Tag Archives: Way of life

Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

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  18. Utopia – Thomas More ****
  19. Anarchy, State and Utopia
  20. Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?
  21. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  22. Cultural Amnesia
  23. The Future of Governance
  24. False American Dream
  25. Thinking Critically about Marxism, Socialism and Communism (All in fewer than 1000 words!)
  26. The Missing Faith Dimension of the Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate
  27. A Broken system
  28. Psychological Warfare
  29. Humanities Retribution
  30. Walk The Path
  31. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (I)
  32. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (II)
  33. Editorial: what is humane socialism?
  34. The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism
  35. The Radical Left Needs to Call into Question Existing Social Institutions at Every Opportunity, Part Four
  36. End of capitalism as we know it
  37. The Future is History
  38. The true believer
  39. Research Resources: Communism in America
  40. “A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”
  41. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  42. So You Think Capitalism Is Evil
  43. Capitalism: The Ultimate Empowerment
  44. Capitalism: Misunderstood
  45. On the Current Conjuncture
  46. The discipled political church
  47. Veneration (Gilbert and Gilbert)
  48. Christianity and Idealism (Van Til)
  49. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)
  50. A Field Guide on False Teaching
  51. Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
  52. Evangelical: Leave It or Love It?
  53. How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
  54. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics – An Interview
  55. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  56. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  57. Warped Christianity
  58. The 10 Commandments in American Culture
  59. Communist Infiltration, What Did Bella Dodd REALLY Know – YouTube
  60. German priest contradicts pope and backs pornography as sexual ‘relief’ for celibates | Catholic News Agency
  61. Sports Star to Be Jailed 10 Months for ‘Transphobic’ Message
  62. What is at stake in the buffer zone debate? | Isabel Vaughan-Spruce | The Critic Magazine
  63. Win for Christian ministry after judge refuses to strike out discrimination case – Christian Concern
  64. Watch the body language in this heated exchange yesterday between Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Chinese Emperor Xi 👀 | Not the Bee
  65. Episode 21 – Stella(r) (Hypo)Creasy and the Gov Crackdown on Free Speech – YouTube
  66. Senate advances same-sex marriage bill amid religious freedom concerns – Catholic World Report
  67. America/Brazl – After 50 years, the mission of Cimi is still “to defend with courage and prophecy the cause of the indigenous peoples” – Agenzia Fides
  68. The Christian Father -Conferences of the Men’s Group – YouTube

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Discouraged from asking questions

How often do we not hear from people that when they had certain questions about faith matters, that the priest or minister told them they should not ask such questions but should put their faith in God. What those ministers or priests would mean by that?

Does the church discourage you from asking questions?

is one of those questions that Dan Foster brings forwards in one of his blogs. In “Is It Time To Leave Your Church?” it is the 4th question of the eight questions to ask yourself that might help you come to a place of peace about what you need to do, either staying with the denomination you are in or leaving the church.

 

He writes:

If your pastor bristles when you ask him a difficult question, that ought to set off alarm bells.  {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

You should know it is not at all wrong to have more than one question about certain matters. As in some other blogs articles Foster mentions the relationship between people of the same sex.

Mention that you support gay marriage and observe the reaction. Suggest that the earth might not be only 6000 years old and see what kind of reception you get.   {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

When growing up a person more than once is confronted with matters that trouble him or her. It can be very personal matters but also matters of the mind as well as of spiritual evolution. Also, when a person starts relationships and wonders how those can be continued or strengthened. Strangely enough, we often hear from dissatisfied church members that they could not receive satisfactory answers to questions they had about that what they could read in the bible and on that what their church wants them to believe that there is written in the Bible.

For several churches, matters on the way we sexually behave are not to be discussed. Homosexual friends or gay marriages.

Some churches have convinced themselves that discussing difficult questions like these is unhealthy. It is almost as if they worry that their faith will fade away when exposed to the light. If it’s tested, it may just shatter.

The reality is that if our faith is that fragile, it probably was never true. If our God is so easily defeated, he is probably not really the true God.   {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

Problem with a lot of churches is that they have build their ‘teachings and rules’ on a series of dogma’s which you shall not be able to find in the Bible.

Whether we have built castles of doctrine on flimsy foundations or have metaphorically curled ourselves up into a ball around the fundamentals of the gospel, avoiding the tough questions will never lead to any real answers.   {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

The real answers, you should realize, are all there in the Great Book of books, that is provided by the Divine Master of all Himself.

So, if you find that your church shuts down, shames or freezes out people who ask tough questions and openly verbalize their reasonably held doubts, then you are not in a place that fosters and promotes the thinking that is needed for growth.

Then it is time to really consider not better going to search for a place where you shall be able to ask questions, and where you shall be able to discuss matters of faith but also about matters of the way of life.

When the pastor or minister tells you that when you have such questions that it means you are weak and that you are not a believing enough in God, you should not be afraid to say how you feel that your faith is. Every person should also be allowed to doubt certain matters, without being told that he or she is a bad person that would come to burn in hell when continuing such way.

First of all there is no such place where God the father would torture His children. Secondly

If you are constantly reminded — either explicitly or implicitly — of your own wretchedness and the need to eliminate sin from your life before you would even be remotely acceptable to God, then perhaps it’s time to move on.

If your church uses the threat of eternal damnation or judgment to win converts and manage the behavior of its members, and if your church has reduced Christian discipleship down to a sin-management program or self-improvement course, then I suggest you walk away.   {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

And Mr. Foster has good reason for that.

Because using the doctrine of sin and fallenness to accuse, berate, critique, attack, belittle, condemn or produce guilt is actually a form of spiritual abuse — not about freedom and grace, but control.  {Is It Time To Leave Your Church?}

God is a god of love and understanding. He understands you might have lots of questions; He wants you to grow in your own way at your own time. He does not put any limit of time. He also allows you to grow and chose your own way, like you want to develop. He provides different ways and has provided several answers in His Own Word, notated by several of His own people. The Book of books, the Bible is there to give the answers, but there are also men of God who can come to your help. Try to find those churches where people are open to receiving you without questioning you, but allowing you to ask them questions.

Do know that it is impossible that one man would have all the answers to your questions. Do not believe that the guy behind the pulpit, who gets up every week and lectures you about how you’re doing a terrible job of living a life that honours God, is the one you should follow. Nor would that be the place to go to every Sunday. Look more for a place where you can feel like being part of a family, having a meeting of brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Preceding

Leaving (the) Church

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Why do we like Music?

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January 6: A Failed Apocalypse

The attack on the house of democracy has shown the world how far Americans have drifted away from the gospel and have made their faith more a political game.

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Preceding

Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’

Deal of the century or roadmap to apartheid?

The one that exploded the great American story that lay beneath it

The Trump clan declares itself a Kennedy-like dynasty

So-called own sacred values under threat

U.S.A. Investment in a demagogue

Dear Mr. President

Religion and the essence of devotion

Facts: Why they matter and how to check them

Evangelicals: For The Love Of Trump

Evangelicals & Seduction

Death to the GOP! Or not.

Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response Book Review

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

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Additional reading

  1. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  2. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  3. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  4. Trump has been buffetted by accusations of misconduct (Our World)
  5. Trump has been buffetted by accusations of misconduct (Some View on the World)
  6. Fearmongering succeeded and got the bugaboo a victory (Our World)
  7. Fearmongering succeeded and got the bugaboo a victory (some View on the World)
  8. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  9. God Isn’t a Republican
  10. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  11. Voted against their system (Our World)
  12. Voted against their system (Some View on the World)
  13. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017 (Our World)
  14. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017 (Some View on the World)
  15. A Progressive Call to Arms
  16. Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms
  17. Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1
  18. Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #2
  19. According to Pew Most White Evangelicals Don’t Think COVID-19 is a Medical Crisis
  20. What Steve Bannon really wants
  21. Trump going over the top bringing a blasphemous act
  22. Trump Dragging the Jews and Israel into the scrum, using both as one more weapon in his racist rants.
  23. Stress-test for democracy #1 Storming of the Capitol in Washington
  24. Stress-test for democracy #2 A coup d’etat with bloodshed
  25. Trump is proven wrong by the judge
  26. Right-wing fundamentalist Christians to dictate the U.S.A.
  27. The death knell of an Empire
  28. Donald Trump requesting to block investigations about the insurrection
  29. The Moral Character of Public Officials: Remembering January 6
  30. Looking at 2021 in a nutshell
  31. 2021 in review #1 the most startling point
  32. One year ago people who said they love America stormed the Capitol
  33. One year ago a sacred place was attacked
  34. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  35. Fascinating times to the Bible reader
  36. Signs of the times – “The US, Israel and the Golan Heights”

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Related

  1. Interpreting | 2021 United States Capitol Attack
  2. This is a Time When Silence is Betrayal
  3. Panel draws bead on Trump legal team
  4. One Year After January 6th, is the Next Civil War Already Underway?
  5. Opinion: A Year Later, Evangelical Subsect Still Using Christianity as Guise for Jan. 6 Insurrection
  6. Lucas: Biden’s dagger all sound and fury signifying nothing
  7. Big White Lies
  8. What Is Seditious Conspiracy? Rare, But Now Part of Jan. 6
  9. January Musings
  10. A Date Which Will Live In Infamy
  11. January 6, 2021…The Day Democracy Died…With “Greatness”…
  12. How hatred and racism triggered Jan. 6 riots
  13. Big Little Lies: The Capitol Insurrection, Rage Rooms and Miss Piggy –  … Americans deal with dual realities all the time; it’s connecting them that’s rare and often painful.
  14. The January 6th ‘Insurrection’
  15. Extremist groups continue to ‘metastasize and recruit’ after Capitol attack, study finds
  16. McCarthy calls Jan. 6 committee request ‘abuse of power’
  17. Interpreting | 2021 United States Capitol Attack
  18. Glendora man pleads guilty to Capitol insurrection charge
  19. Capitol Rioter Said January 6 Was ‘Modern Day Boston Massacre’
  20. 3 Florida Men Arrested in Connection With Capitol Riot
  21. Supreme Court allows release of Trump January 6th documents
  22. Deniers!!!
  23. Bird to Byrd
  24. When Truth Doesn’t Matter 1/14/22
  25. seditious conspiracy and excess electors
  26. January 6 committee wants to talk to House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy
  27. Bookworm Beat 1/14/22 — the “January 6 is our Groundhog Day” illustrated edition
  28. MLK: The Drum Major Instinct
  29. Oath Keepers and founder planned Jan. 6 for weeks, documents show
  30. Women From Mass. and NH Charged in Capitol Riot
  31. January 6 Committee Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, others
  32. I’m Not Making This Up, You Know
  33. The Supreme Court Just Denied Trump’s Request Regarding Jan. 6 Records
  34. U.S. Supreme Court blocks Trump’s bid to keep Jan. 6 documents from Congress
  35. Supreme Court rejects Trump’s bid to shield records from Jan. 6 committee

Jared Stacy

January 6th was a theological event. Just a month before, the Jericho March rallies in DC featured nationalist prayers. They declared God’s will was to reinstate Donald Trump. At the insurrection a month later, the Cross & signs of “Jesus Saves” joined the mob up the Capitol steps. 

January 6th was more than a failed political coup. It was a failed theological apocalypse. Treated this way, we come to an inevitable conclusion: this god lost. He lost because Donald Trump was not President on January 7th. We should never stop asking “what happened?” Even when some want to forget it. For those who keep asking, we need to perform a theological autopsy of this failed apocalypse.

Some speak of healing from January 6th politically or culturally. We have political committees doing important work. But healing from January 6th is impossible without addressing the failed theology at the heart of the violence. 

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What Are The Culture Wars?

Jared Stacy

The next four articles form a series to engage this question. We’ll examine the history & theology of “Culture War Christianity”. My goal is to locate the Culture Wars in American history, but also describe the shape of these Culture Wars so we can examine how they relate to the shape of Jesus’ Kingdom.


What are the Culture Wars? Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents.

With a technical and theological definition of “culture”, we can now imagine a “culture war” as…

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A virus giving the world an opportunity to re-evaluate and change the way we live

For weeks now many people have found themselves bounded to just a few square metres of their living quarters.

In the lockdown many people found themselves obliged to find ways to keep themselves busy and not pulled down by isolation. In this world of exuberant consumerism and going out for relaxation and meeting people, we were bounded to the modern tools of the internet to have virtual contact with each other.

Everybody now got some weeks just for themselves, enabling each of us to reflect on their life, but also on the way our society goes on with her materialistic life.

It seems this virus is giving the world an opportunity to re-evaluate and change the way we live, work, produce, and distribute goods and services. Travel, work, food, and manufacturing may have to dramatically change.

By lockdown hearing nature to revive, hearing more the sound of singing birds and seeing more animals going around free in nature.

Let us think about new and better ways to continue our life in the future.

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For thought

The key is how we respond to this new challenge. 


“All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality.
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes, there is fear, but there does not have to be hate.
Yes, there is isolation, but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes, there is panic buying, but there does not have to be meanness.
Yes, there is sickness, but there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes, there is even death, but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic.
The birds are singing again.
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul and sing.”

-from Richard Hendrick (Brother Richard) in Ireland, March 13th, 2020

 

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Love in the Time of Corona

Human beings have grown away from nature and from the Divine Creator.
Their debauchery and carelessness about how to deal with the things before them are now killing them.

It has come so far that humans are to blame for the extinction of many beautiful creatures. According to a 2014 study, current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than they would be if humans weren’t around.

Example of a significant historical pandemic: the Black Death, which originated in China and spread across Europe in the 14th century;

All through history we also can see when there were too many people able to destroy their environment, nature took charge and eliminated lots of people. In the past, there were many awful battles, wars taking the lives of many. After the Great War it did not seem yet enough. The influenza pandemic of 1918–19, also called Spanish influenza pandemic or Spanish flu, was the most severe influenza outbreak of the 20th century and, in terms of total numbers of deaths, among the most devastating pandemics in human history. It resulted in an estimated 25 million deaths, though some researchers have projected that it caused as many as 40–50 million deaths. Nothing compared to the Sars-CoV-1 infection. Sars and Ebola frightened many, but now the Sars-CoV-2 or CoViD-19 brings these 21st-century people also on their knees, fearing for their lives.

influenza pandemic of 1918–19: temporary hospital

The influenza pandemic of 1918–19: temporary hospital A temporary hospital in Camp Funston, Kansas, during the 1918–19 influenza pandemic. Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C

Today the majority of people have become so materialistic their first concerns is to protect the economy. Still, too many politicians dare to tell their citizens they should continue to go to work and have the factories working, not having to be so afraid to come close to each other. There are even politicians who do find more money should be spent on the economy instead of providing health workers with the necessary protection.

We can only hope this pandemic is going to awaken many and bringing many changes to how we shall go to work and move around.
Fundamental shifts in the way we interact and live, in our interpersonal and business relationships, in the way we treat our families, each other, and ourselves, shall have to take place.
A few months ago most people took not the time to think about their way of life and how mankind played with mother nature. Since many weren’t able to find the time to get to meditate about our way of living, along comes this virus, which certain politicians still do not take seriously enough to take the necessary protection measures.

Where there is a lockdown, people now can find time to come back to themselves. It does not seem to be easy for many, to be confronted with so much time for themselves. But they shall have to rethink their lifestyle at the moment. CoViD-19 gives us all the time we need, forcing us into this shift = a shift, in our consciousness, our way of thinking and living, of learning, and loving.

*

To remember

The guestwriter of today thinks the planet is trying to tell us something:

We are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction with species experiencing lights out at alarming rates and any potential for rebound numbering in the millions (!) of years.

  • we have created so much pollution with our lifestyles => climate has become inhospitable + CO2 levels reach critical mass in the next couple decades
  • an only money matters mentality
  • Do we believe in our government or do we think it will fail us?
  • spiritually bereft we ignore The Power of Now.
  • fundamental shift in way we interact + live > interpersonal + business relationships, way we treat our families, each other, + ourselves
  • use this time to think about what your hands can do that will benefit your better well-being + that of those around you.
  • things to tackle > free time => use it  >>  view less as isolation => more as a Roto-Rooter for the Soul =>work miracles in your life.
  • safe in your home = shelter-in-place => give thanks < homeless population > no shelter = among most vulnerable among us.
  • extra time
    • look at movies
    • do gardening
    • choose giving
    • Instead of loneliness > choose levity.
    • Stay connected.
    • Instead of solitude > institute “bring your dog or cat to work” day.
    • Enjoy the shorter commute.
    • Take time for walks.
    • Practice walking meditation > take some time to meditate on kind of world you would like to be living in when this is all over => first dream it into being
    • Exercise.
    • be kind.

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Preceding

CoViD-19 warnings

Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

Pandemic Anxiety Busters~

Mel Brooks saying “go home” to Max Brooks

Christian Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Find also to read

  1. 2014 Health and welfare
  2. 2015 Health and Welfare
  3. The unseen enemy
  4. Making deeper cuts than some terrorist attacks of the near past
  5. In denial, Donald Trump continues to insist that nothing serious is at hand and everything is in control
  6. India affected by Corona
  7. Using fears of the deadly coronavirus
  8. Europe in Chaos for a Pandemic

Green Life Blue Water

It’s been a hell of a few weeks and it looks like it will continue for a bit.  At the risk of sounding both blasé and alarmist at once, I think the planet is trying to tell us something.

We are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction with species experiencing lights out at alarming rates and any potential for rebound numbering in the millions (!) of years.

In the process, we have created so much pollution with our lifestyles that our climate has become inhospitable and our CO2 levels will reach critical mass in the next couple decades without a complete overhaul of how we do business.

We’ve gotten into an only money matters mentality, and the stock market’s precipitous weeks’ long plunge not only put a hurting on most people’s retirement funds but eroded faith in the economy.  That event may keep us working longer…

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a Path to explore more

When I started with this website, I wanted to share common thoughts or give similar minds an extra open door to reach others, as well as to present a selection of websites, blogs and writings I thought (and think) worthwhile reading or looking at.

For years on all my websites I also presented a “Related” articles list, to give my readers other opportunities to find more writings on the subject. After the many complaints having linked to their article, and having to search for placed links I was asked to remove, from this year onward, I stop to invest time looking for related articles, investing time to read them for after approval, placing links after the posted articles. Now much more time shall come available to publish more articles which are in unison with my thoughts and not bringing readers away from my own sites. (From the statistics more readers from this site went looking at the mentioned site, than receiving readers from the linked site.) At the same time on my websites I shall not any more bringing people to websites which are against me or my beliefs.

After giving all my energy to the world of dance my body could not fit any more the physical world of exuberance and graceful unlimited mobility. Having reached a certain age where they consider a human being not able enough to give enough to the world, I was made redundant, considered to be part of the ‘third age’ group.
First having been very disappointed by the way I was treated, the first two years I did not want to do much with ballet or theatrical dance. Not having to work full time for our living, receiving retirement fund, I could spend more time to my church work. My religious activities started even taking so much time I had less time to write at my own personal blog. (Because pensions not enough to survive I still have a few days a month I work for my living.)

I feel blessed that I am allowed to work at three Bible translations, even when it might consume also a lot of time and lots of thinking-work, being it a seriously very faithful responsibility, not to add or change anything in the saying or purpose of the original words supplied by God. Therefore, those translations in Judaic Dutch (Yiddish Dutch or Flemish), with the eye of two (or three) different groups (namely a Jeshuaist, a Jewish and an Orthodox Jewish public) is and shall be a time-consuming job with lots of thought and consideration).

This does not take away that I would have lost my interest in humanity and how man treats other people, animals and plants. I even became more active, spending also time in meetings concerning our way of life, necessary political actions a.o..
I must admit at meetings and conferences I seem to belong to a minority who strive to get unity in Europe, with some liveable world for everyone. Convinced we have to do something against this capitalist greedy world which does not show respect to the gross of people, animals and plants, I keep going strong and letting my voice being heard.

From  the moment I got retired I did not stop to seek a connection of like minds, to share common positive beliefs, and to be able to learn from each other about how to live life to the fullest.

Jonathan Hilton seems also on such a track. He writes:

Even when things don’t go as we plan, we all know no matter how hard we plan, life will throw us curve balls designed to engender growth. Our lives are defined by the lessons we learn at this moment and the way we handle ourselves. {Mind Connections}

Raising his level of consciousness has become Jonathan Hilton’s passion in life.

and understanding that when I follow and focus on certain core principles in my life and live in alignment with them, things go well. {Mind Connections}

He writes on the opening of his blog Mind Connections, admitting:

When I fall off, and my focus isn’t so sharp, then things are not so pleasant. Conscious thought about where my attention goes allows all of my energies to flow in that direction. {Mind Connections}

With the knowledge that each viewpoint may bring a different set of emotions, a different thought process, and a different reality to the perceiver it only can be enriching to share thoughts and to get to know more people from all over the world and getting to know how they manage to make the best of their life.

We have little control over the perceptions of others, but we may not forget that when we utter our ideas, share our thoughts, we might bring others to other ideas too.

How often do we not wonder if what we are doing is or would be right? How often do we not wonder if we should openly write what we think or if we should write in ways and words others would love to hear? I always have been a bad one at that. By creating my ballets I did not mind criticising the way our society was moving. I never tried to be popular by my creative works. [Choreographing fashion shows was a totally different matter, there I tried to bring the customers to find a connection in a future world to form. (We always had to be seasons ahead, manipulating the fashion trends – and yes, there stimulating human desires of consumption.) There it was also part the business to know beforehand what others would love to wear and see. ] In such way I also kept busy to try to find out what others would like to see and read.

On the surface, it is a simple choice, but in reality, it is a constant battle, {Life is a Mirror}

Hilton notes.
According to him

story-of-your-lifeThere is only a short time allotted to each of us to write the story of your life and with that time, we are tasked with a lot of things to accomplish. You have really only one life to get things right and sing the song that you want to sing. {The Story of Your Life}

We can try to make our dreams so compelling, that we will that we can’t wait to work on them, because waiting to experience them, in reality, is too painful. Often it is that enthusiasm which gets us to be restless and gets us up in the middle of the night to scribble something down or even to write certain texts.

A difficulty might be to:

Tune your enthusiasm to the size of your goals and attack it like your story depends on it because it does. That is how you write the story of your life. {The Story of Your Life}

At this blog I want to give, as many people as possible, the opportunity to share their thoughts which they and I find interesting enough to think about. I keep chasing my dreams that we can find enough people all over the world willing to bring others to see how we have to be careful which way of life we want to choose. As a Christian I also would love to see more people sharing the faith in One God and in His Gift and Good News of the coming Kingdom.

Once more, I dare to invite people to join us to share positive thoughts, but also to bring warnings how to tackle ecological and other problems.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, for becoming a part of joining hands across this globe.

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The Way You Live Your Life

Orlando Espinosa

Live a life of compassion.

Live a life of health.

Live a life of joy.

Live a life of spirituality.

Live a life of happiness.

Live a life of moral ethics.

Impact the life of others the way you live your life!

Live life the way you want to be remembered!

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Writing from the heart

living in love

light and darkness in constant conflict

fighting for a finite force inside a man

that weights who we are counting as human

animals have a heart too, can’t we have a better one?

building fences, digging trenches, owning ocean, lands, and potable water

where once it was free, delightfully refreshing putting in a bottle causing cancer. 

someone owns everything taking even from those who have nothing, such the way of life.

other’s gloat over their big enterprise while half of the planet eats mud to suffice hunger

such a way of life, bullying those who do differently, laughing at other’s mistakes forgotten they too have foul fart. Words leave a wound that scars for life, a soul will strive to rise, but eaten by his hatred inside. Societies can be so demeaning that causes a life to end. 

Others think differently, we do our own battles with different tactics some are born weak…

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Selfishness can become our biggest ally for the Money Free Movement

Being selfish has always been seen as a negative attribute for humanity. I will debunk this way of thinking and open your mind towards a more natural and healthy way of life and a more balanced way of living.

selfishnessFirst of all, selfishness is totally a natural and healthy need. In my native language of Armenian, Selfishness translates to <>, and this is exactly what selfishness is, or it can become. 

Thinking for ones self is never a bad thing, where selfishness takes a bad turn is our lack of understanding and consciousness that it can not be good for us when we find security and abundance when others are in lack. Since we are herd animals, we live in a family, community and ultimately in a world wide society, we are effected directly and indirectly from the effects of our actions, decisions, and behaviors.

Here is my suggestion to all, do not stop your selfishness, because you would be going against mother nature and simple logic. What you should do is become aware of how miserable your life is because others suffer all around you and in the rest of the world. Raise your level of connection with all there is.
UBUNTU; When it’s no good for all, it’s no good at all.

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Creating social classes, putting up fences and separating ourselves from the rest of the world is not a selfish act, it is a lack of empathy, lack of self love and a lack of awareness.
When we live in financial security, how secure are we really when others live in misery? How much love am I showing towards myself when I collaborate with a system that encourages competition? How happy can I possibly be when I need to constantly protect my possessions with security installations, insurance policies, lawyers and constantly being at guard for outside threats?

When we combine selfishness and self awareness. When we understand how connected we really are with he rest of the world, when we start being aware of how much we suffer through the suffering of others, we will create the critical mass that is needed to create Utopia on earth.
We are either light years away from this Utopic life or possibly just a few years short, it all depends on each and every one of our levels of awareness. Please be an all loving selfish person.

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Preceding articles:

It’s time to build a new system

A charter for a truly free world and why we need it

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Additional reading:

  1. Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter
  2. Not everything has to be reciprocated with money

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Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?

In regards to scale, the civil war in Syria is a tragedy that’s reminiscent of the earth-moving conflicts of the early 20th Century. So far, a quarter of a million people have been killed, with millions of others displaced.

After the turbulence of two world wars Europe has managed to create a zone were no battles are fought with weapons, but with words. But it might well be that we are on the bring of a turning point were radical groups of Christians and Muslims may like to throw spanner in the works.

National socialists, neo-nazis, but also several people who call themselves ‘Christian‘ want the rest of the population in their country to believe the refugees are a danger for their economic striving society and for their democratic and their ‘religious’ life.

So many Christians have forgotten the teachings of Christ Jesus and better should take up the Messianic writings again, and especially the gospels, to out again what Christianity is all about.

It is also not bad to look at different writings of people who called themselves Christian and see how they think we should cope with others around us, but also with our wealth we can enjoy. Because when you hear many talking today lots of people are more concerned with the financial consequences of those entering their community and with the minor radical lunatics who want to frighten our society and seem to succeed in their task, because so many give in to that unjustified fear.

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To remember

In an age when Christianity is comfortably entwined with consumer capitalism, the early Christians’ passion for social and economic justice can come as a shock.

  • From 1st days of Christianity > duty to care for poor and marginalized = at center of gospel
  • Jesus preached way of life free of possessions
  • 1st church in Jerusalem abolished private property + early apostles > warned of privilege and wealth.
  • 3 centuries later Christendom becoming official religion of Roman Empire > economics remained communitarian
  • Church fathers such as Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, + Augustine of Hippo preached
  • give your wealth free passage everywhere
  • let your wealth run through many conduits to the homes of the poor
  • Money kept standing idle = worthless > moving + changing hands = benefitting community => brings increase…
  • money in your vaults belongs to the destitute
  • injustice to every man whom you could help but do not.
  • God grants you gifts.

 

  • alms, prayers, protection of the injured and the like = genuine work
  • what we possess is not personal property; it belongs to all.
  • God generously gives all things that are much more necessary than money > air, water, fire, sun … All these things to be distributed equally to all.
  • “Mine” and “thine” = chilling words > introduce innumerable wars into the world => should be eliminated from the church
  • All things = in common.
  • When you possess superfluity = you possess what belongs to others
  • God gives the world to the poor as well as to the rich.
  • abstain from the possessions of private property – or from the love of it, if we cannot abstain from possession – and let us make room for the Lord.

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Find also:

Responses to Radical Muslims and Radical Christians

Listening for the Language of Peace

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Read also and watch the video: Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear

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Further readings:

  1. Europe and the Joke of Reverse Colonialism
  2. Editorial: Against Authority, Against Terror
  3. Capitalism
  4. Capitalism – Access to capital = Slavery
  5. Capitalism: incentivising sensationalism, taking advantage of our biases and damaging our mental health | Plymouth Herald journalist in breach of ethics?
  6. Eleutherios or A Hatred of Capitalism: The ascetic philosophy of Mick
  7. Next Generation Favors Socialism over Capitalism
  8. Coalitions against Impunity: Why the UN fails to maintain peace.
  9. Anti-Christ Anti-Scientist
  10. Should We Be Scared?
  11. Who is the Consummate Capitalist?
  12. Coal lights the way
  13. Stop the whole system wrecking the planet: this means revolution!
  14. Offended by the Lord’s Prayer? You should be!
  15. What Prince Charles gets wrong – and right – about climate change and conflict in Syria
  16. Quote for the day – November 19
  17. Quote for the day – November 22
  18. American Christianity: I Can’t “Unsee”
  19. A Sense of Proportion
  20. Politicians Talk a Lot, do Nothing, and Simply don’t Care
  21. In The Blink of a Kalashnikov
  22. The Psychopathy of Greed
  23. The Post-Capitalist Society is Already Emerging in Denmark
  24. Capitalism and the Dalai Lama
  25. Preliminary Materials on Collective Liberation and the New Material Reality

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Related articles

LiveWithoutLovingMoney

What Did the Early Church Say About Economic Justice?

(Thanks to Plough publishing for sharing this).

St. Augustine, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great

 

In an age when Christianity is comfortably entwined with consumer capitalism, the early Christians’ passion for social and economic justice can come as a shock. From the first days of Christianity, the duty to care for the poor and marginalized was at the center of the gospel. Jesus preached a way of life free of possessions, the first church in Jerusalem abolished private property, and the early apostles warned of privilege and wealth.

Remarkably, three centuries later – when Christianity was well on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire – the church’s version of economics remained as communitarian as ever. Church fathers such as Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Augustine of Hippo preached in a way that…

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Refugees At The Border- A Blessing Or Burden?

We may wonder, why the ex-Communist Central European countries display such an intolerant, negative and rigid approach to the plight of the refugees. KTG was one of the first to question the ex communist EU states approach even though on the example the lack of solidarity of Eastern Europe towards Greece’s debt crisis.

For sure the fear of having an other culture taking over theirs is ungrounded when each of the asylum taker states is fierce in making it clear those coming into their country have to accept the values and way of life of the guest country.

Lots of fear in our regions is by not knowing enough of the other culture and not by understanding the real actual facts of the inhumane conditions that ISIS creates, against Koran teaching.

Revealing themselves to be intolerant, illiberal, xenophobic, and incapable of remembering the spirit of solidarity that carried them to freedom a quarter-century ago, the Eastern European countries should seriously reconsider their position they want to take in the European Union, which has to be one of democratic liberty and solidarity.

Europe is a mixture of different cultures, people and tiny states. It has to look for an consensus, finding a way so that all those different cultures, religions can live together without harming each other or standing in the way of the other.

Debates like the one in Belgium taking place know by the complaint of the commission of equality that burkina’s should be allowed in the swimming pools are not helping to the matter. When this would be allowed women’s right could be in danger again for Muslim women. The same nudist should then have the right to demand being able to swim naked in the public baths at any time.

All sorts of religious, philosophical and ethical groups should find a way to have everybody respecting other ones thoughts, but knowing that in the private sphere everybody should be able to do what they want, as long as they do not bring damage to each other, but that in public places all have to put water in their wine, allowing a way of life where the majority can find itself at ease.

Therefore no yelling from mosque towers at the rising or setting of the sun, and no bell ringing from Catholic or Protestant churches early in the morning.

On the examples of Hungary’s government “mistreatment of thousands refugees in front of the eye of the entire world” and Poland’s storm of comments full of hate towards the refugees, we should ask with urgency to those ex-communist countries:

“Have Eastern Europeans no sense of shame? For centuries, their ancestors emigrated in droves, seeking relief from material hardships and political persecution. And today their leaders’ heartless behaviour and callous rhetoric play to popular sentiment. “

Throughout millennia people have been hoovering all over the world to find liveable pastures, let those who claim to be Christians show the right Christian attitude worthy to be called after Jeshua, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who preached love and openness for each other.

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To remember:

  • flow of people from war torn regions of the world in particular Syria, North Africa & Afghanistan is continuing this week and is likely to continue over the next few weeks
  • refugees will go to the region where they are likely to find employment and a better livelihood
  • millions have moved within the middleast to Africa and to South America
  • struggles within Europe = dominating the headlines
  • Southern Europe has been seen to carry out harsh tactics against the suffering people > tear gas, blocking routes, laying down barb wire
  • previous slogans of “open Europe” seems like a distant memory
  • many European countries are squabbling with each other on how many and where the suffering people should go to
  • Europe’s population is near the five hundred million mark, even if there was one million people entering Europe this would be only 0.02% of the population, hardly a huge increase in numbers.
  • Europe’s economic output represents close to 25% of global output.
  • reluctance is founded in a enshrined principle that the identity needs to be protected regardless
  • arrival of the suffering people are seen as a threat to its identity
  • the “defend your culture and identity by no interaction or leave your culture at the border policy” isn’t working
  • allowing refugees in => interaction, discussion, exchanges of views and opinions => beneficial for everyone
  • culture good for one group of people = good for all groups of people
  • worry of compromising their culture and closing the borders = weak position
  • world sees it as outdated and Europe needs to move on.

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Preceding articles

Poster: Please Help The Refugees

The World Wide Refugee and Migrant Crisis and a possible solution for it

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Additional articles of interest:

  1. Sharing a common security and a common set of values
  2. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  3. Faith related boycotts
  4. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  5. Economic crisis danger for the rise of political extremism
  6. Americans wrongly informed about situation in Europe
  7. Fitting the bill in the North and in the East
  8. Continues Syrian conflict needing not only dialogue
  9. Can We Pay The Price To Free Humanity?
  10. Are people willing to take the responsibility for others
  11. If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for
  12. State of Europe 2015 – Addressing Europe’s crises
  13. Schengen area and Freedom for Europeans being put to the test as never before
  14. Europe’s refugees just follow the ancient routes for the peopling of Europe in the Neolithic
  15. Why Russia backs Assad: a view from Russia’s anti-imperialist left
  16. Meeting to focus on humanitarian issues for Syria
  17. Propaganda war and ISIS

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An uncovering book to explore

Now Summer has come to us we have more time to sit outdoors and relax. Ideal time to take up the Book of books to read in it. We have the whole of God’s Word to read and inspire us whenever we feel like doing so. Though many people like to postpone Bible reading. Some are also afraid to be confronted with the words which they might find inside. To prorogue reading the Bible shall keep a lot of wisdom from them. Holding off Bible reading will withhold us from useful help. Protracting a confrontation with the Word of God shall only make it more difficult for the person to find a satisfying life which shall be righteous in the eyes of the Most High Divine Creator.

"WHICH BOOK, HOLY BIBLE" - NARA - 516150

“Which Book, Holy Bible” – NARA – 516150 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To understand past and evolution to the future, our position in life, our way to follow, we could use that what is brought to us in that old library of 66 books.

Many want others to believe that it is

dang hard. {J.S. Parks Five Primers On How To Study The Bible}

but it does not have to be so hard as they say. When you start with the right open mind and good attitude you should be able to trace back those old sayings and enjoy the different genres of literature the Bible presents. Like any book we come to read we do not have to expect to see clear (in everything) straight ahead. We do need time to reflect and to let the material come into our mind, having it come to grow, like a mustard seed.

Though those writings may be written long ago for people who lived ages ago, the words still are very useful and edifying for today. Whatever mood we are in those words can enlighten us and change our mood for the better. When we are willing to have those words come unto us they shall do.

Every time you open the Bible, believe that God has something for you. Believe it. At every moment, good and bad, up or down, in all seasons, the Bible will speak.  The Holy Spirit convicts you of all truth. Be ready for it to push against you, to disagree with you, to challenge what you always thought was true. The Word of God is a sword that will cut you to your soul, exposing all. {J.S. Parks Five Primers On How To Study The Bible}

The Bible is much more than just the message of Jesus. It is the message of God. Some might want you to believe that as an unbeliever you are nothing with the Bible. They say, like J.S.Park, that it is crazy to those without Jesus, and want us to believe that it only can be the saving truth to believers. but the Biblical message is a message of hope, peace and message of salvation for all.

We should know that all Scripture is breathed out of God, useful for everybody and for everything we do and who we are. No matter if you believe or to have faith, confidence, or trust in this or that or do not believe in this or that or trust what one has heard. Be sure not everything what so called believers belief is true. Many, not to say the majority in Christendom belief nonbilical things. The ones who try to keep to the Bible in Christianity are often fought against and shunned by so called ‘Christians‘. Therefore it is not bad to come to see what is really written in that book of books.

To come to a real good exploration of the Bible you should start with a fully open mind, undone from the traditional human doctrines and willing to read what is really written there on those uncovering pages.

Lots of people want to get as much gain as possible from everything what comes into their hands. They should know that we are not here to  hoard treasures down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. We are better to find more useful treasures by reading in the Bible.  From those words we can learn a lot and build up a stronger character. It shall also learn us how to stockpile treasures in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.

Your eyes are windows into your body and you have to use them to see into yourself. The Bible is your looking glass and your best tool to get to know yourself and those around you. Perhaps you will not see it at first, but given time you will come to see. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! Pulling up the blinds are the shutters you will come step by step to more insight and closer to the truth. You also shall start feeling how higher forces will come to guide you.

This doesn’t mean you’ll “feel something” every time you read Scripture. But meditate on even a tiny scrap of a verse and let it sit. The Bible has the very words of God pouring out His heart for you. He is big, but by His Word, He is so close. Hear it as a friend speaking, as a leader leading. Be encouraged and convicted. {J.S. Parks Five Primers On How To Study The Bible}

Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Is...

Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Isaiah – note the cross references between Biblical and Latter-day Saint scripture in the footnotes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those writings from the old times are still of use for us. It are the Words from God and from people God wanted us to hear their voices. Words from good and bad people are written down so that we can learn from what went right and what went wrong. They are words which we should embrace and believe. They do come from the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless as in our times. (Romans 4:23-24)  Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. (Romans 15:4)

In the knowledge that  every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another — showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way, it is a major manual to guide us through life in easy and in difficult times. Knowing also that some very difficult times soon may arrive, we are better to prepare ourselves for that great war which shall come over humankind. A forewarned is forearmed.

Therefore this Summer do not hesitate to take up the Bible and let yourself be carried away by its stories. Through the Word you may be put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for you. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard — God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to the apostles who took care like the other men of God that the messengers of God their words would be told to the next generations. We do well to keep focusing on those precious words. When you are feeling blue or are not happy, feeling tired, or when you feel pleased with what you have, come to see the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

When reading it we should leave the human words, which tried us to belief certain things, for what they are, and go deeper in to study what is really written in the Bible.  We are convinced when you try to read the Bible, listening to the words like they are written there, it is not such a difficult book at all.

Good luck with it.

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Preceding articles:

Summerholiday season time to read the Bible

Holiday making and dreaming

Home-stayers and their to do lis

Genre – Playing by the Rules

The Need to Understand Genre

A Dutch version / Een Nederlandse versie: Zomertijd ideaal op met Bijbellezing aan te vangen

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Additional reading:

  1. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  2. A question to be posed
  3. A way to look for Christ, the Bible, Word of God
  4. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  5. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  6. The Right One to follow and to worship
  7. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  8. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  9. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  10. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  11. Not able to make contact with God because to busy
  12. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  13. Relapse plan
  14. Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists
  15. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  16. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  17. Engagement in an actual two-way conversation with your deities
  18. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  19. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  20. Statutes given unto us
  21. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  22. Unread bestseller
  23. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  24. We should use the Bible every day
  25. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  26. Daily portion of heavenly food
  27. Feed Your Faith Daily
  28. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  29. Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures
  30. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  31. The Almighty Lord God of gods King above all gods
  32. God who knows the heart
  33. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  34. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  35. Hearing words to accept
  36. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  37. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  38. Appointed to be read
  39. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  40. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  41. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  42. The Third Word: Scripture twisting is blasphemy
  43. Interpreting the Scriptures (Part 5)
  44. The holy spirit will bring back to your minds all the things told
  45. Building up the spirit of the soul
  46. Be an Encourager
  47. God’s never-ending stream of much-needed mercies
  48. Displeasure of יהוה , Jehovah the God of gods, and His wrath against all the gentiles their divisions
  49. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  50. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  51. The manager and Word of God
  52. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  53. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  54. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora

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Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

In the previous articles we have spoken about the world clinching to material wealth like velcrostrips hoping to have all luck in the world.

The materialistic desires have conquered the world. Those who know were they come from and Who they should honour do know they should not give their love to material things.

15 Do not love either the world or the things in the world.+ If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him;+ 16 because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh+ and the desire of the eyes+ and the showy display of one’s means of life*—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. (1 John 2:15, 16)

In the articles we also could see how many love to be moulded by this system of things. (Romans 12:2) The worldly desires have run high in our society, but at other times people also fell for those distractions and attractions.

It Conquered the World

It Conquered the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The love of money or the desire to amass riches and possess material things can corrupt the heart, leading a Christian to do things that go against God’s will. A few have become dishonest at work, have cheated others, or have even stolen money or objects that do not belong to them.

Lots of people do have many things of which they want to boast of is this. Lots of people also do think man is full of wisdom and that they have ‘most’ wisdom’. They do not want to look into their conscience which might bear witness. They are full of fleshly wisdom.

Material pursuits may bring on anxiety. For example, some complicate their lives by living beyond their means. Others have been enticed by get-rich-quick schemes and risky financial investments. For others, secular education as a means to attain financial success becomes a snare. The Bible warns: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.”

However, those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation+ and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires,+ which plunge men into destruction and ruin.+ 10 For the love+ of money is a root+ of all sorts of injurious things,*+ and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.+ (1 Timothy 6:9, 10).

Essential to not being drawn into a materialistic way of life is cultivating the ability to distinguish between right and wrong when making decisions. This ability is developed by regularly partaking of ‘solid spiritual food belonging to mature people’ and by ‘having our perceptive powers trained through use.’ (Hebrews 5:13, 14) Making sure “of the more important things” when setting priorities will also safeguard us from making wrong choices.

And this is what I continue praying, that YOUR love may abound+ yet more and more with accurate knowledge*+ and full discernment;*+ 10 that YOU may make sure of the more important things,+ so that YOU may be flawless+ and not be stumbling+ others up to the day of Christ, 11 and may be filled with righteous fruit,+ which is through Jesus Christ, to God’s glory and praise.+ (Philippians 1:9,10,11).

A materialistic life-style can blind us, leaving little or no time for spiritual pursuits.
How can we examine ourselves and avoid being ensnared by such a life-style?
We need to consider prayerfully how and to what extent we can simplify our life. King Solomon of ancient Israel said:

“Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, regardless of whether it is little or much that he eats; but the plenty belonging to the rich one is not permitting him to sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12)

Does taking care of unnecessary material possessions consume a lot of our time and energy? The more we own, the more we have to maintain, insure, and protect.
Could it be to our advantage to simplify our life by freeing ourselves of certain belongings?

Lennon (right) performing "All You Need I...

Lennon (right) performing “All You Need Is Love” with The Beatles in 1967 to 400 million viewers of “Our World”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We think life can much be easier when not loving the material things and not focusing on the world and its worldly life.

On the other hand, by cultivating a healthy fear of displeasing Jehovah, loving justice, and being determined to hold a good conscience, we show that we love “purity of heart.” That love moves us to continue to “conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18)

18 Carry on prayer+ for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.+ 19 But I exhort YOU more especially to do this, that I may be restored to YOU the sooner.+ (Hebrews 13:18

When we act uprightly, honesty can result in a fine witness.

Emilio, an Italian Witness who works as a driver for a public transport company, found a wallet containing 470 euros ($680, U.S.). To the surprise of his colleagues, he handed the wallet to his supervisor, who later gave the wallet to the person who had lost it. Some of Emilio’s colleagues were so impressed by his conduct that they became interested in the Bible and started to study. As a result, seven people from two families have accepted the truth. Yes, behaving honestly from a pure heart really can move others to praise God.Titus 2:10.

Materialism may not seem to be an issue of loyalty, but it is. Do we trust in Jehovah’s promise to provide what we really need?

33 “Keep on, then, seeking* first the kingdom and his righteousness,+ and all these [other] things will be added to YOU.+ 34 So, never be anxious about the next day,+ for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.  (Matthew 6:33-34)

Let [YOUR] manner of life be free of the love of money,+ while YOU are content+ with the present things.+ For he has said: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”+ (Hebrews 13:5)

Rather than striving to obtain at any cost some of the “better” things in life that are presently beyond our reach, can we do without them? (Read Philippians 4:11-13.) Are we tempted to forgo theocratic privileges in order to get what we want now? Does loyal service to Jehovah have first place in our life? Our answers will largely depend on whether we are wholehearted in our service to God or not.

“It is a means of great gain,”

wrote the apostle Paul,

“this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency. For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Timothy 6:6-8.

In a revelation to the apostle John toward the close of the first century, the glorified Jesus Christ delivered a message to the congregation located in Laodicea, Asia Minor. It was a warning message against materialism. Though materially rich, Laodicean Christians were bankrupt spiritually. Instead of continuing to walk by faith, they allowed material possessions to blind their spiritual vision. (Revelation 3:14-18) Materialism has a similar effect today. It weakens our faith and causes us to stop ‘running with endurance the race’ for life. (Hebrews 12:1) If we are not careful, the “pleasures of this life” can smother spiritual activities to the point that they are “completely choked.”

14 As for that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and riches and pleasures+ of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection.+ (Luke 8:14).

Time ran out for the world of Noah’s day, and it will run out for the present system of things. The apostle Peter assures us:

“Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.”

Neither the symbolic heavens — wicked governments — nor the symbolic earth — mankind alienated from God — will survive the heat of God’s burning anger. Indicating how we can prove ourselves ready for that day, Peter exclaims:

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!”—2 Peter 3:10-12.

A key to spiritual protection is contentment rather than the use of this world to the full and the enrichment of ourselves materially. (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 Timothy 6:6-8) We as such do not have to look so much at the world of mankind or the kingdom of mankind but at the world of the Kingdom of God. When we walk by faith and not by sight, we find joy in the present spiritual paradise. As we partake of nourishing spiritual food, are we not moved to “cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart”? (Isaiah 65:13, 14) Moreover, we take delight in our association with those who manifest the fruitage of God’s spirit.

22 On the other hand, the fruitage+ of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness,+ faith, 23 mildness, self-control.+ Against such things there is no law.+ 24 Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus impaled* the flesh together with its passions and desires.+ (Galatians 5:22, 23)

How vital that we find satisfaction and refreshment in what Jehovah provides in a spiritual way!

Some questions we do well to ask ourselves are:

‘What place do material things occupy in my life? Am I using the material possessions I have to live a life of pleasure or to promote true worship? What brings me the greatest satisfaction? Is it Bible study and fellowship at Christian meetings, or is it weekends away from Christian responsibilities? Do I reserve many weekends for recreation instead of using such time for the field ministry and other activities in connection with pure worship?’

Our regularly attending Christian meetings and sharing in preaching the good news are included among the necessary acts and deeds of godly devotion. May we perform them with heartfelt devotion to God while we wait patiently for Jehovah’s great day. Let us “do [our] utmost to be found finally by [God] spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Peter 3:14.

Walking by faith means that we keep busy in the Kingdom work, with full trust in Jehovah’s promises.

58 Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast,+ unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord,+ knowing that YOUR labor is not in vain*+ in connection with [the] Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).

+

Preceding articles:

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

For The Love of Stuff

Learning that stuff is just stuff

Watch out

Thought of the day: We want more, i want more, but why is that?

Mini-MAX-malism: A Bigger Approach to Less is More

Less… is still enough

Less for more

The Art of Doing Less – Your Time is Finite

Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

++

Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Greed more common than generosity
  3. Some one or something to fear #2 Attitude and Reactions
  4. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  5. Some one or something to fear #4 Families and Competition
  6. Struggles of life
  7. It continues to be a never ending, exhausting battle for survival.
  8. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  9. Daily portion of heavenly food
  10. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late!
  11. How should we react against the world
  12. A call easy to understand
  13. Followers with deepening
  14. Come ye yourselves apart … and rest awhile (Mark 6:31)
  15. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  16. Looking forward to God’s faithfulness
  17. Count your blessings
  18. God should be your hope
  19. Always set a place in your life for the unexpected guest
  20. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  21. Be a ready giver
  22. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  23. Bearing fruit
  24. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  25. What’s church for, anyway?
  26. Making church
  27. Meeting – Vergadering
  28. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  29. Gathering or meeting of believers
  30. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  31. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  32. Breathing and growing with no heir
  33. Breathing to teach
  34. Reasons to come together
  35. God won’t ask
  36. Communion and day of worship
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  38. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment

+++

Further reading:

27 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs, Welfare matters

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

Universe exist already a long long time, and it shall continue to exist for a much longer time. Human beings in that universe have a lot of limitations. We are chained by our confinements. We do not like to have restrictions imposed on us and lots of people do think they can do a lot or even do think they can play for god.

We as perishable persons may look around us and either see the beauty of creation or miss it all. What is important that we should come to see the Hand behind everything. All being created in the likeness of the Divine Creator have not their eyes open to see their origin or to understand the ways of life.

For coming to insight it is important that people help each other. We have developed education centres and got printing and other media aids to provide educational material.

English: Rabbis Lesson with kids

Rabbis Lesson with kids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some two thousand years ago there was a simple man of flesh and blood in the Jewish community who warned the people around him that they better took account of what the previous rabbis told. The world had got prophets, men send by God, who gave warnings, but not many wanted to listen. With that prophet 2000 years ago it was not much different. He was considered a ‘stand in the way’ and therefore killed. Though making his mouth shut down, did not end his teachings. His disciples continued to go around wherever and whenever they could. They followed a big lesson they had learned from their master rabbi: going out into the world to preach the Good News of the Coming Kingdom of God.

Today Jeshua, as this rabbi was called (today better known as Jesus) is till alive in many hearts. Several people came to see what his death really means for the world. The eternal God, Who cannot die, told the world that there in the river Jordan was standing “His only beloved son“, given to the world to bring salvation. By the Grace of God, Jeshua his offering of his body is accepted as a ransom for us all.

But the story may not end there. The master teacher who had only a very short public life of three very active years, has asked his followers to continue in his footsteps. And there seems to lie a big problem. Not many do want to go out and preach in the name of Jesus.

Today it does not seem to be very much different than in the times of Jeshua. There are loads of discussions about the position of the Torah on issues that are out of date with our modern sensitivities. There are people who also come to see that there might be rituals which are supposedly similar to pagan festivals of the time. The reason for this is that often it were people who liked so much certain attitudes that they took over certain attitudes and feasts. But we always should consider if they would be something God would like to see.

It becomes more and more important to get to know what the Divine Creator really wants from us and what His Plans are. the task Jesus has given to his disciples has become more vital. It should be an essential part of the life of a follower of Christ (a Christian). Being Christian should mean that you are prepared to follow Christ his teachings and are willing to live according his rules (The Law of Christ)

Coming together, exhorting each other and preaching the gospel should be the core-business of a Christian.

Some may be convinced that a religion has to give to the people what they want to find, not having to change too much their life. Lots of people want that they get something familiar to hold onto? Perhaps they could call it “God modelled” “His new religion” after existing practices.

There is an established principal in Jewish thought (and a logical one as well) that “The Torah speaks in the language of man.” Among other things, this means that the Torah speaks in the context of the time in which it was given and in a way that is appropriate for the people of the time. Many of the commentators write that God had to gradually wean a pagan slave population off of it’s pagan ritual and belief system. It would not be effective for God to create brand new rituals that have no meaning for the worshipers. To give a silly example, if God were to create a brand new religion now, he would not create one where worship of God is done by standing on one’s head 5 times a day.{Why are some Jewish rituals similar to Pagan rituals?}

People have to come to understand it is not God Who has to adapt to them but that they have to come closer to God knowing Him and following up what God wants us to do.

To get to know what God really wants from us, we best look into what He has given the world to get to know Him better. God has given His Word for all mankind to find Who He is, what He wants and what we can do to come to Him and to become Children of God.

People write history or similar for a reason; what someone did may not be as important for their memory as what someone later needed to do with it. Jeshua his followers had their own worldly job, but they knew how urgently needed was their preaching, telling others about the works of their master teacher. Whether or not all these who tried to bring the gospel to others were really talented orators we probably can’t tell. In a certain way it does not really matters. What matters is that they got the message across.

Also today, you may perhaps not be so eloquent, or not so good in many languages, but you should know you too can have a story to tell. Everybody can help to contribute getting the news of the coming Kingdom spreading all over the world.

Many may think it is sufficient when they preach in their own church. For them it is sufficient (they think) to give exhortations to their own church or ecclesia members. Many may find the opportunity to stand in front of congregations and crowds many times. How many time do they think about the responsibility they bear? Though may shall have the hope some of the people in the congregation will hear their voice and carry the thought with them to ponder.

But we do not have to preach for those who already believe. We do need preachers for those who do not yet know the truth. Those who do not know the importance of Christ yet, should come to know it. We need announcers of the Good News, not a bellman for the own flock or to bring just recreational or bad news, like the journal offers it every day over and over again.

It is true others may not understand the energy it takes to get up in front of others to proclaim God’s word and lots of people would call it a silly activity. But it is not what the worlds find interesting to do what we should do. The love of the world is not for the Holy Word. People are not interested in God, His Plans or His world. Though they should know it really matters to know Him.

Importance of coming together to study the Word of God - Bible time at Shunem

Importance of coming together to study the Word of God – Bible time at Shunem

Those who love God should not be afraid to come out for it. They should also trust Him, what He can do with them is they are willing to go to others to tell about Him and His son. They shall be surprised to come to feel the Hand of God in what they do, when they try to do it honestly. They can be surprised to feel how God can guide them and how God is willing to give His Power and presence in a mighty way. Often we shall be amazed at the insight He gives, the words He brings, the abilities we recognize, not because of our skills, but because of God’s power and presence within us.

Today time seems to be spares for everybody. Pastors and everybody else are busy.

They hardly have time to prepare their sermons every week while at the same time visiting, counseling, planning, fixing, etc. Ask most pastors what good theology books they’ve read recently and you’ll be greeted by blank stares. {The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

How many can, or better said, are willing to take time to come to study the Bible and to share their findings with others? How many are willing to come to a God-centered search and preaching?

In certain churches the priest may have the idea that:

Pastors who do not study theology tend to preach atheological sermons. They may be able to atomistically expound a text, but they will have difficulty connecting the text to the grand redemptive truths that give the texts weighty significance. {The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

but they forget that the essence is all in the Word of God and can be found when really looking in that word, not having to have had theological studies in universities. God Himself has provided everything in His Word to be found by every man, educated and non-educated. Man does not need a theological study to come to understand God His Word. They also do not a university tittle to go out preaching the gospel. Jesus nor his followers, except Luke and Paul, got high degrees or were known scholars. common people in the first century of Christianity took care that the word spread and that it could reach lots of people, from child, slave, uneducated up to educated people. Many came to know the truth by simple people who took their time to spread the news.

Van Til saw a definite connection between the study of systematic theology and the ability to preach the whole counsel of God. If a pastor is not well-versed in theology, he may shy away from Scriptures that his flock needs for growth in grace. Or worse, he may shy away from Scriptures his flock needs for spiritual and doctrinal protection.{The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors}

He also writes:

Many people believe that the basis and source of defending the faith is different than that of knowing the faith. That is, they believe that we do systematic theology by appealing to the Scriptures, and we defend our faith by appealing to reason or philosophy (since unbelievers don’t accept the Bible as the Word of God). {The Value of Systematic Theology for Defending the Faith}

Without being in the faith a person can not come over convincingly. The faith has to be in the veins and the spirit. When the person is wiling to give him or herself to the Words of God, those Words can feed him or her. It is in the Word of God that The Truth can be found and not in the words of human beings. Jesus wanted us to share that truth which we can find.

The distinctive of the presuppositional (or transcendental) approach to apologetics developed most extensively by Cornelius Van Til is its demand that Scripture be the starting point for all human knowledge, and that it be maintained as such in a believer’s defense of the faith against attacks by unbelievers.The best apologetic defense will invariably be made by him who knows the system of truth of Scripture best. The fight between Christianity and non-Christianity is, in modern times, no piece-meal affair. It is the life-and-death struggle between two mutually opposed life-and-world views

Both seem to forget the Power of God, the Holy Spirit, Who is the One Who has to guide the speaker or preacher.  It is not as they say that

He who has not been trained in systematic theology will often be at a loss as to how to meet these attacks.

It probably shall not be easy, that’s sure, but that we can see by theologians as well when they are brought down their pied de stall.

Van Till and

He may be quite proficient in warding off the attack as far as details are concerned, but he will forever have to be afraid of new attacks as long as he has never removed the foundation from the enemy’s position.

Those who go around telling about the prophets, Christ and the One who send all these men, should not consider the others as the enemy. Even when they may go in the position of attack, the one willing to preach for God shall be able to trust Him and would not have to worry man.

All those who come along and hear the words of the one who wants to preach in the name of God can either stop to listen or continue their way. Nobody should remain. Nobody is expected to take everything for what and how it is said. The preacher when he does not find the ground fertile, finds no one to listen can and shall continue his or her way to go further trying to reach people who are willing to listen and who are willing to investigate and to take the Word of God to compare with what is said.

Van Til starts stepping on toes:

The church will have to return to its erstwhile emphasis upon its teaching function if it is to fulfill its God-given task of bringing the gospel to all men. Its present recourse to jerky evangelism as almost the only method of propaganda is itself an admission of paupery…Revivalists ought to make themselves unnecessary as quickly as possible.

Reformed apologist and churchman Cornelius van Til preaching on the street

Reformed apologist and churchman Cornelius van Til preaching on the street

We only can hope Van Til was pleading for a return to a comprehensive instruction in sound doctrine, (what he and other  theologians may understand by that?) that would provide the foundation for both a deep and strong faith, and a solid foundation for a robust defence of the faith against attacks.

We are convinced that regular Bible reading (perhaps according to a strategic plan) is the right foundation for successful Bible study. And the principles of accurate interpretation will take that Bible study to the next level of spiritual blessing and benefit. Each person willing to get to know God and His works shall find the answers to his and others questions by reading God’s Word. True biblical sermons or exhortations don’t drive the biblical text, they are driven by the biblical text. Scripture speaks for itself.

But preaching is not all about giving sermons or exhortations it is also by showing your heart to others and letting others feel how vibrant the Word of God makes you. Feeling humbled by the privilege to study Scripture and teaching it to others we should love seeing God working out and confirming His calling on others, having us nearby them to give them our hand to go together on the path of God.

We should not be afraid to go out in the world to tell others what we do believe about the Creator and His son.

++

Find also to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  5. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  6. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  7. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  8. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  9. How should we preach?
  10. Our way of life
  11. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  12. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  13. Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology
  14. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  15. Belonging to or being judged by
  16. Holland Week of billing
  17. Trying to get the youth inspired
  18. When discouraged facing opposition
  19. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  20. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  21. The Involvement of true discipleship
  22. Testify of the things heard
  23. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  24. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  25. A Voice to be heard
  26. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  27. Blogging for Jesus…
  28. Our openness to being approachable
  29. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  30. Words to push and pull
  31. Good or bad preacher
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. How should we preach?
  34. Breathing and growing with no heir
  35. Breathing to teach
  36. Bringing Good News into the world
  37. Reasons to come together
  38. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  39. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

+++

Find additional literature:

  1. Why are some Jewish rituals similar to Pagan rituals?
  2. Messages will be spoken! (Micah 3:8)
  3. The Value of Systematic Theology for Defending the Faith
  4. The Value of Systematic Theology to Pastors
  5. Common Interpretive Pitfalls
  6. Seminar CXLIX: the importance of being eloquent in the Italian Church
  7. Van Til the Evangelist
  8. Van Til the Street Preacher
  9. Jehovah’s Message
  10. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  11. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  12. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  13. On Preaching “To the Men”
  14. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  15. How to Spread the Gospel
  16. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  17. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  18. Preaching is a two-way street
  19. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  20. What do you need…?
  21. Preach It, Sister!
  22. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings

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  • Who Is a Jew? (venitism.blogspot.com)
    Jews argue about everything, including who is a Jew. Disagreements usually develop along sectarian lines. Reform Jews are willing to accept into the tribe someone with a Jewish father and a gentile mother, but Orthodox Jews are not. Some ultra-Orthodox rabbis won’t even accept a child as Jewish when born to a devout Jewish mother from a donated gentile egg.All branches of Judaism allow for converts, but Orthodox Jews don’t recognize conversion of gentiles to Judaism unless that conversion is approved by a three-judge religious court comprised of three Orthodox men (usually rabbis), ritual immersion in a mikvah, and a commitment to perform all the Torah’s commandments according to Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law.
  • Generosity, Stewardship, and Living in God’s Economy (wawalker.com)
    So despite our smallness, our apparent insignificance, human beings are set apart and given a unique role. God gives us dominion over the earth and we’re to be stewards of it. It’s been entrusted to us. We’re to be a stewards, meaning we’re to be managers or overseers — caretakers — which means our responsibility is to do exactly what the owner wants us to do with the things that are not ours but Owner’s. The things that are God’s. So as it turns out, in spite of some obvious limitations, we nonetheless possess a certain degree of great power and freedom — and — responsibility, as stewards. Because Human beings have the capacity to do things that no other creatures can’t do.
  • Beware the Error of Replacement Theology! (pilgrimpassing.com)
    These are challenging and confusing times. With all the numerous and varied “winds of doctrine” that are blowing around us these days, many Christians find it difficult to discern the difference between truth and error. Here at CJF Ministries, one error we frequently encounter is Replacement Theology. Actually, it’s nothing new: in fact, it’s been around for centuries. Some of its roots are traceable to the writings of some of the Early Church fathers. And even today, oddly enough, this pernicious error is taught as a fact in many Bible colleges and seminaries worldwide. So let me ask you – how much do you know about Replacement Theology? If you were called upon to refute it, could you?
  • Interview with Yoel Glick – Part 2 (kavvanah.wordpress.com)
    Rabbi Yoel Glick just released a book  Living the Life of Jewish Meditation: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice and Experience. The book is billed as  a “comprehensive guide to meditation as a way of life draws on the knowledge of the East to vitalize and illuminate traditional Jewish practices in a whole new way.”

44 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Knowledge & Wisdom, Religious affairs

Putting your feelings into words and sharing them

Beings with feelings

Let's Talk About Feelings

Let’s Talk About Feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All human beings have feelings. We have to cope with them. There are many ways to cope with them.
We also see lots of things happening around us. We are touched with what we notice, and we also want to give a voice to our feelings. We all want to be heard as well.

You too may find that putting your feelings into words and sharing them with a sympathetic listener will make it easier to deal with them.

Writing can also be a helpful release. Some who find it difficult to talk about their feelings may find it easier to express themselves in writing.

Looking at old writings

Most of the things today are not written for education, but we still should find time to look for writings that can edify us. We can take time to look at the old writings which were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope. In the very old books we can find people who wrote down their thoughts so that others also could hear about them. But they also put their feelings in their writings to get freedom in their inner soul.

Following the death of Saul and Jonathan, the faithful man David wrote a deeply mournful song in which he poured out his sorrow. This emotional dirge eventually became part of the Bible book of Second Samuel.—2 Samuel 1:17–27.

Crying may also serve as an emotional release. “For everything there is an appointed time, even . . . a time to weep,” says the Bible. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) To be sure, the death of someone we love is “a time to weep.” Tears of grief are nothing to be embarrassed about. The Bible contains many examples of faithful men and women who openly expressed their grief by weeping. (Genesis 23:2; 2 Samuel 1:11, 12) Jesus Christ “gave way to tears” when he neared the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus, who had recently died.—John 11:33, 35.

Working through grief takes patience, for you may feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster. Remember that you do not have to be ashamed of your tears. Many faithful individuals have found that shedding tears of grief is a normal and necessary part of the healing process.

Sharing is helping

Putting down words of feeling can help you but also can help others.

It is a matter of sharing love for each-other that we should share thoughts with each other. We, by bringing matters to attention, can bring others to think about that matter. By publishing our own story we might show others they are not alone having those feelings or having to go through the same struggle.

Social networking Web sites

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

The last few years several placed their little pieces   and their little stories on Facebook. Recently they added Twitter to give some shouts into the internet world, or they threw in a nod to Google+ or Circles. We may even find pets with Facebook pages and politicians’ Internet campaigns and etiquette for R.S.V.P.’ing to events and the best way to wish someone happy birthday without feeling like an exclamatory fool! Social networking Web sites are the latest and greatest way to interact with other users on the Internet. Thirty-five percent of adults on the Internet now have a profile on at least one social networking site, and 51 percent have more than one. Three-quarters of users between the ages of 18 and 24 have an online profile.

English: CrazyFriendz is the free online socia...

CrazyFriendz is the free online social networking service. The service allows users to make new friends and manage existing relationships. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pew Research Center found that 89 percent of these people use the sites to keep up with friends, 57 percent to make plans with friends and 49 percent to make new friends.

There are articles that tell us that sharing is the most popular form of internet use today. But what is being shared and how? As the world of P2P file sharing grows and evolves, various torrent search sites distinguish themselves. Some bands don’t mind if you share their music, and they even encourage it. But what about reading material? Who wants to share interesting reading material? Who wants to let others know he  or she did find something interesting to read?

This UML diagram describes the domain of Linke...

This UML diagram describes the domain of LinkedIn social networking system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendster, Urban Chat and Black Planet are just a few of more than 100 Web sites connecting folks around the world who are eager to share their thoughts and feelings. But just like in real life, there’s such a thing as sharing too much information (TMI). It’s easy to get caught up in the social aspects of sites like Facebook, but what you choose to share is there for all to see if you don’t limit who can view your information. The same study by Pew Research found that 40 percent of users have open access to their profiles, allowing anyone to view their information. The other 60 percent restrict access to friends, family and colleagues. Sharing personal information with strangers can be dangerous business, and there are some things you should definitely put on your “do not share” list.

Crossover, public and genres

With 51 percent of social network users taking advantage of more than one site, there’s bound to be some crossover from one to the other, especially if you have the sites linked. Sometimes we may find interesting bits or would like to talk or discuss matters not on our own private blog, because it could bring an other site of us in the forefront we do not want to be known directly, before our friends and bosses, or want to make sure no connection is made endangering our work.

Many do not mind sharing lots of things on Facebook, but are afraid to share real serious material on their blogs or on other blogs which reserve a place to contribute stories, like this site does.

Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace cater to a smorgasbord of users while people using sites such as Subeta and Neopets are mostly teens. Social networking sites can be very specific, too. For instance, you’ll find sites for just about every type of car, sport and sports team or music genre. And one of the largest groups of specialized social media sites is dedicated to parenting.

Many men and women will be, are or hope to be parents. That’s why social networking sites for parents are growing all over the Internet.

Communities and chit chat

Friendster

Friendster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many sites will you be able to find about the way of life, or how to help each other, working to get a better living together? You may find lots of “Communities” where is being chit-chatted about little things of the world or materials things, like puppets, cars, games, etc.. but who wants to take time to share something about the beauties of nature. Sharing about the beautiful ladies, we may find enough, but about the plants and animals we shall find less. Mothers, fathers, gamers, fun or entertainment-park users, all have some sites where they can meet each other. They all have their own social networking sites aiming toward connecting, like minded of from the same sort, online. Users on those sites can choose to navigate in different easy to use areas including Discussions, Groups, Things to Do, Photo, Video, Coupons, Marketplace and My Stuff.

Some do not mind to pay to have a “Family’s home” on the internet. Other sites, like Minti, ask to join discussions and offer advice to others in search of the answers to the perpetual questions that come with raising children, providing a forum for parents to share advice and network with parents with similar interests, problems or questions regarding parenting.

Focus of the writers

At those social network-sites the focus of the writers is mostly on themselves. From Guestwriters has no pretension to become also a social network site. It does not aim to bring the focus to particular writers. Instead of aiming themselves in the picture, the writers on this site do want to bring subjects and things they find interesting into the picture. The focus is on the material and not on persons or individuals. The material presented here wants to be undone from the writer, bringing thoughts which could be for everybody and should move many.

Here we want to confront issues and not so much persons. the aim is to give place to matters which should interest many and which should be of importance for human beings. The people joined here, do not want to put themselves on the first row. They want to approach others with sympathy and respect. They might approach the sharing of their or your thoughts and feelings with others. This they want to do with an attitude of respect for them-self with respect for yourself and for the other persons.

We are aware that not many people are interested to take time to read deeper going articles or poetry today. But we can only hope enough interested people would come along and would not mind giving their ‘contribution’. We would love to find a place where there may be created a healthy discussion atmosphere. But this site is not in the first place a discussion forum. No, it wants only to be a place where different thoughts may be uttered next to each other, without anybody taking a grudge or being disturbed or scandalized. We do not want feelings over the presented material to run high. We do not want to find polluting or poisonous words, but spiritual feeding words. We do not want to present destructive powers on this site. Contrary we would love to see building up material, presenting positive material.

Peace loving agreement to disagree

We would like to find all peace loving people over here. We may all want to have change, but we do not want to get change by violent actions. The general idea is to come to a place of peace with each other. We do know that peace at any cost is not peace and that we should work for it. We shall have to dare to put wounds open to be able to let them heal. We shall have to point the finger to the ulcers in our community. We shall have to face the illnesses in our community. Yes, to get on our way together, to find peace and a nicer world to live, we shall have to see the good and the bad things in the world, and be able to talk about them. It is over those good and bad things we would like to see writings on this site, by different people, who might have very diverse opinions. We want not restrict such divergent ideas nor a diversity of interests. Varied opinions may be sharply, but over here we do not want them to hurt any body. We all want to accept that each writer may present things from a different viewpoint. though we may differ from opinion we do not mind sharing together those different viewpoints and enjoying such a variety of ideas. (Imaging all wearing the same grey uniforms, all using the same words in the same order.)

We do not want to be blind for the different views there are in the world, but also do not want to ignore the different solutions which could be possible. In case a conflict would be shown it does not mean that such conflicting views would not allow a good relationship. It is not because we may have different opinions we do not like each other. We do not mind to admit there is conflict and consider the way we handle it more important and part of enjoying the peace in our relationship. Looking and discussion about the differences always keeping an open mind and having a willingness to work it out to come to a place of peace, shall give both parties fulfilment.

It may surprise you, but it should not, that we allow different opinions to exist next to each other. Presenting such different ideas also does not mean we would like to provoke argument nor agreement. We want to show that people can live together in peace even with different ideas and believing in agreement to disagree.

Willing to come together

Our hopes are that we may find enough people willing to share ideas and to taste the different flavours others might present here. It would be lovely if we can bring a pallet of different writers from all over the world. Perhaps it might be the nostalgic feeling of what we had in our children time, which was called in Dutch “poëzie”, an album of verses, little stories, uplifting texts and pictures.
The big differnce now being that in that album everything might have been centred to ourselves, now the focus goes to the others around us.

As adults we have come to see that the world doesn’t revolve around us and the world doesn’t revolve around the person. One of the keys to success in relationships is learning to yield to each other. Over here we would like to offer a place where everybody can come along and find material that can feed him or her to go on. In case many persons do not mind sharing positive ideas and inspirational thoughts, those who want to write on this site would be pleased to offer a source of inspiration and spiritual guidance.

Providing a warm, supportive environment

We all get some nice but also very unpleasant moments in our life. at the darker moments in life either we can get in our own little corner or look for a place where we can enjoy some light. We do hope this site might become such a place where many people shall be able to find some comfort, peace, tranquillity and find some inspiring notes, which can help them to get above the garbage they are feeling in.

We do not want to be pretentious squirts. We make no pretensions to expert knowledge. We have not the presumption we can solve all problems. But we do think we can help each other in different ways. The writers as well as the readers can find support in each other and build up a relationship of good feeling.

We want to offer stories of many people by showing an interest in their journey. We love it to share those voyages throughout the world. Not to walk alone is much nicer than staying in our recluse. We prefer not to be lone wolfs, but to find many people willing to live together in peace on this beautiful earth.

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Join us today by becoming a reader or, why not a contributor as well?

blogger-for-peace-van-2

Step in the van or in the bus and go on a nice voyage with us. (By Clicking on the picture you may find out more about the Bloggers for peace.

In case you have already your own blog, why not contribute now and then to this one and presenting some of your writings?
In case you also write regularly about love and peace, you might consider also to become a Blogger for peace.

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Additional reading:

  1. Words in the world
  2. Helpful words
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. Spring in sight
  5. Hope
  6. Working of the hope
  7. Hope does not disappoint us
  8. The true hope of eternal life!
  9. Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark
  10. Hope as long as you live

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  1. Living With(out) Regret and Negative Feelings
  2. Words are important
  3. Liberty-human-rights – article 10 – freedom of expression
  4. Twitter, Outrage, and Jesus
  5. 10 Powerful Tips For Sharing Thoughts and Feelings
  6. Did You Ever Wish for a Fast Way to End an Argument?
  7. Relationship Help–Allow Someone to Struggle to Get Strong

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  • Make your readers do the weeping. (scribbledrevisions.com)
    Grief and pain are universal human emotions from which none of us are immune. You’re familiar with it. So am I. We all are.
  • Emotions and Faith – Part 1 (commentsonchristianity.com)
    Humans are emotional creatures. It’s one of the things that God gave mankind that He did not give to animals (or at least not on the same level we experience them). It’s what makes life beautiful, painful, joyful, sorrowful and meaningful. It’s a gift and a curse, a crutch and a burden.
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    I feel an anger when I hear about violent or hateful acts. When I hear of murders, rapes, kidnappings, torture or even hateful speech I am disturbed. I cannot fathom the evil that is in this world.
  • Into The Blue (anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com)
    “Even as you suffer apparent defeats, you may discover that what you are losing is not really anything significant. You may learn that the needs of your ego are not your real needs at all.” – Robert Hand.

    It is sometimes said that our own suffering makes us more empathic towards others and their suffering. Because we know what suffering is, we see it, recognise it, understand it in others. We understand what they are going through, because we too go through it.

    Pain, sadness, grief, connects us. We all feel it, experience it, get to know it more than we would ever like to.

    Yet our own pain, sadness, grief, and suffering can disconnect us too. Especially when our mind and ego get involved in how we process our emotions.
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    I feel blue and discouraged as things repeat themselves relentlessly and my efforts never materialize, never lead me to progress. My empathy is an obstacle as I keep thinking if I say how I feel it will hurt him and it makes me shiver; I have another pending situation with someone to whom I really need to make things clear and although she is the one who had pricking words for me, I feel guilty if I choose stand for myself.
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    Do not fear the deep, dark, often seemingly bleak abyss of blue, breathe it in, breathe it out, let it flow and flow with it, see where it leads. We become stronger as we allow ourselves to embrace all of ourselves, all of life as it is. As we become stronger, how we experience life changes.

  • Journeys to Resurrection (improbableoptimisms.blogspot.com)
    “How could God let this happen?”
    We hear this question all the time: after shootings, after tragic car accidents and plane crashes, after typhoons and mudslides and earthquakes. During the seven years I volunteered as a lay hospital chaplain, I heard it often.
  • He Is Our Comfort In Times of Grief (csahm.com)
    grief is inevitable because death is inevitable. All of us must pass from this earth one day and leave loved ones behind.
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    Everyone grieves differently, and at a different rate. We must learn that tears are okay; the feelings of isolation or emptiness are normal and will pass
  • The Knit Soul (1031lifeministries.com)
    There are hundreds of friendships and companionships in the Bible, but few compare to the perfect example of David and Jonathan. David was the captain of Saul’s bodyguard and a high ranking member of his army. He had slain Goliath and helped tear the Philistines to shreds; he had killed his ‘tens of thousands’ (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul attempted twice to kill David, and despite this Jonathan stayed by his side because “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David,” (1 Samuel 18:1) and the two became as brothers, as well as brothers-in-law.
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    stop spending any effort on unhealthy relationships because the ones that matter will be much more fulfilling. If there is somebody that you would weep and fast for then cherish that person and let them know how important they are to you.
  • Tender Love (essentialthingdevotions.com)
    What is the most moving film you’ve ever watched? I went to see Les Misérables last week and my husband was outraged that I didn’t cry! Needless to say he shed more than one tear himself. It wasn’t that I wasn’t moved, I was deeply. But I didn’t cry.
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    For the record, there have been many films I have been moved to tears by – Message in a Bottle, Titanic, It’s a Wonderful Life, Pay it Forward to name but a few. And of course, the hopeless romantic in me cannot help herself from blubbing at films like PS, I Love You, Sleepless in Seattle, 50 First Dates and Love Actually! Cold-hearted? I think not :-).
  • It Stinks. (gillianbarr.wordpress.com)
    The Bible doesn’t shy away from death. In our culture, we do. We use euphemisms. Bodies are whisked away on gurneys to be cleansed by undertakers   We avoid the word “death”–we don’t say someone died. “He passed,” “she transitioned,” “he crossed over,” “she has gone to a better place.” We “celebrate their life” but go to great lengths to avoid the cold hard word “death.” We prolong life in hospitals, we avoid making wills or estate plans or advanced directives. We don’t tell our pastors when we are sick or in trouble because we “don’t want anybody to see us like that.” We may show death and gore in action and fantasy film plots, but we avoid talking about how it happens in real day to day life.
  • 10 More Hollwood Actors and Performers Who Are Bible-Believing Christians (theblaze.com)

    Last year, TheBlaze brought you a list of 10 notable celebrities who are openly Christian. While critics generally charge that there aren’t many “believers” or genuine religious adherents in Hollywood, some would argue against this claim, noting that there are certainly some in the entertainment industry who embrace Christ’s teachings.

    Regardless of the exact numbers, there are surely more than 10 celebrities who live by Christian doctrine, so we thought we’d bring you yet another round of Jesus-friendly singers and actors.

  • Pro-Faith Hollywood Power Couple Discuss Upcoming Mini-Series ‘The Bible’ on TheBlaze TV (theblaze.com)
    As society currently rewards reality television, violent YouTube videos and tends to portray people of faith as “cheesy” or “corny,” Beck pointed to the Emmy Award-winning actress, most famous for having starred in the the popular series “Touched by an Angel,” to showcase the best sides of faith and faith-centered entertainment.

    Downey, who has produced and starred in a myriad movies and television productions including “Monday After the Miracle” and “Borrowed Hearts,” and was honored as People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People,” shared what faith means to her in an increasingly-secular world.

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Accents in schools and tools of survival against aliens

In Belgium and most parts of Europe the schools give a lot of attention to mathematics. Everything in the world seems to turn around ciphers. Not much space is given to emotions. Even at the age of two and a half, when kids enter school and you would think much of the basic social skills still have to be learned not so much time is invested to teach the children to live and work with each other.
Not only the “West” does not spend time into the spiritual welfare of its younger population. Software engineer, in an MNC in Gurgaon, India, Samir Mishra notices in his own country, which we associate with spiritual gurus:

It’s quite ironic that no education system teaches us how to use the tools of life when it’s life that turns out as the best teacher, mentor and guide for the rest of your life. {Subjects in Distress}

It looks like the world is gone far away from the basic skills a human being has to learn. All focus is placed on measurable things, matters of competitive skills and not of sharing issues. Our society does not give much attention any more on what we should consider the most essential valuable matters in the world of mammals. Perhaps man thought it should make itself totally different of animals, so would have to cut the behaviour education. In nature animals spend time at first to teach their young how they have to behave and what the order is in the way of life of their sort. They learn the basic skills to live in this world and to manage a good life.

Most people industrialised countries can say the same as Samir Mishra:

Even more ironic and rather sad is, none of the skills I learned in my school or college are helping me make my living. {Subjects in Distress}

Today we all may learn how to get the skills for a certain job to make money. In the fifties and sixties boys and girls in Belgium learned how to nit and sew. The children learned to work and to play together. Now not many play any more. Before and after school they are kept quiet in front of the television screen. Nobody learns needle work at school when he is a youngster. Most works for mother-day and father-day are mainly prepared by the teacher. The kids only bring the final touches, but they and the parents do believe they made it.

Nobody learns to give honour on the right person or to give respect to others.
Though:

Nothing helps except humanity and respect. Rest all are mere tools of survival against aliens, angry animals and foolish humans. {Subjects in Distress}

Lots of schools have become big institutions which manage to bring children in distress with ‘boredom’, filling up their brains with lots of words and ciphers which do not seem to contribute much to life-skills. Children feel this and therefore do not feel it is giving them the right thing, so they loose interest and get bored. They need to feel the direct link to their way of living, their own environment.

US Navy 041127-N-8801B-079 Culinary Specialist...

US Navy 041127-N-8801B-079 Culinary Specialist Seaman Barbara E. Rodriguez, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), spends time on a community relations visit to the Dubai Center for Special Needs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of children like Tonkadella may have a great memory and can easily remember stories and names, but from their educational period, the many years they sat on the school benches, they cannot remember numbers, dates and years. Is it perhaps not because lots of things are not any more presented in a nice frame, a good story? Children would remember nice stories, those stories that touch them, stories with deeper emotional meaning, not political. Not wars, conflicts, revolutions and battles. Though a great deal of the children might like the ‘wargames’, because they look incredible fancy moments. But for others it is all just a violence and crime to them. People suffering and fighting all the time, lesson by lesson.

Strange to find people to become bored in history class,such an interesting subject?

I was getting tired and bored in history classes. I found my teacher uninspiring and that affected my learning. All I did in history classes was daydreaming, which helped me to escape the stress reality of humankind history. Sometimes I would just simply stare at those pictures shown by my teacher, thinking of those pretty clothes, hairstyles and jewellery people used to wear. Sometimes, I would just try very hard to stay awake. {The History I don’t Know}

In Belgium it looks like the government does not find it necessary to the inhabitants to know what happened. Not much time is sped to history and geography, just now when so many can travel around. all focus is on mathematics.

“They” always said, “Write it down,” but when it came to math, that was poor advice for me. It got so excruciating that in eleventh grade, when my very nice algebra teacher said, “We’re starting imaginary numbers next week,” I actually cried. He asked what was wrong and I said, “I can’t get the right answer with real ones. What will I be able to do with imaginary ones?” By then I’d developed such a complex over the whole “right answer” thing that I was blind. I thought the little ‘i’ in front of a number denoting it being imaginary was an upside-down-exclamation mark, you know, like for Spanish? (I didn’t realize it was an ‘i’ (eye) until about ten years ago when a bunch of my students explained it! I’d have felt chagrined, but some of them couldn’t do long division on paper. 😉 ) {Imagined Irrationality of Numbers}
What a nightmare! {The History I don’t Know}

The children from early age onwards got their heads stuffed full with ciphers. They are not allowed to dream, they even do not learn it any more. They also do not learn to read stories any more. No time is spend to go through the literary works of the past. By leaving the on the bookshelves not many get to master their own language or to play with words.

Today we only can find a few people who still can say:

I also read, in their entirety, every single book that was required reading for my A.P. English class. And it was in that small classroom, in the north wing of my high school, where I flourished, plodding my way through the likes of Steinbeck, Dickens and Bronte. It’s where I fell in love with Conrad and Flaubert; where I became enthralled with Homer and Tolstoy; where I learned I didn’t care for Hemingway or Bradbury; learned that I could adore Fitzgerald’s Gatsby and a few weeks later be bored stiff by his other works. And, it’s where I learned that I could write words to make people understand – to take them down the road I wished them to go. {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

But more than remember what I learned, or even wished I’d learned back then, sometimes I think about those past teachers – not all of them, but some. And I wonder about their lives now and then. What did they do when they weren’t at school? Did they have families? What were their hobbies? Did they like teaching? Were they happy? I wouldn’t have known any of those things back then … but I wonder, if I would have known, would I have thought differently about any of them? {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

Children learn about health, fitness, safety

Children learn about health, fitness, safety (Photo credit: CherryPoint)

It seems the world did not want to let the person behind the subject been seen. Probably if pupils could see the person behind the subject more, they would get more respect for them. They also would probably remember more those teachers who personally managed to contribute something to their own life. The best teachers are those who give that extra, the little stories, the issues not registered in the syllabus.

One things for sure, to this day there are a few that I will always pay homage to for installing in me the craving for knowledge – because it’s only with knowledge that one can dream of all that’s possible in this life … and for that, I am thankful. {If you learn one thing, learn to dream –}

Those teachers who brought that extra to their subjects should be the ones to be remembered.  Hopefully next generations can find ways to bring back sunshine in the hearts of many.

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This post inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion.
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!”

Please do find to read:

  1. Subjects in Distress
  2. If you learn one thing learn to dream
  3. Giggles and some learning
  4. Chemistry

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Cultural affairs, Educational affairs, Social affairs, Spiritual affairs