when you in misery ramble about trying to hide your ignorance. Politicians rate so low in ethics partly because they use the scared rabbit leap to irrelevant trails of pandering responses and shameful diversions.

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What Difference Does It Make Anyway?

What difference does forgiveness make (other than divine forgiveness) if all consequences for bad behavior must be paid anyway?  A major theme of Christianity is forgiveness; and this theme is frequently qualified with the statement that the consequences of bad behavior often cannot be avoided.  As a worst case, say someone is murdered.  God forgives the murder, even the family of the victim forgives the murderer...but the murderer must pay the legal consequences anyway since he unalterably broke the laws of the state (the People). 

So what difference does Christian forgiveness make in “the real world?” Christian forgiveness makes a difference because one’s current attitude has future implications.  That is, if I continue to hold a grudge against you, this will influence my future behavior in its relation to you–the future is thus polluted by the past.  Forgiveness serves to intervene in this otherwise fated relational juggernaut of animosity.  The effect of Christian forgiveness, then, is to redeem the future and provide the emotional fuel to “get over it” and “move on.”  Since tit-for-tat grudge fests have a behavioral tendency to escalate, forgiveness--which lies at the base of goodwill--is essential for relational healing and positive change.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Essential Spiritual Difference Between Childhood and Adulthood

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (I Corinthians 13:11 NIV). 

The essential spiritual difference between childhood and adulthood is that the adult hears the steady tick-tock of man’s mortality. Children in an endless summer chase butterflies, inspect ant hills and flowers, and feel the wind in their hair.  Adults, even young adults, feel the pressure of beating the clock (scarcity of time) in terms of career, building a family, and pleasing the gravitas forces of judgment that render the bottom line pronouncement of success or failure for the fleeting trajectory of one's life.  These fundamental pressures of adulthood can, in short, make one kind or mean as hell.  The kind one’s transcend the obsessive tick-tock of the mortal clock with a shimmering celestial vista of hope that transcends with childlike imagination the drop-dead date of time.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What Helps Raise Your Spirits?

What helps raise your spirits when you are down?
  • singing
  • praying
  • ice cream
  • eating
  • talking to a friend
  • exercising
  • going to church
  • getting out of the house
  • other___________
  • (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition page 1547).

This changes from time to time, but of late I get the greatest kick out of going to Walmart in the wee hours of morning with my romantic interest Connie. (I have a knack for choosing romantic places.) When we arrive there are very few customers, but many employees stocking shelves. Since at that hour there is an abundance of electric shopping carts, we each get one and ride out into a world of fantastic abundance from food to electronics to toiletries to books to hardware to housewares to clothing to automotive. The employees are unfailingly helpful and kind, always stopping to assist if we should need it. I have come to think they feel enjoyment out of seeing the end purpose (serving customers) for all the shelf stocking they do.  They soon come to recognize us, and we always exchange cheerful greetings during our trips. There have been many times that I have seen items on the shelf not knowing that someday I would have a need for it – some unique product I had never thought of. But as it turns, months later I need it and head for Walmart. There are also those inexpensive impulse buys that greatly enrich my daily life.  One was not so cheap–a $166 combo 32" TV/Computer monitor.  I have now become fully accustomed to a larger screen. When I look at a normal size computer monitor, I squint.  It impresses me the sheer strategic and tactical challenges that exist to fully stock a Super Walmart store.  Actually when you come to think of it, there are less romantic spots to visit than a veritable fountain of abundance.

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

War & God

In the days of the kings, it seems that war helped determine which people were following the correct religion. Is that any longer true, if it ever was? Why? Why did people on both sides of World War II pray for victory? Should today’s soldiers in conflicts pray for victory? Will God takes sides? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 551).

Let us first take the case of sports competition. Given that the game is fair with the presence of referees and given that both sides have earnest players, then we can say that the better side wins. Now “better side” signifies not only athletic ability, but also the team with the better intellectually designed and executed plays, team spirit, confidence and hope. That is the better most favored side wins because of a multiplicity of factors – some of them frankly psychological.

We can say the same thing about war. The better side wins for a multiplicity of reasons many of which are resource centered: material, intellectual, physical, and psychological.  Thus we see that a prevailing power has many aspects some of which are tangible, some of which are intangible. There can be little question that part of the outcome of World War II was determined by spiritual strength – the triumphant side saw itself as fighting not only for survival, but for the salvation of the best traditions and accomplishments of civilization. That is, it saw itself fighting for principles and values that transcended ambition for land or territory – its reasons for fighting were open-ended calling forth the ultimate and most courageous of sacrifices. It found itself upon a stage of reckoning determining the fate of cultural enlightenment; they were challenged to embrace this the most desperate and finest of hours. Was God on the side of the Allies? Is there a manifest destiny for liberty and human rights? Before one engages in a fight with those who think there is, they had best know what they’re in for.

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sailing Free

When matters are out of your hands, how do you feel? What do you do (or not do)? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 551).

Last year I sold my house and moved into a retirement community where I rent.  One of my greatest pleasures now is being without the responsibilities of home ownership–it the roof leaks, an appliance breaks, or termites invade it is not my responsibility.  I think most homeowners (as I did) become accustomed to the burden of home ownership and are only dimly aware of the extent of its ever-present psychological pressures and burdens–that is, until something specific breaks...or until they get old and sell. In short, as it now stands, if termites invade my previous home, it is (gladly and thankfully) out of my hands.

Ironically, property ownership despite its pressures also relieves one of responsibilities and concurrently accelerates focus on self.  This home, one can perceive, is my responsibility and NO OTHERS.  Thus private property, like renting, opens the door to preponderant emphasis on private interest rather than public interest.  From this perspective, taxes levied for public purposes is tantamount to the theft of private property.  As always, social structure high and low trumps the power of the Golden rule with its expansive social gospel implications.  

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