Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Periodic Eating . . . Of Wet Rocks

  Sometime (when fabulously bored) listen in on guys in conversation. Almost inevitably, and very early on in the talk comes the question; "What do you do?". This is to query the line of work, the means of putting food on the table. If guys are a totem pole, then the topmost (the highest) is "best". Status having to do with weight-importance, income and how often (if ever) you get all grimy and sweaty on the job helps us place each other on the pole. Naturally, I invert the sequence!
  It sounds (to my ears) altogether too weighty and impressive a thing to announce "plumber" upon being asked about my do, so I "go low" and inform the guy "I'm an overpaid ditch digger". If up-ness is the desirable cult-ural thing, then "obviously" we infer that the lower the social status one may reasonably descend to, the easier it is to be friendly rather than "superior". Our superiority complexes are often that which prevents us from hearing what the other says, So, if the concept we discuss is conversation, and people generally feel more comfortable talking if they believe that the other is "socially inferior"; I'm all for inferiority!
  In the interests thus of befriending human-kind, it is far easier to converse with others if they infer superiority on their part. I figure it's worth it! So, it becomes a race to the bottom! Bragging upside down in this fashion makes sense to this gringo, and so, my other (and lower yet status) job is as a part-time janitor in the local high schools. Top that one if you can . . . or bottom it I suppose?
  So then, this C.P.E. opens up as a door the panorama of ill thought out speculation for the day. A week or ten days ago, in one of the high school science classrooms, as I was vacuuming, and muttering under my beard at "the young slobs, who feel it is their duty to scatter tiny shreds of paper in five foot arcs around desks"; I noted a poster on the wall entitled "A Periodic Table".
  Have you ever wondered about the periodic table? In the first place, why the "A" rather than a "The" in the title? Doing some weighty research on the matter (for about seven minutes on the web) I conclude that the deal is that science types just are not (yet?) certain that all of the elements thereof have to date been identified. Ergo, tables per se; are a lash-up affair until a yet unknown future date when some sort of certainty prevails upon the matter.
  Well, with all this in mind then, we can just cut to the chase of today's brainwave, now can't we? Here's the deal, there is weirdness afoot, and only this week did I begin to first note something about the periodic table. In short, you can eat lots of it! At 56, it rather comes as a shock to first become aware that what is ordinarily deemed "trace minerals" over in health-food store land, are none other than refugees off of the table in question!
  It's funny how a wrong idea can live inside the skull for years or even decades, and all that time, it goes unquestioned. I always thought of minerals as being (basically) rocks. You know, those shows featuring minerals and semi-precious gems? I figured they were showcasing rocks, and other rocks, and so minerals was just an upscale way to say stone. So, if snooty upscale says minerals, friendly down home talk calls them rocks. Somebody failed along the way to mention to this gringo that trace minerals are in fact elements right off of the periodic table!
  I mean, perhaps I could have guessed about some of this? Zinc, iron, copper and silver for instance, I was aware of; as both elements and of nutritional value in minute amounts. But vanadium, ruthenium and gadolinium; who saw those coming? Potassium yes, boron huh? Minerals aren't rocks, they are elements! Who knew?
  Uhm, so just being curious and all, how come the health food industry does not name the stuff in question "trace elements"? What our food is missing at minimum (when it is processed junk that is) is vitamins, amino acids, and elements. I always thought it was vitamins, aminos and. . . rocks! Clearly, I am no nutritionist or doctor, but how is it that we do not ordinarily notice that when we are trying to "eat right" we are thereby trying to eat a large fraction of the periodic table? Just how many of the periodic elements are in fact nutritious for humans, I haven't the froggiest fig newton of, but clearly something off of the periodic table is what is also missing around the dinner table!
  The media types among us have declared obesity to be "epidemic" (like some type of disease?) among westerners. Isn't it damnably odd to you, that the talking heads go around saying such things in public, and never once take notice of related phenomenon in other creatures?
  For instance, in horses a thing called lignophagia and a weird related "obsessive" behavior in them called "cribbing" should give us pause. Horses will start chewing on anything wooden like fence rails and the wall partitions in stalls. A compulsive eating, and an eating of the wrong kind of things, ought sound familiar enough to us. The body "wants" or needs certain things (elements) and without them present, the eating continues beyond the point of reason. Until what the body is hungering for is found, the chewing continues. Why is it that the professional food genius types never seem to get around to linking obsessive eating in humans and also in horses with a basic lack in food value? Experiment time; what if we tried first in our equine population to dose them up with elements right out of the periodic table, to see if we later observe a cure for the "disease" of obsessive chewing? Just a thought there.
  Doctors make me crazy. People feel bad, they keep getting sick, and so they go visit the doc. They are weak, dizzy or even having worse symptoms. What is the absolutely last question the good doctor ever asks? In fact, they may well never get around to asking; "What the heck have you been putting down your neck lately anyhow?". The utterly arcane and outrageous notion that overall health and well being might well be related to what you usually eat and drink, is occult nonsense to most of the medical community it appears to this janitor.
  I mean, it would be the unusual episode of Star Trek wouldn't it, in which Mr. Spock does his weird finger drill and says; "Live long and prosper. . . by a periodic eating of wet rocks", but that's our brainwave for the day. The reason I add wet to our imaginary Vulcan version of bon voyage, is that without water; as far as I know, none of the elements of the table could be dissolved. Some are metals, some are more like salts, and without water or some type of acid to create a solution who knows how else to get them into the body? The universal solvent (water) remains as the way (I think) to make the car in question go. Stomach acids likely play a big part too in dissolving "rocks". Thus saith the ditch digging eater of rocks in any case.
  Now, if we were watching volleyball just now, you would clearly have seen by this intro the "set", to which the "spike" inevitably follows. These essays ordinarily spike just about here somewhere with a quasi-theological slam. At about this point in the talk we have come to expect as much.
  So, the first thing I note is the 40 days of fasting, followed by the the enemy taunting The Boss. "Hey, if you really are the Anointed One, why not just solve your hunger problem by talking to the rocks? Tell them to become bread!". Interestingly, our Captain does not deny that there could be some nutrition to be gained by consuming minerals, but instead of arguing calories and transfat He reparses, He reprioritizes. "Man's life does not arise from pounding down bread, but by God's speaking!" (or to that effect); the King thereby steps on the head of the snake.
  So, what is keeping us alive is not wet rocks, vitamins and enzymes, it is word truth spoken from above or outside the world. Life in our bodies thus is spoken in from the outside, so the King firmly asserts. We thereby have three things in view; life, truth and authority. They originate from above, and also are operant within, we simply cannot be "healthy" without recognizing such.
  Speaking of recognition some, this entire argument pivots upon the "Who says so". In english, our word "Christ" might best be thought of as the verb "to christen", to pour liquid on the head. Back in the O.T. there were three offices in which oil and fragrances were so poured, "prophet, priest and king". The name "Jesus" roughly translates as "I AM . . . salvation". Holding all three offices, He is the Sayer-so. Now, it seems interesting to this plumber that He pointedly does not shear off one (life Speaking Prophet) from the other two, they are a matched trio.
  We as humans appear to want life, but we ain't too crazy about rule granted from above. Furthermore, the very idea that designed suffering appears to be involved, we find to be downright objectionable. The tempting to toss yourself off of the temple, proposes a self designed suicidal "way out". The Priest refuses that option. The offering of "raw power" to be grasped, (running the nations!) the King refutes.
  Health then (life) comes through the Man holding all three offices, and the enemy was well aware of this. The temptation structurally to have life at the expense of sound governance and sacrifice, proves an absurdity! The True King cinches up His belt another notch, and endures hunger for another hour. By doing so, He tells the creep "No dice".
  Our "eating" then, is pointed clean outside the world. There is something we put in us, which gives life to us. There was a guy named "Padre Pio" which some Catholics I know talk about. He reportedly ate and drank nothing but the eucharist, for years? Anyhow, he is reported to have been a wonder worker. I don't know how reliable any of those reports are, but the entire point of the supper is us "eating Him"! As Prophet extraordinaire, He not only says; "Live", but becomes the food to live upon!
  Christians, it appears to me are often lopsided just about here. We love to wax eloquent on His priestly sacrifice. The glory of Calvary in which He is both offering sacrifice, and has become the Sacrifice Himself, is astounding! Yet we forget that such a dual valence is normative across the trio.
  True enough, we kinda sorta get it in governance, in that the Emperor of Is, is become the servant of the slaves (us). The Highest is become the Lowest! But over in life, we are still often "mono". We think we can eat wet rocks, and live.
  A gradualism, a slope upward (only) prevails in many of the brothers. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world is now High Priest. The King of heaven and earth is become Servant of the weakest and slowest among us. But this gig of the Word (In Person) "hearing" we remain fuzzy on, it appears to me.
  If one of the lessons to be learned in life is to talk right, we might infer that there is Someone to talk to? The signs and seals of the covenant; baptism (pouring again!) and the supper are to build in us the deep confidence that the Hearer Supreme (Jesus) hears so awfully well as to pick up my muttering about young slobs!
  Tell Him your heart, and live! Put that in you, an thrive. The very best conversationalists will confess; "Mainly, I listen".
  For us to listen to Him, creeps us out because we are worried about heresy. And so we close our ears, and figure we are doing Him a big favor? Yet, listening remains the friendly thing to do!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Oh, For the Love of Fib!

  Mom had a special set of words. They were "dinosaur words". Some of them I still even now occasionally hear out of the mouths of older ladies. Mom was a teenager back in the mid 1930's, and the "lingo" she retained has (I think) more or less passed out of usage. She used to say things like; "Oh, for the love of Pete!". She sang a little tune concerning "maresy-doats and dozy doats", but the one word I especially recall her using, usually in the form of a question; was "fib". Howcome nobody uses that word any longer?
  Actually, the gerund "fibbing" was a good deal more common, as in; "You boys aren't fibbing to me now; are you?". She was expecting the truth out of us, or so we were to infer? She used to say plenty of things which left me guessing at her intention. But in her usage of fib, it always seemed odd to me that she (apparently?) couldn't read the "tells" of boy sized lies.
  I don't know all of the signs of a lie being told, but many (and perhaps most); people are pretty darned bad at lying. The itchy back suddenly present, that sudden inability to look eye to eye, the nervous tug at the earlobe; most folks are broadcasting with their body as tells when deceiving with their mouths. Why she had to ask whether we were fibbing, rather than simply observing our behavior as we spoke, so to determine the matter for herself; never made much sense to my boy-brain.
  A fib, and a white lie by Mom's standard were (I think) roughly equivalent, by them not much damage done. So then, there was an hierarchical premise to her view, such that some untruth was "allowable" and some wasn't. The surprising aspect of this was when she would flare up, clearly angry at what I (personally) considered a small-potato untruth. In her book, it was an outrageous breach. So, while we acknowledge the presence of a standard, we may only guess at the specifics thereof? And all this is humanly speaking, normal enough; don't you agree?
  We as human kind are constantly renegotiating the standard of truth required-in, or reliability expected-of others. We deploy our truth filters and observation skills in order to "guess-timate" how much of what we are hearing is real. So, Mom's word, "fib" is actually pretty handy, as a kind of whiff test. Is what I am at present hearing a "small" lie, or an outright whopper; or (odder yet!) true? Observe the tone, whiff the aroma, as the tale is told. Fibs are not really all that difficult to detect.
  Now the reason behind this discussion (and the title of this C.P.E.), is that I have a niece. She is a wonderful enough person (in her own way), it is just that two generations removed from 1936, the word "fib" has been unconsciously re-invented by her generation.
  This whole cyber digital jazz, who can keep up? Maybe a year ago or so, I began "blogging". That, and occasionally looking at bizarre You Tube videos, sums up my grasp of computing. Okay plus trying to figure out e-mail is more than enough computer guck for my tastes. Perhaps last summer (was it?) I was fiddling around attempting to fill out some dumb survey on the inter-web. The trailer included something about "must be on Facebook, to enter your response, would you like to join?". I pushed a few more buttons willy-nilly until it seemed I was done with the survey, and so "got on" Facebook.
  Next thing I know, there is this weird junk appearing on g-mail. Under "social", something about "notifications"? So, push that button, and you see this series of strangers? Do you know Bill Jackson? How about Sally Gomez? Do you recall meeting Bob, Tom, or George? No, no, and no; why are we doing this anyhow? I had heard some folks spend hours (?) a day on social networking? Really? Looking at strangers, being repeatedly asked; "do you know?". And I thought, "Just how bored are these people?". I was entirely put off with the idea, and just basically ignored the site for months.
  About eight or ten weeks ago, on "notifications" I saw something weird. It was some sort of notice maybe? I just happen to know my sister-in-law's name, and that moniker appeared with a "would like to friend-you". Huh? So, I mashed some button or another, and within a few days, my niece shot some sort of notice "great to see you on fb". Then, a big ol' slug of faces that I do recognize, began appearing! Who knew? So, I sent a bunch of "friend requests" myself. Many were returned with a "yes", and the entire landscape of the site has become a bit clearer to this plumber.
  I began noticing some sort of scrolling feature, what is that? A series of quips, quotes, photos and videos by "friends", and friends of their friends?  I hadn't noticed that before! This is way more interesting than attempting to identify serial strangers. And I was satisfied just looking at this guck for awhile, until I noted the "comment" button thing at the bottom. "How long has that rascal been hanging around?", and so now I know it all!
  Several hundred megabytes later, I awoke one morning, for the first time "getting" the premise, that if one mashes the "share" thing, somehow or another the "friends" will see in their scrolling thing what I am just now seeing? Now, for certain, I know this thing? That was true enough, until my friend asked about "my page".
  My what? I don't have one, or at least if I do, it has not come to my attention. . . She gently informed me, that: "If you are 'on' Facebook, you do have a page". Really? What is on it? She said "Well, what did you put on it?". Oh, was I supposed to do something there too? Boy, this thing is just one big bag of surprises ain't it? So, beside the 21st cen. bloggery, I too am fb-ing?. . and I love it? Where will it all end. . ."Plumber corrupted by computing, details at eleven"?
  Semi-astutely, I have come to a preliminary set of conclusions about fb-ing, or as Mom would have correctly tagged it, fibbing. We live in an environment of advertising, and it is so overpoweringly present, that we often do not notice it. . .much. As a plumber type, some folks ask things like; "What sort of water treatment do you recommend?". My answer is usually; "Well, they are all 'the best', and if you don't believe me, just ask them!". That is my way of discounting the mild, low level lies we expect of advertising.
  I mean, which company would push their product with; "Well actually, our junk is kinda third rate if you'd like to know (besides being over-priced), but we do have bills due, and could really use the money, so please buy some!". Heck, all products and services are "new, improved, the absolute best". Everything, it turns out; is better, brighter, faster and costs less. We are not supposed to notice that millions of dollars have been spent to cover the tells!
  A "slick" presentation, in a "professional" voice is to cover up the fact that very likely (in reality) some other product than the one being advertised is actually "best". Advertising is fibbing on a grand scale. And I think it is not really much harm done to the universe for us to think that "Clorox" is fundamentally superior (in some way) than "mere bleach". Even we know it isn't really true. But the tells involved, that foot scraping, those dodgy eyes, plus the jittery stammer have been slicked over and glossed out by "the pros".
  See, in the cyber-swamp of internet-ery, we have absolutely opposing claims . . . on . . . just about everything! Just google anything at all. "Do carrots belong in carrot-cake?" for instance, yields site A. The authority present will clearly propound that they are "a must!". Across the cyber street, site B declares authoritatively flatly to the contrary, that to add them will cause your head to explode. So, either one or both sites are wrong, but clearly both cannot be right! So, the digital morass is teaching us to read the tells of the cyber-fib. The tone, the tenor, the itchy-ness present; hear that whining edge to the voice? The tells present are signs pointing at the fib aroma. The sites pro and con are being run by amateur fibbers, and unlike professional fibbers doing ads, they still display boy-type tells.
  So now, I think I really really begin to "get" fb. Think of you running your own "ad-campaign". If "mike" is the product or service proposed as "best" what precisely am I pushing? "I had eggs for breakfast?, Here's my noodle recipe?, This video is funny?". Here we see a "potentially positive portrayal", in which you (the customer) are to gather that I am not the screaming madman you seem to recall. Fb lends the image that I am a reflective, kind and humorous chap, and this is what the ad campaign releases. Isn't fb fundamentally a fib?
  Well, why wouldn't it be? The tell is yet present, and even Mom would have noted it, had she lived long enough to hear the phenomenon. That discomfort of exposure, it keeps generating a tone of "extreme" voice. A certain desperation smell that you-too ought best be "caught up, on my life" ? Every word is shouted, every road trip is "THE GREATEST!!!", all tacos eaten Tuesday are "absolutely awesome". The fib of advertisement is become on Fb; a personally operated self-publishing enterprise, meant to imply at minimum something "positive" about the "product" (me).
  Obviously, months ago; I was way off base. This is very, very different than an old guy getting grumpy over being repeatedly quizzed concerning the identity of a gang of strangers. We wish to "shine", and Fb creates a playspace for that to happen. Okay, so fibs are involved, and the piece of cherry pie you had for dessert was not (in fact) "fantastic!". . . it was pie.
  The thing I think is this, we want to be part of something larger than ourselves. We want our story to help, to inspire, or at least not crush our fellows. To shine, is a function of light, and light is the twin of life. And so it is natural enough to share lives, so to brighten. A kind of friendly partnership, a reach-out feature in us, is present and it is at least part of what we see operating in this C.P.E. as we overlook the fibs of Fb. We value the person above the reputation. This is all normal enough, isn't it?
  Apparently then, my brainwave for the day, is along these lines here somewhere. Fb is a "social gathering" from across the world. Light and glory, life and growth are then the framework. But, in order to "make it go" we allow for the Fb fib. This points "outside itself".
  The set of all real numbers points "outward" to things (real things) counted. We value math, by using it outside of math; we celebrate counting, because it reveals "glory". Count the stars, and be astounded, number the snowflakes and stand amazed. Systems reveal, but cannot themselves bear "the weight of glory". They point outside themselves. They must, and so too we must.
  Likewise then, the glory of a grand banquet, clear glasses of good white bubbly wine raised in toasts, the glitter, the movement of "the gathering" points outside itself, to the Banquet Host, the Life Giver, He Who Is Light.
  The tell involved is fibbing! If the thing of itself could bear the weight of glory, no lie however small could intrude, nor would it need to. The very fact that we must "fudge facts" in order to shine, points away from us, to the One of whom we "kinda remember" as "Mr. Shine". The discomfort within us of communicating even small untruths is an inner tell. How could ever we feel uncomfort, if what we do is entirely proper? To know one thing is to know at least a bit of something else.
  Lewis said something like; "Fish do not feel wet". You must have a known, or a partly known "dry" to contrast things with; so to feel wet. Fish know but one world.
  Yet we stand at the frontier of two worlds. We look for a doorway home, like Dorothy in Oz, and tend to forget that the light above, shines through us into a dark and sad world. Doors go two ways and we shudder and shrink at becoming that door which presents the grief of the world upwards for healing. It is too heavy!
  He says; "Lookee here, I the True Door make all things new!". Part of what is renewed, is our understanding of things, and part is a forgetfulness of old things. In that marvelous banquet to come, no fibs at all are present, for the Host of the dinner, the Shining One is Truth Himself! All deception in His path melts and flows harmlessly away.
  That's what I learned on Facebook?
  Nah, it was another book, it's over in the "non-fiction" section.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

C 6, The Two Way Hat

  Note to the reader; recently I wrote another C.P.E. with hats in the title. Something about that one is incomplete, or is just not saying things the way I believe to be actually the case (or something). If I could put my finger upon just what that something is, the thing would get an edit job.
  But since it remains unclear, I thought of an idea for a C.P.E. which is a kind of parallel treatment of things. Our Pastor at Kirk did a sermon on C6, "do no murder". His words  I found to be solid, and normal type thoughts on the commandment, but the way my mind works, I "hear best" those things not said. The brainwave here is to speak somewhat to "the other half of C6".
   So, let 'er rip.

  I recall my old Dad saying particular things over and over. If you were able (ever) to get the guy to sit still, and not just get up and walk off during discussions of the Bible; he kept saying the same things. "I just don't understand all the killing and bloodshed going on in the Old Testament. What is all that murder about anyway?". My usual response was to the effect; "You ain't seen nuthin' yet Pop!", which was (likely) not awfully helpful by way of clarification for him.
   C6 "Thou shalt do no murder" is bi-directional. C6 is a multi-hat, compound headgear so to speak. Wearing it, we are to think two ways. Ordinarily, we do not see things this way. For example, I remember briefly "dating" a Roman Catholic girl in Albuquerque way back in the early 80's. That went nowhere. . . fast! But the main driver of what was the "turnoff" for me was her (typically Catholic) bizarre-pants mono-hat worn on C6.
  She correctly enough thought babies to be human, and thus that the butchery of them was wrong. Good for pro-life you! But then, she forgot to invert her multi-hat, and thus inexplicably was opposed to capital punishment, upon the reading of C6 as "thou shalt not kill"! Bad for anti-justice you! As soon as I realized that her brain had been wrecked in this fashion, I beat feet.
  Have you ever run up against someone who steadily denies the righteousness of lawful killing? Whether it be the kings, governors or judges empowered by the state to make such decisions, some folk just cannot or will not allow for the lawful taking of life. They too are wearing mono-hats.
  It is not uncommon, lots of people get pretty squishy right around this neighborhood somewheres. A wordy reading of the thing in modern language might go; "Do not (ever!) take it upon yourself as a private citizen to deal out the ultimate sanction". This then, is clearly one direction of the hat. But in order to "buy" the premise as valid, we allow for the Author maintaining "spheres". The spheres of lawful sovereignty above, we know nearly nothing about, yet clearly for us in this world, authoritative ruling-serving roles are basic.
  The lawful institutions are family, church and state, and so we serve as parent, elder and governor. The hat reverses and we are child, parishioner and citizen. Each sphere is separate, and they overlap. Have I lost you?
  Instead of reading C6 as purely prohibition, try reading it as "Kill, but only lawfully"! The lawful use of military force, and of civil judicial force unto death, is not only "allowable" but required! This is the hat we spoke of earlier. We in our roles as persons, are both commanded to kill, and not kill, depending upon the sphere position we inhabit. It is sin for John Brown to (as a father, or as an elder in the church) take life. It is also sin for John Brown the judge or soldier to not kill! In the civil realm then, justice is entrusted.
  Consider the audience to whom the ten words were originally announced. At very minimum, the Passover, and the wipeout of the local super-power's military at the Red Sea, should have "strongly suggested" that Yahweh has no qualms about killing. He brings blessing and life, and He brings calamity. But, the main catastrophe is He Himself!
  Throughout the Bible is the constant theme, it's the Big Idea!, On a great and terrible day; He is coming! On that day, and in that hour a shattering from on high sweeps the wicked away and with violent prejudice. In Uncreated fury, the evil ends; absolutely. In brief, Justice (defined by Him) shall be done. The same God who is Author of life is Bringer of calamity, He is Mr. Calamity in Person! The conquest of Canaan was and is a tiny picture, a hint of the harsh and terrifying reality of the Coming One. He, the original "Holy Terror" sweeps before Him any and all who are not perfect in justice and righteousness.
  Uh, so what's the point then, why bother with anything? Who qualifies? If that of itself were the case, we are looking at a total extermination of human-kind. And it is just "here" that the message of Calvary is to be announced.
  Our estimate of a total wipeout is off by precisely one. One Man, across the age, One Man born in the world; is not the target of wrath-coming. We, it's actual targets are being re-made, to be like Him. An astounding "transfer", a "mistake" in identity has occurred! The "mistaken identity" of us as "the righteous" is guaranteed by law, and so remains an entirely legal hope!
  And it's about here that many folks get whacky. The thinking to the effect that we are under grace and not law, somehow or another supposedly "means" that love has somehow replaced duty. Since we are forgiven, it's okay to drop our rightful duty, and "understand" evil men. And of course nobody would say it that way, but our actions differ from our words.
  Charlie Manson, Jack the Ripper, the members of ISIS, and let's not forget those crazies that rape babies in our own communities NEED killing; by the courts or by the military. The failure to do so, is not "compassionate", it's gutless and irresponsible. Upon hearing this week's outrage, our hearts cry out for justice, and there is none. Our Captain said; "Love fails, as lawlessness grows". Therefore, love is part of an environment, wherein rules and boundaries matter. To fail at lawful duty, is to establish the growth of evil, and that ain't loving! It's soft, it's spineless, and by definition heartless.
  How does one go about recruiting young men to leave soft and cushy European or American lives to go live in the desert with a gang of psychopathic murdering cultists? What is the motivational prompting to join up with ISIS? Offhand, I'd say, the motive is our hearts! We cry out for justice (lawful killing) and there is none! So too, the recruits know this emptiness.
  So, to rope in cannon fodder for the cult, generate the true claim that justice lives where killing lives. Next, add the unlawful violation of sphere authority, and endorse the false claim that "citizen" (terrorist) has "the right"! You endorse proper killing. . . improperly! The three spheres, recall those? Simply said, the Mullahs jerk the duty to kill out of the civil and place it in ecclesiastical, and familial. "Priests of Allah" become the ones passing out the machetes and machine guns.
  Clearly then, the lawful C6 mandate to kill, is to establish justice (little "j") in earth, and that devolves lawfully upon the "king", never the "priest", never-ever the "father". Some folks get confounded just here, in that in the O.T. scheme, both disobedience to parents and blasphemy were capital crimes. Be that as it may, the duty to kill unruly sons rightly remained with the "king", not the "father".
  This muddle we have over here in the U.S. then is related to C6 and it's outriding issues. There is no justice in the land, the "king" has failed miserably. Instead of a fair trial before his peers, followed by swift and certain punishment upon the finding of guilt, (public execution) we have this nearly infinite series of appeals, which takes years or decades to complete, followed by life in a box.
  The inversion which necessarily occurs here is that with justice dead, mercy has no remaining working definition. Mercy amid our U.S.A. is a "niceness, a sensitivity, a political correctness" which oddly enough formats as cruelty!
  Listen in sometime on the "progressive, the embracing of tolerance" crowd someday. Them is some mean folks! The bitter ridicule and mocking they have for YAHWEH, His word, and His people, is enlightening to overhear. All options are valid and all lifestyles are welcome. Cannibal tri-sexual witches are welcome here! Every tradition, every viewpoint is worthy of respect, except some! "Those evil Republicans are the source of all our troubles! Those narrow Bible thumpers are the real problem. If we could just get rid of (kill?) those nasty conservatives, things would be so much better"; appears to be the brainwave. So, aside from the murderous Muslims, the criminal Communists, those lying Narco-lords, and the gaggle of gangsters. . .  the source of "evil" in Earth is the G.O.P.?  Heck, maybe the Muslims and all those other murdering pukes are actually stealth members of the RNC? And thereby mercy then has been twisted. "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God"; ends up in modern America; "kill babies, think only of "race" and congratulate yourself on your own cleverness in so doing".
  The swift and sure hand of justice in the land is no more, and in it's place comes not true mercy, but rather; arbitrary injustice mixed with hatred! America itself then, is lost in whimsical cruelty and so must be lawfully under Judgement. Meanwhile, that works righteousness cult in the Mideast is promising "paradise" to it's slaves for following the pattern of murder, rape and torture which Mohammed established.
  A kind of cross between a first rate con-man like P.T. Barnum (a sucker is born every minute!) and a murderous thug like Al Capone; this is their source of "justice"! Our "progressives" among us utter not a peep.
  Yet, far worse yet than the high heresy of "the left" is the miserable failure of "the right"! The failure to wear the bi-directional hat, and to do justice signals from afar cowardice of leadership. This only feeds the Mideastern monster!
  I vaguely recall the results of a survey of Palestinian mothers several years ago. I'll likely botch the numbers, but something like 60% of mothers (!) chief ambition for their sons was for the little guys to grow up to become suicide bombers. You know, you walk into a market, pull the cord and shred to pieces old ladies who are out shopping for groceries. And in so doing you are doing God some big hairy favor? These "priests" of injustice thereby promise paradise, and send their slaves directly to hell. This misery is abetted by both sides of the political idealogical aisle. The left winks, and the right runs and hides.
  The Charlie Mansons of the Mideast have gone too far by human standards. Human justice done in their case would end their wretched lives, and with prejudice. But there is no justice, humanly speaking.
  The good news of C6 then is that even we know injustice cannot endure forever. At some point, as in Noah's day, as in Lot's time, He above says; "I've had enough of you". The rightful killing shall commence.
  He who was wrongly murdered, shall rightly war and judge. Indeed, the insanity shall halt. The beauty here is that He whose life was taken away, in actuality; He gave! It was given to provide the only fallout shelter strong enough, to survive the blow of that great and terrible day coming.
  C6 is about the image. The Image is Him! We then "in" image become like He. . . unkillable! Unkillable, because Justice has no claim against us, we the righteous!
  And that my friend is the clearest evidence available, that grace and mercy have been applied to our sad stupid lives. We, the righteous?
  In Him Justice lives, Mercy thrives, and Humility is enjoyed. So, perhaps it's a tri-cornered hat we would look best in eh?
  That's the part of the sermon I did not hear.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Broken Toys, and The Meaning in Life (date unknown)

  Now that I mention the phrase, "The meaning in life", I note that we usually say "of life". It does make a difference.
  Talking with a guy the other day, he chuckled some at my mention of "the meaning of life, reality, and everything else". I think I stole that from Douglas Adams, but am not sure. The guy's words on the topic elude me now, but he did mention a phrase out of Shakespeare, that "sound and fury, a tale told by an idiot" business. He seemed to be discounting the very idea of meaning in life? Then he "switched".
  One hundred and eighty degrees astern we now go, as he talks on (quite a bit) about; "Those people who are just driven!". You've met those people, obnoxious, pushy bores. They are all of their lives just driving furiously. . . but in the end, to where? Like a broken toy that keeps working, but only to perform in very small circles, it "goes" nowhere.
  I was not surprised by the cynical aspect of "A" nor by the dismissive turn of "B". But, what I was surprised at, was how almost identically he summarized my own (unaided) spin on this topic. For nearly all my life, his view and mine (my bias I mean) are twins separated at birth!
  To me, life itself was basically "stupid". In brief, it was a pointless exercise. The vain hope that "getting serious" about participating in the hustle and bustle activity could somehow or another, "make up for" the fact that the thing had no inherent meaning seemed insane to me. Doing the pointless swifter and furiouser, this is improvement?
  Our being confronted with the twins of meaningless reality, plus our "active push" in light of that is like a broken toy; or a telephone cord if you prefer. The spiral shape of the cord is us. The toy soldier ever marching in circles going nowhere, is us! We end up "getting in our own way" the circle is too small!
  For these kinds of reasons, the book of Ecclesiastes was the only book in the Bible that made any sense at all to me when I was younger. Don't you think it's interesting too? Someone can (correctly) state that life itself had no meaning, while he must have simultaneously known that his assertion itself, could not (by definition!) have any meaning! It is like trying to step outside of a mirror.
  Back at the old Albuquerque Sunport, there was a really great bathroom! You are standing there, at the lavatory washing up; looking into a full-sized mirror. But, behind you is another floor to ceiling looking glass. In "infinite recession" of your image, you keep trying to "see around yourself" in order to grasp how deep you go, but you are in the way of you! Echo images receding off into an unseeable distance, because we the viewer, are blocking the view. Soldiers of duty, marching in nowhere circles, telephone cords which keep getting wound tighter, never looser, never free-er? That is us!
  My attitude was; "Talk about a weird universe! Wow, what a dump". For years, and decades, all I ever "wanted out of life", was simply, I wanted out, of life! Where in the heck is the EXIT sign around here? It's like a dream you can't wake up from, how do we escape this rat hole?
  As human persons, I figure we are more or less forced by our own inner structure to endorse one of the twins. Either the cynical and depressed picture emerges, or it's "opposite" the self absorbed gung-ho bung hole emerges. We tire of flip-flopping between extremes, and then propose to "park" in the no-mans-land (supposed) middle option. Choose one, be certain only of death in reality, or dream the dream of personal meaning through glory, or keep a little of both and find a place in the mushy nice-guy syndrome "median". My "problem" has always been that I reject all three of the "options".
  Now the "two-ness" and a proposed "three-ness" may be inescapable as an integrating model. I mean, our minds may well be constructed that way. But what is not set in concrete is what goes in the baskets. That is why in the title, it reads "in life" not of. Something, during, and in life, happened to me! People do change, but not willingly.
  So, being a new-comer to thinking this way, finding meaning in but not of life, my views today shall necessarily appear naive or childish. I simply have not had enough time to mature in this area.
  So, let's give it a shot! The first thing I think of then is that life itself is "the" gift. I mean by this, at least two things. One is, any gift (worth having) must be experienced or joined in or during life, so life itself, formats as central, gift-wise. The other is that since "eternal life" as the token of the Almighty's love-for and care concerning His own, formats as gift extraordinaire, the "lessor and proto-type" (life unto death) cannot logically be otherwise. But clearly, this view is from "inside an alien set". So, when your Mom gives you a Wayne Newton CD for your birthday, you are supposed to thank her? Only aliens would do that, and it's kinda like that.
  This ethic of "thankfulness of" life makes no sense, but this says nothing at all about the possibility of being thankful in life. We look the gift horse in the mouth, and say with confidence: "Bad teeth".
  If you, my lunatic neighbor; have a habit of handing me "the gift" of a bag of garbage every morning, would I thank you? And why then, when He above hands over the much much larger bag every day, are we to be thankful? Is the true ethic all about faking ourselves out?
  Typically upon delivery of the bag, we try to ferret out "the good parts", trying at least for awhile, to thank for that stuff. But that tiny amount is never enough for us, and doesn't even begin to deal with the monstrous majority of "the remainder". Talk about grim, this "is" me, this "is" us!
  We live in the era of clinical depression. Yet it is odd indeed (to me at least) that depression is never noticed to be what it is! It is an entirely accurate and correct estimate, it is the truthful mental and emotional revulsion at this very wreckage! If we insist upon the "of" option, the cynical-bossy opposition, with the nowhere nice guy as "solution", be prepared for a major bummer. It is in fact, very depressing, and depression is the honest estimate of things here. Nobody ever mentions that? So, we are to buy that making a horrible system better is achieved by lying about it? Not this gringo.
  No, we need a new logic, a new feel, another framework in which it becomes true that we are authentically glad or thankful about the whole package, as it is actually lived. Somehow, somewhere, the unfairness, the frustration, rage and boredom, the foul-ups, confusion, and let's not forget the idiotic redundancy, and toss in the rest of that corrupted junk we first noted inside the bag are "received". Do we thereby affirm that lunacy is the framework of the mirrors back at the Sunport? Not at all!
  A typical example is that your boss is a jackass and a cheapskate as well. Our normal framework of trying to find "the" meaning "of" life is a null set. Upon viewing the jerk, our waxing all "objective" and deriding his ways yields zero. Going to the opposite extreme, and starting your own business, simply makes you more like the fool he is. This is not progress, we are going backward! The usual third middle position, of simply being an apathetic doormat, and "saving up" the good times, for when we are off work, simply builds a ghetto for the problem to live in, while denying the truth of wreckage.
  Life was never designed to be applied with an eye-dropper, gone all "Hollywood". If things are about "limits", then by definition, the "middle way" is about limiting the damage! A tiny dose of seriousness, then later a smidge of wry observation, finished up with a big dollop of good times, is structurally unsound, and only a nut builds houses that way. It's upside-down! The sanity of "receiving", the sanity of finding wholesomeness "in" life, is on another page.
  We can never hope to arrive at the correct recipe for life by "balancing" various portions of poisonous ingredients. A bit of cynical arsenic, mixed with a spoonful of pushy cyanide, topped with the saccharine frosting of nowhere in the middle will always result in a rotten dinner. It was never about "balancing" mutually destructive errors upon a faulty fulcrum.
  As a newbie, my grasp here is incomplete for sure, but let's go back to the boss episode for a test run of the alien system.
  Using the two-ness and three-ness model we are so well suited to, step up to observe! Observe this, life, in and of itself, has no "meaning", let's say that up front. But who was the clown who suggested in the first place that it did? In the new model, the gift of life is given, thus "it" is not the point, He the Giver is! Since He is the point, and life is His gift, it with all it's sweaty misery becomes a sort of meeting ground, a rendezvous point between persons. If it truly is a tale told by an idiot, it yet remains the "place" we met! We value persons, not things nor systems, nor philosophies. Applied "backwards", since we can't see Him (we are in the way!) it "must be" infinitely more true of the Person(s) Himself. It was "in" this pain and misery we met!
  Likewise with the pushy theory, that "making something of ourselves" anti-view.  The tin soldier will march, but he needs a new leg. The apply yourself theory takes into account the tremendous damage done to us, and by us. At present, we have no choice but to march in circles, but nobody demands that the loops get smaller, tighter, and lower. They can also expand, and begin going uphill. The new thing in Earth is the Man who beat death! The alien system is that very lifey-ness itself now present in our decaying bodies! You can build, you can grow, you can improve, but not willingly! The way to freedom, is to be taken captive, the path to ascent is downward! The Man is announcing terms, (acceptable to Him) for unconditional surrender, and laying down our weapons. For us to receive such lowness, is to be raised. Very peculiar, that I had a glimmering of this for years, and can only now see the sanity involved.
  The final leg then, can never be a "middle way". The spiral cord links the handset to phone itself. As they grow, it gets longer! Our constant throttling back, our trying to relax and let go, you know, finding that happy medium (?); is the worst of the bunch. The empty tomb is followed by a new kind of rocket fuel "observing" of Him going up! The new thing of an ex-stiff sitting down for fish and chips is the atom bomb which "pushes" us out into the graveyard of reality to meet the others! It was never a matter of mixing the two into a flavorless none-of-the-above inedible mess. It was the full tilt fire, the all out acceleration of both flavors simultaneously! Nobody could control those horses!. . . Well, there is One.
  The paid lunatics running around peddling their sad little "unlimited human potential" have (apparently) never met The Unlimited Human. Potential was never the point, not any more than life was the point. He, my friend; is The Point. He is the One filling our lives up, until "there is too much". Net result? We get "bigger", and become more able to find Him amid the wreckage of a world we ruined.
  It was illegal in the Law to complain, the converse of this is that it is recommended in Gospel to ask for faith. Simply speaking, we of ourselves, do not trust Him.
  We change, but never willingly!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Big Whoosh

  Many years ago, an older lady asked me to come by on a weekend, and "take a look at" (code speak for; "fix on the cheap"} a plumbing issue in her home. I still recall asking over the phone for some sort of description of the problem she wanted addressed. Fourteen or so years later, her immortal words are yet with me; "The toilet, it goes whoosh!".
  "Ah, so that's it eh? Well, I'll just bring my anti-whooshometer out and adjust that bad whoosh vortex", were my thoughts. What was said was, "I'll check it out".
  Whoosh is a nice word, it is generally grasped, not too awfully specific, while remaining evocative. The roar of the riders on that big rollercoaster as it crazily dives, the glandular maladjustment of falling in love, going through a harrowing tight squeak on the interstate. The uses of the term are broad.
  I've been mulling over whoosh somewhat lately, and concluded that a C.P.E. was in order, to "explore" the basic idea here. Whoosh is central to much of my life experience, and so, many of my behaviors make little or no sense, unless interpreted in light of the w-factor.
  In case it has escaped your radar, I tend to view things as "threes". Not so much a left, right, and center, but moreso a dimensional interpenetration. Go read "Flatland" and that last sentence might possibly make sense. And not to flog dead horses here, the basic structure of the thinking is that we love to be "trapped" in some sort of digital dilemma. A one or a zero, those our only choices. A Democrat or a Republican, our only parties. A good or an evil, our sole options, we keep generating these "dilemmas". Whoosh appears (today at least), to be involved in this style of patterning. So then, the premise of many of these essays of the crazed pantaloon variety, is that this inner and outer polarizing is not solvable from inside the set. This however, says nothing at all about a surprising kind of solution, arriving, or crashing into our system, world and life from "the outside".
  That rehearsing of old hat aside then, I'd wonder just why precisely are we so wound up about, and stuck inside whoosh? I see at least three avenues, three sub-systems on board in the schema. Take any given "free" day you have before you. In filling your day up, those avenues might well imbibe from all three fountains, and a cross referencing between them is normal enough.
  The three are; ought, want and shall. The moral imperative, to do what you promised to, or are in some contractual sense obligated to do, is forming the ought. The desire, to express yourself, or relax, or do a fun thing is the want. But, we cannot see around corners, and there is no telling beforehand, just how well your planning of "the two opposites" will hold up in light of what in fact occurs. Our plans sometimes partly, and sometimes fully are realized. Yet, some days, none of what was expected actually ends up happening "due to unforeseen circumstances". And that, my friend is shall.
  We can buy the basic premise here, and kinda fill in the blanks at some future point. Your imagination is likely better than mine anyhow, and you can draw up vivid mental pictures at your leisure as to how best to describe the three here. My only observation in this is that remarkably enough; whoosh appears across the gamut, but in different flavors.
  The ought of paying your latest speeding ticket, or going to have the dentist drill holes in your head, is something you "should do". The whoosh is that bit of doubt at the danger, or the tight spot this places you in. Have you ever wondered, for why; are some folks terrified of enclosed spaces? Whoosh!
  Or consider, a vacation, or a trip shopping as a fun thing. We want the thrill of, the tiny rush of being loosed from obligation and duty, so to let our hair down. Frequently, this type of thing goes off the rails, and people end up doing silly, shameful or dangerous things, but clearly here we observe the w-thing within us as a kind of motivational driver.
  And finally, whooshery is found as a rather unwelcome interloper. The "polar and digital" is shattered by a shot from our blind side. A car crash, that panic Mom just called on the phone about, the kid breaking her arm out rollerblading. The whoosh here is a kind of abrupt reversal, a gear shifting on the fly, and a stepping into the emergency response team role, unless of course, we are the one needing assistance today! Whoosh!
  Today's brainwave then is to this end. If life is defined more or less as that theatre wherein whoosh is being applied, and second, that The Living One, is in fact the One who is doing the crashing into our polar opposite premise with a solution from outside the system, wouldn't that make Him King of Whoosh?
  The ought, the want and the shall of life, all point "backwards" at Him! He, in this sense would be the most Dreadful Judge ever to appear before, The Doctor is doing a body transplant! The Desire of the ages, Himself, live and in Person, whoosh-cubed! The One who picks up the pieces of the trainwreck of our lives, and knits our shattered lives back together, His emergency response is unrivaled. So, all this being the case, why do we find Him so boring? Why do men fall asleep in church? Why are kids so entirely distracted as to totally put Him out of mind? Does this seem odd to you too?
  If it be granted that we ought to pray, this is no guarantee that we want to. The third leg crashing into our lives tends rather to drive us to pray. We could wish (want) that things were otherwise, but just about every time we set out to discipline ourselves (ought) to practice prayer, some little thing pops up on the brain radar to distract. Things remain more or less "there" until Johnny gets strep throat, or the cat falls into the blender. I'm not saying things ought be otherwise, I'm describing them as they are. Simply then, we are free once the wheels fall off (again) to pray inside of whoosh.
  "Teach us to pray as John taught his folk to do", the twelve asked our Captain. "Okay, talk this way"; says He.
  "Father ours, heaven in, Name-Thine, holy be. Kingdom-Thine come! Will-Thine, be done, here in earth, as there in heaven. Daily bread give, daily sin forgive, as we likewise are forgiving and giving. Leading not in temptation, delivering from the evil, it is You, that all-powerful, regal honored One at the center of things. So it is, yepster, and yowsah". Say that, until you get good at it.
  Okay, so the point of the essay is that whoosh formats across the three. Did you miss in the prayer how so? The want is the desire for. That means sexy treasure, loot, and swag. It means acquiring position, clout and bigness. You want measly gold, girls and guns? Sheesh, that's like wanting the flea rather than the sabre toothed tiger the flea is hitching a ride on! Our "problem" isn't desire, it's that we've suppressed the reality that the best brightest shiniest ever that we have seen is but a vague hint, a dim whisper of The Genuine Article In Person! We treasure the Name, we call aloud to Jesus, and He hears? We keep settling for scraps of junk and debris, in order to "forget' Him Who Is hearing prayer?
  Or consider what we ought to for a second. The domain of heaven is in our midst! The new creation is begun, the kingdoms of this earth are become the fiefdoms of our God, and of His Annointed One. There is zero you or anyone can do to "reverse this trend". What we ought do, is walk orderly in Christ Jesus, like them saints and angels above are now doing. It's the coming thing, may as well get used to it. But far more than that, don't you hear the whoosh? He is extending His glad hand inviting you (of all people!) into the dance. Your two cents worth of contribution, and participation is noticed, and welcomed. You (in Him at minimum) do "make a difference". And even better yet, the further you go, the faster you get. Prove reliable with nickels and dimes, and move on up to the next level of ought. Lookee at that Joseph cat, from slave to vice ruler of a super power (Egypt) through walking orderly and believing the word given him!
  And what of the shall? He shall provide. Bread, air, water, clothes, shelter, transportation, communication, and let's not forget a dab of gravity so we don't go floating off like so many toy balloons. He shall provide the absolutely crucial forgiveness of sin, so that the Judge calls us (of all people!) righteous before Him! This Almighty mercy displayed means life, and life from the dead, and it's already begun. We then, as the living, shall indeed pardon our brother, bless our sister no matter how rancid, blockheaded and petty they be. The hope reached new lows, it found me! There simply must be hope for them. We shall intervene on their sad behalf, and ask for a big dose of whoosh for him and her too.
  The temptation that we would value some aspect of what He has made over He Himself, the drifting away from His agenda to renew all things and our contribution to that massive remodel job, the wondering if perhaps this time I've gone beyond His ability or desire to catch me again, that wanting for revenge, we reject them all! The whoosh is that we are utterly confident, He shall never ever guide us thataway. Furthermore, we are nowadays freed to simply reject the wanna-be, also-ran pee-wee rush and whoosh of the enemy. He is proposing a "like-God" second option. There is none such, but the lie is so powerful, that we must be delivered out of it, and this (precisely) is His plan. Whoosh, to the nth degree!
  From Him, through Him, to Him, be all things, persons and powers. The Regal Majesty, admired and reveled in, He's doing just fine, thanks for asking! Reality is about His reputation, and we are those awakened from the dead, so to be able to notice it.
  A bit like clean water, good music, and the sound of wind in the pine trees; dim whispers all. Those feasts and celebrations, the grand fireworks and turbo charged jet-skis, all distant hints of a gladness we are yet unable to take in. The fierce loyalty displayed in the death of the hero, the love song of the poet, the marvelous cathedral built over centuries, each in their own way slender tokens of the King Immortal. He is "like" these, but infinitely more so, so to speak.
  So it is, so it is! Yepster and yowsah cubed! And incidentally, I for purely appropriate reasons; would like to add whoosh!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Ethic (date unknown)

As a general rule of thumb, supposing that such rules actually exist, I tend to avoid referring to the Cross (of Jesus) as a "scandal" or "scandalous". I could make a stink over here about people who do talk that way, but who wins there? To be as charitable as possible, my guess on the topic is that they choose to speak in such a fashion so as to sound strong or bold in their assertions. These same guys end up banging their gums over "radical discipleship", and then wax eloquent on the need for "transformed lives". They are pointing us to the faith, and we are to infer that the ethical aspect which they are conveying is a full tilt bozo, sold-out "committed-ness". . .or some darned thing.
  To describe trust as "radically transformative", and thereby to declare "the scandal" of the Cross, seems to me to suggest that we in the pews just aren't trying hard enough? If the desired result of such speech is to form firm and unshakable resolve in the hearer ("strong-faith" I'd deem it), the net result is nearly the reverse. We get a flabby, and basically content free; urging to arrive somehow at an abstract "level" of commitment. If you Mr. fireman are about to open up a 220 p.s.i. fire-hose, and you are warning me Mr. fellow-and-junior hose holder to "brace for the shock", I'd expect "commitment" in this case to be an unbreakable grip as wise on my part. But, in fact, the sad and small dribble out of the nozzle of the hose, says something has gone wildly over stated. If we two are side by side on the artillery crew feeding live rounds for sequential firing, then that big puff of wet smoke, that fizzle sound, and the round barely escaping the barrel, kinda makes me question the warning to hold my ears. "Scandal, radicalness, sold-outery", has a remarkably tame, inoffensive, and gutless "boom", a mighty dry "torrent" it appears.
  As viewed from a gen-u-wine high-school edu-ma-cated plumbing type of perspective, the truly odd aspect of gospel ethic is not some purported stoked-up jumping from the ledge style of single mindedness. No, it's just that the stinker appears to us ethics-disturbed; we ethical disaster zones, as so very un-ethical a thing! If, we wish to apply the word "scandal" in this context, we'd best mean by it; "a kind of righteousness plainly unrecognizable to us". But I fear that the commitment mentality of said usage is to suggest that the socially "up", those shots who are big, disapproved of such a crass and low, such an unseemly plus violent display in public as was our Lord's crucifixion. Who cares what those goons think?
  We, the ethic-ghetto-folk, imagine ourselves (?) to be in position (?) to judge (?) good ethic from bad? "Sheer lunacy"; would be the mild rebuff here. We wouldn't recognize true ethic if it came up and bit us in the butt; (which would be an odd thing for ethic to do in any case) and yet we claim "expert status" of all places, here? Puh-leeze. Cut-eth me some slack-eth Bozo.
  No sir, "scandal" simply will not do. Our (dumb) premise here is that ethic is first some kind of rules-based criteria. This being (supposedly) so, the far lessor social gauges of polite society, manners, and public image being violated by our King being hung naked on a tree after being beaten nearly to death, yields nearly the reverse of being sold out for Jesus. We get (strangely) a rebuilt and renewed  genteel "carefulness" both in speech and action, most especially if public. The ethic is not about achieving some plateau of correct behavior! That is why we consider it to be so very un-ethical!
  Face it, the central "problem" in the Bible has never been; "how might I more consistently abide by standards?". Rather,  it is much more; "given our base treason, criminally stupid record, and plainly unfit status, how might God both maintain His honor, justice and reputation, and also 'find a way' to allow us swindling frauds to live? How can He remain holy, just and true while tolerating, and forgiving such as us?". In brief, the covenant was and is not (primarily) about you! Start there.
 The covenant of grace is cut between the two contracting parties, the Father Almighty, and the Only Begotten Son. We keep imagining that it was cut between two abstract parties "God and mankind", and this is why we imagine our petty rule keeping to be so terribly ethical! At any rate, a "deal" is done, blood is demanded and paid, ownership is transferred, and all peacefully accomplished! The beautifully violent love between the Two is renewed, restored, and settled forever. The "divide" is "healed", the Son stands now, as we do, by "grace"! This covenant thing is a God-thing, a love-thing between the "two renewed as one" (so to speak). Covenant . . .ain't. . about. . .you! Some serious horse trading has gone on, and you. . .were bought! "They" did not "consult" you, so deal with it already.
  Specifically then it is deeply ethical for us to call our King by Name. That is, it is ethically sound to speak the Saviour's name "I AM . . . salvation" (YAH-shua) fully expecting Him to hear. Ethically then, He-alone is good, He alone is right, just and eternally so! It is quite ethical of us then to reckon Him as the forever Author, standing "behind" all authorities high and low, and we to be personally pleased that such is indeed the case.
  See, the ethic waxes eloquent on the glories of the King-sent, and His domain-come wherein the conquests of hearts in love preaches His excellency. It is quite right of us to expand upon the Captain of Hosts, His "transforming-life-giving; loving-force" (a.k.a. the Spirit sent) as He wins turf every day back to the True Owner. It is ethical to be glad, just here!
  You, I hope; get my drift over here. It ain't about us feeling all smug at not having robbed any liquor stores (lately). Our lousy rule keeping is precisely what is used as evidence against us! Not only do we dismally fail at keeping His standards, we can't even keep our own lousy sawed off rules.
  Ethic is like "A Tale of Two Cities". Or did you ever read "The Prince and The Pauper"? We love stories of mistaken identity. At root, the Cross proposes a "switcheroo", the deserving, wealthy; and sober brother is dismissed as if he were the slouch knucklehead. Bozo-boy (you I mean) is treated to the royal and glad "welcome home son! party". The deal was done, the switch is real, you are owned. Ethic is about Him! For hope, for friendship, for life, that bloody mess, our great-heart Champion is revealed to all creation, in us! The ethic. . . values. . .Him. Full stop.
  And our rotten twisted little hearts want to question even this? "What if, just what if "the deal" falls through? What if He realizes what a loser I really am, and wants out of the deal?" Ethic roars back, "Ain't gonna happen Mac!". The deal cannot collapse, not only does He lie-not, not merely is it that He fails-not; but far worse was sworn as blood oath. The Oath is maledictory, and to His own "damnation" He swore honor, should it ever for any reason fail, collapse or fade, in that case He inherits the curse!
  Newsflash, He died, became the accursed, and was sent away! It cannot collapse, because it already did! He emerged triumphant on the other side of that!
  Central then to ethic is the trust rightly owed Him. It is the very least we could reasonably do, and if you'd care to call that "scandalous"; knock yourself out. But as for man's sawed-off idiot rules? Park 'em, not interested. The ethic sings of Him, and that's enough for me.
 Welcomed for Another's sake, by Another's power, to Another's honor. Trust isn't some stupid blind leap, it's the (finally!) correct estimate of He Reliable, He True. To trust Him, is THE right thing for humans to do!
  Isn't it interesting that even the tiny version of covenant we are familiar with (marriage) is ratified by the words "I do"? The extremely brief version of the Bible reads; "Yeah, but do you trust Me?". Ethically, we say, "I do!".

Thursday, March 5, 2015

School Days (date unknown)

  Just now, there is a big stink in New Mexico over all of the testing that kids in public schools are being required to do. The teachers end up "teaching to the test", and the results (scores) of the process are how the teachers are being evaluated. I thought it was kind of humorous when it was announced in the news that state legislators were unable to finish the fifth grade level tests! The maintenance, the routine of life (teaching in this instance) is one thing. The exceptions to that rule of "normalcy" are another. We keep finding an odd thing in life, and in brief; we try to escape routine and normalcy so to discover the exhilarating and jazzy. Yet, in escaping routine, we only establish another "same old, same old".
   Mrs. Sanchez sets out to teach history, math and spelling. She is interrupted from doing so, by the novelty of standardized testing. Yet, that new-thing which we imagine breaks routine, only generates a new (and worse) rut which both she and her students are eager to escape. Chasing the new and improved, so to escape the dull and known, tends to yield nearly backward results. It makes a guy wonder if perhaps we ought rather be in hot pursuit of the regular, the expected and predictable?
  The list has already been written down for Saturday. Buy that birthday card, make this appointment on the phone, do those dishes, mow the yard, do the laundry. The regular ritual, the 85% of what we were attempting to get done today, was "what we intend". Nobody is crazy-eager to do chores, and everybody feels that they "deserve a break" in any case. You might imagine thus, that we would be glad to deal with the novelty of a flat tire, the dog getting lost, and coming down with the common cold as ways to avoid routine "just this one time". But, no. The reality is that the replacement for routine is (normally) worse than the regular, with it's demanding "priority", the net result is that we just end up crowding more things in on Sunday in order to compensate (and grumble about) for a wasted yesterday. We intended to continue with the routine; so to wrap up the regular details of life. The sucker blowing up in your face (again) so to steer the day into a "vacation" from the normal drill, is usually worse, not better than you predicted the day would be. Tomorrow then, keep up with the thousand and one details which we tried to pound into today's schedule. The schedule keeps falling apart, it's expected!
  Our words; "maintain, continue, keep-up", might be parallel enough in usage, but when we ask Mr. Webster, he throws us a curve ball. The Indo-european root of "continue" links to "preserve and retain" sure enough; but the root word of continue itself is "ten", meaning "to stretch". And it isn't much of a stretch here ("ten") to note the english word tent.
  Here's an odd idea, when was the last time we considered the routine of tent-people, those nomad and roving temporary dwellers? Or, how about our modern day "stretch" folk, the homeless? What sort of regular and maintained normalcy do they have? What do they routinely do? Let's us just forget the hurry-scurry rat race mentality for about ten seconds, and think!
  Maintenance of herds and flocks comes to my mind. Aren't they continuing the repair of tents, retaining the edge on weapons and the tools of life, as a regular thing? Let's not forget keeping up on alliances, traditions, and family histories. Passing on of wisdom to the young, arranging marriages, gosh those guys are busy!
  Now just what sort of daily and expected routines our modern tent people expend their energies to establish, might well be similar. Weapons, food, alliances, passing on "tips" to the inexperienced, much of the pattern crosses over, but with one striking exception. I am not aware of anyone who envies the life of native nomad peoples, whereas, most Americans at least think homeless people "have it made"!
  No bills, no responsibilities, no scheduled deadlines, the homeless are thought by many to be on a rather nice unpaid and extended vacation from the humdrum. But they have their own set of ritual and expected, and it's worse! "Tenting" helps remind that life, however it is lived; is a routine maintainence. We keep wanting to devalue one leg of things, in order to favor the other, except that when we do so, it's wobblier than the first.
  For instance, in the routine of life, the "bored 14 year old boy" in me rises up to object! He denounces the old usual, the repetitious, and the dull. The "dull" is the 85% we have been discussing here. Visiting relatives? B-o-r-i-n-g. Chores? Dull. The grumble and complaint I hear within me, upon having once again to do the "tent people drill", appears to subscribe to an oddball theory. Apparently, I both believe it, and doubt it simultaneously?
  Life was "supposed to be". . .something-else, except when it is something else, it was supposed to be the regular? Was that something "a rush", was it that things were to have been "invigorating and fresh" perhaps? And whatever life was "supposed to be", clearly is was to be otherwise than it actually is. Maybe he presumes things were to be just terribly, terribly funny and exciting, not to mention; just wildly interesting? The inner 14-er cannot precisely say what was expected of life, but he would very much like to file an objection to the actual, the as-is routine. This is uniformly true until something new does arise, and then he finds that more objectionable than the first! The perpetual slouch, the acting all glum and surly over "being forced to dull stuff", is what we might reasonably expect of a teen-aged boy. It's not nearly so charming as all that when it shows up in a 50 something "adult".
  Adults prefer (I think) to ditch the unseemly surliness and tend to "store up" the fun, the excitement of life, and schedule that into routine! However managed, the inner divide, the vote against routine remains, but is reassigned. Weekends, vacations, and retirement are those time chunks which are set aside, as better than, (and frequently proving worse) than the routine. How many people have you heard say; "I need a vacation from the vacation!". We don't have the time today to discuss the minority position on the topic, but I will only mention it.
  Some folks "maintain" that washing dishes, and giving the cat her medicine really really "can be made fun". That is to say, the entire discusssion of the topic is moot, in that there is only one category to consider. I consider those people insane. Follow the money!
  A whole industry exists out there on how to put the zip back in your life, how to restore zest, and put the spring back in your step. The "desirable break from routine", whether a Coca-Cola, a cruise in the Caribbean, or an excercise program "sells". The ideas of youth, of interest and excitement, these "sell". Essentially, the product or service does not make you young again, but you knew that! So, it offers the next best thing, a product your neighbor cannot afford. The high dollar resort/spa world wherein one is "rejuvenated", the crappy looking plastic surgeries, appear (to me) to be an attempt to silence the inner 14 year old complaints over "dullness", by catering to his whims; and making believe at being adolescent all over again. Gadzooks, what an awful idea!
  The premise within us then, that dullness is a problem to be "solved", that routine and ritual are "bad things", moreover that the tiny element of excitement (usually chaotic) in our daily schedule, was somehow "supposed to be" in the time majority is our inner teenager grumping as he always does. Selling is directed to him. But I'd guess; that to view the deficit as an "out there" rather than an "in here" type of thing forces us to lie about both.
  Just how many dollars are spent annually by adults who set aside time in their routine to go spend their wages in a large city in a blazingly hot desert is noteworthy. Amid the heat and lack of water, are other adults in glitzy costumes. Singers wearing too much make-up, standing next to under-dressed dancers, all in the environment of gambling and illicit sex supposedly "restores". People come back exhausted! Is it the city of Las Vegas itself which is so terribly fascinating, or is it the inner freight within us which "demanding" fun and excitement; gets to gloat some when we report back to neighbors who cannot afford to go? Which better satisfies?
  The dissatisfaction with the been-there, done-that type of same-old, same-old is supposedly "why" we waste money in the desert. But isn't the actual value that we had fun, and you didn't?
  And it's this business of thinking that life is designed, such that skipping eighty five (plus!) percent of it, in order to "enjoy" the fractional minority as the real, makes me wonder. If we correctly guessed that the "stunning, stellar and wonderful" are what makes enduring routine "worth it", are we thereby "waiting around to live"? Our quitting paying attention to the "dull", our grumping about being "stuck in routine"; plus our pricey excursions into "the officially fun", all point the same direction it appears. More money, a Corvette, a trip to Vegas, a new girlfriend; something somewhere is supposed to "make up for", to compensate us . . . for routine! But what if the point was to "learn to wait. . . (well!)"?
  We (apparently) don't know what life really is, and yet assume that we do. We strongly disagree with ourselves. . . in principle! We try to squash routine with zest, and find that we can correctly identify neither. The irresponsibility of demanding an "all fun and no work" ethic is itself work to maintain, and no fun! The way out of our mess, it seems to me; is to somehow learn to "dive into" routine. To see from the inside that which we reject from the outside, to with fresh eyes see what routine really "is". I infer, for this; we would clearly require aid. We need a school of life.
  The lessons we are here to learn, constantly being overlooked in the press of the urgent, that is us! Due to unforeseen emergencies, we do not have the time to attend to our lessons. I think to "dive into routine" we might best first notice, that routinely, the unexpected, the (usually nasty) surprise shows up just on time. Frustration at not being able to get things done, IS "the ritual". Therefore, our goals are unreal. School is teaching that there is something very strange about this place, and about ourselves;  thus the lesson is about a home elsewhere. The class time includes a learning to deal with the hostility and anger within, plus the warfare we observe. It is informing that we are in some type of war zone then?
  Looking about us we note that man is opposed to man, and internally he is opposed to himself, this can only further mean that we (as a race) despise the Author and Maker for doing such a terrible job of running reality. Ordinarily, these things go unsaid. Mrs. Sanchez is teaching us to verbalize our thoughts, however ugly and irreverent they be.
  So then, the school is about words, about how to speak, yes the frustration, anger and desire inside us. More routinely however, we are to learn to say new things. But there is none to hear, for we are all wrecked in much the same fashion. The goal of life is to see speaking with Another as goal. We usually assume the goal of life is me; and the straightening of my conflicting opinions.
  Therefore, the school of life is about prayer. We are to learn to shed the dualism of our own inner lives, and likewise in the polar scheme of opposites which we find in the world, we are to speak a new, and a third thing. We are to say to Him; "You, not some mere "it"; not some abstract "thing" are, and always have been the true goal", routine says so! One day, school will be over, and we shall see the Headmaster in Person.
  By your words, you shall be justified! We ordinarily fear judgement. Have we forgotten? Those then justified, began speaking aright in this life, and in this body! Across the age, and around the world, One Righteous Man is found. One! We speak of, and to that One.
  The lessons learned, to wait, and to see ourselves as nomads, to not let anger conquer us, in that the High Holy One has come to find, and to buy back His folk. These point forward in the true hope, and warm us in that the process of life is begun! We didn't think these things up,  He spoke them.
  From our perspective, I suppose we might deem Him; "The One Sane Man", or perhaps "He Who Talks Right". Speak on Sir! I'm all ears.