Friday, July 18, 2008

Cognitive dissonance to the nth power

Let me see if I have this right...

Every democrat poli-tic-ian is bragging they are going to increase taxes after the election; and they want gasoline to be over four dollars a gallon.

Common thought is repubs are going to lose big, senate, house and white house, meaning, to my military mind, the dems will be able to get just what they want.

What's wrong with this picture?

Have the people of this great country, really gotten to the point of being stupid, or ignorant?

So, the common argument seems to be; Well in France they have to pay more for gasoline...So what? If you like the prices they are paying, move to France.

My ancestors moved to this country to get away from being like the rest of Europe...they stayed here in this country because they liked living where you were only limited by your own energy...not government.

Today I heard on the radio that the dem leadership is working on a law that will require government to oversee commodity trading...

Yeah, well, you get exactly what you want.

You be stupid, or ignorant enuff to vote for arrogant SOB's who want to take away all yore liberty and freedom, and you really believe you will be a lot happier becuz gummint gonna make every body equal?

Well, it has been a lot of years since the plight of the commies has been on the news. Look at all the goody-goody looks we get at the chicoms. No way do we get to look at the poverty, or the prisoners, instead we get to see the workers making all these fine items we can buy here in this country.

Well, I sed it before, and I guess I will continue to say it: I have a lot more years behind me, then I have left in this life. That is the selfish aspect.

I have two children who are just coming into their prime earning and living years, who are going to lose the most.

When a people, a nation, a land, no longer acknowledges God Almighty, and no longer looks to God for guidance, they have lost their moral compass, and just like a weather vane they turn whichever way the wind will blow.

It is no mystery, that this country was founded on the principle that God had brought us together to enjoy life and freedom; freedom from gummint intrusion, freedom to do what is laid on our heart, freedom to be the best we can be, freedom to own property, and freedom to defend ourself, and our property.

Well, when it is gone, it will be gone...

There will be no second chance at getting it right.

Oh, gracious and long suffering LORD, have mercy on us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thank You Lord

Thank You, Lord,
for the whispering,
whistling wind
that shows,
and echoes
Your presence
in the shaking
of trees,
the rustling
of leaves,
and the swaying
of blades of grass,
in the fierce
fanning of flames
that lick the sky
in the billowing
of black smoke
and then
clearing the air
and showing through
the glory of the sun
but also
ushering in
the rain clouds
that wash away
the blackness
and death
to reveal, again,
Your healing,
creating presence
as life returns
in the growth
of new trees
and grass
where Your presence
again is felt
in the whispering
whistling wind
that kisses the earth
and touches
all living things
with Your life
and changing power.
Thank You, God
for Your presence.

Commiserating with myself

Continuing on in my rereading of Ravi Zacharias' Recapture the Wonder, I come to the chapter "Wonder Consummated".
On page 110, he says: "I recall that as a young lad, no matter how anxious I was to play with my friends after school, I would stand at the bottom of our driveway from where I could see a good distance away to the neighborhood bus stop.

"My mom, who was a teacher, came home at about 3:40 P.M., and every day I watched until I saw her get off the bus before I ran off with my friends, reassured to know that she would be in the house when I returned from playing.

"Nobody told me to do that; no great brainwave fed my fancy. It was just the confidence that in her I had somebody special and I wanted to make sure she was there."

I recall when I was taken to school for kindergarten. The school was a large building, and I was intimdated. To be honest, I was scared.

After class would start I would ask permission to go to the bathroom; whereupon I would walk out of the building, and head for home. Thinking home was a place of safety; only to find out I was in serious trouble and was promptly marched back to the school.

One of the days, that I walked out of the school, there was a city bus across the street; and laying behind the outside rear wheels was a small boy, about my age, whose head had been crushed by the bus.

I walked over to take a look at something I had never seen before, and was told by someone that that was what happened to little boys that ran away from school and didn't obey their parents.

One event that still stands out in my mind from that experience in that building, was when it was decided that all children would be innoculated with the polio shot.

We students were marched into the gymnasium, and when I got inside the door, I saw this thing that looked like a deep fryer; inside of the fryer was boiling water, and I watched the nurses putting the needles and syringes into the boiling water and taking them out then using them to innoculate.

Yes, I was scared, I screamed and tried to run away. Someone grabbed me and pulled me back up in line, where I was held down, and inncoulated. Can you feel the fear, now?

I do not ever remember feeling safe in my home. In my high school years, I felt safer at friend's houses than I did at my own.

During my high school years, my dad worked during the day and mom worked at night. As the eldest child, I had the responsibility of making sure my brother and sister had supper, started on their homework, and got to bed on time. Additionally, I was responsible for getting them ready for school each morning.

The downside to this, was every time dad came home, he found something I had done wrong, and I was punished.

Unlike Ravi Zacharias, I really had no reason to look forward to being home; there really wasn't anything there that appealed to me.

Then the law said that I could not leave home until I was eighteen or graduated from high school. I cannot even begin to explain how much I hated being in school.

So, come my senior year, I come up two classes short in credits for graduating, whereupon, dad tells me I will be going to summer school in order to get my diploma.

Upon completion, and receiving my diploma, I promptly went to the Marine recruiter and signed up.

Forty-eight years later, I still do not feel comfortable in a home. I would rather be on the move, and not held down to any one place.

Included in that time frame was three marriages and divorces. Four children born, with one having died as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Yeah, I guess I could say I have lost the wonder; but then I have to wonder, did I really ever have the wonder?

Life goes on, and in my heart, I anticipate reaching that ultimate home, the one where I will be known, and I will know. Yes, I am looking forward to being home.

Something inside me, tells me there is something much better than what I have seen or experienced here in this life. That is where I want to be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pause for the cause

Interesting passage in this morning's devotional reading from Mrs. Chas E. Cowman, in Streams in the Desert, Vol 2, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1966.

"An event during the war between the states bears retelling to illustrate the truth that to die is to live, to lose your life is to save it. Self placed on the altar of sacrifice to be consumed by the fire of love will glorify God and do good to men.

"It was at Fredicksburg, after a bloody battle. Hundreds of Union soldiers lay wounded on the field. All night and all next day the space was swept by artillery from both armies, and no one could venture to the sufferers' relief. Agonizing cries for water were going up from where the wounded lay, but there was no response save the roar of the guns. One brave fellow behind the ramparts, a Southern soldier, felt that he could endure these piteous cries no longer. His compassion rose superior to his love of life.

"'General,' said Richard Kirkland to his commander, 'I can't stand this. Those poor souls out there have been praying for water all night, and all day, and it is more than I can bear. I ask permission to carry them water.'

"The general assured him that it would be instant death for him to appear upon the field, but he begged so earnestly that the officer, admiring his noble devotion to humanity, could not refuse his request. Provided with a supply of water, the brave soldier stepped over the wall and went on his Christ-like errand.

"From both sides wondering eyes looked on as he knelt by the nearest sufferer, and gently raising his head, held the cooling cup to his parched lips. At once the Union soldiers understood what the soldier in gray was doing for their own wounded comrades, and not a shot was fired.
"For an hour and a half he continued his work, giving drink to the thirsty, straightening cramped and mangled limbs, pillowing men's heads on their knapsacks, and spreading blankets and army coats over them, tenderly as a mother would cover her child; and all the while, until this angel-ministry was finished, the fusillade of death was hushed.

"Again we must admire the heroism that led this brave soldier in gray so utterly to forget himself for the sake of doing a deed of mercy to his enemies. There is more grandeur in five minutes of such self-renunciation than in a whole lifetime of self-interest and self-seeking. There is something Christly in it. How poor, paltry, and mean, alongside the records of such deeds, appear men's selfish strivings, self-interest, boldest venturings." - J.R. Miller in Making the Most of Life.

I can just about hear the voices saying; That can't be true, no soldier in his/her right mind would do something like that. Or, Just another attempt to make Christianity look acceptable to the masses.

You know, the war between the states was fought by men who had been brought up in a mostly Christian atmosphere. Many may have even been first generation immigrants who came to this country simply for freedom of religious belief.

I have even heard that it was possible for brothers and sons and fathers to be fighting against each other.

Somewhere, in that no-man's land, between the two forces is the place of peace; the calm in the midst of the storm. The place we call the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

The talking heads of today, tell us that Christianity is a dead religion, that it has no socially redeeming value.

And so, we are encouraged to embrace other religions, that have no qualms using women and children to blow themselves up to create casualties in the civilian community.

Talk about cognitive dissonance!

The longer I live, the more aware I become that there is very little intelligent life on this planet.

It is impossible for us to know if there really is an afterlife, and what all may be involved.

I prefer to live my life believing there will come a day when I will hear the words; "Welcome, good and faithful servant, into rest."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mental manipulation

I have picked up Recapture the Wonder, Ravi Zacharias, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, TN, 2003 from my library to reread.

And I have been reminded of something I have a lot of difficulty wrapping my mind around.

On page 18, he writes:

"The world of fantasy and of the fantastic was captured in that word. But this is where it becomes very intriguing. In his Republic, Plato relates a conversation betwen his brother Glaucon and Socrates.

"Socrates is explaining to Glaucon that human understanding of ultimate reality is more like seeing the shadows than it is grasping the substance.

"To illustrate his point he imagines a cave in which he sees human beings, chained from childhood, facing a wall with their backs to the opening of the cave. The light coming into the cave from the outside casts shadows of all that is happening on the outside onto the walls of the cave.

"There is no way, says Socrates, that anyone looking at the wall would be able to distinguish what is real from what is not. They would only know the shadows."

I have been a student of psychology for over 30 years. I have never been able to really wrap my mind around this concept. In a required class for a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, we again visited this story.

I came close to failing an exam because I was not able to adequately indicate, replicate the substance on the exam.

Perhaps this is one of those enigmas that I am doomed to spend eternity not being able to figure out.

I never said I was smarter than the average bear, or fifth grader, or even the equipment I am working with.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is it is, or is it ain't?

45% of the votes in the Argus poll believe President Bush is responsible for high gas prices. To my military mind, I truly wonder, how can they believe that?

Only con-gress has the authority to levy taxes... the President ain't got nothing to do with that...

It is con-gress that has refused to allow us to drill for our own oil...

It is con-gress that is enjoying a less than 10% approval rating across the nation.

It is con-gress that authors the laws that we have to abide by.

Yeah, I forgot, that is all substance...con-gress works only on symbolism...

How else can the ACLU fight against the principles that formed this great country, and get funding from con-gress?

Didn't someone say, once, that a fool is born every minute?

I wonder if there is some amount of in-breeding going on here in the United States.