Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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Why I Hate Jesus

Why I Hate Jesus

Hello, everyone.

April 16 was Easter.  I don’t have to go into what that is all about.

A few days ago, I happened on an article during my Facebook browsing, titled “Why I Hate Jesus.”  It was an interesting article.  Here is the URL:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2016/04/why-i-hate-jesus/

The writer hates Jesus for a variety of reasons.  I hate Jesus for a variety of reasons, but nothing close to the reasons the writer has.

Why do I hater Jesus?  Let me count the ways.

  1. His commands to love him more than our loved ones. These are found in Matthew 10:37 and Luke 14:26. The Matthew passage is significant in that Jesus boasts that he had come to bring dissention into families.  As we shall see, family relationships meant nothing to him.

The Luke passage is significant in that the verb “hate” is used.  Evangelicals try to soften the statement by saying that the verb should be “love less” instead of “hate,” but the original Greek does not permit that idea.  Luke uses the Greek verb “miseo” which means “to hate, abhor, despise, abominate, detest.”  The word exists in our English words “misanthrope,” or someone who hates mankind, and “misogyny,” or the hatred of women.  So “Hate” is the appropriate English translation of “miseo.”

  1. His renouncement of his own family. This is found in Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, and Luke 8:19-21. Here Jesus is putting his statement in Luke 14:26 into practice.
  2. His refusal to address his own mother as “mother.” This appears in John 2:4 and John 19:26. The bond between mother and child is the strongest bond there is in nature.  Even animals have it; it is called “maternal instinct” there.  You can have the sweetest, gentlest bitch dog that exists, but if you try any funny business with her puppies, she will turn on you in an instant.  The bond between child and mother is equally strong.

So why then did Jesus refuse to give his mother Mary the honor she had coming to her?  Essentially he was applying both points 1 and 2 in this instance.  He demanded that we love him more than our own loved ones, plus he did renounce his own family.  Thus it is no surprise that he would refer to his own mother Mary as “woman” instead of “mother.”

There is another possible reason.  Aramaic, which Jesus spoke, was a primitive language when compared to Greek or Latin.  Thus it is possible that the Aramaic word for “woman” also carried the idea of “mother,” but was translated as “woman” by the translators.

  1. His outrageous promises. These are found in Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10, John 14:14, etc. Back in the 1950s, a perfume company had as its slogan “Promise her anything, but give her Arpege.”  Jesus originated that slogan, because in the verses cited, he promises us the moon – ANYTHING that we want, he promised to give us.  The problem with his stupid nonsense was that instead of the “anything,” he gives us the “Arpege.”  In other words, nothing at all.  I was injured at birth and have been legally blind all my life.  I would guess that I have been prayed for 100 times for the healing of my eyes.  Any healing I have received has been at the hands of capable doctors, NOT any so-called “son of God” named Jesus.  So Jesus’s promises are nothing more than 40 pounds of hot air.
  2. His cursing of an innocent fig tree. This yarn is found in Matthew 21:19-21 and Mark 11:13-14. What makes this story fascinating is that Mark states that it wasn’t even fig season yet.  Not even fig season yet??  And Jesus still curses the tree for not having any figs?!?!  I was born and raised in Iowa, so I know about growing seasons.  I knew that the trees and garden plants blossomed in the spring or early summer and that the fruits and vegetables were ready to pick in the late summer or fall.  All of us in Iowa knew that plants had their seasons.  If we mere human beings had this knowledge, shouldn’t the so-called ”son of God” have had this knowledge as well?
  3. His belittling of Judas Iscariot. This story is found in John 12:4-8. As the story goes, Jesus is in the house owned by Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  After the meal, Mary opens a container of costly ointment and pours it on Jesus.  Upon seeing this, Judas makes a comment about the ointment being sold and the money given to the poor.  Jesus immediately berates Judas for thinking this way.

In the narrative, John makes the comment that Judas cared nothing for the poor.  But how did John know this?  Was he able to enter Judas’s mind or heart? People DO live together day after day and never know what is really in the other person’s feelings or thoughts.  That is why divorce can come as a shock to the other partner in a marriage.  John had no absolute knowledge of what Judas thought or felt.

In this story, Jesus expresses condescension towards poor people; “You always have the poor with you.”  Indeed, there is no account in the gospels where Jesus ever visited or fellowshipped with any poor people.  All of the people he had fellowship with were wealthy people who owned property.  This could be the reason for his berating of Judas for his feelings about the poor.

  1. His conduct towards the money changers in the temple. This story is found in Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, and John 2:13-16. The Passover in Jerusalem was very much like the Muslim Hajj in Mecca – If people could possibly do it, they went.  Thus, there were people – and currencies – from all over there.  It made total sense that people would need to change their foreign currency into Israel’s currency to pay for sacrificial animals and living expenses.  But what provoked Jesus to his acts of violence against the currency exchanges?  We are not told.  We are only told that it happened.  Therefore, unprovoked violence against ANYONE leads me to not be willing to trust such a person.
  2. His inability to cure diseases. The four gospels claim that “Jesus” performed many healings. Because the Synoptics essentially repeat each other, giving numbers of his healings would be meaningless.  However, we can give the kinds of healings that he SUPPOSEDLY performed:  healings of lepers, unknown diseases, paralytics, bleeding disorder, the blind, the mute, the deaf, and a withered hand.

With the exception of the unknown diseases, each of these conditions has one thing in common:  They are all EXTERNAL manifestations.  The conditions are easily visible to people.  No real surprise here.

But with the area of diseases, it is a different story.  Since the diseases he supposedly healed are unknown, we will throw them out.  There is NO record of Jesus ever healing – or trying to heal – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, tuberculosis, diphtheria, Crohn’s Disease, Minear’s Disease, etc.  Why not?  Such conditions wouldn’t be beyond the power of the so-called “Son of God” to heal would they?  Or were only the external manifestations mentioned in order to make Jesus look like some superhuman creature?  THAT seems to be more plausible.

I recently had an item on my Facebook wall that posed the question, “Why don’t faith healers work in hospitals and medical clinics?”  Intellectually gifted pastors know the answer, but I want to hear answers from Evangelicals, especially Pentecostals.  So far, no one from that persuasion has had the courage to attempt an answer.

  1. His cowardice in the face of his crucifixion. This is found in Matthew 26:36-44 and Mark 14:32-41. Jesus SUPPOSEDLY knew the reason that he came into the world.  Yet when the time came for him to fulfill that reason he did his best to chicken out.  Why?  Evangelicals will say that he was speaking out of his humanity.  But he claimed to be the Son of God.  He was supposed to be MORE than a human.  Great military leaders don’t care if their campaigns cost them their lives.  Winning the war is far more important to them.  Shouldn’t the Son Of God feel the same way?
  2. The conduct of his followers. In one of his countless TV sermons, Billy Graham once said that when a person “gives his heart to Jesus,” his personality improves tremendously. Really?!?!  I have been unfortunate to know too many Christians that made me think, “If they are THIS awful after giving their hearts to Jesus, THANK GOD I didn’t know them BEFORE they met Jesus!!!”

Some of the behaviors I have received from followers of Jesus include, but are not limited to, these:  being lied to, name-calling, blaming me for my eyes not being healed, threatening to report me to the police for trying to be a friend, snobbery, rudeness, being fired from a Christian school for not believing the right way, etc.

I reached a point where enough was enough.  It is a truism that if you have a dog who loves and adores you, but you turn on him and are continually mean and abusive to him, he will turn against you and will seek to harm you.  We humans are the same way.  We can love a person deeply, but if he – or his followers – are mean and abusive to us, we will have our love and adoration for that person turn into hatred and despising of that person.  That is what happened to me and Jesus.

These then are the ten reasons that I hate and despise Jesus Christ and want absolutely NOTHING to do with him or it.

You all have a great day today.

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Life, Religion | , | Leave a comment

The Gift of the Magi — Part II

The Gift of the Magi – Part II

Hello, everyone.

Yesterday, I posted a diary about O Henry’s magnificent little story, “The Gift of the Magi.”

This morning, on my Facebook wall, I found a story that has been around a long time.  But as I saw the header, I thought, how beautifully this story compliments my diary of yesterday.  I have no idea who first told this story, but whoever he is, all credit goes to him.  Here is the story.

“There once was a farmer who had some puppies for sale.  He made a sign advertising the pups and nailed it to a post on the edge of his yard.  As he was nailing the sign to the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.

“He looked down to see a little boy with a big grin and something in his hand.

“‘Mister,’ he said, ‘I want to buy one of your puppies.’

“‘Well,’ said the farmer, ‘these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal.’

“The boy dropped his head for a moment, then looked back up at the farmer and said, ‘I’ve got thirty-nine cents.  Is that enough to take a look?’

“‘Sure,’ said the farmer, and with that he whistled and called out, ‘Dolly.  Here, Dolly.’  Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly Followed by four little balls of fur.  The little boy’s eyes danced with delight.

“Then out from the doghouse peeked another little ball; this one noticeably smaller.  Down the ramp it slid and began hobbling in an unrewarded attempt to catch up with the others.  The little boy pressed his face to the fence and cried out, ‘I want that one,’ pointing to the runt.

“The farmer knelt down and said, ‘Son, you don’t want that puppy.  He will never be able to run and play with you the way you would like.’

“With that, the boy reached down and slowly pulled up one leg of his trousers.  In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.  Looking up at the farmer, he said, ‘You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.’

“A little choked up, the farmer gently lifted the puppy up and set it in the boy’s arms.

“‘How much?’ the little boy asked.

There is no charge for love,’ responded the farmer.”

There is no charge for love!

In O Henry’s story, Jim and Della Young each sold his and her most prized possession to buy the other a gift that enhanced that possession.  That is the ultimate expression of love.

But so is the story about the crippled little boy and the crippled little puppy.  It is heart-rending to see him skip the healthy puppies and choose the crippled little runt.  It takes a special person to choose the one with imperfections.

People make a big deal about the birthday of “Jesus.”  They call him the “prince of peace” and “Love personified.”

How wrong they are!  “Jesus” NEVER learned the lesson that Jim and Della Young have to teach, or the one that the little boy has to teach, for that matter.  In Matthew 10, he flat-out says that anyone who loves anyone else more than they love him is not worthy of him – a megalomaniacal statement if there ever was one! In Luke 14:26, he demands that we hate those who are dearest to us in order to be his disciple.  The word “hate” used here is interesting.  It does NOT mean “love less,” like Christians would have you believe.  The original Greek word is ”miseo,” which means “hate, detest, despise, abhor.”  The word exists today in our words “misogyny” – the hatred of women, and ”misanthrope” – someone who hates mankind.

It is interesting to note that NOWHERE in the four Gospels is “Jesus” ever recorded as saying the simple little phrase “I love you,”  nor is God ever recorded in the Old Testament as expressing love for his creation, including man.

Jim and Della Young teach a wonderful lesson about what true love really is.  So does the little boy in the story above.  And those lessons can best be expressed in the farmer’s statement, “There is no charge for love.”

There is another beautiful statement that expresses the farmer’s statement in a longer statement.  That statement is I Corinthians 13.

“There is no charge for love.”  That is a message that is worth remembering and living by for the entire year, not just at Christmas.

Seasons Greetings, and may each of you have a blessed holiday season.

Bill

 

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Religion | , , | Leave a comment

The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

Hello, everyone.

It is Christmas time yet again, and that means that in churches and homes across the land, people will be reading about and singing about the so-called “Christmas Story” in Luke 2.  However, there is a story that, in my opinion, captures the REAL story of Christmas far better than the Luke yarn, and that is the story “The Gift of the Magi,” by William Sydney Porter, better known as O Henry.  I reread the story in preparation for this diary, and here is the link I used:  https://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/Gift_of_the_Magi.html

I first learned of the story 60 years ago when I was a freshman in high school.  Being a boy, I approached the story as a boy, but at the same time, there was something about that story that grabbed me and never let me go.

Everyone knows the story, so I don’t have to rehearse it here.  It is the story of a young couple, Jim and Della Young, who had no money but who loved each other almost to the point of death.  A key element in the story is that each had a possession that he or she was tremendously proud of.  Here is O Henry’s description of those prized possessions:

“Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.”

They loved their possessions, but they loved each other even more.  And Christmas being Christmas, with the overemphasis on the financial side of the holiday, they wanted to celebrate, to the point that each did the most supreme act for each other that they could do.

As I said earlier everyone knows the story, so I don’t have to retell it.  So I will move to the last 2 paragraphs of the story:

“”Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

“The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

I cried as I reread the story.  I am fighting to keep from crying as I type this.  Why?  Because this story is possibly the greatest expression of love that was ever written.

My late wife Carol and I lived in California, and we had a hard life out there.  I was never able to find a real job – jobs were nonexistent when we were there – so we had to live on Carol’s salary as a church secretary.  We were so much like Jim and Della that it was not funny.  The main difference is that instead of a watch and glorious hair, our prized possessions were each other.  Carol and I loved each other to the same degree that Jim and Della did.

Earlier, I said that that I thought that “The Gift of the Magi” was a far greater Christmas story than the story in Luke 2.  How so?  During this season, for some bizarre reason, our focus is on each other and our love for each other.  We want to care about and do for those who are the most precious people on earth to us.  Sometimes even old grudges are swept away and relationships restored.  Like the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, not because of some baby born somewhere – if that event really happened – but because the thought of “peace on earth, good will toward men” actually does hold sway to some degree.

If the truth be known, towns and cities are filled with copies of Jim and Della Young – people who truly love each other to the point of sacrificing for them.  These sacrifices need not be monetary or even of one’s most prized possessions.  The sacrifices can be of time, such as helping someone in a store reach for something or helping a person who has fallen on the ice.  They can be spiritual in understanding and accepting someone who doesn’t believe as you do.  It can be one’s pride, such as realizing that no political position is worth sacrificing a friendship or relationship that has existed for decades.  As O Henry says, of those who give gifts, those who give the gifts that I have mentioned are the wisest people.  They are the Magi.

Seasons Greetings, and may each of you have a blessed holiday season.

Bill

 

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

The Forgotten Man

The Forgotten Man

Hello, everyone.

I live in Western Colorado,  and I get BYUTV on my cable system.  There is one program that I never miss, and that is “Music and the Spoken Word,” which features the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  A very gifted speaker named Lloyd Newell always gives a meditation during the program.   This program is in effect my church.  There is no “praise music,” or preachers ranting and belching about “Jesus” or “The Blood” or “the Cross.”  It is just high-quality music and a meditation by a guy who could just as easily be sitting across the table from me, talking in a normal, friendly voice.

On yesterday’s (10/30) program, Lloyd gave a meditation titled “The Promise of Better Days.  Here it is:

“Maynard Dixon, a prolific artist from the previous century, is best known for his vibrant paintings of the American West. He spent much of his life roaming the western United States, which he loved so much, capturing on canvas images of the peoples and places he saw. But during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Dixon’s artistic focus changed: he painted a series of images depicting striking and displaced workers. One of those paintings, Forgotten Man, captured the poignant feelings of so many people during that time.

“A man sits on the curb with his head down and his back against a wall of anonymous legs. The people behind him seem to pass by quickly—they are engaged in life, purposeful, going somewhere. But this person, this forgotten man, sits unseen, cast aside and ignored by those around him. He seems dejected, worn out, exhausted with life.

“Maynard Dixon’s painting has a certain timelessness about it. Who has not felt lonely or forgotten at times? At times it seems like everyone else is moving forward, productive and successful. Meanwhile, we may feel that the world is passing us by—that we are forgotten.

“At such times, it’s helpful to remember that no matter how we are treated by others, we are never forgotten by God. He has placed good things in our lives that can brighten our outlook if we will only seek them. He has sent us here with a purpose—to bring goodness to our little part of the world. We can start by realizing that we aren’t the only ones who may feel forgotten. We can notice the unnoticed. We can strive to do something each day—perhaps some little thing—that helps lift someone who is down. We can do our part to help ensure that there are no forgotten men or forgotten women.

“If we can do this, the seed of hope will begin to take root and grow in our heart. Most often, it won’t be a quick or dramatic change, but in small and simple ways, the light of hope and the promise of better days will come.

“-Lloyd D. Newell”

When I listened to this, there was a part that stuck out above the rest.  Here are those 2 paragraphs:

“A man sits on the curb with his head down and his back against a wall of anonymous legs. The people behind him seem to pass by quickly—they are engaged in life, purposeful, going somewhere. But this person, this forgotten man, sits unseen, cast aside and ignored by those around him. He seems dejected, worn out, exhausted with life.

”Maynard Dixon’s painting has a certain timelessness about it. Who has not felt lonely or forgotten at times? At times it seems like everyone else is moving forward, productive and successful. Meanwhile, we may feel that the world is passing us by—that we are forgotten. “

What Lloyd Newell says is true; we all feel neglected and forgotten at times.  That is just human nature.  But what is sad is that there is a lot of truth behind those feelings.  A lot of us ARE forgotten.  That is especially true of us seniors or someone who has lost a spouse.  One unforgettable episode of the program “Little House on the Prairie” involves a woman who is so desperate to see her own children that she fakes her own funeral to get them to come home.

And in real life, when one loses a spouse, the spouse’s family quite often treats the widow or widower as though he or she does not exist.  People whom one was once so close to no longer want anything to do with them.  That happened to my mother when my stepfather died, and it happened to me also when my late wife Carol died.

It isn’t just individuals who are that way.  Nations are as well.  This country has day after day after day throughout the year when the veterans and service people are honored.  But what about those who couldn’t serve because of physical problems?  What about the civilians who kept the home fires burning and the nation humming while the guys and girls went off to war?  Don’t those people count in the nation’s estimation?  Apparently not, because there is no recognition of them or honoring them in the nation’s year.

Several years ago, one of the phone companies had an unforgettable commercial.  In it, an older guy was talking about his boyhood friend and how the other boy’s mother called them “Pete and repeat” and how he was godfather to his friend’s daughter.  He apparently hadn’t talked to his friend in years.  The commercial went on, and at the end, it showed the old guy on the phone, laughing and talking.  He had apparently reconnected with his boyhood friend.

This happens all the time.  As we live our lives, our significant others change and the once significant ones are exchanged for the current ones.  There is one thing that Facebook has done that is totally worthy, and that is that it has made it possible to reconnect with the once-significant people in our lives. In my case, I have gotten rejoined with several members of my high-school class, and I even got rejoined with a former student of mine whom I loved deeply when she was in my classes.  I also have been able to be joined with some very dear cousins whom I love dearly.

But relationships can go south, and we can be forgotten once again.  At one time, I was a raging Liberal firebrand.  My ex-student got rejoined at this time, and she was a raging Liberal also.  Every mail run or every Facebook visit, there would be something from her.  One time, we were in a back-and-forth, and I set up to print the exchange and it ran to 3 pages!  Roxy and I were drinking out of the same glass.

But that all changed when I got home from my month-long trip around and across the country 2 years ago.  I had seen and experienced much, and I was not the same person.  Where I once worshiped Barack Obama, I now vilified him.  I found good, decent, wonderful people, and I could not help loving them.  I went from being a raging Liberal firebrand to being a strong Moderate who leaned Republican, and that switch doomed my friendship with my former student.  She now has little to nothing to do with me, and I am again the forgotten man.

Yes, we all can become The Forgotten Man through no fault of ourselves.  But, as Lloyd Newell said, these times of being forgotten can lead to the promise of better times.  We have to believe that.  We MUST believe it if we want to keep our sanity.

You all have yourselves a great day today.

Bill

 

 

 

 

October 31, 2016 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

No Man Is An Island

No Man Is an Island

No man is an island
No man stands alone
Each man’s joy is joy to me
Each man’s grief is my own

We need one another
So I will defend
Each man as my brother
Each man as my friend

I saw the people gather
I heard the music start
The song that they were singing
Is ringing in my heart

No man is an island
Way out in the blue
We all look to the one above
For our strength to renew


Hello, everyone.

I first heard this song almost 60 years ago in a high-school assembly. I have no idea who wrote it – web pages do not like to give the names of composers and lyricists – but whoever wrote it gets the honor. It is better than anything that I could come up with.

In 1624, English poet John Donne wrote a series of meditations about himself and his suffering from typhus, enteritis, or some other unknown disease. Possibly the best known meditation is Meditation XVIII, which contains the following paragraph:

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the SeaEurope is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.[22] [Donne’s original spelling and punctuation]

I’ll put it in 2016 form:

No man is an Island, entirely of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a Mannor (?) of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

(That was harder than I thought it would be. And I have a Masters in English Education!!)

No Man Is An Island. Think about what Donne is saying. As much as we may want to be individual entities and be all by ourselves, we cannot do so, because that is not the way that society was designed. Each of us was designed to be a cog in that machine called Society. And Society needs each of us to do his part – doctors to treat our physical conditions and diseases; lawyers to guarantee that we get justice; police to enforce the laws and keep us safe; factory workers who make the products that we use; military people to defend the country; pastors and theologians to teach us about God; entreprenneurs to create jobs and invent ways to improve society; farmers to provide our food; millionaires and billionaires to fund the entreprenneurs; scientists to teach us about the physical world and also to invent vaccines and other means to improve our lives; musicians and movie stars to entertain us; and teachers to educate us. Just as we cannot survive on our own, neither can these professions survive alone. Every one of them – and us – is needed for society to survive.

We are in the middle of a presidential race that could determine whether this country survives or not. One of the candidates – Donald Trump – has spoken many times of how we all are in this “America” thing together, and how we need to roll up our sleeves, join hands, and work to make this country great again. Another candidate – Bernie Sanders – says “NO!!” The only people that matter to him are the people in the slums and ghettos who contribute nothing to building this country. He, like all Liberals, have a hatred of the police and the people in the military. He and his party have come nowhere close to seeing the truth in Donne’s paragraph.

Fifty years ago, Simon & Garfunkel had a hit song that was the total antithesis to Donne’s words. The song was “I Am A Rock” by Paul Simon, and here are the last half of the second verse and the entirety of the fourth verse:

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
. . . .
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have news for you. For a lot of years, this song was my anthem. It stated my philosophy of life to a T. I was hurt so many times by women that I had decided that I never wanted a woman in my life, kind of like Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady.” I avoided people as much as I could because I simply could not handle any more pain or ridicule because of my physical handicap.

Then I met my Ginny, and she dragged me back into society. We married, only to have her die after too short a time. I then met and married Carol, who had the hobby of telling me what a wonderful guy I was. We had 20 incredible years together and then I lost her also.

Those two dear ladies showed me that I belonged in society and that society needed my little cog to run smoothly.

I am no longer a rock or an island. I have essentially learned the lesson that John Donne had to teach. I admit that I have some rough edges. I am not a Christian, so the Christians want nothing to do with me. I support Donald Trump, so a lot of Republicans don’t like me. I definitely have conservative ideas, so my former Liberal friends want nothing to do with me. But I am fine with all of that. I am a “clod of Europe,” as Donne would put it. I am ME! And I am doing my very little bit to not only help the machine of Society run smoothly, but also to help Donald Trump make this country great once again.

Thank you for bearing with me in this diary. May each of you have a great day tomorrow.

Bill

February 28, 2016 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Music, Politics, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

Thank God It’s Over!

Thank God It’s Over!

Hello, everyone.

I love music!!  My grandfather helped me develop and grow a love for classical music.  I love the oldies from the 60s because they take me back to my college days and the early years of my brief teaching career.  I was involved in church music for around 50 years, and I sang and played some wonderful church music.  I also sang and played some sheer doggerel as well, but that is another story.

But there is one song that I absolutely hate, despise, detest, and abhor.  It is the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  Every time I hear Andy Williams croaking that song, I want to take a 12-gauge shotgun and a dozen rounds of buckshot and blow him and the idiot who wrote that song to kingdom come.  I like Andy Williams – he also is from Iowa – but I hate and despise that song!!!!

The reason that I feel that way is quite simple.  That song is a lie.  The Christmas season is NOT the “most wonderful time of the year” for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.  Given the crass commercialism of Christmas in this country, people grieve because they cannot afford to give gifts to those whom they love.  Also because of that commercialism, people expect the moon when it comes to presents.  Poor people have to choose whether to pay for food, pay the heating bill, or pay the rent with the little pittance that they have.  And hardest, of all, some people have lost loved ones and had awful things happen to them during the Christmas season.  I am one of the latter.

“The most wonderful time of the year?”  Not by a long shot!!

It can be the loneliest time of the year.  One day when I was doing my laundry, in my going back and forth from my apartment to the laundry room, I passed an apartment down the hall on the way to the elevator.  There was a sign on the door that said, “Who cares?  No one.  Not a single person.  Life is hell.”  I decided that the social worker in our building needed to know about that note, so I told her.  She then went to visit the guy and talk to him.  The next day, the sign was gone, so maybe she and I did some good.

But I can identify with that guy.  And so can tons of others.  I lost my beloved wife on December 16, 2007.  Like my neighbor, I know how it feels to be left out of the celebrations.  People don‘t want to have much, if anything, to do with you if you don’t feel like whooping it up.  Or they are too occupied with Santa Claus or the Baby Jesus to have room for anything or anyone else in their hearts.  Or they are wrapped up in their own circles and don’t have the room – or the desire – in their hearts to broaden those circles.  “The most wonderful time of the year” is a long ways from being that for a lot of people.

Like I said earlier, I am one of those people who have had nasty stuff happen to them during the Holiday Season.  I won’t list the litany, but I will mention three:  My first serious girlfriend and I broke up on December 13, 1963.  My first wife was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma on December 21, 1981.  I lost my beloved Carol on December 16, 2007.  A lot of others have had their significant blows as well.  So we cannot be condemned for feeling a deep sense of relief when “the most wonderful time of the year” is finally over and we have had no major calamities happen to us.

So it is with a deep sense of relief that I can say, “Thank God it’s over!!”  I had no serious events happen in my life this year.  The worse was that I lost my cell phone somewhere here in my apartment, but even that was a blessing.  I got another phone that I love, and a good service provider.  We had a nice Xmas pot luck, which I attended and had a wonderful time.  I had a nice visit at Carol’s brother’s house.  I had a couple of delicious dinners delivered.  Plus I had fun watching videos of Christmas productions I was a part of when we lived out in Atascadero, California.  So all in all, the season was OK.

But I am still glad that the season is over.  I have 11 months to enjoy before it comes around again.  I have no idea what it will bring – whether it is a simple thing like losing my phone or a major whammy like losing a loved one – but I will be prepared for it in any case.

At the end of 1968, I watched Walter Cronkite’s wrapup of the year on CBS.  That was quite a year – the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the catastrophic Democratic Convention in Chicago, the election of Richard Nixon.  All that was atoned for by the Apollo 8 flight around the moon.  Cronkite concluded his broadcast by something like this:  “1968!  It indeed was quite a year.  And somehow, someway, we all managed to survive it!”

The Christmas season is over.  And somehow, someway, by the grace of God and my own determination, I managed to survive it.

May you all have a wonderful and blessed 2016.

Bill

 

January 1, 2016 Posted by | Life, Music, Religion | , , | Leave a comment

“The Devil Made Me Do It”

“The Devil Made Me Do It”

Hello, everyone.

Back in the early 70s, Black comedian Flip Wilson made the phrase “the devil made me do it” a byword in this country.  If anyone needed an alibi for something he said or something he did, he had the perfect one in Wilson’s phrase.  Only God knows how much and for what the devil received the blame.

This phrase crossed my mind the other day, thanks to a Facebook comment I received.  Here is the last sentence of the e-mail:  “With this message I am unfriending you on FaceBook and hope to never hear another word from you again.”

What prompted this outburst?  Did I say anything unkind to him?  Did I smear his family or his reputation?  Did I try to start a flame war with him?  No.  My sin was that in a couple of comments and statuses, I expressed unhappiness with Amtrak and a dissatisfaction with Barak Obama and the job he was doing.

Or consider this.  Back from February, 1972, until June, 1974, I taught at a private Christian boarding high school in Iowa.  Around 2 ½ years ago, I got reconnected with a former student of mine on Facebook.  I liked this girl very much and we were fairly close at the school.  She seemed quite happy that we got reconnected, and we used to do long back-and-forths on Facebook.  But now she has nothing to do with me.  My sin?  I am not a Barak Obama worshiper.  Indeed, we had a rather acrimonious exchange on FB the other day.

This has really eaten at me for the past few days.  No one wants to lose a friend or family member?  What happened to these people?

The answer is not all that difficult.  In September of last year, I took a month-long trip on Amtrak around the country.  I had experiences and saw things that changed my life and my thinking completely.   And I no longer bought the Liberal bill of goods.

I will contrast this with a couple of my cousins.  They are both fine women with fine families.  And they are all Conservatives.  Before my epiphany last September, I was a firebrand Liberal.  I devoured the Crooks & Liars and Daily Kos websites and flooded Facebook with statuses where I posted articles from the sites.  While I was enjoying the friendship of my former student, I was hurting a lot of people who were dear to me.  But my trip saved those relationships, and now I have a relationship with a dear cousin in Texas that I would never allow anything to harm.

Consider both situations – the people who want nothing to do with me because I am not an Obama worshiper, and the people whom I hurt deeply, but still love and accept me because I am family.  Were they acts of free will?  Or to quote Flip Wilson, did “the devil make them do it”?  I would say yes.

To be sure, there are reactions that we have no control over.  Someone who has been in combat will react to sounds like a balloon popping, a car backfiring, or Fourth of July fireworks.  He is reacting out of his experiences.  Some reactions are inborn and we cannot control them.  While some boys carry insects and worms in their pockets, I loathed and detested them and wanted nothing to do with them, and I still feel that way.  People hate alcohol because they know of the harm that it can do to people and families.  And still others hate loud noises and react accordingly.  I was that way as a child, and I still am.

But there are other reactions that we CAN control.  Those are the ones that “the devil makes us do.”  My cousins could have disowned me, and now I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had.  But my cousin Nikki in particular has been most gracious.  She has never held all of my “before” actions against me, so far as I know, and she has welcomed me into her home, and even introduced me to some wonderful people who accept me, warts and all.  This was an act of will on her part and “the devil” – in her case, God – “made” her do it.

As for the Obama worshipers who no longer want anything to do with me, that also is an act of will, and “the devil” is making them do it.  One of the lubricants that make the machine of human relationships run smoothly is that of agreeing to disagree.  This concept does not declare that someone is right and the other person is wrong; it simply means that two people can disagree on a particular point, but that that disagreement is not great enough to rupture the relationship.  Or it means that the relationship is so important to the two people involved that no disagreement or anything else is going to be allowed to destroy that relationship.

In my exchange with my former student yesterday, a couple of times I made the statement that Barak Obama is not worth destroying a friendship over.  She never responded to that, either time.  Thus, I am beginning to deal with the fact that the relationship and friendship are both gone.  If so, that is an act of will on her part, and she is to be pitied because her world does not allow any dissention from the party line.  All of us are like that, to a degree, but most of us think that there are other things that matter more, and we are able to exercise our will to not let something that is important to us be damaged or destroyed by inconsequentials.

So yes, “the devil made me do it.”  And that can work for both good and bad.

Have yourselves a great day today.

Bill

 

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion | | Leave a comment

I Have Returned

I Have Returned

Hello, everyone.

In the course of my statuses on Facebook, I have shared about my attempts to have dialog with atheists, only to discover that they were incapable of sensible, rational, civil discourse.  I thought that I could throw out my belief in a supreme God and be just like them.  I found out just how wrong I was.

This morning, I read a tremendous article on my FB wall that was so tremendous, and described me so fully, that I archived that article and felt moved to do this diary.  Here is the URL to the article:

https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/former-atheist-a-n-wilson-returns-to-christianity/

Reading that article brought back to mind a song that I heard Kenneth Copeland sing many times.  It was the song “I Have Returned” by Marijohn Wilkin back in the early 70s.  Here is the URL for the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4H4AL2NHVU

I have no idea what inspired Marijohn to write the song, but I think that it is possible that she passed through some dark night of the soul when she lost faith in everything, including faith itself.  But in any event, she recovered her faith and felt led to share her experience through her song.  Thank you VERY MUCH, Marijohn Wilkin.  More people have traveled your road than you realize.

This was actually my second such trip.  Back in the 80s, I made my first trip down this road when my first wife died.  At the time, I was filling my brain with stuff from Trinity Broadcasting Network, and that network drove me from my belief in God.  I was angry with God for taking my first wife, at the very same time that TBN was teaching me that I could have whatever I wanted, thanks to “Jesus.”  They quoted “Jesus’s” promises to give us whatever we ask for, with no conditions, no qualifiers, no if’s, and’s, or but’s.  I could not reconcile those verses, or TBN’s teachings, with my life experiences and my loss of my beloved wife.  That stupid network was destroying me.

But one night, on “The John Ankerberg Show,” I watched a man named Dave Hunt explaining how many Charismatic ministries had become corrupt through what was known at that time as “the New Age Movement, and he mentioned TBN specifically.  He had just written a book titled “The Seduction of Christianity,” and Ankenberg had him on to discuss his research.  Not long after that, Jimmy Swaggart had Hunt on a daily Bible study program that he had on TBN.  I of course ordered the book and marked it up royally with underlines and notes.  As a result, Dave Hunt showed me that I was blaming the wrong person.  God wasn’t at fault; the REAL problem was with TBN and the preposterous stuff that they were broadcasting.

My heart was so deeply touched and renewed, that I recalled Kenneth Copeland singing Marijohn’s song and saw how my experience paralleled that of Marijohn’s, and I typed up the lyrics the best that I could recall.  I went back home every year to visit my mother.  She attended the local Open Bible Church, and I would visit and play the piano for them.  One time, I sang “I Have Returned” for them, and ever since, I had to sing the song whenever I visited them when I was home.

That was then.  What about now?  Back in February, for no known reason other than cussed cockiness, I decided that I would try to engage atheists in discussion.  But they were incapable of intelligent, logical, civil discussion.  All they were capable of was beating up on and bullying me.  I pondered this behavior for several weeks, and then I came to the conclusion that they were not capable of civil behavior or friendly discussion because they had no belief in a Supreme Being.  They believed, and acted like, they were above obeying any set of rules.  I made this statement in a forum, and I won’t begin to describe the behavior that then ensued.  That was when I returned to being an unabashed worshiper of God.  I do not believe in “Jesus hrist” for a variety of reasons, but I DO believe in God, which makes me either a Deist, a Unitarian, or possibly both.

As I said, I pondered the uncivilized behaviors of the atheists, and I became totally convinced that it is impossible to behave in a civil manner, or to think in a logical manner, without a belief in a Supreme Being.  This Being, or “God,” if you will, gives us rules by which we are expected to conduct ourselves in thought, word, and deed.  When I joined the Masonic Lodge 50 years ago, I learned as an Entered apprentice and as a Fellowcraft how to conduct myself as a Mason and as a man.  Conducting ourselves in due form was demanded in the lodge, and thus it became a philosophy that I applied to my life – and is still a philosophy that I follow.

So do I regret my attempts of February and March?  Not in the least!  My efforts helped me to regain my sanity.  They also helped me to love and appreciate the good people I have in my life.  Would I do it again?  No, I wouldn’t, knowing what I know now.  I would far rather spend my time in conversation with my good people.  They all have functioning brains.

I have returned!  Thank God!!!

You all have a great day today.

Bill

 

 

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Religion | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Thy Family

Love Thy Family

Hello, everyone.

I know I don’t blog as much as I should.  But when I started this blog, I determined that I would never blog for the sake of blogging.  I would instead blog when I feel that I have something to say.  And I DO have something to say in this diary.

I have always been up front with the fact that I have absolutely no use for the creature known as “Jesus Christ.”  One reason is the lies that he spoke or had attributed to him in Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10, and in assorted other verses in the Gospels.  Those verses deal with the idea of asking “Jesus” for things and receiving them, no conditions, no qualifications, no ifs, ands, or buts.  But there is another reason why I feel contempt for “Jesus” and that is what I want to talk about.

The basic human organization is the family.  God himself said during the creation that it is not good for man to be alone.  Indeed, I believe that God built into us the craving and desire for companionship.  We can achieve that companionship in many ways – on Facebook, on athletic teams, in lodges like the Masons and the Elks, in clubs like book clubs or photography clubs, and so on.  But the primary organ for satisfying that need to belong and be with others is the family.

And “Jesus” had some rather sick ideas about the family.  For instance, in   Matt 10:34-37 he said:

 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;  36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’*   37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

And in Luke 14:26, he says:

6 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

In Matthew 12:46-50, there is an account of “Jesus” renouncing his own family.   This is also recounted in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21.  So out of his mouth, “Jesus” expressed some attitudes about the concept of “family” that were not healthy at best, and absolutely sick at worst.

I mention all this to set a point of reference.  A couple of weeks ago, I made a visit to Taylor, Texas, to visit a cousin of mine.  Her brother from Florida was coming to the area to visit his wife’s son.  Since Jimmy, Nikki, and I were extremely close as kids, and since we are in our 60s and 70s and have had health issues in the past, I made this trip to see them and so the three of us could be together again.

If any of you ever saw the show “Roseanne” starring Roseanne Barr from 20 years ago, you may remember that the opening for each episode featured a scene at the Dan and Roseanne Conner table.  They may be eating or playing a game, but there was always this scene of people sitting around a table talking, laughing, and loving.

Nikki has a table, and just like on “Roseanne,” a lot of socializing goes on around that table.  Nikki’s daughter Sarah and her son Grant and their families came around a lot while I was there, and it was just like when Roseanne’s sister Jackie came for a visit.  And, just like the Conners, there was a lot of eating, talking, game-playing, laughing, and loving going on around Nikki’s table.

While I was there, Sarah’s son Jacob decided to run off because of bullying at school.  But Jacob is a very sharp young boy, and he realized very quickly that he needed help, so he called the police and turned himself in.  A couple of days later, Jacob, his grandfather Jerry, and I were seated at the table talking.  There was no judgmental attitude or speech.  The incident was over, and that  was that.  Purely because that is the way it is in families.  And perhaps THAT is one of the problems that “Jesus” had with families.

I felt badly when Jacob ran off – not just for him, but also for his family.  I love Sarah deeply and I love her husband Clint and their daughter Emily as well, and I hurt for them.  I was so relieved when Jacob was found and returned to his family, not only for their sake, but for mine as well.  Because that is the way it is with families.  You all love each other, come rain or shine, and you are always in the same corner.  With love that deep, it is no wonder that “Jesus” was not cool with the idea of familial love.

So, everyone, please love your families.  Stand together in both good times and bad.  And if any outsider or family member should ever disparage your family or any member of it, rally behind that person or against the disparager and stand united.  Because that is just something that families do.

So to Hell with “Jesus” and his anti-family nonsense!  Embrace that thing which the Supreme God built into you when he created you, and embrace and hold dear those who are closest to you.  Love them for who and what they are, warts and all.  You could be unfortunate and marry into a family that is worse than they are.

Everyone have a great day today and tomorrow.

Bill

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Fair Weather Friends

Fair Weather Friends

Hello, everyone.

This is the holiday Season – the time when we celebrate Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and possibly some others that I am not aware of.  We think about our friends and loved ones and treasure our memories of our past holiday seasons.

Mark Twain, a very funny man and a very wise man as well, once said that there were three kinds of lies:  lies, damned lies, and statistics.  Statistics are lies when our opponents use them to shoot down our arguments.  And we all know what “lies and damned lies” are.

I believe that there are three kinds of friends as well, and I want to elaborate on that idea at this time.

The first kind of friend is the friend who is there when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.  They are there to share the good times and fun with you.  But when the sky clouds up and the sun no longer shines, they make themselves scarce pretty darned quick.

The second kind of friend is the friend who likes you as long as you buy into his bill of goods.  As long as you believe his ideas – the earth being flat, the Bible being absolute truth, and the perpetual sinlessness of the Negro race, for example – he will be your best friend.  But once you challenge any of his ideas and no longer believe as he does, he will be gone very quickly as well.

The third kind of a friend is the forever friend.  This friend not only knows all of your faults and quirks, he accepts them and you and is loyal to the death.

Now, if I may, I am going to apply these thoughts to my personal life.  I will not name names in discussing the first two kinds because these people do not deserve honor or mention.

I discovered the “sunshine friends” when my two wives died.  After my first wife died, I tried to maintain a friendship with one person who I thought was a true friend.  However, this woman had other ideas and threatened to report me to the police if I continued to try to contact her.  She was a rabid Evangelical Christian, so I attributed her behavior to her Christian nuttiness.

I had a second friend whom I had adopted as a little sister.  I did maintain this relationship until well into my second marriage.  Our relationship had its ups and downs; one year, when she asked me to come over for Christmas, she threatened to kill me if I tried to kiss her under the mistletoe.  However, she did change her attitude some time later, and she became a type-three friend.

When my second wife died, I again went through the loss of friends, only this time it was her family.  With Carol gone, I essentially did not amount to anything.  Those people were “sunshine friends” of the first order.

Last September, I took a month-long trip on Amtrak, except for a week or so I spent with a cousin in Texas.  During that trip, I saw and experienced much, and my thinking along certain lines changed.  As a result, I essentially lost a Facebook friendship with someone I had known for over 40 years.

I have not had very many of these “my way or the highway” friends because I avoid these friendships like the plague.  But what such friends I have had were Evangelical Christians or political liberals.  Mainline Christians and conservatives have been decent friends, in that I did not have to believe the same way they did in order to be their friend.

And then there are those loyal friends who are there for you through thick and thin and in between.  When I lost my Ginny – my first wife – I had four such friends whom I referred to as my “Four Catholic Champions.”  I referred to them as such because they were indeed practicing or lapsed Catholics, and also to distinguish them from the Evangelical Protestants who had abandoned me.  I actually took two of them out and had a wonderful evening each time we were together.  I was able to work through losing Ginny because they were comfortable with my calling them and just talking to them.  They took the time to listen.

When Carol and I lived in California, our best friends were Bruce and Barbara Boyles.  When we left and came to Colorado, that friendship continued.  After they moved to Boise, Idaho, that friendship still continued, and continues to this day, 25 years later.

I have two cousins whom I consider to be among my closest friends today.  Jimmy, Nikki, and I were very close when we were kids.  Indeed, Jimmy and I were essentially “Pete and Repeat.”  We never lost that closeness as we grew older, although we never were in real close touch.  Those two kids saw me at my best and worst, and yet they still chose to be good friends.

Back 50 years ago, the Beatles had a hit record with “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”  Money CAN’T buy a person love, but it can buy “friends.”  If the money is flowing like an oil well gusher, a person can have a lot of friends, but when the money dries up and quits flowing, those “friends” dry up and blow away, like the seeds of a dandelion.  How true the old saying is:  When times are good, your friends know who you are; but when times are bad, you know who your friends are.

Back over 60 years ago, I used to listen to a radio program called “The Halls of Ivy,” which was about the trials and triumphs of the president of a small-town college.  It starred the wonderful Ronald Colman and his real-life wife Benita Hume.  On one of the radio episodes, (broadcast, I believe, on June 25, 1952) a group of people sang a song titled “Fair Weather Friends.”  I still remember the opening two phrases of that song.  I have googled to see if it was a legitimate song or something written for the radio program, but I have not been able to find anything on it.  As I remember, the song was about how worthless fair weather friends – Type 1 in my grouping above – really are.  It was a neat song, and it gave me the concept of friends who will abandon you when the going gets a little rough.

Everyone has at least a few of the “forever” friends.  Hang on to them!  Love them!  Nurture them! Treat them as the invaluable treasures that they are.  You will never regret it; I can guarantee you.

Everyone have a wonderful Holiday Season.  Happy Holidays to all.

Bill

 

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment