Monday, August 29, 2016


Nearly every day we find ourselves caught in the crux of a moment of decision. Fortunately these are mostly simple things and we dispatch yes or no without a blink. When we are young our choices are launched from a childish point of view. Is it fun? Is it sweet? Will it make us laugh? Will it impress someone else? The young make short-sighted choices because of severe short-sightedness. As we age, and earn some experience, there’s less and less threat for choosing wrongly in the inconsequential matters.   

When we are older we pick an option based on a combination of accumulated knowledge that first asks the question, “How will this effect me or mine?” Thus experience requiring consideration of the consequences becomes the principle guideline. While this is good it is also not always enough, when the choice could be life-altering, because the future is the great unknown. Too many variables to consider. We can’t always have all the significant facts available to us. In those cases, we must go with best guess and hope (pray) for a good outcome. 

Not choosing should never be regarded as an option because it’s just another way of defaulting to someone else making the choice for us which is rarely, if ever, in our best interest.

Too many times (in this touchy-feely age) choices are made based on emotion, not reason. These are the most dangerous decisions of our lives because what is simply true can easily be buried under a thick pile of untruth. Untruth is a soft way of saying - lies. But lies, regardless how attractive, righteous, good sounding, and upstanding they might appear to be, are nothing but empty promises. All that glitters is not gold, as my mom used to say.

Always - not just occasionally - lies lead to destruction.

This is because, since the author of lies is a crafty shape-shifter, lies are designed to be easily believed. Even first hand experience with having been damaged by lies is not always enough to fine-tune our choice making skills. There is an ongoing battle raging for our souls. It’s an inherent character flaw in human design, built in as a check valve to test our desire to be overcomers. Sometimes, like children, we just prefer the shiny lie over the unvarnished truth so we make our choices, not based on what is true, but rather on what we wish to be true. 

In this regard, those who consciously choose to align themselves with untruth set themselves up first for blindness that then leads to destruction. 

For Him,

(John 12:36) While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light. These things spake Jesus, and he departed and hid himself from them.  (12:37) But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him: (12:38) that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? (12:39) For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again,  (12:40) He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them.    

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sign of the Cross

A strange thing has come to my attention. Modern mega churches are opting out of displaying the Cross, the most universally accepted symbol of Christianity, in their sanctuary or on their grounds, even as it has increased in popularity as a fashion statement. 

I noticed this one day as I was out and about. While paused at a red light I spotted a glass building on the opposite corner. At first I assumed it was a business, a large business, but I couldn’t read the sign in front. What I could see I imagined to be the entrance, only I couldn’t see the front door just the towering three story glass and steel atrium above it. That peaked my curiosity so I made a point to find out what the business was. Hospital? Shopping/office complex? 

As I drove past I discovered that it was a Baptist Church. All I could think was how odd and remarked to myself ( I do that - talk to myself because I am the only one who gets me) that I remember when one could always know a church by its Cross no matter if it was an old business converted to a church. Not so much now apparently. I admit I don’t understand this obvious omission. Oh the questions. Are they ashamed of it? Are they preparing for being a church in disguise when being a church is against the law? Are they afraid it might offend potential convertees? 

A few minutes later I was in a store looking to find the things on my list when I spotted a young woman in front of me. Her back to me I could see, in all its glory, a bejeweled sparkling representation of a cross on the back pocket of her jeans, so tight they appeared to have been painted on. The question popped up in my head, was it supposed to be a Christian Cross or did the designer just decide to use two crossed lines on which to configure an assortment of glittering rhinestones on the pocket that sits over a gluteus maximus and it accidentally resembled a Christian Cross? 

And then I wondered we even remember what the Cross stands for anymore? If a church won’t display it and yet we see different forms of it in art, jewelry, on books, in logos, as though the symbolism declares the person wearing or using is a Christian, do we assume only a Christian would choose to adorn themselves with the ultimate emblem of suffering and shame?

Yes and no. 

Some Christians feel that bedecking themselves in the symbol is a badge of courage and I have no problem with that. It is indeed becoming less and less acceptable to openly be a Christian nowadays. I have to say though that it appears the ideology of the Cross has become so saturated with modernity that respect for it has been effectively diluted and minimized to the point of irrelevant. Almost as though, by overusing and misusing it, desensitizes us and renders it powerless. In which case, anyone can use the cross as an ornament - even a satanic hard metal rock band. 

Isn’t that a sign? Satan questing and working overtime?

Regardless, I can’t get over the irony of the institutions who ought to know the true value of the Cross and its full meaning, who consciously choose to leave its symbolism out of their places of worship even as the fashion world turns it into body art. 

One could build a ship with so much irony. 

For Him,

The Old Rugged Cross - George Bennard - 1913

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, 
The emblem of suffering and shame; 
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best, 
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, 
Till my trophies at last I lay down, 
I will cling to the old rugged cross, 
And exchange it someday for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, 
Has a wondrous attraction for me; 
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above, 
To bear it to dark Calvary.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, 
Till my trophies at last I lay down, 
I will cling to the old rugged cross, 
And exchange it someday for a crown.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine
Such a wonderful beauty I see
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, 
Till my trophies at last I lay down, 
I will cling to the old rugged cross, 
And exchange it someday for a crown.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true, 
Its shame and reproach gladly bear; 
Then He'll call me someday to my home far away, 
Where His glory forever I'll share.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, 
Till my trophies at last I lay down, 
I will cling to the old rugged cross, 

And exchange it someday for a crown.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

Lately I’ve noticed there have been a spate of news reports regarding tyrannical Homeowner Associations that lord it over the residents of a neighborhood or condo complex. The complicated rules and laws, enforced by dictator wannabes become more than just guidelines for residents to follow to ensure a safe and well ordered environment. They become weapons for little tyrants to wield against others.

And has it not been ever so? There is and always was a certain personality type that is programmed to crave power and the right to rule over others. These often have the determination and will to rise to positions of authority, whether within a small community of homes or a larger complex of civilization, like a city or state or country. Not even religious groups are exempt from those who are determined to make people conform to their will. Tyrants will find a way to impose themselves on others and they are often elevated to their positions by hapless followers who would rather believe what they hear than do the tougher job of asking questions and then employ discernment on what they see. 

It seems to be a fundamental flaw in the human makeup that either we are simply unable to pay attention or we’re too distracted with the rotating center of our own busy lives, that for tyrants to succeed depends entirely on the gullibility of the masses. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we’ve been had until long after the tyrant has been deposed or voted out and the truth is vetted by historians of another age. And by then it just doesn’t matter because no one connects the dots or learns the lessons.

It is a sad commentary that in spite of the recurring patterns we just never seem to recognize the red flags as they are waved in our faces.

Let’s review:

A tyrant is often two-faced and very good at lying and misrepresenting and hiding his/her real agenda.

A tyrant accuses others of the very things he/she is guilty of.

A tyrant is usually a smooth talker who knows all the right buzz words that easily tap into our emotions similar to the skills of a con artist.

A tyrant knows how to dispose of his/her enemies with no blow back.

A tyrant can say all sorts of good sounding things that mean absolutely nothing.

A tyrant cares nothing for anyone but him/herself but knows how to appear to be altruistic. 

These are tough words but someone, actually many someones, need to say them, over and over again, until the gullible masses wake up and find they’ve been conned out of their lives. 

For Him,

(2 Timothy 4:14) Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will render to him according to his works:  (4:15) of whom do thou also beware; for he greatly withstood our words. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016


There is a term in the art world that is often referred to in photography as well - contrast. Contrast is the condition that makes us able to see. But contrast is something of a broad term and can be used to define what the eye sees as well as the cognitive mind that makes decisions based on intuition, individual experience and collected knowledge. 

Sometimes what we think we see or judge to be absolute but that can look differently from another angle is called optical illusion. 

In fact, there are few if any absolute definitions in this world. As they say, everything is relative so everything is somewhat subjective. But human nature wants everything to be tidy and delineated. Humans don’t like to admit “I don’t know or I can’t know.” Or “If I can’t know, then no one else can either.”

Those who are activist atheists are generally the type who demand that everyone adhere to their definitions because they need to be right so they insist that they are right based on how they see.  And that goes for any topic, not just religion. Good, bad, evil, big, small, easy, difficult, pain, suffering, poverty, wealth, smart, dumb - these can never be finite concepts. That there is no up or down in space is a good example. The only difference between an exhilarating adventure and a terrifying ordeal is the perspective of the one experiencing it. It’s all about context and how one interprets it. 

To conclude there is no God or that a “Good” God would not allow humans to struggle to survive is not just myopic, it’s childish. A cursory look at the conundrums of the universe and the great wonders that defy our ability to explain them should be enough to stop anyone from demanding that God must adhere to a single definition of good - or anything else for that matter. 

Tribulation has forever been the great teacher and equalizer. It’s not fun and no one would call it ‘good’ or wish it upon themselves or others. But on the other hand, abundance and ease has also always been the great spoiler. So is that good? Or bad? Tell me why human suffering should be the definitive tell that God does not exist? 

Consider the hypothesis that infinity goes all the way out and all the way in. Just because we do not have telescopes or microscopes powerful enough to prove this doesn’t eliminate the possibility. No one knew about the existence of germs until the 19th century. 

The eye can discern shape because of contrast. But the spirit can see what the eye cannot because of faith. And faith is what keeps us grateful and strong in times of dearth and trouble and reveals the difference between that which causes temporal happiness and that which promises eternal joy. 

 For Him,

(1 Corinthians 2:9-10) but as it is written, Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, And [which] entered not into the heart of man, Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him. (10) But unto us God revealed [them] through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.