This blog is written from a Christian, Bible-based, Christ-honoring perspective. All human life matters, not just black life. Every human life, of every race. Not because they’re black or white, or whatever: that elevates one race above another in importance. And not IF, but SINCE...once born, every person is destined to live forever as either SAVED or LOST, either in HEAVEN or in HELL.
Black lives matter is the favorite mantra of those who complain about police brutality—which is real, if only in isolated instances, and should be nearly non-existent since policemen are trained to use only the force needed to induce compliance. However, when a person stopped by officers runs, he guarantees a chase. If arrested, and fights the officer, he invites a struggle, and that engenders violent confrontations between mortals equally concerned with dominance and survival. And...should drugs or alcohol be involved, the risk becomes exponential for both. And if, in the situation, the officer uses force recklessly or exceeds the force required, he becomes the judge of the person. That makes him accountable to the law. With these rules practiced, incidents of abuse by policemen would be fewer, though still recorded by the ubiquitous cameras present in daily life.
Since all human life matters, it’s incumbent on people of every race to assume responsibility for their own lives. That will have several positive impacts. First, responsibility for begetting new human life will be limited to the marriage relationship, where both fathers and mothers model behavior expected of the child. That will vastly reduce the production of children by serial fornicators, who leave pregnant women to claim welfare for their unborn while they seek cohabitation with new partners.
Second, it will encourage all races to pay the price of getting solid educations in chosen fields. That equips them to claim well-paying business and tech positions. That will reduce black men especially from relying on sports for a livelihood. While professional sports makes a few of them incredibly wealthy, education in chosen fields will bring significantly-compensated careers for many.
Third, maturing in a family with a responsible male leading will provide security and stability for children. When a man leads his family in serving God, disciplines them according to God’s will and punishes them when discipline fails, it reduces to near-extinction the dependence on drugs, alcohol or fornication males of every race will otherwise use to fortify their self-esteem. In learning to serve others the need to satisfy self decreases. Jesus personified service to others, even to degrading himself as a condemned criminal to offer forgiveness of human sin.
Fourth, self-earned incomes will increase the spread of every race into integrated neighborhoods. That essential to peaceful race relations will hasten community efforts to resolve conflicts, and expect armed policemen and national guardsmen only in catastrophes. It will certainly reduce rioting and looting in neighborhoods that profit only a few hooligans while it costs responsible people their hard-earned livelihoods.
I invite comments from those who feel I’ve fairly represented the issues involved. I also invite debate with anyone disagreeing with my perspectives. I ask only to conduct the debate in objective good-will and with the understanding that God’s truth in the Bible is the final authority on all issues.
A January 12, 2020 Parade Magazine featured some of the healthiest places in America to live. They included small-population Breckenridge, Colorado, approximately 5000 people; big-population Minneapolis, Minnesota, approximately 432,000 people; and middle-sized population Charleston, South Carolina, approximately 130,000 people. They even listed five ways people anywhere can increase their life span, including better diets, walking as a habit and living away from sea level to higher elevations.
Longevity...adding a few month or a few years to the average life spans...the siren call of the age. Ignoring the certainty of mortality—the fixation of modern medicine—we seek to keep everyone alive LONGER, even at the expense of a quality-life. Just keep ‘em breathing!
We have become so mired in this world that we CAN’T, not just WON’T, look to the next world. We’re like Simon Peter’s generation, having become so obsessed with, and accustomed to, this world—“the empty way of life handed down from your forefathers” I Peter 1:18—that we don’t find it possible to see up from the rut we’re in, or even think any other way but our rut exists.
Why are we so obsessed with living longer with SO little interest in living eternally? How can we make a good life on earth but disbelieve God can make a PERFECT one in his Heaven? Can we be so spiritually impoverished to believe that?
The American sailor got revenge and, possibly, by having bones in his hands broken, problems with them in daily life. The Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor read a tract written about de Shazer in 1950. He became a Christian and they became good friends, preaching together as Christian missionaries to Japan.
If the sailor had permanent, crippling damage to his hands from beating the Japanese guard, they kept him a prisoner of his hate. Where de Shazer’s forgiveness freed him to leave past issues to focus on future pleasures.
What kind of person will we be? The one remembering slights or offenses and looking for the chance to repay? Or the one who so luxuriates in the pleasure of Christ’s forgiveness he instinctively offers forgiveness he has received? Will we let past mistakes and sins shackle us inside them, or let Christ’s grace free us to be witnesses of his unlimited mercy? Indeed, the message of Jesus from the cross embodies the forgiveness that keeps us from stooping to revenge.
The choice is ours. But...the effectiveness of our Christian witness is determined by our decision to either hang on to what limits us or leave it for what liberates us. And...remember ...the forgiveness of sin others seek from Christ may well be determined by our willingness to forgive them their offenses against us. Fini
Family health issues have interfered. Back to blogging.
The previous blogs emphasized God’s intention to use each disciple’s life as a showcase of his grace. Two living examples from WWII offer what Christians often are and what they can become.
What Christian Too-Often Are: In her book, Three Came Home, Agnes Keith wrote about an American sailor on the ship coming home with other former POW’s and Internees. He had both hands bundled in bandages, gauze and tape. Because, with his bare hands, he had beaten a brutal Japanese guard to death. Incurring his wounds in the process, he wore them as a prize for revenge taken.
But did it make him a more peaceful civilian at home when disputes occurred? Did his assumption of a role God reserves for himself give him a lasting sense of empowerment? And did his satisfaction with retaliation in kind last longer than Mrs. Keith’s willingness to forgive the enemy despite her mistreatment?
What Christians Can Be: Jacob de Shazer served as one of General Doolittle’s Raiders over Tokyo April, 1942. He parachuted into Japanese-held China when his plane ran out of fuel. Captured the next day, he spent 40 months as a POW—brutalized, tortured, starved.
One day, reacting to an inner need, he asked a Japanese guard for a Bible. He had it only three days before they confiscated it. But those three days changed his life. He had been peeling potatoes Sunday, 7 December, 1941 when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. Enraged, he shouted his hatred at the enemy, vowing to get even with them for their perfidious attack.
Yet...when American paratroopers dropped into his prison camp 20 August, 1945, de Shazer had another goal: he would return to Japan as a missionary of Christ’s Gospel. Which he did in 1948 and served 30 years.
Two men experienced heartless treatment from the same source. One got revenge, the other his life mission. One acted from an offended self, the other from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. The one made no change in his tormentors, the other both life and eternal alterations. End Part V
Life can subject us to adversity—the bad news. Christ is able to subject even adversity to his gracious will—the good news. God destines the Gospel message and the disciple’s life to exist in perfect tension, his word inspiring our life. The obedience we render as his messengers automatically impacts our life, with service and faith merging into an indivisible bond.
The best part of Christianity remains its last part, when the Master comes down from Heaven with a Mighty Shout and a Shattering Command, trumpets blasting and angels scattering to gather all the dead and all the changed living.
Until then...the best part of the Christian life is his message incarnated in us. He didn’t make his message great so we could be small; or his message triumphant that we would be conquered. He didn’t make his Gospel pure Gold, than leave us slag heaps from the refinement.
He didn’t make his message FIRE but believers CLINKERS! He didn’t empower his message as Spiritual Renewal projects to leave us Podunks! Jesus didn’t come full of truth and grace to have us living a lie in disgrace.
Indeed, he won’t have us proclaiming his message without actualizing it. Or teaching grace that leaves us spiritually impoverished. He won’t create brilliant teaching but leave his converted disciples unimaginative, unprepossessing saints.
True: Jesus never pours his sacred oil into unclean vessels. Equally true, he always pours precious refined olive oil, not crude oil, into clean vessels. End Part IV
Where Peter Tchaikovsky thought that inner peace couldn’t be FOUND, Jesus offered it as a GIFT when we belong to him. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27.
Why do we fruitlessly seek peace of mind until we find—which never happens—when we can accept it as Christ’s free gift to all believers?
Isaiah 53 tells us that we are healed by Christ’s wounds, encouraged by his sufferings and forgiven by his sacrifice. We’re always confident, then, against temptation since Jesus pulverized Satan. But we’re never, ever, less confident by Christ’s conquest of Satan. We always take Joy from Christ’s Sorrows, but never, ever, take sorrow from his Joy!
Like him, other Bible personalities positively impacted others by first being impacted by GOD: Abraham, Moses, David and Deborah, but four of more. And each one possessing a personal life equal to his belief system. So Paul could say to the Corinthians, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1. And to the Philippians, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice” 4:9. That’s called life and doctrine in equilibrium!
It’s possible that Frank Lloyd Wright had been scarred for life by having his wife and her two children hacked to death by a shingling ax, their bodies incinerated by the killer’s arson. While Paul could have claimed being scarred by all the grief he encountered serving Jesus...he wasn’t. For...beyond all he suffered he gained immeasurably greater grace from Jesus.
Do we want to be victims of what our humanity can’t stand, or examples of Christ’s Presence that makes us “more than conquerors” of all we encounter? End Part III
Using Joseph, son of Jacob as our paradigm, understand that Jesus builds in us a vigorous, attractive life through his word. It’s seen in two ways.
First, a Life That Honors Life’s Circumstances as God’s will for us at that time. We see them as the means of deepening our discipleship and witness. Even when we don’t understand or explain WHY we’re subjected to them.
With Joseph, we believe that God ordinarily allows only the circumstances that develop greater faith in us ONCE they’re accepted as God’s will. THEN...adversity that breaks lesser faith only bolsters strong into redoubtable faith.
Second, A Life Capable of Emulating Christ’s Message. Christians don’t live under the curse afflicting so many gifted people. WHO put the best of themselves into their work, leaving only the beggarly for their personal lives. Frederick Chopin, incomparably skilled pianist, couldn’t find peace within himself. He found himself unable to cast off thoughts that poisoned his happiness. He could only “groan and suffer and pour out” his despair at the piano. Internet, 10/30/19
I’ve read the same tortured conflicts in Frank Lloyd Wright, Peter Tchaikovsky, Ludwig von Beethoven and Leo Tolstoy. People of genius in the arts who found their personal unity fractured by perplexing contradictions. Tchaikovsky, for example, defined happiness as what one pursues but never accrues. A human longing for happiness finds a mindless Fate interfering. End Part II
In the first century, people and animals could have the owner’s brand burned into their flesh. The apostle Paul used the practice to teach the futility of circumcision in qualifying a person as God’s child. Paul experienced the brand of Jesus on his body, Galatians 6:17. II Corinthians 11:22ff mentions some: three beatings, one stoning, five floggings, three shipwrecks, and one 24 hour period adrift at sea. And none of them included the mental and spiritual stress suffered as an apostle of Christ starting and pastoring churches.
These references could have been the marks of Jesus on Paul. We know for sure, however, what the marks were NOT. They were NOT the tattoos so popular today. Paul observed the Bible injunction against putting tattoos on the body Leviticus 19:28. Precisely because ancient pagans marked themselves with symbols of their deities. Hebrew faith, and Christian faith after it, distinguished Christians from unbelievers by the impact of God’s Spirit on their mind and heart.
The Spirit marks prove that the Christian faith is both Doctrinally pure—what we believe; and Practically persuasive—what we personally live I Timothy 4:16. Too many disciples believe it doesn’t matter what they believe about Jesus so long as their life honors Christ. Understand, however: God put both doctrine and life in equilibrium and didn’t give us the right to upset that balance.
When in balance, doctrine and life will build in us: the grace of Astaire and Rogers exchanging dance steps; the eloquence of Coleman and Garson exchanging dialogue; the passion of Bogart and Bacall exchanging glances.
End Part I
If we’re looking for something, we’re likelier to find it than if we don’t know it exists. Simeon looked for God’s Messiah and, at God’s behest, recognized and honored him when he appeared, a 40-day old boy.
Just as Lord Byron prepared to succeed as a poet before publishing Childe Harold in 1812. Suddenly, at 24, he had become famous. Beacon Lights of History, 153.
Just as Allen Dulles prepared between WWI and 1940. An understudy in intelligence in WWI, he gained many contacts. When William Donovan looked for a man to head the OSS from Switzerland in WWII, Dulles’ name headed the list.
May 26, 1805...William Clark gazed westward from a high summit. He saw the Rocky Mountains, blanketed in snow, shining brilliantly in the sun. They were still far away, but the sight filled Clark with a sense of accomplishment. AND...a sense of dread...because of the difficulties these mountains presented to the passage westward. Reflecting on that great, snowy barrier caused soberness. But, since he refused to anticipate evil he accentuated the positive of his sighting.
In 1993 National Geographic photographers shot 1,683,000 frames in 46,769 rolls of film. The magazine published 1,408 pictures that year. That meant each photographer had only a .001% chance to be published. National Geographic, 8/95, p. 64. Nevertheless, only those taking and submitting qualified to be published.
The point is: we must prepare NOW to be ready for tomorrow. For God may call us to serve him there. And only if we have prepared can we be ready to bring glory to Jesus.
Which leads to a question: what if we prepare to serve and God doesn’t call? (For God always has the right to accept, reject, use or ignore any service we offer.) What if we labor without reward; remaining nameless while persevering in our chosen service?
THEN God will call us HOME where...everything we learned, witnessed, taught, preached or lived about Jesus Christ will immediately be put to use in his eternal kingdom! Nothing that praises Jesus now will be removed by death. While everything that fails to praise him SHALL BE! Fini
Simeon proves that preparation remains more important than age in God’s service. It may have occurred to him that time slipped away while he waited for God’s promise to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, he continued to serve while he waited.
This writer remembers the quotation attributed to young Abraham Lincoln. It was posted on the south wall, under the windows as I recall, as you came down the stairs of our then-high school. “I will study, and get ready, and some day my chance/time will come.” It did.
Young people don’t face a particular challenge preparing to serve. It’s when increasing age finds us continuing to prepare that challenges us. Winston Churchill faced that. Born in 1874, he served in politics from his youth. More often than not, he proved a failed, nearly-always controversial, often anonymous personality. But when the English needed a leader superior to Hitler in 1940, they turned to 66 year old Winston! He never stopped preparing.
In a sermon 1939, C.S. Lewis talked about the frustration of never getting finished with projects; once one was completed, another appeared, and all the while we get older. He suggested a simple solution: work faithfully each day and leave the future in God’s hands. Whether or not we work today, trusting God for the future, he alone controls the future. The only day we have under our control is TODAY—which Jesus made the time frame in which we deny ourselves and carry our cross for him. End Part III