Friday, September 24, 2021

The Bible's Story: Parts 9 and 10 (Exile and the Prophets)


Continuing a series on the Bible's summary:

 Part 9:  In 587 BC, the Babylonian armies once again marched across the now-destroyed “Northern Kingdom” of Israel, and what was left of the “Southern Kingdom” of Judah, completely looting and leveling everything in their path, including Solomon’s great Temple in Jerusalem.  A vast majority of the Hebrews they encountered where either put to the sword or carried off as slaves into exile in Babylon.  In other words, the Israelites were now enslaved and in exile in what is present-day Iraq.  

Why?  Why did God let this happen?  It could be said that history does indeed repeat itself, especially for those who fail to learn from it.  Recall the great enslavement of the people in Egypt and the great event of the Old Testament: The Exodus from Egypt, where God leads his people out of the chains of slavery into a new land, with the understanding that they were to honor and glorify God and God alone.  Sadly, honoring God rarely happened.

Conditions throughout the kingdoms were horrific.   Morality had crumbled and society was in chaos.  The people by-and-large were morally and spiritually bankrupt as they engaged in open prostitution even within the temple, and filled the temple with shrines to all manner of false gods.  Its leaders were fiscally irresponsible, enslaving their own people and letting greed run as the center of their existence.  Taxation was through the roof.   Leaders only looked out for themselves (this includes the majority of the kings), and were as morally and spiritually bankrupt as the people.  As the end of Judges testifies, people were doing as they saw fit, not as God had commanded them.  God’s Word meant very little in those times.  The laws that Israel had to honor God by honoring their neighbor had long disappeared.  Prosperity had completely ruined them, and as a result, they had forsaken God who had given them this prosperity in the first place.  As a political note: if you change a few names, dates, and place locations, are we describing our own country?

Therefore, because Israel had forsaken God, who had granted them the prosperity they once enjoyed, God now threatened through a small remnant of faithful followers (the prophets) that disaster would fall on them if they did not return to their Lord and God and forsake the many sinful, selfish ways that God deemed destructive to them and the common good.  Warnings were issued for dozens, even hundreds of years, that went unheeded.  

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles essentially retell the story of the kings, but this time for a remnant of God’s people now in exile that would be restored.  If God had something to say before the exile, did God also have something to say even now to those who were in exile?  Was God still interested in them?  The answer is a resounding “yes.”  Israel needed to recall what had gotten them into this new slavery and this new mess in the first place: they themselves did. 

Continuity with the past was perhaps the best way they could prevent the same thing from happening once more.  And of course, during this whole period of time, the prophets - those elusive, sometimes reclusive, often reluctant but faithful messengers of God, were not only warning them of disaster, but also reminding them that God’s covenant with Abraham was not fulfilled yet.  While their “predictions” of disaster did indeed come to be fulfilled, would their words of comfort and encouragement regarding the restoration of Israel and a coming Savior from God also be fulfilled?   

Part 10:  The Kingdom has been destroyed.  Its’ buildings lie in ruins.  The Temple has been leveled.  Its’ people have been carried off into exile in Babylon, and it seems they are right back where they started - in slavery and bondage.  So what happened to God’s promise to Abraham?  Enter the prophets!

There are numerous books of prophesy in the Old Testament.  They are divided into “major” and “minor” prophets.  These correspond largely to the size of the books.  Therefore, the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel are considered “major,” while the majority of the prophets (Hosea through Malachi) are considered “minor.”  Other prophets also existed that do not have their words recorded in the Bible, such as Elijah, who was a prophet of God in the early years of the kings.  Nearly half (17 of 39) books of the Old Testamant are books attributed to these elusive messengers of God.

What is a prophet?  It is someone, called by God, to deliver a message to God’s people.  A prophet’s primary mission for God is not to predict the future, but to deliver the message.  God’s prophets had a universal message that recurred over and over.  It is not unlike the message we saw throughout the history books telling us of the kings: the people had rebelled against and turned away from God, and needed to renew their commitment to the LORD.  Spiritually, the people were terminally sick.  Morally, the people were bankrupt.  Socially, however, things never appeared better, despite the lies, deception, corruption, and greed on a national level.

As God’s messenger, first and foremost, what is often associated with the prophet’s words is a statement such as “thus says the Lord...” (Jeremiah 2:2 and elsewhere).  Though the prophets spoke for God, their message was often ignored.  So how then, one might ask, does a person know if the prophet’s message is for real?  It can be measured on whether or not it conforms to the past history, and on whether or not its message comes true.  

In the case of the Biblical prophets, they really weren’t telling the people anything new that they had not heard before.  If we recall the covenant God made on Mount Sinai (the 10 Commandments), there were certain stipulations that went along with it.  The prophets were simply reminding the people and the leaders of those stipulations, and warning them that the disasters foretold for them disobeying the covenant would take place soon if they did not change their ways (Deut. 27:15-26).

However, the prophets, in addition to warning the people of impending disaster according to the conditions of the Sinai Covenant, also foretold of a “restoration” after disaster hit, that would also be brought about by God.  The “restoration” prophesies all center on a future “Messiah” or “Savior” that was yet to come.  Some of these prophetic words are even affirmed when we read the four Gospels, especially in the Gospel of St. Matthew.  For example, Isaiah 7:14, which says “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son...” is confirmed to be fulfilled in Jesus when we read Matthew 1:23.  So even though the disaster scenario of the Israelites disobeying their part of the covenant was going to happen, God wasn’t done yet, and had additional plans for not only Israel but also the whole world, Isaiah 11:10, 12 and elsewhere.  

Though Israel was God’s chosen, eventually all peoples are chosen by God to live in covenant with Him through the examples both good and bad given us by the Hebrew people.   The foretold Messiah is to be the fulfillment of this future hope.  Today, we know this Messiah as Jesus.

Author's note:  This was originally a series written for a bulletin insert, and is continuing to be adapted as a Confirmation curriculum Bible overview.  The whole series is available by contacting me.  Past blog
installments can be found here:

Part 1

Parts 2 and 3

Part 4

Parts 5 and 6

Parts 7 and 8

Saturday, June 12, 2021

No Excuses



"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Romans 1:20

Trail Log:  March 18, 1990

 It has been nearly two years since the odyssey on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) began.  Much of it, especially those “not so good” times, has been forgotten or stored in the collective unconsciousness, anyway.  Over the past year I have reflected much on that journey, wishing how I were back there and how I wish I had done a lot of things differently.  Isn’t that the story of life??  Looking back on the past, remembering with fondness those things of yesteryear, yet wishing somehow there was a way to recapture those days and relive them, perhaps changing a few things along the way?  Much has happened in the 1 ½ years since the last day on the PCT.  I am finishing my thesis, I have worked as an emergency dispatcher - a job come and gone, that was a good experience.  And now, I live in Palo Alto California, working as a geologist specializing in earthquakes, and still looking for the perfect girl for me.  Some things never change, I guess!

And yet, all of that pales in comparison to this moment.  Here I sit at approximately 7850' in elevation, surrounded by snow on a glorious March morning in the looming presence of Half-Dome.  Stretched out in front of me are the peaks of the Ritter Range, and the head of Yosemite Valley.  The Ritter Range - alas!  I can think back just by looking out at Banner peak and seeing through the mountain to the other side - hiking past Thousand Island Lake, with Banner Peak towering over both the lake and I.  The ever present breeze here is the voice of God, calling me back to my roots.  The woodpeckers are out; their task of searching for food in the bark of the Jeffrey Pines never complete.

It is a glorious view, and my presence here feels natural - I belong here.  Recharged now, I can return to the city.  Yet I do not want to return.  Not return?  To a place where I am an important and integral part of human expansion?  Why would I not want to leave a place where I feel so insignificant in the shadow of such worthy grandeur?  Because I belong here.  Yet, I sigh with reluctance because I know that I must return, for now anyway.  This is a harsh and hostile land, despite that God blessed me with some beautiful winter weather this weekend.  Yet, the very nature of this place prevented me from reaching my destination - the almighty summit of Half Dome.  2/3 the way up quarter dome, I gave up because the snow was getting too deep and slushy.  I had lost the trail long ago - but kept at the task regardless.  I am humbled by that towering monolith, yet I do not regret that loss.  I still have an impressive climb behind me; one that has left me with a tremendous view of the Sierra high country.  My first winter experience is nearly over: My first real hike in a year and a half.  (I was prepared this time: lots of warm clothes, a warmer bag, and snow shoes).

Right now, there is a slight breeze, and the stillness coupled with the rustling of the pines and cedars gives me an aching longing to be back here for a great length of time.  My heart aches tremendously to be able to soak everything about this place up and keep them all: the crisp, clear march air, the towering snow-clad spires of granite, the breeze, the rustling of the pines, the birds chirping, the views, the very essence of this place - the Incomparable Valley.  I feel like through all of these things, I am staring in awe face to face with God.

And I see now why man was removed from Eden.  He can’t fit in.  His own sin got him expelled by God, in part because he is not God, and as such, can never in this life truly be completely immersed in the presence of God.  That is the definition of heaven, and this world, though grand in its beauty, is not heaven.    We can accomplish great things with the help and aid of God, but in the end, it can never ultimately be about us, because in the end, we destroy and demolish Eden, and it can destroy and demolish us.  The beauty of our natural world - God's creation - is about as close as we can ever get to Eden, and in itself pales to comparison with the paradise of Eden.  God's creation is both beautiful and terrifying.  One little slip anywhere could destroy life itself - we certainly cannot survive here without significant aid.

------------------------------

A later addendum to this trail log:  These observations seemed so poignant re-reading them, and like so many things in life, much of what was said here was forgotten, or ignored - either accidentally or intentionally (or a bit of both) - in the years between then and now.  A couple of constants to ponder as I reflect back here in the heartland of America:  I miss those days still, longing for more but knowing that my age and life circumstances mean they are over, and nostalgia aside, accept that willingly.  The second is that all of these experiences - THIS log from a weekend trip in March of 1990, another trip in April where I summited Half Dome for a second time AND had the entire dome to myself all night long, along with extending that hike to the summit of Cloud's Rest to the east, all led eventually to my life vocation of being a minister and ambassador of God's Holy Word.  Not just an ambassador, but one who recognizes the extreme importance and truth in all of it - fed in part by seeing the creative hand of God first hand on this trip, and many others.  The mountains may always be calling me.   But in that calling, it is only to feel insignificant in the presence of God's sheer creative power - to get but a glimpse of God - highly incomplete that it may be - in what He has made.  It is the essence of Romans 1:20.

Yes, the original post before the "addendum" is my actual trail log from that winter trek into the Yosemite backcountry.



Monday, May 31, 2021

A Memorial Day Remembrance

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne , France . A total of 2289 of our military dead.


2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes , Belgium . A total of 5329 of our military dead.


3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France . A total of 4410 of our military dead.


4. Brookwood , England American Cemetery. A total of 468 of our military dead.


5. Cambridge , England . 3812 of our military dead.


6. Epinal , France American Cemetery. A total of 5525 of our military dead.


7. Flanders Field , Belgium . A total of 368 of our military dead.


8. Florence , Italy . A total of 4402 of our military dead.


9. Henri-Chapelle , Belgium . A total of 7992 of our military dead.


10. Lorraine , France . A total of 10,489 of our military dead.


11. Luxembourg , Luxembourg . A total of 5076 of our military dead.


12. Meuse-Argonne. A total of 14246 of our military dead.


13. Netherlands , Netherlands . A total of 8301 of our military dead.


14. Normandy , France . A total of 9387 of our military dead.


15. Oise-Aisne , France . A total of 6012 of our military dead.


16. Rhone , France . A total of 861 of our military dead.


17. Sicily , Italy . A total of 7861 of our military dead.


18. Somme , France . A total of 1844 of our military dead.


19. St. Mihiel , France . A total of 4153 of our military dead.


20. Suresnes , France . a total of 1541 of our military dead.




IF I ADDED CORRECTLY, THE COUNT IS 104,366 of our military dead.

This does not even count those who were buried on our own shores.

Apologize to no one.

"The nation that forgets it's defenders will itself be forgotten." - President Calvin Coolidge


Friday, April 30, 2021

Division

 


These are some random thoughts on this sunny last day of April.  Yesterday, I saw a post that argued against the labeling of soap dispensers as racist.  You mean to tell me that someone out there has actually postulated that bathroom soap dispensers are racist?  Yes, you know?  Those automatic soap dispensers that hang on bathroom walls - often found at gas stations, truck stops and rest areas?  You know, the kind that have motion sensors in them to dispense a small amount of soap hands-free?  Well, they are apparently racist because they don't sense the color of a person's skin (seems like that would make them NOT racist to me...) and because they cause a black person to expose the lightest portion of their skin - their palm - to the dispenser.  (Uh, it'll work just the same on the back of your hand, your foot, your leg, your arm, your jacket sleeve...)  Just when I thought the world couldn't get any more stupid, and I'm proven wrong, again.  I actually thought that the Portland Oregon school district debating whether or not trees were racist was the dumbest thing ever.  (yeah, in the state that has a TREE on their license plate - THAT Portland) This one tops that.  As the point of the video denouncing this lunacy so aptly states, if you think in racist terms, you'll see racism in everything.  Apply that more broadly:  If all you do is focus on hate (or fill in the blank), all you'll ever do is see everything through a hate-filled lens.  It seems today that Dr. King's dream has died a slow, asphyxiating death, because we have an entire party (yes, the Democratic party) that can't see beyond the color of a person's skin, and refuses to judge anyone on the content of their character.

    Today, we have no end of terms thrown around by the liberal media and the Democratic party such as "white privilege," "systemic racism," "critical race theory," and so on.  But here's the problem as I see it with these terms, and it's twofold.  One:  I was raised in a typical midwestern middle class family (you'll note that I didn't identify it as "white.").  My parents never taught me to judge anyone by their external appearance.  Just the opposite, in fact.  Nor did I learn (in a well-integrated school system, by the way), that a person's skin color mattered in the slightest when it came to how we interact and judge one another.  I'm also not alone.  It was purely natural to then head to college and see the same kinds of things play out there.  The only time I would judge anyone on our track team:  white, black, or Jewish, was on how well we all ran and how well we functioned together as a team.  As a sophomore, in the 4x400 relay, I was exchanging the baton with a teammate who happened to be black.  We dropped the baton on the exchange (the only time I can recall that ever happening).  It had nothing to do with skin color between us.  It had everything to do with my exhaustion and inability to place the baton squarely in his hand.  But there were also some unusual changes in college now too.  Now, we had such things as the "black student union," along with various "minorities-only" groups, activities,  and fraternities.   At the time, I began to learn that these were ok because we were all still racist.  That came as a surprise to me, even though yes, racism still exists. Some of those teammates and classmates who just happen to be black have now also - over 35 years later, accused me of being a part of all those terms above.

    Two:  when it comes to college, I never got any kind of "privilege" with being white.  In fact, I'm still paying off refinanced student loans 35 years later.  I'm not alone in this.  I don't know anyone who happens to be Caucasian who's had an easy time of life all because of their skin color.  Just the opposite in fact.  Additionally, the only ones who happen to be white and are screaming "racism," "white privilege," etc. are the rich, Hollywood and political  (Caucasian) elite who have gained their fame and fortune at the expense of the rest of us - all skin colors included in "us."  And that, my friends, is a whole different issue.  Here's a good summary of how I see it - coming from a post I made recently on Parler:  "For sale: one mint condition 'white privilege card.' It has never been used, not even once. The reason I'm selling, is because it has never done a damn thing for me. No free college, no free food, no free housing, no free anything. I actually had to go to work everyday of my life while paying a boatload of taxes to carry those who chose not to work. If you're interested, I prefer cash but would be willing to do an even trade for a race card which seems much more widely accepted and comes with multiple benefits, if you fit the profile. Serious inquiries only!"

In light of all this, what I've come to learn is that while racism does still exist, a cursory glance at history (our own recent history) certainly shows that it is nowhere near the levels it was back in the contentious '60's.  I've learned that yes, the death of minorities at the hands of police is tragic, and in at least one recent case, should not have happened.  Officer Chauvin's humanity and empathy should have kicked in and George Floyd should not have died.  I've learned that the media and the aforementioned political party routinely lies to us (lying by omission of facts and truth) surrounding racism, as more Caucasians are killed by police each year than African Americans.  I've also learned (well, I already knew this) that if you don't want to get shot by the police, cooperate with them.  In fact, whether fearing such things or not, we are to respect authority, including the police.  Above all, I've learned that the biggest racists in America today are the ones who themselves are crying "racism" and they come in all genders and colors.  Today's "cancel culture," "woke mentality," and "virtue signaling" is accomplishing nothing but throwing gasoline on the fires of an already divided nation, that has divided only because the Democratic party and the mainstream media tells us we should be divided.

Has America made mistakes in it's history?  Of course.  But let's see them for what they are, and let's also recognize the extreme sacrifice in blood to correct those past mistakes, all for the sake of liberty and freedom.  And therein lies the rub.  history shows that the world is bloody - especially when it comes to being horribly divided.  That lesson is even in our own history, and it is most evident, oddly enough, in the issue of race and slavery.  Our own Civil War was the bloodiest and costliest in American lives in the history of this country's wars.  And with liberals and the media dividing us again, I fear that another Civil War is inevitable.  Too many people have had enough of this extreme radical view of America and the world, and are tired of the race-baiting, divisive politics that are rapidly destroying this country.  It's time to move past the destructive "identity politics" so adeptly utilized by American liberals, and get back to being "One Nation Under God" once again.

But what do I know?  I'm just a white middle class male, so any position I have is automatically wrong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Was it Worth It? (Reprinted)


Not my words, but I wholeheartedly agree with the argument behind it.  Liberals have destroyed this country and have shredded the constitution, all for personal power and gain.  Original article link at the end.

By: Judd Garrett
Objectivity is the Objective

January 17, 2021

The National Guard, the FBI, the CIA are being sent to the Capitals in all 50 states, and there’s going to be over ten thousand National Guardsmen at the inauguration on Wednesday. The question is, why now? We experienced seven straight months of riots in our major cities, the death and damage has been well documented, yet Governors and Mayors refused to take action to stop those riots. Why? Why would they refuse to act to protect and defend the citizens of their cities and state? The cities most damaged by the 2020 riots are all Democratically controlled and all refused federal assistance to stop the rioting?
Prior to the January 6 Capital riot, Washington, DC mayor Muriel Bowser wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Army, stating, “to be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment.”
Why would she turn down help from federal law enforcement when she warned about potential violence at the rally? Why? The same reason she turned down federal law enforcement’s help during the riots in DC this summer. She wanted the riots to occur both times.
Like other Democrat Governors and Mayors, if the riots could be blamed on Trump, she didn’t care if her city burned and her citizens were killed. There is video evidence of the DC police opening the doors, stepping aside and allowing the rioters inside the Capital. Who gave that order?
Shortly after the riot ended, Muriel Bowser was on TV, using the riot to justify making DC a state, to expand her office, and her power. Isn’t that convenient? ‘My poor decisions allowed the protest to turn into a riot, causing the death and destruction in my city, so make my city a state, make me more powerful. Reward me for my ineptitude.’ She should have been on TV submitting her resignation for dereliction of duty, and failure to protect her city and her citizens.
The riot at the Capital has been characterized as the greatest threat our country has ever faced, equivalent to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. But when riots were tearing down your cities, breaching your stores, burning down your buildings, the same politicians who were shuddering under their desks on January 6, were fine with people shouting, ‘burn baby burn’ in June, July, and August.
If you haven’t noticed, the Black Lives Matter riots have stopped. Is this an indication that police departments are no longer “systemically racist”? Or are they only racist from June to November of Presidential election years? The BLM protests/riots accomplished nothing substantive for black people. Race relations are not better today than they were 8 months ago. They are worse. Black lives are not better today, they are much worse considering the majority of the stores that were looted and burned to the ground in the inner-cities were owned by black people. The protests/riots greatly benefitted the Democratic party, though. And that was their sole purpose. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted this in November.
Now, the Capital riot is being used to impeach Trump, and shut down the conservative social media site Parler. We are told that the riot was planned on Parler for weeks, and that’s why the site had to be shut down. How inept are our intelligence agencies? Not one agent was monitoring the “insurrection” traffic on Parler so they could alert Muriel Bowser to mobilize the National Guard? This is not unique, they also missed BLM and Antifa planning their riots on Facebook and Twitter for 7 straight months in 2020. In all cases, they either did not have the intelligence, or the intelligence was not heeded by the politicians.
This is the way our politics work these days. In 2017, in one of the few lucid interviews Nancy Pelosi has ever given, she revealed a Democrat demonization tactic called “wrap-up smear.” She said, “You smear somebody, with falsehoods and all the rest, and then you merchandise it. And then you write it, and then they’ll say ‘See? It’s reported in the press that this, this, this and this,’ so they have that validation that the press reported the smear, and then it’s called the ‘wrap-up smear.’ Now I’m going to merchandise the press’s report on the smear that we made.”
This is the person who leads the United States House of Representatives. So, if you wonder why nothing ever gets done, why our problems never get solved, you don’t have to look any further than what she said in that press conference.
In June of 2018, when our economy was humming along very well under Trump’s policies, especially the low unemployment and high wages for minorities, far-left talk show host Bill Maher said, “I'm hoping for it (recession) because I think one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy." So, I’m hoping for misery on the American people so my side gains power. This is evil.
In her recent 60 Minutes interview, Nancy Pelosi admitted to holding up the stimulus for small business for 7 months, solely for political purposes. Their strategy; use the pandemic to destroy the economy, to destroy lives, inflict as much misery on the people, blame Republicans and Trump with their “wrap-up smear” tactic, and win the election.
The Democratic politicians who did nothing to stop the riots which devastated their cities and states also imposed the harshest and most devastating lockdown measures in the country. Interesting, now that Biden is about to take office, and the country must turn around so Biden will get credit, many of the Governors who denied Trump’s calls for re-opening have changed their tune.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo had an epiphany about the devastation of lockdowns recently. He said, “We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy.” He is almost quoting Trump word for word. He knew Trump was right all along, but for months he had the most draconian lockdown policies in America, destroying millions of people's livelihoods and well-being for a political victory. This is criminal.
Chuck Schumer, after months of blocking and stalling needed stimulus, holding legislation hostage to his far-left projects, and only giving $600 of stimulus checks, promises now a quick delivery of new stimulus including $2,000 checks as soon as Biden takes office.
After criticizing President Trump’s push to re-open the country as reckless throughout his campaign, Joe Biden wants to open all schools within 100 days, even though the vaccine will not be widely distributed throughout the country to protect everyone. Is anyone going to blame the Coronavirus deaths that occur after the re-opening on Joe Biden? It’s interesting, most political websites have stopped the death counts, stopped tallying the Covid-19 infections and deaths that were so prominently displayed from March 2020 until November 2020. Are there no more infections? No more deaths? Of course not.
This reminds me of the death counts we would get day-in and day-out during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars under George W. Bush, but amazingly stopped under Barack Obama as if soldiers stopped dying the day he took office. This is why very few people know that more servicemen were killed in Afghanistan under Obama than Bush. Everyone seemed to care about every single casualty of war under Bush, but stopped caring or at least paying attention under Obama.
The exploitation of these crises by the Democrats was solely for political gain. This is what Mr. Potter would do in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, exploit crises to expand and consolidate his power. But it’s worse than Potter. At least Potter was honest in his cruelty. He made it clear he didn’t like the working people and planned on exploiting them. You knew who the devil was. These politicians talk to us like they are George Bailey but treat us like Mr. Potter would. It’s so much more sinister.
They told us they were so concerned about our well-being that we had to give up our rights, be locked in our homes, have our schools and businesses shut down, all for our own good. Yet, simultaneously, they allowed mobs of rioters to roam the streets unfettered, to kill, injure, burn and destroy without doing anything. They do not care about your well-being. They care about their power. And the lockdowns and riots were used solely to help Biden get elected.

Was the carnage worth it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ruling Theory


 

Orwell's "Ministry of Truth," (in his book, "1984"), which eradicated all previous history and re-wrote it to fit the current national situation, is alive and well.  They are known today as "Big Tech," "Social Media Giants," (that would be Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to name the 3 most egregious), and "Mainstream Media."  Oh, I'm sure I could include others in this list as well, but everyone should be disturbed by what is happening.  Even the "Fair and Balanced" Fox News has been highly biased and suppressive of news that didn't fit a certain narrative, lately.  Bottom line?  Finding the truth in anything is near impossible today.  In 2000, Al Gore filed a lawsuit over a recount in 1 state.  Today we are dealing with 6 or 7 states with razor thin margins, and coupled with massive allegations, sworn statements, past statements, and both video and photographic evidence of such fraud, little to no reporting occurs on it, and the current President is (as has happened for 4 years now) accused of being a Nazi, a Klan Leader, and a plethora of other names.  I've even witnessed the degeneration of free thought and speech on Facebook in particular, over both the election and the nature of Covid19.  I've witnessed colleagues who ridicule anyone who even suspects a conspiracy of any kind, and yet the evidence is before us, that should at least be investigated.  It's one thing if you have a strong opinion based on certain facts over an issue.  It's something totally different if you bludgeon and ridicule anyone who holds a contrary point of view, especially if ALSO supported by factual evidence.  Recently, a high school classmate told me that my "logic baffled him," and then proceeded to claim I had said things that were nowhere to be found in what I did say.  Oddly enough, I don't even recall what the "situation" was regarding, but what was clear was that he and I were on opposite sides of the equation.  Rather than try to understand my perspective, it was easier to write off my logic as baffling.  Previous encounters included him telling me that he felt sorry for me if I believed a certain way, hoping I slept well at night because of how racist and bigoted I was, and many more that I've long forgotten.

In 1897, a geologist by the name of TC Chamberlin wrote a paper entitled "The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses."   In it, he outlined the dangers in science of developing a "ruling theory" in which only certain data is considered in support of a theory that is otherwise not supported by other data.  That is exactly what is happening across the boards in the world today, especially as it relates to Covid19.  I likely had it back at the end of December 2019, and for one reason:  All the symptoms manifested itself, including the loss of taste and smell, which, according to the Two Rivers Health Department in central Nebraska, is a very specific symptom to this virus.  But when asked why we are still being told that the virus didn't begin until early March 2020 here in America, I can get no answer.  It is the official party line, and yet not a single official organization called to deal with it will consider any alternative theory that doesn't fit with the official narrative.  Nearly a third of our town had this "unknown respiratory illness" between October 2019 and January 2020, and the town survived.  Intact.  With no lockdown.  No social distancing.  No ridiculous mask mandate.  Nothing.  We are told to "trust the science," but as a former scientist, that is extremely hard to do when all I see in science these days are "ruling theories" that ignore vast amounts of data for the sake of a theory that would not be supported if all that data would be included.  The censorship of anything related to Covid that ran counter to the official CDC and WHO narrative was not only dismissed outright, but was actively censored by the "big three" on social media, and not reported at all on the mainstream media, let alone by the government agencies that were tasked with the health and safety of America and the world.

Fast forward to the days preceding the 2020 general election in America, and the active, blatant censorship of a bombshell story on corruption within the Biden family.  Every effort was made to swing voter sentiment away from the incumbent who vowed to root out corruption in DC, and toward the very subject of this corruption - the Biden family.  They were actively aided by the "swamp" itself, known as the Washington establishment.  Colleagues, friends, and others actively claimed that it was all false, that election fraud was not real, and why?  Because Facebook fact checkers said so.  Enter the Ministry of Truth, that rejects all of the data mentioned above and tells a person what to think.

I for one refuse to support such agencies that suppress the truth any longer, which is why I've gone around recently from limiting Facebook, deleting Twitter, to now deleting Facebook also in the near future.  Watch this clip from Tucker Carlson and you'll get a better sense of where I am coming from.  

Now nowhere do I claim that the "far right" is the actual truth.  Just the opposite, actually.  I believe that the "far right" and "far left" talking points are part of the data set that needs to govern every American's ability to think for themselves and make informed decisions, much the way the founders of this country intended.  And while, as a religious and political conservative, I tend to sympathize more with the right than the left, (I will admit my bias here), I always want to know what ALL the people are saying in order that I might be able to glean the truth from it.  Sadly, we now live in a world where this cannot and does not happen, thanks to the shameless censorship that doesn't fit the ruling theories of the ruling class.  Most people believe the predominance of far left talking points simply because they are told to, without ever actually examining both the content of their words, as well as the consequences should such words and policies ever gain traction or become law.

We live in deeply turbulent and troubled times.  History has shown us time and again that the only answer is in returning to the Lord God, the maker and owner of all things.  That is the solution I offer, and it is one rejected by the majority of the world, and even by many Christians (those who deny the most fundamental tenet of the Christian faith for example:  the resurrection of the son of God).  What does the future hold?  I pray it is that mass return to God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  If it is not that, the world will indeed self destruct, and quickly so.  In the meantime, it will be a world for me that will no longer include Twitter, YouTube, and now Facebook.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Shattered Trust


Oddly enough, as I scroll back through old entries, I discovered that many of my thoughts center on a lack of transparency, deceptiveness, and trust issues with so many things.  The original title of this entry was going to be simply "trust," but I discovered that I had already written one with that title prior.

It will be difficult, and even perhaps impossible to thoroughly present what's on my mind here in the heartland in such a forum.  This could end up being a lengthy entry as a result.  The bottom line is that we are in the midst of a "pandemic."  Now let me state up front that this virus should indeed be taken seriously - JUST as we take other things like influenza seriously.  But in this time of pandemic, we have heard so many lies, conflicting statements, and outright fear mongering that it is no longer prudent to simply trust blindly what our government and the media say.  Let's face it:  no matter what news outlet you watch (I will regularly compare CNN and Fox, along with the occasional network feed), the coverage has been nearly all "virus-virus-virus" for 6 weeks now.  You mean to tell me that there is no other news happening anywhere in the world?  There is, and we'll get to a couple of those in a moment.

Let's simply deal with the government misinformation first.  While it has now been changed, THIS was found on the CDC website on April 1, fully 3 months AFTER we were told of how contagious the virus was when people were asymptomatic:

     "Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
     People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
     Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus,  
     but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

My main regret was in not taking a screen shot of it then, but others can report on the accuracy of this as well, and I questioned it on April 1 on my personal facebook page.  If you recall, back at about the beginning of March, we were told that we needed "two weeks to flatten the curve."  Now, here we are, 2 MONTHS later, and the virus is still on the rise in many parts of the country, including my home state of Nebraska and my home county of Dawson.

The government's expert and task force member, Dr. Fauci, initially projected catastrophic death numbers and infection rates.  This was apparently done using a study that was well documented as being highly flawed.  It was reported on one of the news sites back when the death toll predictions kept getting lowered, but I'm no longer finding  a link to it.  What is now causing a shattering of the trust in what the CDC and the government are doing is the intentional padding of numbers of those who die of other causes, but because they test positive for  COVID19, are being identified as victims of the virus instead.  Even those who have NOT tested positive, but die with viral symptoms are being identified as victims of the virus.  A youtube video of two doctors making just such a claim has now been censored by youtube.  The full video can still be viewed here.  Why censor a member of the medical profession?  Multiple other reports of this happening have also been removed from internet searches, where they appeared last week.   Italy reports that 99% of it's fatalities were already ill with other things.  And yet the mainstream media and the government both continue to push a narrative that the worst is yet to come, despite the growing number of medical professionals who are indeed on the front lines challenging their assertions?  Why would this be, if not to continue to incite fear and panic, and to justify the often draconian measures many states have undertaken which constitute government overreach in the eyes of many.

Because I need to move on to the "other news" that also shows a breach of trust between the American public and the government, I will have to merely mention how this virus has been politicized ON BOTH SIDES.  It is sickening that the virus numbers are being padded to overinflate the mortality rate as if to continue to fuel panic and fear.  That is a sure way to get many Americans to stop trusting you, when the virus becomes more of a political weapon to be wielded, rather than something which the government should be providing assistance in coping with those infected.  I need to briefly touch on how this virus will  have far more damaging effects long term than just the deaths from the virus itself.  It is questionable whether or not these lockdowns are having any real effect.  For comparison, Sweden did absolutely nothing, and the death rate there is no more significant than anywhere else in the world, and there appears to be a herd immunity developing there as a result.  And this is to say little of the apparent government overreach happening in such states as Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kansas, and even here to a lesser degree in Nebraska.  It is worth noting how often the phase "for your safety" comes up in these instances.  Two things come to mind - one is that this is highly insulting to the American public, as if we were incapable of protecting ourselves from danger.  This is in itself a violation of the charters of freedom and what they intend.  It should also be pointed out that the public must exercise due diligence in educating itself - but sadly the very point of this is that it's near impossible to trust most of the sources we have to do just that today.   The second point  is that Jews were routinely told the very same thing -  "für Ihre Sicherheit" (for your safety) as they were rounded up and ultimately exterminated in Nazi Germany.

Now has there been other news, that is largely unreported?  Yes.  Two major stories come to mind, and the first demonstrates the glaring hypocrisy of the mainstream media, and a prime cause of the shattered trust in government and media I'm speaking of.  It is a tale of two candidates:  Brett Kavanaugh (for the SCOTUS - September 2018) and Joe Biden (for POTUS - 2020).  You may recall the firestorm over Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation:  the nonstop media coverage, the very public hearings on the allegation of sexual misconduct from his high school days, and the figurative crucifixion of the man's character, which by all other counts was impeccable. What is fascinating about the CNN timeline just linked is that nowhere does it mention that two of the three allegations were later proven to be demonstrably false, and the remaining accusation had significant holes in it (especially a lack of corroborating witnesses, along with witnesses who contradicted the accuser), which is what prompted his ultimate confirmation.  Yet during the entire process, calls for "believing all women" were constant.

Now fast forward a year and a half, and an accusation has now come out, but against a liberal candidate for President:  Joe Biden.  Are all women still to be believed?  Regarding the aforementioned CNN, this is what they've presented thus far:  Nothing.  In fact, the only network that has provided any coverage of substance at all on this current accusation against Joe Biden (which has far more damaging evidence in support of it than the accusation against Justice Kavanaugh), is Fox.  Is there now a glaring double standard here?  Absolutely.   We've got one party that is galactically hypocritical on it's "moral outrage," while the other party (the party of morals and family values) continues to engage in behavior that is anything but moral or of family values.  This war between the parties plays out on the media daily.  Is it any wonder I believe there is absolutely NO reason to trust those who serve in state and federal government?

Now let's look at a third story that has been breaking, but mostly on the conservative Fox News Channel.  As I've watched other network/cable news outlets, I've seen virtually no reporting on the renewed interest in the case against Michael Flynn, who if you recall, was nominated and briefly held the position of National Security Advisor to President Trump until late 2017 when he was convicted of lying under oath and fired from the position.  Again, fast forward a couple of years, and what we now find is that, like the entire Russian Collusion Hoax, the entire proceeding was a hit job from the beginning, orchestrated by many of the same players in the FBI as the collusion hoax.  Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing, and there are many in this country who suffer from it.

Since when was politics about gaining and preserving power?  Since when was this country founded on people or ideologies coming to power and working to hold it at all costs?  This is the pattern in virtually every failed empire and civilization in history, and it is precisely what the founders hoped to prevent in our democratic republic, with the concepts of "checks and balances," as well as the Electoral College, to prevent a few populated areas from controlling the entire nation.  It is all that I've attempted to outline right here that makes me instantly skeptical of anything spoken of in either the mainstream media or from any number of government agencies.

There was a time when this country's religion, morality, values, and liberty were all headed in the same direction.   Alexis de Toqueville said in the 1830's, "Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country." (excerpt from "Democracy in America")  In this same book, he postulates, "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."  So what was the secret of America's greatness?  A foundation established on the Christian principles of liberty, morality, and virtue.  As this foundation erodes, we see the cause of the shattered trust:  a government that has failed at every level to live up to the principles established at its' founding, and a media that is all too complicit in propping up the shattered shell of a government that no longer carries out it's duties the way in which they were intended.

What is the answer?  Certainly not in propping up these shattered hulks of the remnants of the Constitutional system of governance we have today, both at the state and federal levels.  The foundation has to be rebuilt first.  And that means to recapture the virtue and morality that once guided this great nation long ago under the banner of the Christian religion.  It does not mean becoming a theocracy, but it should be clear that when there are no standards any longer, we are engaged in a free-falling death spiral.  Think about it.  And think about what you can do to rebuild the foundation now lost.

ADDENDUM, May 8, 2020:  Yesterday, the case against Michael Flynn was dropped by the Dept. of Justice. Predictably, the very people who began this witch hunt were up in arms, while those on the other side hailed it as a great victory.  Also predictably, Fox reported on the contents of both the reasons for dismissal and the pages of released documents that contained many of the key players claiming they had no reason to believe in any Russian collusion, while CNN interviewed Andrew McCabe (rather than report on the reasons for dismissal and the content of the documents), who is not only portrayed in these documents as one of the liars-in-chief, but was then allowed to spin and lie about the contents of the documents in question.