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Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2018

In the long term Hedonism cannot survive

   My wife and I love to watch "Wheel of Fortune" (we almost don't miss an episode).   At the beginning Pat Sajak goes around and interviews each contestant to find out where they are from, what they do, who they are married to, etc..   I personally use this information to choose who to root for.  We don't bet on it but it makes it more interesting.   I have a few deciding factors that help me decide.  If they are from the Chicago area, a government employee or a lawyer I automatically put them in the "don't root for" category.   One thing that used to put them in the don't-root-for list was if they said they were "proud parents of 2 (or more) fur-babies" (cat's, dog's, rabbits etc).   This phase is being used more and more by the Millennial generation.  In fact, research is showing married couples under 35 are more likely to have pets than children.

    This used to bother me but now I see it as a blessing.   I see our country divided differently today.   It's heathen verses non-heathen.   In a hedonistic society everything is about YOU.  It's all about YOUR pleasure.  It's all about YOUR life.  It's all about YOUR career.  It's all about YOUR experiences.  For non-believers the world is a very scary and short-lived place.   It's all about sucking all the marrow out of life that you can before you are turned back into dirt.   This fear guides all your decisions.   You feel you have to get all your ducks in a row before you can even BEGIN to think about kids.  You need your career in place.  You need to get your 401k fully-funded.  You need to get your McMansion set up and see all the major sites in the world because kids take that away from you.  First they date for 5 years, then they live together for 5 years, then they get married and live another 5 years before they start to the process of making babies.   But then you find your 38 years old and your eggs aren't worth crap or his sperm count is diminished to almost nothing because of all the "stress" you endured working for the McMansion and the career.   For many young couples today pets replace children.  They dote on them, train them, feed them, take pictures of them and show them off to others.  They are cheaper too.   No clothes to buy (unless you feel you need to), no college to save for, no piano lessons or dance recitals to go to.   No nasty notes from the teacher that require you to have meetings with them.   If you need to run off to Bora Bora then it's off to the kennel for them.   Easy Peasy!

    I looked around me and made an interesting observation.   The only young couples around me that I saw having kids were Christian couples.    You see, they are not living in fear of the future.  God has their back and their children.   He is with them all the way.   The Bible says, "Perfect love drives out fear!".  That is what God does in our lives.  He drives out fear much like Jesus drove the money changers from the temple who were making God's house a den of thieves.   They are not living in fear of death for they know there is much more that awaits them after death.  God has promised and has made it known to us by the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

   But that observation showed me that there in lies the answer to hedonism.  Ultimately hedonism is it's own worst enemy.  The heathens encourage their side to not have children.  They tell them that they can have it all without children and the world will be better off too.   But this means that the heathen eventually will die off and it will be the non-heathen (the Christians) who will repopulate society.    It may take 2 generations but eventually things will change.   Currently our country is still dealing with the most Hedonistic generation to have ever lived: the baby-boomer generation.  This generation is now moving into their end-years and are now in it's final convulsions of trying to accomplish all they can before they take their last breath.  Baby Boomer 1.0 gave birth to Baby-Boomer 2.0 which felt families should only have 1 or 2 children.   Now Baby-Boomer 3.0 is being taught to have 0 or 1 child or not get married at all (most 20 year old are living together instead of getting married).   Eventually the hedonist generation and their ill-thought-views will be wiped from the face of the earth like a nightmare that is soon forgotten. 

    Hedonism is really the source of it's own destruction.   

Friday, March 30, 2018



  1. a person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule.
    "the drives between towns are a delight, and the journey to Graz is no exception"

    synonyms:anomalyirregularitydeviationspecial case, isolated example, peculiarityabnormalityoddity

     Depending on the situation we either LOVE or HATE this word with very little in between.   We LOVE this word when it benefits US and we HATE this word when either it benefits someone we dislike or leaves us out in the cold.   Just take time to look at our tax laws and you will find it filled with EXCEPTIONS.   Recently I was doing my taxes and noticed that people living in the Washington DC area get a "First Time Homebuyers Credit".   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how that got inserted into our 1040 forms.  If you live in DC, you love this law.   If you don't live in DC, you hate this law.

In our Christian Faith we fall victim to exceptionalism as well.   There are 2 forms of "exception-ism" we see in play in our lives.   The first has to do with our relationship to God's law.   Some flaunt that the law doesn't apply to them anymore... they are an exception.  This isn't just within the church but can be found in the world as well.   Take for example, two people living together.   We insert an exception to the 6th commandment that isn't there.   That exception is :  We love each other.  Love is often used today as an exception clause for just about anything under the sun today. 

We love each other.... so we are having sex
We love each other.... so we are living together.
We love the we are getting a divorce.

     But in reality these are not exceptions, instead they are excuses for why we want to disobey God.   There are no exceptions written into God's laws.   There are no "if  X then the law does not apply".   We are all guilty of breaking it.

     Another form of exception-ism we can fall victim too is even more deadlier than the former version.   This form says that I am exception to God's love and grace.  Even though the Bible is chuck  full of stories of horrible people having their sins forgiven, we tend to view ourselves as somehow worse than them and an exception to God's grace.   Here a just a few of the Bibles "sinner-saints"

Noah       - alcoholic
Abraham - idolater,  liar , adulterer (has sex with his wife's servant and later abandons Ishmael)
Sarah       - doubts God's promise, gives her servant to Abraham and then has her sent away
Jacob       - liar, extortionist, cheater
Moses      - murderer (kills Egyptian slave owner with his own hands)
Rahab      - a prostitute who helps them take down Jericho and becomes a ancestor of David/Jesus
David       - adultery, murder, lying (and he was supposed to be a man after God's own heart)
Solomon  - over 1000 concubines who lead him astray to worship other gods
Woman caught in adultery - Jesus forgives fully
Samaritan woman - Jesus forgives though she is married 5 times and is living with a man
Peter        - abandons Jesus and yells down curses on himself when question by a servant girl
Disciples  - all abandon Jesus and run away and hide
Thief       - the thief on the cross next to Jesus who Jesus gives certainty of eternal life with him
Paul         - formerly called Saul who went after Christians and murdered them in God's name

     Many of these men even "knew better" when they committed their sins against God and God forgave them all their sins out of his grace and mercy.   Yet somehow we think we are worse than them.   We have somehow found the one sin God cannot forgive.   Out of the BILLIONS of BILLIONS of BILLIONS of sins committed since time began which God can forgive, we have found the one EXCEPTION that he cannot forgive.  We believe we are an exception to God's love.


   This is why God chose these people in the first place.   To show US his boundless mercy.  Paul writes in Romans,
"Where sin abounds ... GOD'S GRACE ABOUNDS MORE!!"  
    So you think you have sinned too much?   God has a message for you; You haven't!  A problem with us humans is that we have a problem with grasping the idea of infinity.  Scientists talk about the ever expanding universe.  But "Expanding into what??" we ask.  It boggles the mind.   Maybe God made it that way to show us just how immense his grace is!   His grace is ever expanding like the universe...swallowing up whatever sins we might have committed in order to show how great he is!

   Yes, of course, this does not give us a "license to commit sin" (like 007 has a license to kill), but it frees us from the fear of God's retribution and being frozen in our tracks from living for him.   We can live in complete confidence that we are his children and nothing can take us from his hands.


Monday, October 30, 2017

I don't understand!

    We've all had those studies in school that we had to take that pushed our ability to understand the subject.  Subjects, that no matter how much we read the material, we can't seem to wrap our brains around.  For me, that subject was Quantum Physics.  I did well in my other studies in college.  I could handle Calculus, Newtonian Physics, Thermodynamics, Differential Equations, Chemistry, Statics, Dynamics with a little bit of effort, but when it came to Quantum Physics it was a whole different matter.  Essentially we were told at the beginning to put aside Newtonian Physics altogether because it didn't apply here.   Electrons were NOT round balls of mass moving around in space, but instead were particle-waves moving from one state to another.   No longer can you say the electron goes from point A to point B and arrives at time T because you don't know with any certainty where the electron really is and what it's momentum is.  Here we can only predict a probability that it will arrive and that is about as best as we can do.  No matter how hard I tried to "reason it through" I could not.  My professor told us to just take the course on FAITH that this is how the world works at the sub-atomic level.


    Seems like this is an oxymoron.  Two things that have nothing to do with each other somehow had become intertwined.   But it was the only way forward for me to get through this class.   I took his advice and plowed through it resisting the whole time my desire to "figure it out" or "see what is happening".  (I managed an A- out of it).

    Our faith in Jesus is often much like Quantum Physics.   What does not make sense to us, makes sense to God in his kingdom.   To me, Jesus sounds a lot like my Quantum Physics professor as he tries and tries to get across to the people what God's Kingdom is like and how it works.  Words fail to fully express it.  He tries multiple parables to get it across to different people

Are you a farmer?         Listen to my story about a lost sheep
Are you a wife?             Listen to my story of the woman and the lost coin
Are you a merchant?     Listen to my story about the pearl of great price
Are you a land owner?  Listen to my story about the hidden treasure

It doesn't make sense!

    The problem for most of us in listening to these stories is we don't see the sense in it.  First in the story of the lost sheep, it's about 1 sheep that leaves the fold of 100 and the shepherd leaves the 99 for the 1 that is lost.  The numbers don't add up!  The ONE is worth more than the 99?  How?  Next, Jesus says, "He returns with joy!".    Over ONE sheep?  Why?  He has 99 that didn't get lost!

    In the Lost Coin story a woman carelessly loses a coin of great value.  Back then woman were the banks of the family and stored their wealth in a bag on a string around their neck.  Somehow a coin had rolled out of the bag and was now lost.  When she finds it after sweeping the floor she runs to her neighbors with joy yelling, "Rejoice with me! I have found my lost coin!".   You and I would not be so proud of our accomplishment.  It's like saying, "Rejoice with me! My 401K which was savaged by my foolish investments has returned back to its original value!". 

   In both the stories of the Pearl of Great Price and the Hidden Treasure, something of great value was somehow overlooked and found by a person who then must go and sell EVERYTHING he has to gain that property.  Who does he pay to?  He hasn't even had it appraised.  What if it's less than what he sold to gain it?

You have intrinsic value to God that you don't see

    In all the stories there is something of value to the owner.  A sheep.  A coin.  A pearl.  A treasure.  It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks.   He wants to obtain the item again and must spend time, energy and property to obtain it back.  I remember one time being confused about the story of the hidden treasure.  I had gotten the story backwards.  I thought the man was ME and the treasure was God's Kingdom and I should give all I have to obtain it.  But a good Lutheran pastor told me I had it backwards.  He told me, "John, YOU are the treasure in the story and GOD is the man who sells everything to obtain you".

    The issue here is that we don't see ourselves as a priceless treasure (maybe a stupid sheep... but not a pearl or chest full of gold coins).  Maybe when we are younger we might feel this way, but life has a way of tarnishing that treasure we see.   What we thought was gold was not gold.  Sins we thought we would never do we find ourselves committing.  We then perceive our value to diminish in God's eyes.  We then begin to think,  "Certainly I am not worth much now to him now!"

   But we need to understand that our value is not connected with what we do or not do.  In all the stories that value is assigned by the owner/finder. The items do nothing to find their way back to the person looking for them.  They are found by the person on their own.  Our value is not connected to our actions.  He created you and therefore you have value to him.  You, like the sheep/coin that gets lost, are bound by sin to fall away.  Your value, however, is greater than the cost it takes to retrieve the item and some ways the item is worth even more now to God than it was before.  God's accounting does not equate to our accounting on earth.  What looks like foolishness to us is wisdom to God.

The cost is paid back to himself.

   The final issue we have in understanding these stories is who the money/cost is paid back to?  Is it Satan?  Who?   The answer is to God himself.  Imagine a friend borrows you car and runs off the road and totals the vehicle (let's say for this story there is no insurance involved).  Your friend is without a job and has no way to pay you back.  You must therefore pay out of your own pocket to restore the car.  When you return with the new car you hand the keys to your friend and tell him to use it as long as he has need of it.  Why?  Because you value your friendship more than you value the car.  You LOVE your friend MORE than you love the money you lost.  Both in Economics and in Christianity we call this by the same name:  The Great Exchange.   In Economics, if I pay $5 for a gallon of milk to a store owner, both he and I walk away with more.  He valued my $5 more than the milk and is glad to take it.  I value the milk more than my $5 and I am glad to take it.  In God's world he sees our value as his creation as being greater than the cost of his Sons own life and gladly gives it for us.

St. Paul writes in Romans 8:32,
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Faith is what you need

    Of course, all of our "analogies" fail at some point to fully compare to God's world.  We must, like myself when taking Quantum Physics, accept what we are told with FAITH and ACCEPT it as the TRUTH it really is.    The debt is paid.  The door is open.  You are loved by God.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Front doors do matter

  I just got done sweeping on the front entryway into our house and it got me to thinking.   We put a lot of importance on our front doorway.   First we spend money to make a nice flat and level concrete surface for our visitors to walk on because we don't want them to trip or get their feet muddy while coming to our house.   Some people even put solar powered lights to illuminate the entryway at night so it's easy to see.   We also put a light near the door so they can see where the door is and where we have put the doorbell for them to ring.   We put plants and flowers near the door as well to make their coming here pleasant.  We also put a seat near the door for older visitors to sit at while they wait for us to come to the door to greet them.


   Front doors do matter!

   Today, many say that there is more than ONE way to heaven.  All that matters is you are sincere in your beliefs and want to help others.  But Jesus says in  John 14:6
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
and in John 10:9 he also says,
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
  My argument with the "All ways go to heaven" crowd is simply this:  "Why would God go through all the trouble of building a front door then?".    The issue is that all other "teachers or prophets" (such as Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad) just appear on the seen out of no where.  No prophecy to predict their coming.  No promises from God to keep.  No effort on God's part to prepare their coming.   Jesus, on the other hand, doesn't just pop on the scene to announce God's grace and forgiveness out of nowhere.  Instead, God works over thousands of years and his plan takes literally thousands of years and the pain, suffering and death of many of his servants to bring it all about.  Abraham is told to go live as a tent-dweller and wait for God to give him a son in his old age.  Joseph is sold into slavery to Egypt and suffers imprisonment for obeying God.  Moses leaves his lofty position as next in line of Pharaoh to lead his people out of Egypt.  Elijah is chased from town to town by worshipers of Baal and forced to live in the desert.   Jeremiah is thrown down a well for his denunciation of idol worship and ignoring God. Daniel is thrown in a lions den for praying to his God and not praying to the king.   If God was going to allow ANY route into heaven, then he wasted all his time and energy with sending his own Son Jesus to bear all of our sins.

   If we invite someone over we EXPECT  them to use the front door.  If they decide to use the window or the back door we would probably call the police to report an intruder.  If we used the same "all ways lead to heaven" argument, you would be confronted with policemen who would tell you that the intruder is just a visitor who chose to use an alternate means of entering your house and since there is no one acceptable way to enter a house there is nothing illegal about it.  You would argue that you DO care about how a person enters your house!

  God does care about how you enter too.

   In the story about the Wedding Feast, Jesus says that at the end there was found a man who was not wearing wedding clothes.  The King asks him, "Friend, why are you not wearing the wedding clothes I have provided?".   At this the man was speechless and he was thrown outside.  That is how those who come to God but want to have nothing with the forgiveness he has so graciously provided through Jesus his only Son who died on the cross for them.

Dealing with our "faults"

   In computers, errors are a constant source of problems.  Almost every part of a computer tries to detect and even fix errors as they occur.  Your hard-drive stores a value called a checksum on every 4K byte sector and whenever that sector is read, a checksum is computed and compared to the value stored.   If there is a mismatch, the computer might try to re-read the sector again to fix the error.  Your computer memory can have Error-Code-Correcting bits stored to not only detect a bit flip (0 becomes 1 or a 1 becomes 0) it can actually determine which bit is wrong and fix it on the fly.  When your computer sends or receives data over the internet, its data is checked and re-checked along the way to make sure it arrives unchanged from the source.

   But there is one place in a computer where errors are hard to detect and fix.  That place is the microprocessor.  Often referred to as the "brains" of the computer it can't see where it's going wrong. If it adds 1+1 and gets 3, then it will always add and get the same number.  The only way for it to detect a fault is to compare itself to another CPU running the same code in parallel with the idea that having two-heads is better than one.  But even if it does see a mismatch with the other CPU, it can't determine who is wrong and who is right.

   We as humans are like these microprocessors.  We know we are not perfect and we look to find someone to compare our lives to in order to stay on track.  It might be a sports figure like Tom Brady or a Hollywood actor like John Wayne.   But these people are as faulty as we are and we are always disappointed in the end. 

   In Psalm 19:12, King David writes:
   "Who can discern his errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults"
    I remember when a friend of mine suffered a mental breakdown from the struggles of life.  I had not seen him in many years and he came back to our company to work with us.  We could tell something was wrong with him and at first just ignored it.   After a few weeks though it became very apparent to all that he was not right in his head.  He was sending out long winded emails to various people about things that had nothing to do with work.  He wasn't coming into work but was working from home.  My boss sent me to go talk to him and see what was wrong.   I went to his place and it was like a scene out of the movies "A Beautiful Mind".  The walls of his apartment were covered with newspaper and magazine articles and the floor was cluttered with empty bottles of Coke and boxes of pizza and Chinese food.  I tried to get through to him that he needed help but he was convinced he was fine and in need of no help.  He was sure that everything was going to be fine once he solved this problem he was working on for our company.

  Our brains, like my friends, are so fouled up with sin we cannot even see our own faults.  We may even think that certain qualities we have are "good"  when in fact they are "bad" for us.   We have hidden our faults so well we can't even see them anymore.   But God does see them and he has pity on us.

   Jesus said to the crowds below him as he hung on the cross
  "Father!  Forgive them for they know not what they are doing!"
He was not just saying that to the Pharisees that had come to witness his death, but also about us as well.   We think we know so much these days and are convinced that it's GOD that has it all wrong and not us.   We are fine and everything will be better once we fix these few problems we have.

  So where are we left?   Who do we compare ourselves to?  How do we make sure we don't go too far away from where we should be?

Jesus has the answer:
 "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  
   No one comes to the Father except by me"
I highlight the word TRUTH here because he is who we are supposed to be.  He is the benchmark.  Of course we can never measure up and he knows that.  That is why he credits our lives with his righteousness and atones for us.

Friday, April 14, 2017


   The word "why" seems to be one of the first words children seem to learn, right after "momma", "dadda" and "no".    This word can drive a parent to near insanity on long car rides.

Why is the sky blue?
Why is the grass green?
Why can't I drive the car?
Why do we need to go on vacation?
Why can't we stop for ice cream?

The questions seem unending to a young parent.  This line of questioning would put a CIA operative to shame who must resort to water-boarding to inflict higher levels of pain and mental distress.

Some questions of "why" we can answer, but the child is too young to even understand our answer if we gave it to them.   We know that such answers would only be open to 10 more "why" questions that we don't have the time or energy to answer.  To this, we often resort to our simple answer:  "Because it just IS!",  This answer will hold a 5 year old for about 10 seconds before they bellow out a loud "WHY?" from the back seat of the car.

On Good Friday, while Jesus is hanging on the cross he screams out a question for God the Father to answer:
"My God! My God!  Why have you forsaken me?"
Christ, suspended on a cross between two worlds: earth and heaven.  Rejected by the earth and forsaken by the Father.


Why is often the hardest question to answer in stories like this.  Journalists can give you the Who, What, Where and How, but often they struggle to come up with the WHY.    When a crazed husband shoots his wife at her school and 2 other children we are left empty when we search for the reason of WHY.  Or when a soldier sees his friend take on heavy fire from the enemy and dies so he can crawl to safety we are left empty as we search for the answer to WHY.

The answer to Jesus' question comes to us earlier in the book of John
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
The answer is because he loves us.

All to often we get too caught up in answering the other questions that we overlook (or maybe we just don't want to face it) the most important of questions.  Knowing HOW Jesus died, WHERE Jesus died, WHEN Jesus died won't bring you any closer to God.  Today we are blessed with great cinematography and actors who can portray Christ's suffering in great detail and almost make you feel like you are standing right there under the cross.  But that won't save anyone.  Only when they come to face the question of WHY... are lives changed.   When we see that it was for US that Christ died.  He acted as the mother stepping in front of her child to shield them from the oncoming bullet to protect them.

I have often found it amazing that the one thing you can say to a child that you will never get a WHY question for is this:   I LOVE YOU!

Children just get it.  They accept it.   They know they are not perfect, but they accept the love of their parent as irrefutable and will often immediately respond with "I LOVE YOU DADDY!"

God loves you too and all he asks us to do is to accept it and not ask WHY.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We don't know what we are doing!

   Never before did a verse from the Bible become more clear to me than when I had to deal with a friend suffering from mental illness.  Several years a friend of mine had been rehired to work with us.  We had worked together back in the 90's and he was a genius to work along side. I was excited to work again with him along with 2 other of my friends.  He had left the company and worked away from us for several years and we had lost touch.  We had a benign interview with him (we were required to do it) assuming we knew he would be a great fit for our team (we had worked with him for several years so we had no reason to believe he wouldn't be).  Well after a couple of weeks we realized we had made a mistake.  Our friend was not showing up to work or for meetings.   He would ramble on in emails about nonsensical things and would make odd conversations on the phone.  I finally took it upon myself to go find out what he was up to and went to the apartment he was staying at.   I knew from the moment I walked in that I was in the presence of someone with a mental disorder.  The place looked like something out of the movie "A Beautiful Mind" with papers everywhere and printouts tacked to the wall.   There were pizza boxes and chinese food boxes on the floor and I could tell he was living on Coca-Cola as there were dozens of empty 2-liter bottles of it everywhere on the floor.

   I tried desperately to reach him but he was out of his mind.  I could not reason with him on anything.  He was convinced that he had the answer to all our companies problems if we would just give him a few more weeks.   It was the saddest thing I had ever witnessed in my life.  Here was a good friend of mine who had been a great engineer at one time now reduced to a crazy person who was convinced in his own mind that everyone else had the problems and not him.

   When Jesus hung on the cross, he said to the people who put him there,
"Father! Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing!" 
   He was very much like me trying to reach my lost friend.  In his case, we are very much like my friend.  Our minds are so twisted by our sinful flesh that everything to us is really upside down.   We claim that everyone ELSE (including God himself) has the problems and we are completely right in our beliefs.  God tries to reason with us and help us to see how much we need him to fix our minds and our souls.   We cannot do it on our own.  Like my friend, our minds cannot fix themselves.  They are like broken computer processors that think there are problems everywhere in the PC but the real problem is with the processor.  In our view,  we think we have it all figured out.  We know what is best and what is not.

Adultery?            That's just a new loving relationship being formed to replace a broken one.
Pornography?      That's just self-expression
Lying?                 That's just an alternative form of the truth.
Stealing?             That's just an attempt to reapportion wealth from those who don't need it.
Intoxication?       That's just acceptable form of release from the cares of the world.
Abortion?            That's just fixing a female medical problem.

   This brings to mind another verse in the Bible.

"There is a way that appears to be right,
 but in the end it leads to death."   
-- Proverbs 14:12

Only God's Spirit and Love can bring true healing to our minds.  If only we will let him

POST NOTE: my friend did get help in the end and is doing much better today

General Relativity and God's Law

  In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton developed the first laws of gravity based on his observations.  He hypothesized that all matter has a gravitation "flux" emanating from it outward to other matter and this "flux" was responsible for attracting other matter.  From this he was able to derive his basic Law of Gravitational Attraction

   Of course Newton could not prove the existence of this invisible flux but based on planetary motion and other experiments it all seemed to fit.   Newton's laws were also based on some basic fundamental foundations that seemed to make sense to the scientists of his time.  The first assumption is that all space can be described in a simple 3D (height,width,depth) Cartesian coordinate system and all observers would measure the same distances no matter their orientation or movement.  Second, all observers would measure the same amount of time to pass regardless of their location or movement.

   Both of these basic assumption all seemed to make sense.  Why wouldn't we all measure distances the same and all of our watches run the same?  No one could see a reason why not, and so for over 350 years those assumptions were never challenged.   That was until Albert Einstein came along.  His observations of light bending around the Sun revealed that Newton was not 100% correct in his assumptions.

   Therefore, because Newton's basic requirement was wrong, all the laws of motion, momentum , energy etc. all had to be re-evaluated leading to Einsteins greatest achievement: The General Laws of Relativity.   This paper showed that gravity is not some mysterious invisible "flux" but instead a bending of space-time by mass which causes objects moving in a straight-line to appear to be moving in a curved line to us.  Like marbles rolling on a large stretched sheet of rubber that has been indented by a large heavy bowling ball they appear to be changing their trajectory because of the curved rubber, but they are trying to stay on a straight line that has been changed by the bowling ball.

    So what is that to me?

    We are often like Newton and the scientists of his time.  We have basic assumptions of up,down,left,right and that all our watches are the same.  It all makes basic sense to us.  How we see the world and how we THINK it should work are not always correct.  For some of our decisions, like Newton's Law on Gravity, it works fine.  Newton wasn't 100% wrong but he wasn't 100% right either.  His law was "good enough" to get us to the moon and back but if we used it to get to a nearby star we would miss it by a billion or so miles.   We also, spiritually think we have it all figured out.  We know what is best and what is not.   Adultery?  That's just a new loving relationship being formed.    Pornography?  That's just extreme art.  Lying?  That's just an alternative form of the truth.   Stealing? That's just an individuals attempt to reapportion wealth from those who don't need it as much.

   But that is not how God sees it.   Like Newton thinking the world coordinate-system is all straight lines, what matters is how the universe sees the coordinate system.  So also, how we THINK the world should work and how God sees it are different, but in the end what matters is how God sees it and not you.

  Let's take sex outside of marriage for example.   To our "enlightened" world sex before marriage is perfectly okay.   We have been taught to not hold back our urges and that it is filling our basic needs for physical contact with other human beings.   Movies and TV shows promote endless examples of men and women having no-holds-barred sex and no-strings-attached either (just close the door when you leave!).  But now studies show that men who later decide to "settle down" cannot seem to "attach" themselves emotionally to their mate.  It's like the "glue" has all dried up in the bottle.  Could it be that we have gone against what God had designed us for?   Could it be that he knows how we operate?   Even when some try to have-their-cake-and-eat-too by living together it doesn't seem to workout.  Study after study shows that those who live together before marriage are 30% more likely to get divorced later.  Much of this is because while living-together, the men do not fully develop into men of substance.   They keep their childish ways (going out with the boys, watching porn, playing video games etc...) and those ways become more ingrained in their way of life.  So when it comes time to marry, those ways are "expected" to be put away to help in being a spouse and father, but now it's even harder to adjust because all those attitudes were thought to be acceptable to the other are now deemed unacceptable.

    God is not some irrational angry being.  He has reasons for his law and when we take the time to try to see things from HIS perspective we see that he is right.  Like Einstein seeing that space is really curved and not straight like how our brains feel it "should be" so also, we wee that God's law is really how things should be and not our interpretation.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Thy Will Be Done!

    These are probably 4 of the most difficult words to utter in the Lord's Prayer.  In these words we completely surrender our desires and goals to that which God's desires and goals for us.  Jesus prayed a similar petition on Good Friday in the garden of Gethsemane.  He prayed, "Father if it is your will to take this cup from me, but not my will but your will be done".   Shortly after praying this Jesus gets his answer.   The mob is in the garden and they are there to arrest him.  Jesus knew all the pain of the scourging , beatings and crucifixion  that awaited him but yet he prayed "your will be done".   He surrenders himself to the crowd and then to the Sanhedrin and later to Pontius Pilate himself. Ultimately he surrenders his will to the cross as the soldiers nail him to it.  At any moment he could summon a legion of angels to rescue him but he doesn't.   He could yell "Damn you all" and in a moment his enemies would be thrown into hell, but he doesn't.

    We often pray this petition with our fingers crossed and hoping that God doesn't take it too seriously with us or that he goes easy on us.  But that is not always the case.   As I have written in some previous blogs, God's will is to save as many people as he can.   That is his ULTIMATE WILL.  But to do so often  requires pain and suffering.   CS Lewis once wrote
"Pain is God's megaphone to a deaf world"
   We don't listen too well when the times are good.   We are too busy doing our own thing and thinking that THIS is our heaven and it will all keep going on as it always has.   Pain shakes us to our core.  It focuses the mind in ways that enjoyment can't.   I challenge you to put a small tack in the bottom of your shoe and try to walk around for a day.  It will drive you mad!

    I think a great economic collapse is coming our way.   We know that we can't debt our way to economic stability.   The bills will eventually come due and we will all have to pay the price for our indulgences.  I think God will work tremendously when that day comes.  Some are hoping it comes later rather than sooner.   I am quite the opposite.   I want to see people flee their idols of money, wealth and power and run towards a loving God wanting to spare them.   For I see a hopeless generation seeking meaning but not finding any that is only too arrogant to acknowledge how wrong and blind they are.  Sad to say this, but many of these people are in the church as well.   They look at God's word as some sort of heavenly "vending machine" that if we say the right things, do the right actions, vote the right way God will smile upon us and give us peace, security and a full stomach.  They perform rituals like "Washington Prayer Breakfasts" and other pseudo-religious actions in hopes to get God to grant our country favor in his eyes.   Yes we as individuals are called to pray for our leaders and those in power but God does not deign for us to from Super-PACs to accomplish his will. God already knows what he is going to do.   He just wants us to ask for it to be done among us and through us as well.

    As with our economy, so also, many people are looking at this upcoming election with fear and anxiousness.  Some are asking "How did our country slide from past presidents like Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan to a choice between Hillary (a untrustworthy liar and hypocrite) and Trump (an obnoxious self-absorbed con-man)?"  I can assure you that after this election (as with all events in our world) "Gods will" will be done.  Whether it's Hillary or Trump, "God's will" will be done to allow him to reach as many people as possible.  I sometimes think God is like a great business man who must change tactics and strategies to keep his business moving forward.   He cannot keep using the same methods but must adapt to maximize his profits.  God's profits in his world is OUR SOULS which he has redeemed.   Maybe all God wanted from the U.S. was for us to invent the Internet so he can reach even more people in places too difficult by any other means.  Who knows.  But then again maybe God is not done with us yet either.

   But in the end all we can say as his followers is: "Thy will be done Lord.  Thy will be done!"

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Karl Marx was right

   I don't like to quote socialist/communists like Karl Marx but even a broken clock is right two times every day and so is Karl Marx.

    Marx once referred to the religion as the "opiate of the masses".    His view was that religion (Christianity in particular) was responsible for the masses not getting angry and mounting a massive revolt against the upper class and rulers.   With words like,
  • "Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth" 
  • "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God!" 
  • "Money is the root of all kinds of evil"
  • "Forgive as you have been forgiven"
  • "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and give unto God that which is God's"
      How can you get a group like that to stage a revolt?   But it's not so much a drug of religion that keeps people from revolting, but the understanding that this world is passing away and a much better one is on its way.   Like a guy driving an old clunker is not going to get too upset when it breaks down because his new BMW is being delivered and on its way.   You have a different perspective because of your faith in God.

    As I watch this election it seems to me that as our country becomes less and less Christian (and I include so-called Christians that are more concerned with their worldly wealth than with heavenly wealth) we see people becoming increasingly angry towards one another.   Everything seems to hinge on the "next election" and whether or not "their guy (or girl) gets into the White House".   No matter what after this election I can tell you this:  HALF the country will be angry and the other HALF will be elated.  One half will call the other illegitimate and the other half will be called bitter haters.  Recently I saw a story about a guy who video taped himself running over TRUMP signs on the side of the road.   He was caught by the police and he said he thought it was his "moral duty" to run over the signs.   REALLY SIR?   MORAL DUTY??  My guess he hasn't darkened the doorway of a church in his entire life (at least I hope not).  Personally I would like to see someone put their sign in front of a boulder or brick wall and see him plow his vehicle into it just to teach him a lesson in "morals".   At a TRUMP rally a man sucker punched a black man who was disruptive and was being removed by security.    Why did you have to do that??    Others have jumped on stage and hijacked a candidates microphone and taken over their speaking engagement.  Was it their "moral duty" as well?

    George Washington referred to religion as the necessary "third leg" of a 3-legged stool for Democracy to work.  In recent decades people have been taking a saw to that third leg and now it's almost gone completely and our democracy is teetering on collapse (something these leg cutters want to happen).   Each President who has taken office for the first time has paid homage to our countries ability to peacefully transition control from one leader to the next without violence (sometimes referred to as a "peaceful coup").   This "peaceful coup" is based entirely on our religious beliefs that no government provided to man is without God's will.   That's a hard concept for many (even Christians like myself) to get behind.   How can you support what we might see as an illegitimate government or leader?  

    Let's see how Jesus handles an unjust political system.  First we see Jesus himself put himself 100% in control of the government as he is taken in the night to a Jewish court called the Sanhedrin and even though it is against their own law to try someone at night he allows it to go on.   He then is sent to Pilate and allows his ruling to be decided by an angry mob rather than a just judge.  He goes to his death as it is the Father's will.  When he's on the cross in agony he summons enough energy to stand up on the nails in his feat/ankles and say "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".   Even after he raises from the dead he doesn't tell his disciples to get even with the Romans for his wrongful death.   He moves on like it's nothing.

    In the book of Acts, we see Peter, Paul and other disciples thrown into prison as well in much the same way.   They are unjustly scourged  to teach them a lesson and they are overjoyed by God allowing them to suffer for the faith as well.   They didn't yell obscenities back at their jailers or floggers and tell them "You just wait until the power pendulum swings back our way and WE are in control!".  No, instead they sang hymns in prison knowing tomorrow they may die a horrible death on a cross like Jesus did.

    Sadly, too many Christian leaders have thrown their collars into the ring with a variety of political parties and leaders today as well.  They too have taught their followers that it's time to "take back your country".   Well last I read, taking anything is paramount to stealing.  Are we doing God's work or are we fighting against him?   Are we too focused on the things of this world and not focused on the things of God?   Paul says,
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms"
    We should be spending our time praying that God's word would be effectual in the people's heart and not wasting our time praying for God to get our "guy/girl" into the White House.   We should be praying for our children's hearts and minds to not be contaminated by this worlds view on God and not be praying Hillary goes to jail (even though she deserves too).    We should be praying for Hillary and Obama that God may reach them too (even if we think their heart is too hard to listen).  We should be praying that God's will should be done and not our will.

    Let me put it this way....

    If God can reach 10 times more people with the Gospel when times are tough and money is scarce, then shouldn't we be OK with an economic collapse?   Too many Christians today want only God's blessings on them so they can have it easy.   They fear sin taking over our country because God might take his blessing (ie - protection from bad times) from them even though Jesus has already paid for all of those sins on the cross and the only sin left unpaid is unbelief in him.   If God does take his "blessing" from us it isn't to punish a long list of abominations but instead to wake up this world and drive them to their knees to repent and be saved.

    So what do you pray for when you watch the news?   Are you hinging all of your hope and faith on this years election?   If Hillary gets elected will you feel God has abandoned you?   Will you be angry at God and go off and sulk in a cave like Elijah?   Or will you move on to what God wants you to do next?

   I myself used to get angry listening to the news and frustrated with how the Obama administration is trying to transform our country into a socialist cesspool.  I spent hours reading news stories and watching Fox News.   I would send articles to friends on Facebook and wait for their replies.  In 2012 I was elated when the GOP regained the Senate but later dismayed as still nothing seemed to get done and Obama continued to move forward with Executive Orders.    I waited with anticipation the rulings from the Supreme Court on gay-marriage and also on ObamaCare, only to have my hopes dashed by their ridiculous rulings in which Roberts seemed to contort himself like a yoga-master to make the rulings fit the Constitution in some way.

    I came to peace when I read Jesus words,
"All authority has been give to me in heaven and in earth".   
      Those words showed me that those sitting in Washington DC are not the real rulers of this world.   Christ rules and is allowing these charlatans to fill in until he comes again.  So what if Hillary gets into the White House!   Let her have her few years of fame.  So what if the GOP collapses into a pile of crap!   God still rules and this "temporary tent" will be replaced some day.   No longer do I worry about this "next election" or if people will forget their Constitutional rights and fall to tyranny.   As for me and my house, nothing changes, we will serve the Lord.  Though we may be scoffed at and ridiculed and treated like dirt.   It's okay.  And I have good company in that view as well.   As Paul writes,
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
    This doesn't mean that I stop writing blogs or I stop looking for leaders who are good and honorable.    But I can stop fretting over what will happen if things continue to deteriorate. I will let the "opiate" of God's love and forgiveness guide me and not fall victim to the unholy angry masses who surround me. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Choosing the lesser of 2 evils .... or not

     Back in 1987 I was working in Massachusetts and I was on a company softball league of other fellow engineers.   Even though I grew playing sports, sadly that was not the case for many of my peers on the team.  We decided on a team name called : None of the Above.   To illustrate its meaning our shirts were printed with a check-off-list of items related to the question at the top that said

     "Our team can: "
  • Hit
  • Catch
  • Pitch
  • Run
  • None of the Above
     You can guess which item on the list had a check mark next to it.

     On Facebook a friend named Barbara posted, "We must select the lesser of 2 evils" to which I responded, "Would you vote for Hitler if the only other choice was Stalin?".   Their answer was simply "No".  Of course no one is calling Trump Hitler or Hillary Stalin but it goes to show you that not all choices are simply between the lesser of 2 evils and sometimes it's none-of-the-above.

    As a Christian, some often make you feel like "not-voting" or "voting for a 3rd party" is some sort of mortal and unforgivable sin.   Back in 1992, a fairly large group of disaffected voters cast their vote for an outsider by the name of  Ross Perot who had caught the eye of many Republicans for his "no-nonsense-approach" to government spending.   As this split the GOP vote, it allowed Bill Clinton to come into the White House with a dismal 42% of the vote.   And the same might happen again, only instead of the vote being split between 2 people it could be split between Trump and that other outsider candidate called "none of the above".    But if you recall, from the 1992 election what happened was of not much consequence.   We are still here.  The world still spins on its axis and God still reigns.

    People get their necks all out of joint on this issue.   They almost turn purple in the face when they say "Do you want Hillary to roll into office?", like as if the world is going to end.   Of course I don't want Hillary in office, but I won't sacrifice my morals and faith to do that.   I will still vote, but it will probably be a write-in for Ted Cruz instead.    How have we gone from George Washington, who tried as hard as he could be be ethical, moral and straight with the American people to voting for a man who lies, cheats, calls people stupid, ugly, liars, dumb, and says he can't remember asking God for forgiveness for anything.  

     Jesus said, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth".   The political system here is just a temporary system until God comes to make all things right.   The Constitution did not come down from Mount Sinai with the 10 commandments.   It's a man-made invention and an attempt to bring a just system to help us get along.  I personally think its the best one we have going so far that allows the most personal freedom, but not everyone likes freedom (sad).  God will still reign on his throne and will still accomplish his goals for our world somehow, even if Hillary becomes POTUS.  The people of Israel were often frustrated in trying to understand God's will for them.  They wanted to return back to the good old years of King David or King Solomon, but they were constantly under other peoples control.  First it was Alexander the Great and then later it was the Roman Empire.   They tried everything they could to fix the situation, but nothing seemed to change.   Yet it was through the Greek and Roman Empires that God brought the Messiah.   These empires made it possible and also easier to spread the gospel to millions of more people.   God's will was accomplished.

     Maybe our desire for a new "Reagan" is much like their need for a new "King David".   It's a selfish desire and a short-sighted goal and not in keeping with God's will at this time.

    And really, isn't God's will what it's really about in the end?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We need to see more than just Christian movies

     Recently there have been a large amount of new Christian movies that have hit the scene.  Most of the movies are the product of Kirk Cameron who grew up on TV's sitcom "Growing Pains".   Starting with the movie "Fireproof" Cameron has capitalized on a small group of evangelical Christians who feel their views are not emulated well in Hollywood.   As a Christian I feel compelled to see these movies and support these artists and producers.   But I don't see it that way at all.  Most of these movies follow a common and almost predictable plot line.  First there is the main character who is either a coach (Facing the Giants) a fireman (Fireproof) or a policeman (Courageous) whose family life is falling apart while their work life is in shambles   Next comes their pastor who challenges them to return to God's word after which everything thing changes. Their wife returns back to them, their children do better in school and their work becomes amazing. In the end everything works out gloriously and even the villains are saved. 

     But that is not how life really works nor is it guaranteed by God in his word. Jesus often even showed quite the opposite when he talked about being hated and being chased from town to town on account of him.  While I appreciate people trying to reach a dying world, the problem is that almost 100% of the people who see these films are already saved and therefore don't achieve their goal. 

    Another reason I don't support Holy-wood is because I am sick and tired of seeing Christians cloister themselves off like a bunch of monks so they don't have to touch the world they walk in.  We have christian music, schools, movies, radio stations,TV stations, bookstores, gyms, coffee shops, dating sites, businesses, and even cruises!   How can you relate to your neighbor if you have NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THEM!!  Here is how your conversation will go with them if you cloister yourself off and only see Holy-wood movies

Jim:     Hey Bob have you seen that new movie The Matrix?
Bob:     No.  I only see Christian movies. Did you see Fireproof?
Jim:     No.  Too religious (alternative:  "Never heard of it")
            (End of discussion)

     This is not how Jesus intended for us to live.  Instead he said exactly opposite when he told us to:
                    "Be in the world but not of the world".   
     How can you be "in it" if you don't participate "in it"?   Granted that doesn't mean I am free to go to strip clubs and the like, but it doesn't mean I sit at home and watch re-runs of  "The Walton's" every night on DVD either.   We have to find a happy medium here and for my Holy-wood is not where the line should be drawn.  To me, it's like saying that you can only discuss your faith if you are inside a church building and since your neighbors never want to go to church with you then ....oh well...guess you never will have that chance to share your faith then.  Of course we see that as an absurd path of logic but often that is exactly what we do.

    St. Paul exhorts his readers to "Always have an answer for the hope you have inside you"

    Translation: Find answers to questions as they arise as we live in this world

    Let's take the conversation earlier and see how it "might" play out differently

Jim:     Hey Bob have you seen that new movie The Matrix movies?
Bob:    Yes I did.  I saw all three.Pretty intense movie I must say.  I wouldn't take my kids to it but I found it interesting
Jim:     Yeah. me too.   I liked the story line
Bob:    Yeah I did too.  I found it very biblical in nature
Jim:     How?
Bob:    Well the names for example.  Trinity is the name of our Christian God. Father,Son and Holy Spirit.  Then their is Neo, which is Greek for NEW so he is kind of like Jesus.   He has the amazing powers no one else has.  Smith is sort of like the Devil that he has to fight.   In the end, when he is connected to the matrix and laid out in a cross formation and is fighting Smith its just like Jesus.  The Bible says of Jesus, "He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that the power of sin could be destroyed once and for all".   That is just like Neo turning into Smith at the end and then destroying Smith from the inside.  Then their is Zion, which is also a biblical name for Jerusalem, and they cry out at the end "The war is over!".  We as Christians believe too that the war with God is over.  We are no longer enemies but his children now.

Jim:  Wow!  I missed all of that.  Do you think the writer intended that?
Bob:  I don't know.  Maybe.  It just seems all to coincidental to be an accident.  I think he is trying to get across a deeper message of salvation possibly.

And the conversation goes on from here....

I am not saying that every movie we go to has a direct application of the Gospel, but we should try to look and find ways of using our culture to reach out to a dying world.   Take for example St. Paul when he visited Athens.   Did he only go to the synagogues?   Apparently not.   When he visited Mars Hill to talk to the philosophers of his day, he mentioned their temples and even gave them credit for being very religious.   He also quoted one of their poets which means he either read their writings or attended their plays.   He uses this as a spring-board to the Gospel.  A way to connect to them.  In other writings Paul talks about athletes running with no clothes on which could mean he attended these competitions personally (something most Christians today would avoid like the plague).

    We, like Paul, might not agree with all of our world's "poets" but we must take want God gives us and use it wherever and whenever we can.  Who knows maybe a rap-artist might even have some social commentary that we can use to talk up our faith.   We must be more like Paul who even though he doesn't agree with all the greek poets writings, takes what he can and even gives credit to them.   We miss these chances when all we have to say is bad things about our culture and nothing good.  How do you think these Greek philosophers would feel if Paul approached them like this instead

Paul:  Hey I have been here for a week but could only hack walking around your city for a day because its covered with these shameless nude statutes of these "so-called" gods which really aren't gods at all but are stupid idols you guys think are so great.   I was also invited to go to a poetry reading but because I heard the poet was a heathen who has no religious background I told my friends that it would not be good for me to ingest that tripe.  But hey!  While I am here let me tell you about this man I follow named Jesus of Nazareth who is the Son of God and was crucified by you gentiles and was raised to life 3 days later.

How many do you think would have stayed around to hear?   None.

Yet that is how we sound too.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

A conscience is a terrible thing to waste!

    Back in the 1970's an ad-campaign by the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) had a very simple and catchy phrase:
Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste
    This meant that wasting anyone's mental abilities to contribute to society would hurt us all in the end and therefore we should try to help ALL people become more educated.   The campaign worked and blacks enrolling in college increased through scholarships offered by the UNCF.

     Today we may need a new ad-campaign:
Because a conscience is a terrible thing to lose
     Martin Luther, the 16th century Christian reformer, was what you might call a conscientious objector.   He was called before the Catholic hierarchy and the politicians to re-cant (take back) all he had written as he revealed how far the church had strayed from its roots and teachings.   Martin Luther asked for one day to formulate his answer and he was granted it.   After a night of prayer Marin Luther returned to the court to give his answer and here it is:

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.
     We owe much to his bravery to stand up to the powers as he was branded a "heretic" and had a bounty put on his head for anyone to collect.   He was given refuge by a German nobleman who agreed with his teaching and lived in his castle attic for many years while he took on the work of translating the Bible from Latin into German.   His willingness to stand up for his conscience freed many more like him who also no longer agreed with the Catholic churches teachings.

    A conscience is a very personal thing.   It is at the very heart of our Freedom of Religion and to have our own set of beliefs to follow.   It was once said that,

 "If you can't live with yourself then who CAN you live with?".   

    A dead conscience will eat you alive from the inside like a maggots eating rotting flesh of a deceased person.  A conscience drives us each to do what is right in our own eyes despite the opposition.   We've all been there at some time in our lives.  We were in a position to speak up for someone or some group and we chose to be silent.   We  remember those times vividly as we play it over and over again in our minds. We agonize over our choice knowing we chose wrong and the repercussions of us doing so were obvious.  It's a difficult thing to do.   Often it is occurrences like these that cause so many our war-weary-soldiers so much depression and guilt that it incapacitates them and prevents them from rejoining society.

     Today, people around our country are being asked to go against their consciences as well.   For example, people who own bakeries are told they MUST make wedding cakes for weddings they do not agree with.   You may not like their position any more than the Catholic church did not like Luther's.   But at odds is their conscience verses your insistence that they bow to your edicts that gay marriage is no different than traditional marriage.   Should they stuff their conscience away and never listen to it again?   What kind of country will we become if we force all of our citizens to ignore their consciences when they go counter to the governments or the majority's wishes?  Should they only care what the government believes is right and follow orders?   Should such people be jailed for having a difference in opinion or view?  Should they be put out of business for their faith?  Should the churches they attend be taxed or fined since it was those institutions that undoubtedly influenced them to have such a narrow view of marriage?

    Another thing to consider when you decide to use the blunt force of the government stick to get people to do your wishes is you build increasing amounts of anger and animosity towards you group rather than acceptance.  Of course you can force their physical bodies to perform the deeds you asked for, but their hearts and minds will be forever against you.   This will only require you to use increasing amounts of force over time to move the pendulum further to your side of the room.   But watch out for the day will come that you will not be able to push it any further and the pendulum will swing the other way and all that pent up energy will be released in ways that can be very destructive.   Other countries have witnessed this in their own countries (mostly African countries where one tribe rules another for so long and then it flips on them).    In South Africa this almost happened against the whites after the blacks gained control of the country and only by the grace of God through the work of Nelson Mandela did it get diffused.

    I am glad to see people of reason from the other side standing up for people of conscience and telling their people to "knock it off!" in attacking these people in the court of law and also the court of public opinion.     We need more of these people to come forward and I hope and pray they do.   I believe they recognize the value of a conscience and how it is one of our most basic rights as human beings to be nurtured and protected.  After all, a society of citizens whose consciences have been numbed will be a terrible place to live.