Thursday, August 31, 2023

Guest Blogger, Ruth Armstrong, Author, Shares Short Creative Piece - You Are Too Young! ...And A Prayer For Writers...

 

Find Ruth on Facebook!


A creative piece of writing


"You are too young."
"You don’t belong here.” A voice, gravelly and cruel hissed in her ear as she stood at the edge of the crowd.
“Why not?” She asked, confident moments before, now questioning if what he was saying were true.
“You’re a child, what do you know about these things?” He spat, looking her up and down in disgust.
“I was invited.” She said, somewhat sheepishly now, shrinking back.
“Invited? By who!” He threw back his head back and laughed, “Who would invite a child to a place like this?”
She searched the crowds of people gathered in this place where she had been longing to come as far back as she could remember. Sitting on the end of her bed, she’d fall asleep to her father’s many stories of his encounters here. Now here she stood, standing perhaps in the very place her father had, she could almost feel his presence there with her.
He’d pull her duvet up right under her chin, dim her bedside lamp and kiss her on the forehead then he’d ask her which story she would like. She had always asked him to tell her a story of the place she’d become so intrigued by, his weary, heavily lined face would become so animated as he pulled up memories to share with her.
“He did.” She pointed to a familiar face in the midst of the throngs of people, “He invited me.”
“And why would He invite you?” He asked, slinking closer toward her, “Now I know that you are lying.”
Her eyes widened as he drew himself up to full height. The pastel colours of the s
pring day were blurred by the darkness that surrounded him, in grey, darkest of navy and black. She felt as though the breath had been knocked out of her, a heaviness punching her in the square of her chest.
“He asked me to speak.” She said, in barely a whisper, wanting to step back but frozen to the spot.
“You are a liar.” He said and jabbed her hard with a long, gnarly finger.
His face was contorted with a mixture of anger and disgust. He was so close to her that she could smell the stench of what could only be described as rotting flesh so strong that she found herself heaving in his presence.
“You can’t speak if you’re wearing those.” He said, pointing at her shoes, a smirk on his face.
“What’s wrong with my shoes?” She asked, feeling tears coming to her eyes, the back of her neck burning with embarrassment at being so scrutinised.
“Do you see anyone else wearing shoes like that?” He turned to look at the crowds of people, “Well? Do you?” He asked, turning his face back toward her.
She looked at the shoes of the men and women gathered before her, shoes were not something she paid much attention to but now she couldn’t help but look at their feet. It was odd that they all seemed to be wearing the most battered old shoes, some even had the soles half hanging off. Why, she’d bought these shoes especially to come here today, her mother had always told her how important it was to make good first impressions.
“Just go away, leave, before you embarrass yourself any further.” He said, shaking his head.
“I won’t speak then, I’ll just listen?” She suggested hopefully, not wanting to go home without at least spending some time here as she’d been so looking forward to coming.
“This place isn’t suitable for a child, it gets violent you know. Why would He invite you to such a place? If He did, as you say He did, then He doesn’t care much for you, does He?” He said, stroking a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“Please don’t touch me.” She recoiled with a cry, overwhelming feelings of sadness and pain stirring deep within her at his touch.
She wanted nothing more than to just go home, she didn’t want to be here any more. She thought of her father and apologised to him in her heart, she couldn’t possibly match up to a great man like he had been. She didn’t have what it took to stand here and speak like he had so brave and so bold. No, she was but a child, what did she know really, except what her father had taught her? She hadn’t lived, not like these people here with their old, broken shoes that had trod many paths. She hated her new shoes.
She bent down and unbuckled her patent shoes she’d spent all her wages on. She would rather walk barefoot than stick out in this crowd of old timers. How could she have expected to be heard in a place like this, who would listen to what she had to say, why, they would just laugh at her! No, she would come back when she’d worn in her shoes and then they would listen. The man was right, even though she couldn’t bear to hear it. Oh, what had she been thinking?
A hand clamped firmly down on the man’s shoulder, spinning him around and away from her. It was Him, the man who had invited her.
“It is written…” the rescuer said, ‘“Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”’
The man turned back to look at her, his eyes bearing into hers as though he were looking into her very soul. He scowled. She looked into his face and thought how beautiful he would be if he weren’t so unkind, if he smiled. She could see that he must have been a sight to behold once upon a time. Her mother always said that the prettiest of people could be ugly if their heart was bad.
The man yanked his arm away from her rescuer and spat on the ground in front of him a disgusting green bile. He disappeared into the crowd and though he kept turning to look at her, she averted his gaze and looked instead into the face of Him who had saved her.
“Did you invite me?” She asked him nervously, for she had to know.
“I did invite you.” He smiled kindly at her as He handed her a package wrapped in a purple cloth and tied with twine.
“For me?” She asked, surprised.
Nobody really bought her gifts, only her father when he had been alive. Her mother was too poor but she’d been working to have nicer things. It was such a treat to be given something wrapped so beautifully that she almost felt unworthy.
“I need you to go and speak.” He said, bending down to get down to her level. His eyes were brown, like her mother’s.
“I can’t, I don’t have the right shoes.” She said sadly, holding out the shoes she had removed just minutes ago.
“Why don’t you open your gift.” He said, a twinkle in His eye.
She sighed and untied the twine carefully, putting it in her denim jacket pocket for keeps. It would be good to reuse it for a gift for someone else, she thought. She unfolded the purple crepe paper slowly, it crinkled and crisped beneath her fingers as she uncovered the gift He had given to her.
“Old shoes!” She exclaimed, careful to keep hold of the wrapping for she would fold it neatly and save that too.
“These are some of mine.” He said, “They will fit you perfectly. So now, you can speak can’t you?”
“I will, I will!” She said, throwing her arms around Him with joy.
“Can I explain something to you?” He said, drawing Himself away just slightly so that she could see His face.
She nodded, clutching the shoes to her tightly.
“I have walked ancient paths in those shoes that I have given to you today. Though you, in your lifetime have not walked those same paths, when you wear My shoes it is as though you have also. Do you understand?” He asked her softly.
“Yes, I think so.” She replied, her brow furrowed in thought.
“I saw and heard what that man said to you.” He said, His face etched with concern, “He is the liar, not you. I did invite you and you are not too young to speak. Look at the soles of those shoes and tell me what is written there.” He said.
“Power, authority, boldness, wisdom and truth.” She said, turning over the shoes and reading out loud what was engraved there.
“That man waits on this corner to prey on those who come here to speak, like he did to you. To you, he told you that you were too young. To others, he tells them that they are too old. But with my shoes, none of those things matter.”
She nodded, understanding and put the shoes on her feet. He was right, they fit her perfectly.
“I am going to stand right beside you and tell you all I want you to say.” He said, “And if you ever see that man again, all that you need to do is remind him of what I said.”

!!!

You know, of course...Yeah... I'm going to tell you about the latest God Incident--that of finding Ruth Armstrong, someone who I do not know, she doesn't know me, and yet, through the words she wrote and posted the day I happened to go to that site... Well, you get the idea... You know, folks, if we just open our eyes and ears, we will find Him there beside us.

I loved the story, Ruth builds a bit of suspense and mystery, while never really naming any of her characters--did you notice that? She leaves it open so that each of us can place ourselves into the main character...the one who has been chosen to speak for Him... Do you often find that you want to speak out, but stop yourself from doing so? I did, until during this last decade of my life. Just as this little girl finds, she is not to young... I am a reminder that we are never too old to start speaking out our words...and, as the story suggests, He will provide you the words if you just listen...

When I first read the story, I was reminded of the poem or song(s) which tell of when our footsteps sometimes have a another pair alongside of our own, and sometimes not... Remember what comes next?

*
This piece of writing was inspired by a famous place called, ‘Speakers corner’ in England, Great Britain. Though the girl in the story is going to speak, this is true of anyone who expresses the things the Lord has laid on their heart to share in whichever way He leads them to. This can be through; Writing, singing, speaking, dancing, photography and the list goes on.
Speakers’ Corner is located in the North East corner of Hyde Park near Marble Arch tube station. It is the oldest living free speech platform in the world. It is also a traditional place for rallies, protests, and marches to assemble or to end.
Our unique community gathers in Hyde Park every Sunday from about midday till long after dark. Everyone is welcome to join in the debates, discussions. You are permitted to speak anytime during the park's opening hours but as a rule people only speak on Sundays.

So if I may, I'd like to select and share one of the songs that I've often sung that sends God's message to all who will listen...


~~~

I don’t know who needs to hear this but do not give up writing. You have it on your heart to write, so this is what you must do. God does not put something on our hearts unless it is for a reason. The call on our life, our divine purpose, correlates with where our joy is found and what we long to do. Even when we find little success, writer's block, frustration, or an inability to put on paper what is in our heart to write, still write we must.

1. Consistency. Write every day, even if it’s for half an hour. Make writing a habit. The more we write, the better at it we will become. This goes for anything as practice makes perfect.

2. Stay in the Word. Keeping the Word in front of our face means we will never lack inspiration to write, we plug in to pour back out. It also means a better knowledge of the Word which is important when we are writing for Him to accurately represent His character and the truth.

3. Reading. To build our vocabulary and to learn to write more effectively, reading is as important as writing.

4. Encouragement toward others. The Kingdom of God works backwards to the World system. To be lifted up, we must first lift others up. Not only that but as writers we know how easy it is to be discouraged, kindness goes a long way.

Focusing on the Great Commission as opposed to our own success is important. Other people’s writing will reach people we cannot, we want as many to come to the knowledge of Christ as possible therefore we should endeavour to get behind other writers to help achieve this. Encouraging other writers is sowing into the Kingdom of Heaven, so let’s do it.

5. Pray against distractions. Remain conscious of distractions.

When you are writing for God, you will be plied with distractions with the main objective to thwart you in writing the things He has called you to write. Always ask the question, “Is this pulling me away from writing for God or is it encouraging me to continue to do so?” This will give you the answer as to whether it is a distraction or not.

6. Cling to God and cling to writing in all seasons. When there are storms, keep writing. When it’s sunny, keep writing. When there is a blizzard, keep writing. Never, never stop writing. In every season, there is a book in you that others need to read or hear. It is difficult to write when life throws up some curve balls, especially when said curve balls knock the breath out of you. Some of the most powerful pieces of writing has come from men and women who have felt they are at the utter end of themselves. Use your difficult situations and circumstances to create something beautiful, let God give you beauty for your ashes in this way.

7. Pray. Always. I have pinned a prayer to the top of my page that may help you in your journey as a writer. Feel free to use this prayer as it covers everything.

8. Positive affirmations. Remember that your words are powerful, that we eat the fruit of our lips. Tell yourself, “I have been called to write for the Lord. I am a writer for the Kingdom of Heaven. I am (name) an author of the King! Remind your flesh about what God says about you and all He has called you to be, just in case from time to time it forgets ūüėí



I hope this has blessed you today. Please don’t give up.

Ruth

And I thank you, Ruth, for helping to bring His Spirit to Us Today...
Gabbie

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

I Judge No One: A Political Life of Jesus - By David Lloyd Dusenburg - A Review and Beginning of Discussion in Relation to Today's Chaos in America

 

“The state, or rather, the whole world is in such error that it persecutes good and just men—torturing, condemning, and killing them.” 
– Lactantius, Divine Institutes

 










“The just man will have to 
endure the lash—
and finally, 
after every extremity of suffering,
 he will be crucified.” 

– Plato, Republic








Yesterday, I pointed out a personal caveat in reading the book, Donald Trump Is Not My Savior. It was that I believe the Holy Bible was God Inspired but not spe The Word of God. It would appear that, once again, a God Incident has occurred in leading me immediately to a book, I Judge No One: A Political Life of Jesus. You will also recall that in that caveat, I pointed out that when I started reading the Bible upon my baptism at age 13, I quickly realized that I could not understand much of what was being said. At that time, I purchased a number of Bibles in different versions. Finally, I found The Way. That became the book that I used and began to learn more. However, there was never a time when I totally understood what was being said...

And, then, in one book, I got my answer... It is an important statement. One that responded to me about what is happening within Christianity in America.

Let's learn a little about the author...


David Lloyd Dusenbury, MPhil, MPhil, PhD

I am senior fellow at the Danube Institute, visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and current holder of a joint chair at the University of Antwerp.
My newest book, I Judge No One: A Political Life of Jesus (2022), is out now with Hurst in London, Oxford University Press in New York.
I have held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Leuven and Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and visiting professorships at Loyola University Maryland and Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele. I have lectured widely in Europe on topics in philosophy, religion, law, and the history of ideas.
My essays and criticism have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Corriere della Serra, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Affairs, and other cultural and political reviews.

~~~

Dusenburg begins his latest book, I Judge No One, with an extensive literature review which explores how Jesus was written circa the time of His life and death, together with philosophers who were writing during the same time period. From a purely technical standpoint for reading this book as an ebook, I want to point out that, for me, I would have preferred to have the literature review footnoted at the bottom of the pages, so that we could have immediately read what was clarified in the footnote. That is practically impossible to do in standard text in ebook form. 

One of the more interesting for me is the comparative analyses with Socrates and Jesus. From the standpoint of placing Jesus within the world of philosophers as opposed to religious leaders, I was able to read writers speaking related to religion, in particular, without a dogmatic approach of ensuring that what was written "jived" with the Bible or other religious-oriented books. That is not to say, though, that Dusenburg does not have  a specific goal in mind as he reviews these writings and, in particular, in relation to the first four Books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, from the Bible.
This first-century dating is contested, however.16 Mara’s allusion to the fall of Jerusalem and other catastrophes might have been occasioned by the second Judaean revolt of 132 to 135, and not the first revolt of 66 to 73 CE.17 But whether Mara’s Letter is dated to the first or second century, it is a pagan philosophical text, composed in Syriac, in which Jesus’ death seems to be remembered.18 Anticipating Nietzsche by as much as 1,800 years, Mara links the deaths of Socrates and Jesus. Unlike Nietzsche, he sees their deaths as belonging to an august history of philosopher-martyrs. This ancient Syrian philosopher believes that it is culpable human error which led to the executions of Pythagoras, Socrates, and Jesus—and the ruination of the cities that put them to death. Here is the text in question: What else can we say, when wise men are forcibly dragged by the hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is taken captive by slander, and they are oppressed in their intelligence without defence? For what benefit did the Athenians derive from the slaying of Socrates? For they received the retribution for it in the form of famine and plague. Or the people of Samos from the burning of Pythagoras? For in one hour their entire country was covered with sand. Or the Judaeans [from the slaying] of their wise king? For from that very time their sovereignty was taken away. For God rightly exacted retribution on behalf of the wisdom of these three. For the Athenians starved to death, and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy, and the Judaeans, massacred and chased from their kingdom, are scattered through every land. Socrates did not die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor did the wise king, because of the new laws that he gave.19 Mara’s brief meditation on the deaths of Pythagoras, Socrates, and Jesus is ultimately redemptive. For he tells his son that, despite a confusing tradition about Pythagoras’ death-by-fire, the spirit of Pythagorean thought is honoured, in some way, by the great Samian shrine to the goddess Hera. And despite the poisoned cup that killed him, “Socrates did not die”; rather his wisdom lives on in Plato’s dialogues. And despite Jesus’ passing, he is still present in the observance of “the new laws that he gave”. What Mara calls new laws, here, we would now call Syrian Christianity—a rich and long-suffering tradition.20 That Mara’s wise king is Jesus is suggested by his claim that Judaeans were punished after his death, by the destruction of Jerusalem, just as Athenians were punished after Socrates’ death, and so on. There is nothing untoward about this notion of “divine nemesis”, per se.21 In chapter 2, we glimpsed the pagan conviction in Dio of Prusa’s Orations that Socrates’ death is “the cause” of the Athenians’ later misfortunes. Similarly, Josephus tells us that many Judaeans interpreted Herod Antipas’ humiliating defeat in 36 CE, by a Nabatean king, as divine retribution for the murder of John the Baptist.22 The notion that Jerusalem incurs its ruin in 70 CE, by Jesus’ death in the year 30 or so, is rooted in the gospels and many early Christian traditions. It is worth noting, however, that in Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ lament for Jerusalem is not only occasioned by his sense that he will be killed there. Rather, it seems that in Jesus’ mind, his holy city is doomed because “killing the prophets” is a recurring drama in that city. His death belongs to a history of Hebrew prophet-martyrs.23 This must be stressed. For a first- or second-century pagan philosopher such as Mara, ‘killing the philosophers’ is a recurring drama, which crescendos in the gods’ destruction of Mediterranean cities. And for a first-century dissident rabbi such as Jesus, ‘killing the prophets’ is a recurring drama which includes himself, and which calls down God’s judgement on Judaean cities.24 Beyond this, there seems to be a recognizably Syrian physiognomy to Mara’s Jesus. We catch this by glancing at a later text by the dazzling Syrian satirist, Lucian of Samosata...

Still, I want to be clear on my part that I, too, have a goal in reading. That is to move toward some type of rational and logical understanding of what is now occurring within American, and in particular, in relation to that division I see within the Christian faith. 

Hopefully, you, too, might become just as interested as I am; therefore, I'm including the following lengthy video since many of you may not be able to read the book itself...


To Be Continued...

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Donald Trump Is Not My Savior - By Michael Brown, PhD - Review and Discussion

 

About the Author

Michael Brown is a Jewish believer in Jesus (he came to faith in 1971 as a heroin-shooting, LSD-using, hippie rock drummer) and he holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He's written more than 40 books, including wake-up calls to the Church of America, scholarly monographs and commentaries on biblical subjects, a series of volumes on answering Jewish objections to Jesus, and much-discussed books on today's hottest cultural issues. He has spoken throughout America and in more than 30 countries, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show "The Line of Fire." He is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, NC and serves as a visiting or adjunct professor at a number of seminaries. He and his wife Nancy have been married since 1976 and have two wonderful daughters and four incredible grandchildren. His heart beats to see a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution in this generation.

I had starting reading this book several times, but various medical issues always seemed to interrupt and prevent an ongoing analysis--which I very much wanted to do. Now that we are in the midst of the former president again running for the presidency, I felt a more urgent need. In doing so, I want to share three caveats for myself. 

1. Up until I heard those infamous words about "grabbing..." I had little or no interest in following politics. Like many Americans, I had spent all of my life working to earn a living while also studying for possible promotional opportunities. Thus, in reading this book which referenced issues pre-Trump, I did learn from the book, some of which I was able, to some extent, accept what was being said--as he saw it.

2. I had long ago turned from the belief that the Bible was a factual word of God, for a number of reasons. I have always believed in this being a God-inspired set of both historical value as well as a compilation of those direct words from Jesus. It is a well-known fact that there were many documents available to individuals living in those times. And, that, those materials were then reviewed by many, some of which were ultimately included in the Bible that has generally been used for centuries. I had accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 13. I found the Bible hard to understand. But it was not until I learned from a dear friend who was a member of the Catholic Church, that she did not even own a Bible. Instead, at that time, it was the Priest who taught about the book. Since then, there were many issues I have found revelatory and which caused me to become in my own mind, a "doubting thomas..." Indeed, during my more than 50 years being in a protestant church, I can not remember at any time that the issues of our culture were ever addressed. 

3. I had been the last child to a mother of four, when my father was killed in a mine accident. I watched as my mother worked day and night to provide food and shelter to us. It was quite understandable for me, in my opinion, to become a woman who became self-sufficient, and an individual who knew that she could be required to one day also take care of herself, and possibly others. I became interested in women's rights and indeed participated in ways by which women could be sure that they could be self-reliant. There were two instances in this book that I personally found offensive on behalf of women: "I’m not just talking about his silly attacks on Megyn Kelly (blood), Carly Fiorina (face)..."Frankly, Trump's statements, including the two Brown mentions are, in my mind and many others, not just silly attacks! especially coming from a presidential nominee! 

And another omission of relevance to women's religious and personal freedom... While Brown alluded to King David and Bathsheba, I have never heard this discussed by any pastor... Indeed, as we now learn of, for instance,  one Ohio 10-year-old child being raped by a relative, that the republicans refuse to recognize incest as an exception. It seems to me that by claiming that the Bible is fully God's Word, that this tale in itself could easily be construed by men/boys that rape of siblings is quite alright! And that lusting after another's wife, and murdering her husband, is also God's Word. Clearly, at a minimum, Calling the historical references within the Bible as God's Word can be misleading to, especially, new young Christians!


With these caveats about me, the reader, I began to read from an awareness that I, indeed, was a never-Trumper as defined in Dr. Brown's book. It is therefore incumbent upon me to verify upfront, that my analysis of the book, Donald Trump Is Not My Savior, is based upon several basic assumptions. For one, up until everything started to happen, I was not aware that I was anything but a Christian. And I was not aware that I was without religious freedom as the Evangelical Christians claimed. And, you are correct, there is a reference to christians being murdered. However, that is no different, it seems to me, than anybody else being murdered for one reason or another. It certainly did not actually change my religious freedom, rather my life would have been taken. There is little reference to anything else as being the cause for being willing to make a deal with Donald Trump. My thoughts are shared by others including Frank Shaeffer... Son of Francis Shaeffer, for evangelist around the time period of Billy Graham.


It all started when my sister told me that I had to sign up as a republican when I mentioned I wanted to vote. (Note that I had lived in a different state prior to this discussion) I was told that all Christians were republican! NOT! I initially signed up as an Independent, not wanting to be tied to anybody purely for the sake of party. When I saw the continued "Trump Effect," I chose to change to vote in support of the Democratic Party. I have not changed my opinion regarding that decision. Indeed, I found many issues in Brown's narrative about which I could speak knowledgeable. For instance, Brown's assertion that the past president doing the bidding of the Evangelical Christians to put conservative judges on the Supreme Court and other courts was given high praise... Apparently, he had NO problem with the republican party STOPPING Obama from placing now, AG Garland, on the Supreme Court. In fact, it became apparent that republicans routinely tried to hold or stop anything that President Obama tried to get through Congress. Considering that Brown admits that he watches little television and that, in his view, it was biased, it seems to me that the breadth of Dr. Brown's actual knowledge may very well be lacking, and, in turn, detrimental to his book's conclusions.

To create the book that is now titled Donald Trump Is Not My Savior, AND get it published quickly which he felt a need to do, Brown actually took a series of previously written articles, created a front and back to those and added an index of footnotes. Actually, it turned out well and is easily useful. Want to know how Dr. Brown felt about this or that, then check the chapter titles and go directly to that article. You will find, however, that, perhaps, many issues that you may have been concerned about, during the Trump years may not be covered. For instance, While Trump published a book called The Art of the Deal, it was ghostwritten and that man later regretted his taking on this project. It is not known whether that was on purpose or just an attempt to deal with those issues that concerned him most. I will say that Brown has been vocal--indeed very vocal--about his ongoing concern about Trump as president for the nation. He even wrote trying to Trump questioning that Trump said his favorite book was the Bible, yet he, as well as most of the country clearly saw that he didn't even know what the Bible said...

Dr. Brown is an excellent communicator. But he made one basic mistake I've seen before, at least from my review experience--and probably will be seen by many others. Dr. Brown wrote as if we all knew what he was talking about! Let's hope that he really didn't expect us to stop and research the background of all of the "negative" statements for which he provided no justification. So, that, whenever he started to justify his decisions, it was based upon his assumption that surely his readers would feel the same as he. Let me be very specific as Dr. Brown provides a set of apparent concerns or beliefs that are the base foundation for Evangelical Christians.

Dr. Brown points out that one conflict for Evangelical Christians was deciding to accept the bad with the good of Mr. Trump...or... vote for Hillary Clinton. Now, I've never been especially impressed with Hillary. But, let's face it! She's a woman! A woman who would understand what women wanted to have dealt with in the country... I am a woman. I saw that on the day of the inauguration, that thousands and thousands of women went to Washington to protest Trump's selection! There us no doubt in my mind, given the large turnout about the Trump presidency (as well as the massive turmoil now taking place re women's health issues) that women in America, as a majority do not support Trump nor banning abortion.

So expecting us to understand why voting for Trump over Clinton was, certainly, not as inevitable as Dr. Brown thought that it should be... Indeed, for me, this just confirmed a, perhaps, long-time bias by conservatives regarding the role of women in the world. Proven, in my opinion, by the mass of marching women that day.

Taking this a step further. Dr. Brown pointed out that Hillary was Pro-Choice. Conservative Evangelical Christians are not. Nuf said? I think not! I am Pro-Choice, simply because I do not believe that the government, the president, the congress or any other official has the right to decide what a woman does about her body. Their are several religious issues that I would pinpoint. Years ago, the separation of church and state was formally adopted. Indeed, I believe that many immigrants were and are coming to America through the years based upon a desire to have freedom of religion as well as other freedoms. I fail to see why this group of Christians feel that they have already had Religious Freedom, just as all Americans do...as promised and protected by the Constitution.

Could it mean that what is actually being said is that conservatives are prejudiced against anybody who does not support their stated conservative values? We have watched as Donald Trump incited prejudice, hate and violence against anybody and everybody that opposed him...while treating the Evangelical group as special? Is that what this is really about? I will stop and just say that this book will not provide an answer. 
What I do know, having seen what happened personally, heard the foul words and misinformation from Donald Trump, is that the Holy Trinity--God, the Father, Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that lives within me KNOWS that did not support or condone the actions of this man.  Dr. Brown, et.al., refers to a little known Biblical story when God used a little known man in the Bible to do something that was apparently wanted by God. I will quickly say that I believe that people can be chosen to act on His behalf. Indeed, I was involved in, what many would call, a miraculous happening years ago. 

The key difference is that, in my opinion, if republicans and evangelical christians claim that abortion is a sin, then why, or why, does the same group refuse to do anything about REAL MURDERS. Specifically, while some want to say that a child is born at the point of sexual intercourse...then, why and how can this same group refuse to ban guns?!
My personal opinion has not faltered from the first I learned about the pro-choice versus pro-life argument. If Christians really cared--as opposed to using abortion as a political issue--then Christians would be working day and night to stop the murder of already-born children!!! Yet, they do not!

Let's stop there a minute... Freedom means, just that, freedom, right? Democracy means that we have freedom. Even God gave us freedom (our will to decide) Yet, here is one segment of America who wants to have the government restrict that freedom! By stating that they are after--wait for it--Religious Freedom... back to that later...

Moving on to the belief by Evangelical Christians that those who have "chosen" a different sexual orientation must be "controlled" by law, so that, they have no freedom whatsoever. Now, I will quickly point out that some issues need to be addressed and determined. Use of restrooms is one of those items to be considered. Discussion and negotiation does not, however, require that those individuals must lose their freedom to please Evangelical Christians. It has been clear to me, after knowing individuals who call have a different sexual orientation,  that these individuals do not choose to be what they are. Let's face it, why would anybody choose to live a life in which they had been, often, beaten, killed or simply bullied because they had different sexual desires? It has been years since I have evaluated what I did know: God made us in His Image. God has a preordained plan for each of us, though still controlled by our own will. God asks us to love one another not to attempt to change them. If those are not sufficient to ensure that we accept all in His Love, then, merely a final. Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged. We simply do not know God's Mind. Yet, so many attempt to act in hateful ways for those who are different than they are... WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? 

Let's get specific... If you hate somebody so badly that you want to not make a cake for a gay marriage, then that is your problem. As a service business owner, however, it is your responsibility to perform that request or simply to say, sorry I'm not able to do so. It does not make it necessary to have a law preventing those individuals from their basic freedoms...

The United States Bill of Rights - Original First 10

        Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


And that brings us back to one final political requirement. Ensure Evangelical Christians Religious Freedom. Frankly, Dr. Brown's continued reference to this was an amazing and confusing statement to explain why he was voting for Trump. Do we not, under the constitution, already have religious freedom? Do only Evangelical Christians not have religious freedom? Or, is it that nobody else other Evangelical Christians have the right to claim religious freedom? Could it be that as America has grown and prospered as a nation, that those with other beliefs wishing to come to our nation increased because of that same need for religious freedom... And, by desiring the same freedom, have resulted in a democracy that is made up of many different religions, all of whom worship their God, but in a different way. Is this not the basis upon which the United States was built--to provide all who seek it with Religious Freedom...

From where I sit, I learned that God asked us to go out and tell people about his son Jesus... That is our mission. 

He also asked us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

God is Love. God Created Us in His Image...

The only difference is based upon the individual people with whom we are now living as Americans. God calls us to Love, Not Hate... 

We are all, each one of God's Children, entitled to Religious Freedom, Freedom to be the People that God made us to be. Freedom to make mistakes and seek His help and support and guidance. Freedom FROM HATE, DISCRIMINATION, PREJUDICE, AND VIOLENCE AGAINST ANY ONE OF US...

I rest my case...In my opinion, I believe the conservative body of Evangelical Christians, together with the Republican Party, has acted against the Laws of the United States as well as the Laws of God: Specifically, those used to discriminate against all of our neighbors, those that are used to prevent the free will of each of us, and those that speak to judge instead of Love.

Note that it is not my intention to specify all that I found to be undefined, stated prejudicially, or lacking in proof or documentation. That is for possible readers to ascertain. The book serves as an excellent documentary of which I found extremely helpful, in knowing exactly why the Evangelical Christian chose, yes, chose to support Donald J. Trump as president.

As stated earlier, I learned about issues that I have not earlier learned about myself. However, I learned nothing that would, in my opinion, justify choosing Mr. Trump to serve as a United States President.

In fact, here's a final quote from Dr. Brown: "As for transforming the culture, that is the role of the church through the many facets of the gospel." You know, I've been an active church participant for well over 50 years. I have also watched how things have changed for the better--and for the worse during those years. Let me just say one thing, I have never seen or heard of any major attempts on the part of these Evangelical Christians" or the Republican Party, who now want to control our culture and our religious freedoms... We have already seen how that will happen: By changing our history classes to support what white supremacists want to have said. We have already seen that having lost Roe/Wade, that major medical situations are being forced on our doctors, parents and single women, all of who have no less rights than any Evangelical Christian! Or Republican! We have more gun murders (of especially children) than any other country in the world. We ourselves ARE those that are using drugs; otherwise, surely our police could ensure they are gone... (And please don't try to say that we need a WALL) Get real! The only reason drug lords come here is because Americans are using them. And IF THAT EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN GROUP HAS DONE ANYTHING TO STOP IT...IT SURELY HAS NOT BEEN ENOUGH!  Human Trafficking increases; while Evangelicals cry for the unborn and ignore the millions who are abused, hungry, assaulted by incest or raped, given access to drugs and alcohol by parents or others... 

I don't know about you, but having been governed by this MAGA group, I'd like to know exactly what in the world has happened to those who claim to be "christian..." Because Donald Trump Should Never Have Ever Been Supported Politically and I hold the Evangelical Christian group responsible. God Bless the people in America who are now working hard to ensure that the corruption of this group can do no further damage to our nation!

God Bless,

GABixler

I'm now reading I Judge No One: A Political Life of Jesus. So far, I'm finding it both informative and interesting. Want to check out other books about God? Use keywords God, God Incident, Jesus, Agnostic, Christian, Atheist, memoir, to search for books on Book Readers Heaven. 

One thing I've always lived by: God has his own timetable and really doesn't need us to make his decisions for Him. I learned that especially when I read The Late Great Planet Earth back in the 80s I think it was. The author was sure that the second coming was soon and even gave a date. The date passed... as have many others. Then I was reminded when, after I was Baptized with the Holy Spirit, I was told that gifts of the spirit weren't being given these days... Who knew? Especially when He'd already visited with me and shared His Great Encompassing Warmth and Love... And now, right now, He wants us to trust in Him, His Love. Abandon feelings incited of hate, prejudice, anger, violence, and recognize that this has all been disinformation by those seeking political power. Be Alert. Be Careful. Be Aware that even The Supreme Court has come under suspicion of corruption... Do your own research. Read books, but read books from different sides of the issue. Form Your Own Opinion. God Has Given Us Free Will! He has given us His Love. He will Guide you; lean on Him not on Those who do not speak Truth. God's Truth. Listen to News. Sure it may be slanted...but if you're not sure, do some online research and listen to those talking about what is happening right now. I recommend Frank Shaeffer. His inside involvement with the Evangelical Christian group has been a good counterbalance for me, as has been books written by those personally involved in politics during the last 6 years. One think I recommend... find Dino or other Christian videos and listen to them. Allow the calmness to bring you peace and then listen. You just might feel The Holy Spirit pulling you in the right direction for what you need to know... He is The Great I Am. and God Loves us Just as we Are... And, Know that Jesus says I Judge No One. So, why should we?

Monday, August 28, 2023

Robert Sells Works to Help Americans Understand What's True in the Political World...

 

We have heard it ad nauseum: Democrats and Biden have destroyed our energy independence and seriously damaged the oil industry. Donald claimed that President Biden has a “plan to abolish the entire U.S. oil industry”. Sen. John Kennedy accused President Joe Biden of leading “a frontal assault on oil and gas.” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito bemoaned Biden’s “backwards, America-last energy policies.” Per usual, these MAGA Republicans provide no evidence to back their spurious claims.

Here are some pertinent facts for those few Republicans and many Democrats and Independents who rely on facts and logic to make their judgements.
  • US oil output is now projected to rise to an average of 12.8 million barrels per day this year FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. To put this in perspective, that’s about half a million barrels PER DAY more than the prior annual record set in 2019… by Donald. It’s also more oil than any other country on the planet produces. It works out to be a 16% increase since January 2021 when Biden took office from Donald.
In summary, in terms of our energy independence, President Biden has improved it since he took office. In addition to increasing oil production (by 16%!), he has also opened the door for more green energy. Hence, we are far more energy independent than we ever were when the pathological liar, Donald, controlled the White House.


~~~

It’s not just Donald. MAGA Republicans follow his example and often put out false claims as truth. For example, they often use the term “Biden Crime Family”… even though there is no substantiated proof of any crimes. 

Oh, of course, there are the horrible crimes committed by Hunter Biden. After over four years of investigation Weiss, the Republican Donald-appointed attorney to investigate Hunter, found only one crime--Hunter was guilty of fibbing on his income tax. It’s important to point out that many Republicans have also committed that very same crime including Donald. That is the extent of proof for the criminality of the “Biden Crime Family”.

Oh, but MAGA Republicans insist Hunter’s “crimes” MUST be far worse. His nefarious crimes would have been found out if the DOJ had not thwarted the investigation of Hunter Biden. Well, there is no proof of the DOJ restricting Weiss. But… but… but AG Garland refused to make Weiss a special prosecutor. AG Garland testified that Weiss had never asked for such a status. Weiss himself admitted that he was given wide latitude for investigating Hunter.

After the plea deal fell through, Weiss did ask for special prosecutor status so that he could prosecute Hunter in different venues. Well, guess what? The MAGA Republicans are still crying foul. They want a different special prosecutor. Why? Because Weiss has said a number of times that, after 4 years, there simply are no serious crimes committed by Hunter. Well, we can’t have that, can we? Hunter has to be the punching bag of the ultra-right. And, if Weiss can’t do it right, then get an attorney who can. Someone who will scream “Biden Crime Family.”

~~~

While Donald has to explain and, most probably, lie about over 90 indictments, MAGA Republicans keep yammering about the “Biden Crime Family”. So, let’s set the record straight. First, there is nothing illegal about any American getting money from foreign sources. So, just because Hunter Biden got money from Urkrain or China or any country is not evidence of a crime. Nor is having “shell” companies a crime. What would be a crime is a government official gaining money from a foreign source or even American source for services rendered due to his position.

Now, MAGA spouts about $20 million in payments to the "Biden Crime Family"... Comer and other Republicans invoke this figure often. A close reading of the memos, however, finds that only about $7 million can be directly attributed to Biden family members and most of that money went to Hunter. The rest went to business associates of Hunter. There is zero evidence that any of that money went to Joe Biden. Nor is there any evidence that Joe Biden rendered any services for the aforementioned businesses.


So, there is no evidence of any crime. None. Further, there is no evidence that Joe Biden accepted any money from any of Hunter’s enterprises or did any services for any of Hunter’s enterprises. The only fact in all this Hunter Biden Distraction is that Hunter got about $7 million probably taking advantage of his familial connection to Joe Biden. There was no crime.

~~~

Robert Sells, author, writer is an ongoing contributor on Book Readers Heaven... 

Thanks Bob!

Gabbie