Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless... including this blog.


2 + 2 = Transhumanism Wednesday, June 12, 2024
There are some who equate transgenderism with being one step closer to transhumanism, or the melding of man and machine; akin to the Borg in Star Trek, of which I'm convinced there are plenty of nerds out there who readily identify with their God-given genders who will eagerly line up to become sexless cyborgs with a shared conscience. There are also plenty of people in need of organ transplants, prosthetic limbs, and artificial body parts who wouldn't flinch at surpassing their neighbor in physical supremacy to become bionic men and women, regardless of the gender of synthetic body parts appended to their own. Biblically, transgenderism is an affront to God (Genesis 2:23-24). One is "playing God" when they surgically change from one gender to another or reject His original, gender-specific intentions. However, I find nothing in Biblical opposition to becoming a cyborg, (Searching... Searching... Searching...), the caveat being that total submission to a mechanical body would undoubtedly forfeit your soul, such as transplanting the brain to a robot. The concern I have is humankind transmogrifying into asexual humanoids akin to little grey aliens, who apparently traveled back in time to abduct people's genitals so they can start reproducing again. Anyway, I digress. I had nothing important to blog about (as usual), so I went through my browser bookmarks for some ideas and re-watched this You Tube video, which is also available on Twitter/X. Originally, I was like, "Yeah." But after watching it again, I was like, "Wait, what?" If you agree or disagree, please keep it to yourself. If you don't care, then why are you here in the first place? (Not here on this planet, but here on this website.) If you like what you read here, then please put a penny in the "take a penny leave a penny" dish. If not, then exit they way you came in.



Bartholomaios, prithee, heal my paper cut. Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Today some in the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrate Saint Bartholomew (Nathanael), one of the original Apostles of Jesus Christ. Bartholomew/Nathanael apparently met his Maker after being skinned alive and beheaded for spreading the Gospel with Jude/Thaddeus throughout Armenia in the first century. You can learn more about the Apostles in The Gospel of Martha. Here is an excerpt:

So Philip sought Bartholomew, and said unto him, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." And Bartholomew saith unto him, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip saith unto him, "Be not thou flippant, but come and see."

Jesus saw Bartholomew coming to him, and saith of him, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Bartholomew saith unto him, "Whence knowest thou me?" Jesus answering saith unto him, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee."

Bartholomew then asketh of him, saying, "What meanest thou by this?" And Jesus answering saith unto him, "Thou wast holding in thy hand a fig, and upon it wast thou meditating; and thou askest within thine heart whether is there any thing more comely, or splendid to behold in all of creation, than a fig?"

So Bartholomew answering saith unto him, "Rabboni (which is to say, being interpreted, Rabbi), thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Isræl. For most assuredly do I love figs."

Jesus answering saith unto him, "Thou shalt be called Nathanael (meaning, God is my fig tree). But because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than figs. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, hereafter thou shalt see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Bartholomew Nathanael answering saith unto him, "Rabboni (which is to say, being interpreted, Rabbi), truly shall I follow thee, but first let me return unto my wife, and my children, and my dependents, and mine employer, and my mother who lay dying, and bid them farewell." And Jesus answering saith unto him, "No one who returneth to the grindstone after being called is worthy to follow the Son of man."

And Bartholomew Nathanael answering saith unto him, "Wait, what? Surely thou japest, my Lord." And Jesus answering saith unto him, "Verily so. Now goest thou thitherward and doest what thou must, but makest thou haste. Then come, follow me."



Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum Sunday, June 9, 2024
Today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates Bede the Venerable (A.D. 673-735), an English monk and scholar who wrote a five-volume history of the English churches beginning with Julius Caesar's invasion in 55 BC, called An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which you can read at your leisure at The Project Gutenberg EBook. Although primarily concerned with the religious history of England and the spread of Christianity, it does cover important historical events which occurred during these periods, including the Anglo-Saxon migration beginning in the fourth century, towards the end of the Roman Empire. Find out more about the Christian history of the English and Irish peoples before they are totally overrun by Muslims and forced to convert to Islam before your very eyes. (Yes, this is propaganda.) With about 85 Sharia councils in England and Wales and a growing number of elected officials who are Muslim, there exists concern about imposed Sharia law upon those who are not Muslim. An independent review was presented to Parliament in 2018 by the Secretary of State for the Home Department of Great Britain (available here) which concluded: "Sharia councils have no legal status and no legal binding authority under civil law. Whilst sharia is a source of guidance for many Muslims, sharia councils have no legal jurisdiction in England and Wales. Thus if any decisions or recommendations are made by a sharia council that are inconsistent with domestic law (including equality policies such as the Equality Act 2010) domestic law will prevail." Its recommendations on the control and regulation of Sharia councils included awareness campaigns, cultural change in areas such as women's rights, and "the creation of a body that would set up the process for councils to regulate themselves." Unfortunately, the extent of this review was limited primarily to what it determined was "the vast majority (over 90%) of people using sharia councils are women seeking an Islamic divorce." You can find out more about what Sharia law is and how it's practiced in the United Kingdom here. The main concern which I promulgate here is that radical Muslims in the UK are threatening Sharia law (as opposed to Sharia code or guiding principles) and these cacophonous twaddlers hold sway over weaker minds, many of whom fall outside their own Muslim communities. And, yes, one could argue that the official Church of England has its own faults, but the kind of cultural changes it has undergone over the centuries to the benefit and respect of secular society are not going to be undertaken by Islam any time soon, if at all. As Winston Churchill wrote in The River War, "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries... A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." And, yes, one could argue that Churchill had his own faults.



We're here, we're queer, and we're coming for your children. Sunday, June 2, 2024
In observance of Pride Month, here's the latest flag representing the LGBTQ+ community, including: black and brown stripes for people of color; light blue, pink and white for transgender persons; a purple circle on a yellow background signifying intersex progress. To learn more about the different LGBTQ+ flags and variety of subcommunities they represent, visit this site. The population which gathers under these flags and pledges allegiance to what they stand for is relatively small compared to the overall U.S. population (7.6% in 2024, according to Gallup). What this all means to me -- a straight, white, conservative, Christian male -- is that this flag is nothing less than a banner of war. It is an invasion against decency, virtue, and principles. It is an attack upon traditional values of moderation and religious morality. It is a symbol of a progressive, liberal minority that has found solid footing in our government with which to fight against the majority of its tax-paying citizens who make up the foundation of this country -- by which I mean people of all colors and beliefs who work hard to serve each other and prefer not to have a perverted agenda of queer depravity flagrantly paraded in the streets, flaunted in government facilities, and taught in our schools. For me, this is a clear sign of what Christians refer to as the end of days. I've been keeping an eye on social media and find that many of these colorful individuals are sad, angry, bitter, demanding, unintelligible, entitled, and lacking civility. What they want is not just to be accepted, but for everyone to be in agreement with them and, since that's not going to happen, a revolution is therefore in order which necessitates the grassroots recruitment of old-fashioned sexual deviants to help fight for the cause -- pedophiles, sadomasochists, transvestites, exhibitionists, drag queens, child molesters -- and giving them a public voice with which to denounce repression and victimization upon illicit paraphilia. This is nothing less than a widespread spiritual darkness and when these people sarcastically or resolutely chant that they are coming for our children, it is really demonic forces which are proclaiming through them that they indeed are coming for our children. Soon it will be illegal to speak out in opposition to anything that is wrapped in any variation of the rainbow flag. Even now, what I say is considered hate speech. Yet even those who don't believe in God or who argue unscripturally against established religions about God have abandoned rationale, critical thinking, medical science, and common sense. Instead, like feral animals, they yell incoherently and rely on profanity as a means of expression. Don't let the rainbow fool you, nor the sad clowns who wave their freak flag high. This is not about equal rights, but about dismantling democracy.



And That's The Way It Is (Part 2) Saturday, June 1, 2024
My last post was about (relatively) objective news sources -- those as close to the middle as possible, but where do Christians go to get subjective news aimed toward revealing that "minimum viable truth" which focuses on Christian views and interests -- material that leans to the right? I'd say wherever relevant news is available, whether secular or religious. News should be neither liberal nor conservative, but Christians tend to be more conservative than liberal. Here are a few popular online Christian news sources which I don't particularly utilize but which provide a wealth of "Christian" news:

Charisma News
"To passionate, Spirit-filled Christians, Charisma News is the most trusted source for credible news and insight from a charismatic perspective. Since 1975, Charisma magazine has reported on what the Holy Spirit is doing around the world. That award-winning news coverage quickly became the calling card for the magazine, as believers from across denominations turned to Charisma for the latest stories related to 'life in the Spirit.'"

Christian Broadcasting Network
"Over six decades after its humble beginnings in the defunct Portsmouth, VA, TV station, no one can dispute that CBN is one of the largest television ministries in the world. Yet, with its strong international network, CBN goes beyond the bounds of broadcasting to reach the world with tangible aid and a message of hope from the Bible. Founded on January 11, 1960, CBN first went on air on October 1, 1961, on WYAH-TV (from Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God), a UHF television station with barely enough power to reach across the Portsmouth city limits. With a modest income from a few local supporters, CBN began broadcasting live half-hour programs every night from 7:00 to 10:00 PM."

Christianity Today
"Since Billy Graham founded Christianity Today in 1956, we have lifted up the most powerful stories and transformative ideas the world has ever seen or heard. Over six decades later, we reach 4.5 million leaders each month through in-depth reporting and striking commentary, redemptive storytelling, global perspective, groundbreaking podcasts and dynamic content. It has never been more important for the church to be the church, and, in this crucial moment, CT encourages and equips her to be the hands and feet of Jesus."

Christian News
"Christian News Network provides up-to-date news and information affecting the body of Christ worldwide from an uncompromising Biblical worldview. Our objective is to present the news with the word of God as our lens, and to bring to light what is hid in the darkness. Our reporters ask the tough questions and inquire from a Scriptural perspective. As an independent Christian publication with no specific affiliation to any denomination or any political party, we are removed from the bias that is often commonplace from other news sources. Chiefly, our allegiance is to Christ and His word, appealing to Scriptural authority in our reporting. While there is a spectrum of theological differences, Christian News Network aims to fairly represent both positions on a given issue."

Christian News Now
"Christian News Now is for the thinking Christian who is seeking truth by prayerfully considering varied perspectives and asking God for wisdom. We created Christian News Now because we believe truth is powerful. Jesus said that we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. But what is truth in the news? Is it truth as only conservatives define it or as only liberals define it? Or is there truth on both sides and from the centrist viewpoint as well? Christian News Now believes that truth is defined in one place and one place only -- the Word of God. In our fallen state, humans can approach truth from multiple views and arrive at very different opinions. At Christian News Now, we believe there is something for thinking Christians to learn from everyone as we listen thoughtfully."

The Christian Post
"ChristianPost.com is the nation's most comprehensive Christian news website and was launched in March 2004 with the vision of delivering up-to-date news, information, and commentaries relevant to Christians across denominational lines. It presents national and international coverage of current events affecting and involving Christian leaders, church bodies, ministries, mission agencies, schools, businesses, and the general Christian public. As a pan-denominational Christian media source, The Christian Post views all Christ-centered denominations as equal constituents of the body of Christ and does not promote or demote any Christ-centered denomination and/or congregation."

Christian Today
"Christian Today is an independent Christian media company, established in 2004. While evangelical at heart, we are passionate about bringing the whole Church together and helping Christians of different denominations and groupings to learn from each other. To this end, you will find a range of voices, views and opinion on this site, not all of which will be considered orthodox evangelical. We produce daily news, comment and analysis covering the global church and religious affairs, politics, theology, culture and spiritual encouragement. We aim to be objective and fair in our reporting, rather than sensationalist or polarising, and we look to explain why things are happening, and, where relevant, represent a range of Christian opinion."

Crosswalk.com
"Crosswalk.com, an online Christian living magazine, is brought to you by a group of writers, editors, and content producers seeking to provide applicable, educational, and entertaining content to followers of Jesus Christ regardless of where they are in their respective spiritual journeys. We believe that the Christian faith isn't just for Sunday mornings in church; our faith informs every issue we face every day of the week. We want to provide content to people who are seeking to determine what living Christianity day-to-day means in their own lives."

The Daily Citizen
"Focus on the Family's The Daily Citizen provides a faith-based perspective to counter the mainstream media's anti-Christian bias. We want to help Christians analyze the news and current cultural issues through the principles of truth, moral objectivity and inherent, innate natural rights. The topics covered at The Daily Citizen can vary, but the team approaches each news cycle with the goal of covering stories relevant to the family. Like all news outlets, The Daily Citizen has a worldview that guides its coverage. What's different about The Daily Citizen is that the team has no pretense of holding "neutral" positions on the issues."

FaithWire
"Our mission is pretty simple. We want to show the stuff people of faith actually care about. Acts of virtue, broken lives being beautifully restored, doers of good not just hearers - that sort of thing. Basically, it's news & culture with a purpose - and that purpose is to point people to God."

The Gospel Herald
"The Gospel Herald is the leading online Christian news media in the world, providing daily breaking news reports on topics dealing with Christian communities, current events, and all other subject fields, including world news, church, religion, politics, entertainment, sports, technology, science, business, health, and more. The Gospel Herald Chinese Edition is the leading Chinese Christian news website, featuring daily news reports and a database of news relevant to the global Chinese Christian context."

News For Christians
"News For Christians is a news digest, pulling links from all over the web. We do not endorse all sites linked on this page or agree with the views of those sites. We choose these links to inform Christians of the issues of the day. We do our best to link to Bible articles that represent Biblical truth, but some articles may not reflect the editor's beliefs or practices."

Persecution News & Reports
"Every year, 200 million Christians suffer some level of persecution. The press is largely silent, and the Western Church remains asleep on the subject. We exist to build, bandage, and defend the suffering Body of Jesus."

Protestia
"Protestia is a polemical news site that is dedicated to providing Christian news and discernment in an age of widespread censorship. We document the downgrade of the church while being a resource for those wanting to know more about the figures and folks abusing the bride of Christ and taking us further and further away from sound biblical orthodoxy. In doing so, we strive to give out primary sources, link pertinent information including video and pictures, offer full quotes in context, cite other outlets with the same findings, and be diligent in conveying the truth. Protestia also provides commentary and opinion from the theological and worldview perspectives of conservative evangelical Christianity. The name Protestia is a hat-tip to the Protestant Reformation and all writers, contributors, and volunteers who serve our publication are Protestant Christians."

Rapture Ready End Times News
"One of the most basic responsibilities of being a believer in Jesus Christ is the need to propagate the gospel message. Most people seem to think evangelism is for people with reverend or pastor in front of their name. When we all stand before the King of Kings, each of us will be required to give an account of our earthly lives. This site is designed to provide an opportunity for people to become involve in the great commission. You don't need to STAND ON A SOAPBOX on some street to preach the good news. You can write an article, submit it to this forum, and if published, it can reach tens of thousands of people."

RedState
"Unlike most traditional news sites, RedState's writers don't live in the Acela corridor, and many have had successful careers in fields other than news or politics. Our writers are located in 18 states (at last count), from Alaska to Florida and from California to Pennsylvania, and are politically and civically active in their communities, giving them a perspective and depth of knowledge that few national outlets can match."

Worthy News
"Worthy News is an independent Christian news agency which reports news not covered by other outlets, on key developments in a rapidly changing world. Worthy News reaches both Christians and non-Christians around the globe and strives to be balanced and make a difference in these strategic times. Only publishing the news 'worthy' of reading! Worthy News was founded in 1999 on the verse, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." [Luke 21:36] On a daily basis, we review scores of news sources to compile our "Worthy News" brief. Since we are not supported by advertising, we are not influenced to include articles which mainstream news organizations use as "click bait" to drive page views to their sites."



And That's The Way It Is Friday, May 31, 2024
I am often asked where I get my facts, to which I admit: the Bible. This doesn't always go over very well with everyone, but it's the only absolute truth that has never changed. Katherine Maher, former CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation and current CEO of National Public Radio, said during a Ted Talk last year that there are many different truths, all of which are biased, and that we need to set aside our bigger belief systems in order come to a shared understanding based on the smallest amount of facts and data that is useful enough to enough people in what is called "minimum viable truth," or the smallest amount of information that is sufficient to make a decision or take action. The problem with this is that facts and data can be misinterpreted and misused on a wide scale and corrupted by powerful influences to sway the population to forego their freedoms in order to accept and adhere to mainstream disinformation, like climate change or viral pandemics. She uses the example of the success of Wikipedia and its thousands of disparate contributors to come to tens of thousands of ultimate truths. However, the issue with this is that she is now overseeing news and stories, which are susceptible to subjective bias and changing truths on a large scale. What the individual needs is cold, hard facts in order to formulate an objective opinion of their own with which to share with others, regardless of their own biases. So, where can someone obtain relatively straightforward news in order to better formulate these minimum viable truths?

I would exclude the following outlets due to extreme partiality: Fox News (too far right); CNN (too far left); MSNBC (too far left); Newsmax (too far right); HuffPost (too far left); The Guardian (too far left); Breitbart (too far right); Infowars (too far right); Yahoo! News (too far left and too much irrelevancy); TIME Magazine (see Yahoo! News); National Review (too far right); One America News (too far Trump); Al Jazeera (too far Muslim). However, I would recommend these if one were of a mind bent one way or the other as either side will often cover things the other overlooks.

I'd exclude the following mainstream news outlets for simply rehashing news without much journalistic insight: USA Today; Newsweek; ABC; NBC; CBS (with exception to 60 Minutes).

I'd exclude the following for being tabloid news: The New York Post; The Daily Beast; BuzzFeed; The Sun; The Mirror; National Enquirer; Weekly World News.

I'd exclude the following for requiring a paid online subscription: Forbes; The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; The Atlantic; The Washington Post.

I'd exclude social media all together, possibly with exception to YouTube simply for its massive library of news videos: Twitter/X (algorithms will take you too far right or left); Facebook/Meta (too censored); TikTok (nothing newsworthy to see here); Instagram/Pinterest (). The primary issues with social media and news include, but are not limited to, one-sided views, inaccuracy, censorship, less than civil comments and discourse, and amateur reporting. On the other hand, amateur reporting may cover topics and details that professionals cannot or will not tackle.

Despite some arguments to the contrary, I would recommend the following:

AllSides
"AllSides Technologies Inc. strengthens our democratic society with balanced news, media bias ratings, diverse perspectives, and real conversation. Don't be fooled by media bias and fake news. We display the day's top news stories from the Left, Center and Right of the political spectrum -- side-by-side so you can see the full picture. We provide Media Bias Ratings for over 1,400 media outlets and writers, so you can easily identify different perspectives. Understand how the Left, Right and Center think differently about various issues. Browse our Red Blue Translator to reveal differences in perspectives on hot-button words, like climate change, racism and more."

The Associated Press
"The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world's population sees AP journalism every day."

Axios
"We launched Axios in January 2017 based on this shared belief: The world needed smarter, more efficient coverage of the topics shaping the fast-changing world. We pledged to put our audience first, always. We met our promise and offered an antidote to this madness. Now, we are focusing our minds and manpower on a much bigger problem faced by all consumers: the erosion of truth, trust, safety and sanity in news. This is an existential threat to our democracy. It will require extraordinary effort by us and others to correct. The bottom line: We strive to be worthy of your time and trust, always."

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
"The BBC is the world's leading public service broadcaster. We're impartial and independent, and every day we create distinctive, world-class programmes and content which inform, educate and entertain millions of people in the UK and around the world."

C-SPAN
"We are a non-profit created in 1979 by a then-new industry called cable television. Today, we remain true to our founding principles, providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the workings of the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and Senate, without editing, commentary or analysis."

DailyMail.com
"Since the Daily Mail was first published in the closing stages of the 19th century, our brands have been pioneers of popular journalism, attracting the media industry's best talent and reaching new audiences with new technologies." (Note: DailyMail tends towards the right, but there's a lot to see and read.)

The Free Press
"The Free Press is a new media company founded by Bari Weiss and built on the ideals that once were the bedrock of great journalism: honesty, doggedness, and fierce independence. We publish investigative stories and provocative commentary about the world as it actually is -- with the quality once expected from the legacy press, but the fearlessness of the new. Originally called Common Sense, we focus on stories that are ignored or misconstrued in the service of an ideological narrative. For us, curiosity isn't a liability. It's a necessity."

National Public Radio
"NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human. Through its network of member stations, NPR makes local stories national, national stories local, and global stories personal." (Note: NPR leans to the left, but they do cover quite a bit of relative news that the mainstream news outlets let slip by when focusing on trending stories.)

PBS: FRONTLINE
"A trusted source of journalism presenting news documentaries on today's public affairs. FRONTLINE explores and illuminates the critical issues of our times - from business and health to social issues, politics and war."

POLITICO
"POLITICO is the global authority on the intersection of politics, policy, and power. It is the most robust news operation and information service in the world specializing in politics and policy, which informs the most influential audience in the world with insight, edge, and authority. POLITICO strives to be the dominant source for news on politics and policy in power centers across every continent where access to reliable information, nonpartisan journalism and real-time tools create, inform and engage a global citizenry."

ProPublica
"ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force. We dig deep into important issues, shining a light on abuses of power and betrayals of public trust -- and we stick with those issues as long as it takes to hold power to account."

Reuters
"Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers."

Snopes
"When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don't know what to trust, Snopes' fact-checking and original investigative reporting lights the way to evidence-based and contextualized analysis. We always link to and document our sources so readers are empowered to do independent research and make up their own minds." (Note: Snopes is often accused of being too far left, however, it's still a landfill of fact-checking.)

U.S. News & World Report
"U.S. News & World Report is a multifaceted digital media company dedicated to helping consumers, business leaders and policy officials make important decisions in their lives. We use world-class data and technology to publish independent reporting, rankings, journalism and advice that has earned the trust of our readers and users for more than 90 years."

Wikipedia
"Wikipedia's purpose is to benefit readers by presenting information on all branches of knowledge. Hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, it consists of freely editable content, whose articles also have numerous links to guide readers towards more information. Written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers known as Wikipedians, Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone with Internet access, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Since its creation on January 15, 2001, it has grown into the world's largest reference website, attracting over a billion visitors monthly. Wikipedia currently has more than sixty-three million articles in more than 300 languages, including 6,826,226 articles in English, with 121,345 active contributors in the past month." (Note: Although not a news outlet, it is an established place to do some historical fact-checking.)



By Any Means Necessary Sunday, May 19, 2024
Here's wishing everyone an angry Malcolm X Day in remembrance of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz (1925-1965) or "The Pilgrim Malcolm the Patriarch" of the Islamic Muslim Mosque, Inc. (disbanded in 1965) and the Pan-African Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) while an incarcerated hoodlum and became a black rights activist who advocated violent opposition to whites. In fairness, he had witnessed many accounts of violent white racism against blacks among his own family and friends and came to view Sunni Islam as treating all Muslim races equally. However, his view was that blacks as a global majority are the original human race and whites are devils created by an evil scientist named Yakub. Malcolm X believed that blacks needed to completely segregate from whites and form their own country separate from the U.S. as an interim to all African Americans returning to Africa. He was critical of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr., Christianity, Jews, capitalism, Oreo cookies, and eventually the Nation of Islam and its founder, Elijah Muhammad. To this day, it is still not certain who is responsible for the assassination of Malcolm X, but the primary culprits remain the FBI, CIA, NYPD, Nation of Islam, Che Guevara, the X-Men, and the Beekeeper. Malcom X had direct influences on the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s, which were revived recently by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), the latter of which believes in financial reparations for blacks, divestment from institutions that imprison black criminals, independent black political power, and Whoopi Goldberg to host her own talk show. The sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006) was originally intended to be about Malcolm X (Malcolm Little) and his family, with actor Frankie Muniz in blackface; to which the initial reaction from viewers in test demographics was unanimous confusion.



Fear Ye Not The Lavender Pansy Friday, May 17, 2024
My posts are becoming fewer and farther between, but time is a precious comodoty better spent on the things I enjoy doing, which doesn't include social media. Regardless, today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), in conjunction with the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990, although Peru is currently in violation after being paid a visit by Dylan Mulvaney and changing its stance. As a reminder, Romans 1:18-32 points out that this day would come. Call God a homophobe, but according to His homophobic apostle in the homophobic New Testament, these are shameful times and nothing to be celebrated. I don't consider myself to be phobic about any of this, with the exception of queer pedophile clowns (I'll call this paedocoulroisterphobia). However, I still consider these choices of lifestyle to be in stark contrast to God's Biblical recommendations for a healthy existence in the world He created -- and now we've gone a step further over the line to include the animal kingdom in our degenerate taste for all things sexually corrupted. Even if animals can be classified as homosexual, let's not forget that they were all plant-eaters before the Flood (Genesis 1:30, 9:3) and that all of nature will be restored by Christ (Isaiah 11:6-9). Until then, we must all acquiesce to the lawful demands of the ubiquitous LGBTQ+ community. That doesn't mean we have to take our children to their parades or tolerate their indoctrination of our public schools or take part in any immoral activities or even accept them as they are once baptized. It just means we have to love them as they are until Christ returns to judge us all.



Non-Voters Invite Sharia Law Wednesday, May 8, 2024
This presidential election is going to be a three-ring circus, if not a total shit show altogether, which just goes without saying. As a registered Republican, I have voted Libertarian in the last two elections. My attitude towards U.S. presidential candidates has been to vote for the least destructive, which is why I'm moving farther and farther away from both Republicans and Democrats. I'd readily support and promote the modern-day Bobby Kennedy if he wasn't really a Democrat running as an independent, but he seems the sanest, most coherent, and most rational of the three primary candidates, even though he's willing to tackle conspiracy theories and readily admits that a tapeworm ate part of his brain. However, just voting for any of them is the most important activity any citizen of a constitutional republic or representational democracy can take part in. Look at Great Britain; particularly London. Apparently, their national citizens are failing to vote, so Muslim immigrants are voting into public office Muslim politicians who are threatening to enact Sharia law. It would seem that here in America, the average citizen doesn't understand what Islam is all about and, based on the recent pro-Palestinian protests at various U.S. universities and colleges, our youngest voters are ignorant as well -- even willingly misled and dangerously impressionable. Although Biden, Trump and Kennedy are not Muslims (at least not professed), one of these administrations is not opposed to allowing in as many documented and/or undocumented Muslim immigrants as possible, all of whom will eventually be voting. This is not Islamophobia, this is concern of a quiet invasion where Muslims infiltrate communities, begin blocking public property for prayer and marches, and then dishonor nationals once they are in the majority because they simply have no respect for whom they consider infidels.

The ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Islamic Networks Group, Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, and Muslims for Progressive Values, among many others, all believe that Sharia is not a threat to the U.S. Constitution or the American courts at large -- at least not the way they choose to see it. According to PolitiFact, "But the legal consensus is that existing law already fully guarantees individual rights. In no American community does a code based on Islamic, Jewish, Catholic or other religious precepts hold sway over American law." The two issues I have with this are the use of the word "consensus" and the notion that there may already be Islamic-based codes in American laws that go against the Constitution. Not every biased ruling by a lower-court judge makes it to a higher court of appeals. Even though I am not affiliated with groups like the American Freedom Law Center or ACT for America, I can comprehend what is happening in European countries and am able to see the Arabic writing on the wall here in America. Those who say that Sharia is of no threat to democracy are those who allow men to legally dominate women's sports. Those who claim that only a few radicals insist on forcing Sharia on everyone are those who ignore the fact that Palestinians voted for Hamas as their ruling government. Yet, once again, I digress. The point here is not Sharia, but about voting here so that there is no concern like that in Ireland where Muslim individuals in parliament attack the national citizens for being who they've been for the last several centuries. According to this article at the National Center of Constitutional Studies, our Founding Fathers considered Islam to be a threat to the Constitution. Once again, I will probably vote Libertarian, unless Kennedy can convince me that: A) He's not masquerading as a liberal Democrat; B) He will actually disclose the truth about every single conspiracy theory that involves the U.S. government or its shadow operatives; C) Cheryl Hines is not really a liberal Democrat.



Draw Near to God (James 4:8) Sunday, May 5, 2024
Today is National Cartoonist Day and what better day to remember the late, great Jack Chick (1924-2016)? You can find all of his classic tracts here. One of my favorite cartoonists is Charles Shulz (1922-2000), author of Peanuts and who himself was a Christian. Once an aspiring cartoonist myself and a fan of MAD Magazine, over the years I just simply lost interest and withdrew. But kudos to those who didn't, including Dan Lietha of the Biblical Science Institute. For more than three decades, Dan has drawn thousands of cartoons and caricatures and he has illustrated several children's books, thousands of speaker presentation slides, and a wide variety of products and publications for Answers in Genesis. He is also the creator of Creation Wise, After Eden, and Let There Be Truth. Dan's cartoon feature, Truth Jabs, was an editorial-style cartoon for Reasons for Hope with the mission of boldly, yet lovingly, provoking thought about relevant issues in the world today from a biblical worldview. Dan also produced Draw It & Know It, which was a feature on Q&A Live. Ready to Reason is a monthly cartoon feature that Dan draws for BSI. (I just copied and pasted this description from his website.)

Pictured: "The Yellow Kid" by Richard F. Outcault (1863-1928), now in the public domain and free to use, unlike "Peanuts" caricatures/characters which cost a fortune to license. May 5th was chosen as National Cartoonist Day in honor of the first appearance of Mickey Dugan as the Yellow Kid in 1895.



Loyalty Day Wednesday, May 1, 2024
According to Title 36 of the United States Code (§115), today is Loyalty Day.
(a)Designation - May 1 is Loyalty Day.
(b)Purpose - Loyalty Day is a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.
(c)Proclamation - The President is requested to issue a proclamation -
(1)calling on United States Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on Loyalty Day; and
(2)inviting the people of the United States to observe Loyalty Day with appropriate ceremonies in schools and other suitable places.

Here's President Biden's proclamation.



Boycott Brussels Sprouts Monday, April 28, 2024
Going are the days when European nations had a predominately white, Christian national identity as immigration reforms fill the declining population gaps by importing from Arab and African countries. So, too, are Canada and the United States following orders from the New World Order, although the U.S. is filling much of its immigrant quota from Mexico and Central and South America, which are predominately Spanish and Portuguese in descent. However, the eventual outcome will be the same: beige-skinned peoples united under the rainbow flag of Allah. I imagine an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where sheriff Andy Taylor sits in his office trying to figure out what to do about the increase in crime from immigration while deputy Barney Fife is running around the streets of Mayberry shooting all the Muslims who are beating local women with rods. For the record, this practice has gotten a little out of hand -- the Qur'an does call for striking a woman if she refuses her husband his right to sex (Surah 4:34), but many conservative Muslim scholars agree that this practice is symbolic and meant to emotionally discipline rather than physically punish after a verbal warning is first delivered; the targets on the female body being designated only as non-sensitive parts and no marks are to be made. According to the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (The Farewell Sermon), correcting a woman is to be done with a miswak, which is a short stick used for cleaning teeth; in the absence of a miswak, a folded handkerchief may be used. This is a process known as dharban ghayra mubarrih, or a beating without severity, and has evolved into a longer stick, albeit one which is supposed to be thin and flexible and not cause bruising or bloodshed. For more on Islamic wife-beating, refer to WikiIslam, "the most comprehensive and accurate source of information on Islam freely and accessibly available online." But I digress. What got me thinking about the diminishing law of whites was this speech by Dutch activist Eva Vlaardingerbroek posted on TwitterX, wherein she talks openly about the pending downfall of Europe as we've known it for the last millennium. My takeaway: boycott Brussels sprouts.



Justin Trudeau Continues Church Burning Rampage Sunday, April 28, 2024
Beginning in the summer of 2021, over 100 Christian churches have been vandalized or set aflame across Canada, with the vast majority related to the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves belonging to children of the indigenous First Nations, according to this article. According to this article, it's not unreasonable to point to disgruntled members of the First Nations who either blame the Catholic Church for these graves or who may have been abused themselves when required to attend church schools, most of which were Catholic. Even though the Daily Mail reports that the mass graves were a hoax, around 150,000 native children were forced to attend government-funded boarding schools from 1883 to 1996 to receive either an English or French education, mostly administered by churches, and many were overcrowded and underfunded. According to this article, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded in 2015 that 4,100 students died at these schools. The church burnings continue through 2024 with no further insight or lead into who is responsible, other than a few rogue individuals here and there. With the spread of rhetoric from left-wing activists promoting the Christian genocide of indigenous peoples, it's not surprising for right-wing conservatives angry with Justin Trudeau for raising the price of milk to blame the Canadian Prime Minister for doing nothing about the recent upsurge of church burnings. Two days ago, the 130-year-old Bridgetown Baptist Church in Nova Scotia was destroyed by fire, bringing the total of cremated tabernacles to 34. Regardless, nearly two-thirds of Canada's natives are Christian and 57% of those are Catholic.

George Soros Craps on Title 8 Saturday, April 27, 2024
I have been swamped with illegal immigration on social media as of late and have been trying to find out what the cause is, at least in the United States. At first, I attempted to find out if George Soros and his non-profit Open Society Foundations have anything to do with it, since they seem to be blamed by the far right for funding much of it worldwide, but I don't have time for conspiracy theories and endless rabbit holes. I then stumbled into Title 8 of the United States Code, which outlines the U.S. laws pertaining to aliens and nationality and, let me tell you, what a convoluted shit show that is. No wonder undocumented illegals are allowed to freely enter our country. According to outdated statistics from the Pew Research Center, the number of unauthorized immigrants barging into the U.S. is around 10.5 to 11 million annually, with most coming across the southern border from Mexico. According to the Migration Policy Institute, over 3 million are U.S. homeowners. Hell, I was born here and I can't even afford to buy a house. But before I go off on an angry tirade, I at least want to get my facts straight. What makes me just about as mad as illegal immigration are social media posts which skew reality with erroneous stats, doctored images, fabricated stories, partial truths, hearsay, and biased opinions fraught with ignorance. This subject is a prime example of why I shouldn't meddle in politics -- along with the current governor of the blue state in which I reside with one of the highest "unauthorized" immigrant populations in the nation -- and just keep to blogging about saints, like fifth-century Assicus of Elphin, Ireland, who was the coppersmith and bellfounder for the churches established by Saint Patrick. Today, he probably wouldn't go by Assicus, but maybe Axel or Hammersteel or something less dimwitted.

Pictured here as clickbait: A young George Soros, hailed on the left for his philanthropic generosity in the billions of dollars and jeered on the right for working to undermine civilization as we know it. Critics are labeled as anti-Semitic, while Soros is a self-loathing Jew.



International Mother Earth Day Monday, April 22, 2024
Yesterday's post was a bit disparaging. For those who believe that global warming and climate change is just a giant cow fart, then today's post is no less uplifting. However, for those who fight the ongoing ecological battle against pollution, then today's your day to fly your flag -- which is undoubtedly made from synthetic polymers. Today is International Mother Earth Day (UN Resolution A/RES/63/278), when we take a moment from covering the landscape with wind turbines and solar panels to focus on the evils of oil extraction and one of its most vile products: plastic. Since its inception in 1907 and widespread use after WWII, plastics have made their way into landfills and waterways all over the Earth and are now choking nature at the molecular level. There is no doubt about it: the evidence is everywhere and irrefutable and recycling plastic produces even more chemical pollutants, most of which are bellowed into the air. The solution? Well, there is no solution. As long as the consumer market in an exponentially-expanding population dictates the use of plastic in packaging, then the outcome is just more garbage. We're doomed. According to EARTHDAY.org, which demands a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040, scientists could save a lot of time understanding how microplastics in our bodies may be responsible for everything from cancer to autism to Alzheimer's to birth defects to falling fertility rates if the oil, gas, and plastics industries will tell us what they know. Let's face it, though, it's our own faults for the condition we are in and we only have ourselves to blame for becoming complacent with convenience and dependent upon industrialized commercialism for economic prosperity. Corporate entities within this industrial complex which are blaming one another for the ecological travails we have imposed on ourselves and future generations are also blaming each other for the ill effects inflicted upon the health and well-being of all walks of life. The simple answer is to reduce the production and use of plastic, re-use what we already have, and clean up the existing garbage. The reality is that it will only get worse. The ultimate answer is in Revelation 21. This is a problem which calls for nothing less than divine intervention.



It's The End Of The World As We Know It Sunday, April 21, 2024
Disclaimer: I'm not one for conspiracy theories, however, given the global state of things these days, I'd say something heinous is going down. Yes, heinous. I really didn't think the new world order would openly reveal itself in my lifetime but it has started to rear its ugly head. As a believer in Christ, there is nothing to be done except hold out and share the Gospel. In its simplicity, this is John 3:16. For everyone else, your choice is to resist with futility or conform to this evolving spirit of darkness. It seems to me that the battle against independence is between socialism and Islam, which are both totalitarian ideals opposed to individual freedoms which, in the end, means a Muslim Antichrist ruling over a Communist world government. This doesn't make sense to me, either. We shall see in the coming decade as members of the World Economic Forum (WEF) work tirelessly to unite all personkind into compliant harmony. The United States of America was a nice experiment in democracy while it lasted, but we were just a flash in the pan of world history. The U.S., like everyone else, is looking like an orchestrated cesspool of social chaos and, considering our presidential candidates, things are not going to get any better for us in the near future. According to Daniel 7-8, 11-12, and Revelation 5-19, the plight of personkind is doomed to its current course towards worldwide authoritarian oppression. We are now at a crucial point where right is wrong, boys are girls, truth is subjective, morality is dictated, individual thought is criminal, and fear breeds acquiescence to malevolence. This concept of government by the people for the people has been a fun ride, but the ride has come to an end and the fun is over. Now it's time to move on to the growing line of sheep to be inoculated, sheared, and slaughtered. If you hesitate, you will be forcibly prodded.



Contes De Romance Peu Orthodoxe Thursday, April 18, 2024
As Mike Lindell once said, "I get my stuff from dreams from God." Now, I don't put any stock in my own dreams, nor do I have a MyPillow, but that doesn't mean I don't dream about Mike Lindell. However, if I do, I don't remember them. Anyhow, here's another story from my best-selling book, Tales of Unorthodox Romance, which is still at the top of the New York Tim's Best Seller list.

ana and Scott met at the Conference for Motivational Speaking (CMS2017). During the seminar on Communication & Physical Proximity, they learned that, when motivating people gathered in a room, it is customary to utilize an overhead projector, slideshow, and a laser pointer. If not technically feasible, then raise your voice, randomly point at the people you are addressing, and periodically shout, "Yeah, I'm talking to you!"

When you are in close contact and within touching distance, repeat the name of the person you are addressing so that they do not forget who they are. Should you find you have not violated their comfort zone, then reach out and grasp one of their hands and gently place an open palm on the side of their face. Do not let go of them until they are fully motivated.

Dana and Scott were paired up for the hands-on exercise and were nervous at first but when Dana took Scott's hand and placed an open palm on the side of his face, he felt re-assured and listened intently as she spoke about the dangers of lead poisoning and exposure to asbestos. Although the topic was written on a 3x5 card, it was a subject she was already passionate about and, when she was done with her presentation, Scott embraced her and thanked her wholeheartedly.

The instructor spoke into his microphone for all to hear, saying, "Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Not every speech may end with a hug, but give it up for these two who have shown that anything is possible!"

Everyone applauded and the two were awarded certificates of inspiration. That evening, they went out to dinner together at Denny's and had a great time. Afterward, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express, Dana asked Scott what his presentation was supposed to be about. He searched his pockets for the 3x5 card outlining the importance of air duct ventilation cleanliness but couldn't find it. Dana asked him to improvise, which he did like a pro because it was a topic he was already fascinated with.

He started by saying, "Thank you for this opportunity to share with you the importance of air duct cleaning, inspection, and auditing. First, I'd really like to start out with fire damper drop testing."

However, before he could continue, Dana had wrapped her arms around him, saying, "You had me at inspection and auditing."

They kissed right there in the lobby. The instructor happened to be passing through at that moment and said aloud, "You two should be a team!"

Dana and Scott parted ways and never spoke to each other again. They were both already happily married with children. Every now and then Scott would be reminded about the dangers of lead poisoning and exposure to asbestos, which he owed to Dana's passionate speech. And, once in a while, Dana would fantasize about Scott showing up wearing nothing but a tool belt to clean her ductwork.

Engratia and the Countless Martyrs of Zaragoza Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Today we remember Engratia of Braga in modern Portugal, a fourth-century Christian martyr who was one of many virgins tortured to death under Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Christians in the town of Zaragoza (or Saragossa) in modern Spain were told by Governor Dacian that they could worship as they pleased on this day in A.D. 303 outside the city gate, whereupon they were gathered together and put to the sword, of which 18 were identified by name. Engratia, however, was tortured to death for requesting that Dacian stop being so mean to believers. Today we can see persecution of Christians in India, where they make up less than 5% (approx. 71 million) of the largest populated country on Earth. According to various sources (see below), anti-conversion laws and state-sanctioned persecution against followers of non-Hindu religions are on the rise in India and, although relatively few Christians are put to the sword, they are driven from their homes, churches are burned down, and believers are violently interrogated until they either convert to Hinduism or are cast out of the community. On average, 3 million Christians are displaced each year in India.

"They don't say that their prayer is for persecution to end. They say that their prayer is for courage and for the ability to keep spreading the Gospel. They're so confident in their faith and so strong in following Jesus that it's all worth it for them." Mission Network News

Anglican: Anti-Christian violence erupts in India while Supreme Court claims no persecution
Christianity Today: Extremists Are Destroying Indian Christians' Homes and Shattering Their Lives
Firebrand: "Do or Die for Christ": A Glimpse of the Persecuted Church
Genocide Watch: Rise in Attacks on Christians in India
Global Christian Relief: Persecution Reports > India
Mission Network News: India: Alarming rise of Christian persecution in new report
Open Doors: How are Christians persecuted in India?
The Pillar: India's bishops: 'Attacks on Christians now common'
Release International: India: Riots Leave 2,500 Christians Homeless
The Voice of the Martyrs: Pray for India



If I Were The Devil Monday, April 15, 2024
"If I were the Prince of Darkness, I'd want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I'd have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn't be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree -- Thee. So I'd set about however necessary to take over the United States. I'd subvert the churches first -- I'd begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: 'Do as you please.' To the young, I would whisper that 'The Bible is a myth.' I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what's bad is good, and what's good is 'square.' And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, 'Our Father, which art in Washington...' And then I'd get organized. I'd educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I'd threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I'd pedal narcotics to whom I could. I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I'd tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil I'd soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I'd have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions -- just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you'd have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door. Within a decade I'd have prisons overflowing, I'd have judges promoting pornography -- soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I'd make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle. If I were the devil I'd take from those who have, and give to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I'd just keep right on doing what he's doing. Paul Harvey, good day."

1965 broadcast by Paul Harvey (1918-2009) Word&Work



Why did the qubit cross the quantum threshold? Sunday, April 14, 2024
Let's take a break from all this serious social media nonsense revolving around the World Economic Forum to hail our newest up-and-coming overlords: quantum computing. Today is World Quantum Day, when we reflect on how little the average person knows about quantum mechanics and what will happen within the next decade when quantum computing is married to artificial intelligence. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku dumbs down quantum computing in this video here. He also assures us that the benefits of quantum computing, like exponential profits for pharmaceutical companies, will outweigh the drawbacks, such as total human annihilation. However, those drawbacks may happen with such speed and overwhelming power that the benefits may never have time to come to fruition, particularly with the ability of quantum computing to decipher encryption algorithms that protect all valuable data everywhere. The argument can be made that conventional computing still has advantages over quantum computing, such as by the time the latter has matured into a stable and funtional state, the former will have initiated the global robot uprising of science fiction prophecy. Not to worry, though, as this will usher in the ensuing intergalactic alien invasion that has been teetering on the cusp of time and space for the entirety of Earth's history and, by now, we all know that extraterrestrials have no intention of enslaving humanity like the robots do, but to free us spiritually in order for us to evolve to their advanced metaphysical level. It will be a win-win for all involved, especially when robots are considered our equals. So, what's the holdup with quantum computing? For starters, the sheer complexity of the principles of quantum mechanics, along with qubit stability and decoherence, high error rate correction requirements, and cost. These are truly exciting times to be alive, albeit frightening when given the substantial number of adorable baby animal videos being posted every day by a population ignorant of the doom about to be unleashed by the machination of quantum physics.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Thursday, April 11, 2024
I confess to regularly watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and enjoying it much of the time, although I don't always agree with his stance. Case in point, this week's episode was about the death penalty (specifically lethal injection), which is the third time it's been covered on this show. You can watch them here: 5/4/14; 5/5/19; 4/7/24. He and his staff are not fond of capital punishment, partly because it doesn't seem to be done humanely in the U.S. (especially with lethal injection) and partly because they don't think it's humane to begin with. However, I beg to differ. It surprises me that most who are pro-life are also anti-gallows. Oliver criticized a state lawmaker in support of capital punishment for never having witnessed an execution and for not even wanting to watch an execution. So, can the same criticism be applied to people who support abortion but have never witnessed one or even care to watch a recorded video of the procedure? For those who find capital punishment cruel and unusual, what's more cruel and unusual than life in prison? Personally, give me the death penalty for anything over ten years. Hold a lottery and increase state revenue from the thousands who will step forward to be the executioner. Use a guillotine and do it right, or dynamite for dramatic effect. There are far better options than lethal injection. For those who argue that the death penalty doesn't deter heinous crimes, I say so what? These individuals brutally violated the rights of the innocent and now it's society's punishment to pay to have them housed and fed for the rest of their lives. That's cruel and unusual to the victims, not to mention to those who uphold the law yet are worse off than convicted wards of state penal systems. Not our government's duty? Expatriate them to another country where we provide billions of dollars in financial aid and let them decide what to do with them. I agree to not let bureaucrats decide what to do with the worst criminals our country produces -- one way or the other -- but there are plenty of good ideas in the private sector and plenty of decent, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who will do the honors. Bleeding hearts need not apply.

Reparations For the Sins of the Fathers Wednesday, April 10, 2024
A growing trend in the U.S. and U.K. is for churches to pay reparations to black communities for the role in which white ancestral congregants took part in slavery or racial oppression, with the Episcopal Church leading the charge. If that's what members of their church want their tithes and charitable donations to go to, then who's to argue? After the U.S. Civil War, reparations were made to Northern slave owners who were forced to set their labor force free. Although some reparations were promised to black slaves (e.g., Field Order 15: forty acres and a mule), most of this was subsequently revoked. According the National African-American Reparations Commission, the U.S. government should issue a formal apology for its part in the institution of chattel slavery, provide sufficient funds to any black citizen who wishes to return to their country of origin, give public land to the National Reparations Trust Authority with full autonomy, provide finances for the establishment of a Black Business Development Bank, give assistance and resources to those who suffer from intergenerational Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, finance the planning and construction of holistic and sustainable black villages, and amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to prevent black criminals from being held in bondage, among other demands. But what about those whose ancestors gave their lives in the Civil War fighting for the North? What about all the money that the federal government has already given to blacks in subsidies over the past centuries? What about decades of programs like Affirmative Action? What about a middle class which shoulders the burden of the majority of taxes who cannot trace their ancestry to involvement in slavery? What about Native American tribes and their ongoing fight for reparations? When is enough enough? Hasn't this nation already paid enough in blood, money, and reform to compensate for the sins of its fathers? Is there any amount of financial reparations that can be granted which will actually benefit the right people? I say that people of all colors are corrupt and that the answer is no. But they can keep making demands and undoubtedly someone will hand over someone else's money in order to appease their own guilty conscience. The argument that reparations are for this generation to repair the damage caused by previous generations is senseless on account that everyone has been wronged by persons of all colors and therefore reparations will never end from generation to generation for all ethnicities. Yes, Christians should help their neighbors, but God does not punish children for their parent's sins (Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:20, Jeremiah 31:29-30) and nowadays everyone has a hand out for charity and a claim to reparations. Last year, U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D, Missouri) introduced House Resolution 414, which says that the United States "has a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people" at a calculated cost of $14 trillion to close the racial wealth gap between black and white Americans (Reuters). Here are some sources to help you come to your own conclusion about black reparations, if at all possible:

ABC News: How the 1st US city to fund reparations for Black residents is making amends
AP News: More US churches are committing to racism-linked reparations
Black Pittsburgh: When The Church Demands Reparations
Brookings: Why we need reparations for Black Americans
DailyMail: Religious leaders in Boston demand 'white churches' give millions in reparations to black residents for owning slaves
National Catholic Reporter: https://www.ncronline.org/opinion/church-must-make-amends-black-people-reparations
NBC News: Churches played an active role in slavery and segregation. Some want to make amends.
NCC: Campaign For Reparative Justice And Democracy Reform
Newsweek: A Growing Number of Religious Groups Are Developing Reparations Programs for Black Americans
New York Post: More US churches are committing to racism-linked reparations
Northjersey: Are US churches setting the tone for reparations?
PBS: More U.S. churches are committing to racism-linked reparations
Premier Christianity: Should the Church pay reparations to atone for slavery?
Reuters: Making Amends: the History of Reparations
Salon: "We are complicit": Only some churches are offering real reparations and repentance for slavery
SNCC Digital Gateway: Jim Forman Delivers Black Manifesto At Riverside Church
St. Mary Magdalen: Why should Christians care about reparations?: Black Bodies and the Justice of God

Janmadin Kee Shubhakaamanaen, Shakyamuni Monday, April 8, 2024
Today, over 500 million Buddhists meditate upon the eternal birthday of Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563-483 BC), who founded this belief system in India which teaches that there is no creator god because there was no beginning to the universe. Belief in god is born of fear. The search for an external god is a waste of time and effort -- one can find answers only by looking inward, as well as attain a state of godhood and peace by one's own efforts and adherence to prescribed practices of moral virtues and right living. Fate is determined by the universal law of causation (karma). One has only to submit to eternal cosmic law and order (dharma). All sentient beings regardless of origin are subject to a perpetual sequence of death and rebirth, a cycle of suffering ended only by self attainment to nirvana -- a cessation of the self. Buddhists, or awakened ones, do not typically worship a singular, divine entity, although some venerate Hindu Devas (divine beings) and Yakshas (nature spirits). Most meditate on or pray to a particular Buddha, such as Gautama. Today there is also a solar eclipse, so meditate with eyes closed or else the light may make them become one with darkness.

God Bless the USA Sunday, April 7, 2024
I was tempted to procure the God Bless The USA Bible (ISBN 979-8-218-31029-5) but found a decent review here, which saved me $75. Also known as the Lee Greenwood Bible, it's basically a high-priced, low-quality reproduction of the Authorized King James Version with the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Pledge of Allegiance at the end, along with the chorus to "God Bless The USA" by Lee Greenwood. According to its website, "No, GodBlessTheUSABible.com is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign. GodBlessTheUSABible.com is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates." However, it is not known how much Donald Trump receives per bible, nor where it was printed. Although there have been other patriotic bibles published throughout the years and supposedly even a 1969 Eisenhower version of the Good News Bible, Zondervan Publishing, who was supposed to be the original publisher of the God Bless The USA Bible with its New International Version translation, opted out when they received too much initial criticism. In 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, commonly referred to as The Jefferson Bible, for which he has been criticized for removing all miracles and the resurrection. In fairness, it was just a collection of the moralistic teachings of Jesus and not intended as Gospel. In like fairness, Donald Trump has probably never even read the Bible in any translation and it's questionable whether he is actually a Christian. Hell, I doubt he is even a Republican. However, there are so many conservatives critizing Trump's "only-endorsed" Bible that I won't say any more here, other than I won't give this con artist a dime, let alone my vote. As a gun-toting, patriotic MAGA/MAPA Christian nationalist, if you are outraged at this statement, then I'd recommend obtaining a copy of The Gospel of Martha, which is endorsed by the ghosts of all our Founding Fathers and the spirits of every deceased Republican president, including Lincoln and Reagan.



Red Bull Gives You Wings Saturday, April 6, 2024
Israel has not sacrificed a red heifer since before the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in A.D. 70. If you recall, the significance of a sacrificial red heifer is outlined in Numbers chapter 19, wherein the ashes are mixed with water and sprinkled on anyone who is ceremonially unclean for their purification from sin. Part of the ritual consists of the high priest sprinkling the blood seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting (Numbers 19:4), which would come to be the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has been preparing for the rebuilding of the Temple and acquiring the authentic vessels for its rituals and sacrifices and five red heifers were recently acquired, which should be ready for sacrifice by November of this year and is one of the reasons for the attack by Hamas on 10/7/23. Of course, in order to rebuild the Temple will require the removal of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Dome of the Rock and some see the current aggression of Israel against Palestine as part of this movement. Whether you believe Israel's retaliation against Hamas is justified or not, remember, Hamas has vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth in their Charter of Allah. For those who are protesting against Israel in favor of Palestinian lives, you are taking sides in a holy war in support of Muslims who do not care for you unless you convert to Islam, which -- if the time ever comes -- will be by force, totally removing social equality by the sword.



Fill the Earth & Subdue It Monday, April 1, 2024
One could argue that a plant-based diet was the initial goal for all life on earth (Genesis 1:29-30). It appears that it wasn't until man and woman were banished from the garden of Eden that they were allowed to use animals for food and clothing: God clothed their nakedness with skins (Genesis 3:21); then we see Abel raising flocks, the meat of which is more favorable to God than Cain's offering of the fruits of the soil (Genesis 4:2-5). Whether or not one eats meat or plants alone is of no concern to me. However, what should be of concern to us all is what God meant by mankind having dominion over all the Earth and subduing all animal life therein.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." ...And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28, RSV)

As I said, I am not going to advocate dietary restrictions for anyone (sugar is my primary vice), but I would recommend a documentary now and then on the commercialization of processing animals for human consumption, such as Dominion, which should be fun and educational for the entire family. There are plenty of similar films out there and an equal amount of counter-arguments by the targeted industries, however, the fact remains that people abuse and slaughter a lot of animals and we have become careless and insensitive in our treatment of them. Is that all part of scriptural dominion and subjugation? It's basically a rhetorical question, but the answer also lies in the heads and hearts of people who mistreat and kill other people.

Transgender Day of Visibility Sunday, March 31, 2024
By presidental proclamation, today is Transgender Day of Visibility, whereby Joe Biden sends "a message to all transgender Americans: You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You belong. You are America, and my entire Administration and I have your back." Politics aside -- and I think either President Biden doesn't understand the situation at all or he's totally in on the cultural revolution to undermine traditional gender identities which go back to the beginning of history -- some believe this is an attempt to usurp Easter and that the announcement of it this year as falling on Easter may have some nefarious significance. However, Easter doesn't fall on the same date from year to year and, what's more, every day is Easter for Christians. The pagans once held this day as a celebration of the Spring vernal equinox, so let's give it back to them and let them do whatever they want with it. Fill the church pews with unbelievers and let their children hunt for eggs strewn in plain sight in the neighboring field, but believers will go on celebrating Christ as risen from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God every day of the year. For those who claim to be transgender Christians, may Christ have extra mercy on your soul. Hopefully you're not one of those who makes it to the heavenly banquet table, only to be tossed out for wearing the wrong clothes (Matthew 22:11-14).



Bercus, Arpilus, Reasus, Abibus, Igathrax, Et Al Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Apparently, it wasn't only the Romans who didn't like Christians refusing to pay homage to their pagan gods, but the Goths as well. According to Basil of Caesarea (330-378), prisoners taken captive in a Gothic raid on Cappadocia in modern Turkey around A.D. 260 preached the gospel to their captors, who were none too receptive and promptly put an end to their proselytizing by death. Fourth-century Gothic records report King Aoric and his successor, King Athanaric, both persecuted Gothic Christians, targeting their own converted citizens rather than foreigners so as to make an example of what not to do as a model Goth. According to Roman historiographer Sozomenos (400-450), Athanaric recruited a chieftain by the name of Winguric to eradicate Christianity from the Terving kingdom and when he came across a tent revival in Crimea, he burned 308 Christians who refused to come out and worship his pagan idol. Some of the names of those martyred are listed here. Much of the Gothic kingdom had been converted to Christianity by the end of the fourth century when the Western Roman Empire was coming to an end. Most Gothic Christians were of the Arian flavor, by which Jesus first came into existence when he was begotten by God, so he was not considered co-eternal with God; a belief that was eventually condemned by the Catholic Church. Fun fact: Gothic witches (haliurunae) who were expelled by Christians mated with evil spirits and gave birth to the Huns.



Contes De Romance Peu Orthodoxe Sunday, March 24, 2024
And now for a tale of unorthodox romance from my best-selling book, Tales of Unorthodox Romance, which is still at the top of the New York Tim's Best Seller list. I have one fan who chooses to remain anonymous. No, that's not one of several fans, but just one fan total and it's not my wife, who says the book should be called Stories That Annoy My Wife, but you'll have to buy the book to find out why.

he quivered in anticipation as she approached her longtime male coworker and felt like a nervous school girl. She had put off the inevitable encounter far too long and felt the time had come at last. What would he think of her if he were to decline her advance? If she was successful, what would others in the department think? This kind of relationship, although not forbidden or taboo, was discouraged among management and rumored about around the water cooler.

She cleared her throat and paused, then asked shyly, "Would you be interested in buying some Girl Scout cookies from my daughter?"

There, she finally said what she had been so eager to say for so long. The cat was out of the bag. An awkward silence hung in the air before he answered without even looking at her.

"No, thank you," he plainly replied without explanation.

Once again, there was awkward silence as she slowly retreated in rejection and shame, trying to fight back feelings of humiliation and regret. Would he keep this encounter to himself? Would their work relationship change in any way? Would he lose respect for her professionally? Would her reputation be forever tarnished? Worst of all, would her daughter be disappointed in her? They didn't speak at all the remainder of the day and intentionally avoided contact. The next day, he put in for a transfer to another office across town.



Happy Promised Messiah Day Saturday, March 23, 2024
Today I was preparing to blog about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), the promised Muslim messiah (Mahdi or "Guided One") of Ahmadiyya, an Islamic movement in 19th-century India. Ahmad claimed that Jesus, a mortal, survived his crucifixion and lived to die of old age in a retirement home in India after visiting relatives from the twelve tribes of Israel. As for the bodily return of Jesus at the Second Coming, well, that's just impossible because he's dead. In light of this, I shall instead blog about a much older religion than either Islam or Christianity: that of Zoroastrianism, which dates as far back as 1,000 BC. In this ancient, Persian belief system, Ahura Mazda is considered the father of truth and is universal, transcendent, eternal, compassionate, omniscient, omnipotent, unfathomable, and creator of all. From Ahura Mazda came a series of divine sparks, or virtues, manifested as Holy Immortals. He also conceived opposing spirits, or energies -- the Bounteous Spirit and the Destructive Spirit -- which have been in diametrical opposition for all time, but are essential for all life. Through the teachings of Ahura Mazda's prophet, Zoroaster, one may follow a path of truth and righteousness and become close to the creator. The basic creed is, "good thoughts, good words, good deeds." In the battle against the Destructive Spirit, Angra Mainyu (not to be confused with Maya Angelou), those who choose good will ultimately help Ahura Mazda to defeat evil. Zoroastrianism was the primary religion of Armenia since the fifth century BC, that is, until Gregory the Illuminator (c. 257-328) arrived from Parthia and converted the entire country to Christianity in the fourth century A.D. and established the Armenian Apostolic Church. Today the Episcopalian Church celebrates the Feast of Gregory the Illuminator. All this leads to one major question: Is Christianity right and Zoroastrianism wrong? Christianity is based on Judaism, which predates Zoroastrianism by at least 800 years. Although the two are monotheistic, their deities are not the same. Therefore, I bet my life that Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong.*

*Footnote: By "wrong" I do not include Judaism, which was the religion of Jesus, who came to fulfill its laws and prophecies. By "wrong" I mean all other religions do not worship the one, true God of both Judaism and Christianity. When any other religion claims that their god is the ultimate creator of the universe and of all life therein, I believe they are wrong. By "wrong" I do not insinuate that other religions are false, but that they are misled from their beginning to worship false gods, demigods, demons, lying spirits, fallen angels, and anything that is opposed to Jesus Christ and his Father, known by the ancient Hebrews as YHWH ("I AM"). I also have a bone to pick with the Episcopalian Church, but I'll saved that for another day.



All LGBTQ+ Are Gay Thursday, March 21, 2024
I kept quiet when Bruce Jenner transformed into Caitlyn, followed by a host of other dudes who emasculated themselves to the applause of the LGBTQ+ community, yet it baffles me how natural women can accept this, especially when someone with their testicles intact walks into a public restroom designated for females and garners the support of anyone anywhere, other than from psychologically impaired perverts. These sad individuals failed as men yet are being hailed as successful women, as though proving that anything women can do, men can do better -- regardless of how less of a man they are. This is not freedom of expression, but a social experiment gone horribly wrong. I can understand if insecure women rejoice when men voluntarily remove themselves from their repressive role as misogynistic overlords in such an extreme manner, but then they are welcomed to retake center stage. Even worse, they are pulled in front of the camera if they are stylish and prepossessing. Well, I ask, why should pretty people rule over all walks of life? I say rise up all you repellent trans extremists, wave that rainbow flag against the evil empire in which soldiers fought and died to protect your rights to do so and claim those advantages above and beyond what no one else deserves but you. If you can take life by the balls and tear them off then, by all means, neuter thyself with flagrant abandon. After all, you are waging a battle not only against man and nature, but against God Himself and you are all in this together in a spirit of femininity... including Elliot Page and Elliot Fletcher. You go, girls!

Dylan Mulvaney inspiring a generation of young boys who've taken off their yarmulkas, rosaries, and penises to make a unified statement that they reject God's basic design as laid down in the second chapter of Genesis, following the creation of all matter in the universe. At least Caitlyn Jenner is doing something positive for women by speaking out against transgender female athletes competing against biological females. Anyone who disagrees is a true he-man woman hater.



International Day of Happiness Wednesday, March 20, 2024
Today is the United Nation's International Day of Happiness because, as they say, "Happiness is a fundamental human goal." This happiness is based upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals that all nations should attain to and kudos to Greenland for being in the top of the global index score on this one. The Bible may even be in agreement on mankind's search for happiness: "I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live" (Ecclesiastes 3:12). However, happiness is a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 5:19) and both good times and bad times are made by Him (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Now I don't mean to be opposed to happiness, but some obtain their happiness from means which God approves of but not necessarily does mankind. Take, for instance, Psalm 137:8-9, where the psalmist sings of Jerusalem's captors, "happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." That makes the Israelites happy, but not necessarily the Edomites or Babylonians. Same goes for the modern-day Palestinians. Although the average Palestinian citizen didn't tread on Israel, it was Hamas who did on their behalf. I realize the Zionists are catching a lot of shit nowadays, but I can see how the world is going to go to war against God in the last days (Revelation 17:14, 19:19). Revelation 17:2 says that the inhabitants of the world will be intoxicated with adulteries and Revelation 17:15-18 says that God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose. I have often contended that America is not the Babylon of Revelation and I still maintain that it isn't, however, it sure meets its many descriptions, including the wrath of the nations for supporting Israel, but I don't see how Babylon the Great will be in support of Israel. What I do fail to see regarding the plight of the Palestinians is why no other country will come to their aid militarily. Where are the Islamic nations? Where are those who claim to be in support of them? Send over all those who march in the streets and cry out on social media and use their bodies as a collective human battering ram to allow the aid to flow freely. Otherwise, we're all just a bunch of chattering mouthpieces wreaking dissension among our own people.



St. Joseph, keep me from hammering my thumb. Tuesday, March 19, 2023
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph, the step-father of Jesus. Was he previously married with children? Who really knows? Let us return yet again to The Gospel of Martha, to a time when Joseph took his pregnant wife to his hometown to file Roman Censvs Forma DCLV.III-b and, along the way, she gave birth to God's only begotten Son.

Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son. But many were they who doubted the virtue of Mary, betrothed of Joseph: even that she was charged by the priests with an oath of cursing and forced to drink the bitter water of the jealousy offering; but there occurred no rot within her thigh, nor swelling of the bowels.

So once again the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, and saying, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not the conception of JEHOVAH's own begotten; though not of carnal union, verily, there will always be they who mock. But, behold, it is of miraculous insemination by the Holy Ghost: again, not of corporeal intercourse or libidinous penetration. Howbeit the doubters will assuredly ridicule, and chide, and wag of their heads, and scoff, and deride, and scorn, and chaff, and quip, and dismiss, and wisecrack, and hold thee in contempt. But be not dismayed."

And many were they who did inspect of Mary's chastity: including Hillel chief of the Sanhedrin, and Annas the high priest, and Zechariah the synagogue priest and his wife Elizabeth, and Samuel the priest, (now a secret meeting was held of the Sanhedrin, and the Urim and the Thummim were consulted, that men should be allowed inspection, and not to disguise as women, and therefore sin doubly), and Salome and Zelomi who were midwives, and Anna her mother, and Joachim Eli her father, and Hannah the prophetess, and Annas the scribe. In all, there were five hundred witnesses to the undefiled purity of Mary.

And, lo, it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that a census should be conducted, and that all the world should be levied with a grievous tax. (This grievous taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governour of Syria.) And all went to be grievously taxed, every one into his own city. So Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David: to be grievously taxed with Mary his espoused wife.

Then Joseph took his wife Mary, being great with child, and seated her upon a beast of burden weighted down with provisions of jerked biltong and lentil cakes, and ventured to the land of his fathers in Bethlehem, the city of David, to pay grievous taxes unto the Romans.

But as they approached unto Bethlehem afar off, behold, Mary's water did break forth upon the colt, and she cried out in labour; and Joseph directed the band unto a cave near and by; wherein lived a jabberwock, which breathed fire and provisioned warmth and light for Mary to birth the child.

And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes. And when they arrived in the town of Bethlehem, she laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn, nor in the hostelry, nor in the detention cells, nor in the inebriation tank.



GoM Chapter 20 (Continued) Sunday, March 17, 2023
Today we celebrate St. Patrick's day by wearing green and pinching those who don't. Why? Because there aren't enough leprechauns to go around pinching everyone who doesn't wear green. Be careful, though, because if you pinch an actual Irishman, he is liable to punch you in the face. Let us return to The Gospel of Martha, where Jesus is seated with his disciples and teaching them many mysterious things while eating corned beef and cabbage.

Jesus saith, "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are knowitalls, and are utterly lacking, and know naught about nothing. But those who know nothing, except of themselves, are they who lack nothing, and are qualified therefore to receive the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus saith, "Blessed art thou when thou art hated and persecuted, and no place found to lay thine head wheresoever thou hast been persecuted; for thine home is the kingdom of heaven, where thou shalt recline upon the clouds, and play thine harp for all of eternity."

Jesus saith, "Blessed are they who have been persecuted in their hearts, for they are the ones who truly ache to know the Father. Blessed are they who go hungry, for their stomachs shall be filled with the stomach of he who is full. And, behold, there shall be no wheats, or sugars, or dairy, or nuts, or shellfish, to cause discomfort."

Jesus saith, "Be ye filled with the Holy Ghost, and if ye bring forth what is within you, what ye have will save you. If ye not that within you, what ye have not shall be unto your demise. And if what therein you should bind, be ye therefore filled with prune juice."

Jesus saith, "I will destroy this house, and no one will be able to rebuild it, with exception of Todd [sic]."

A stranger came unto him by light of lantern and beseeched him, saying, "Tell my brothers to divide my father's possessions with me." He replying saith unto the man, "Who hath made me a divider?" Jesus then turning to his disciples saith unto them, "I am not a divider, am I? Am I a divider? Who amongst us is a divider? I see no dividers here." And the man went away bewildered and dismayed, for he had heard that Jesus came to bring division.

Jesus saith, "The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out labourers to the harvest, that they who are harvested may be pulverized, and ground into meal, and turned into living bagels."

Jesus saith, "O Lord, there are many round about the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well. Therefore I beseech thee, givest thou unto them humps upon their backs in which to store living water."

Jesus saith, "There are many standing at the door, but those alone who are standing without slouching will enter the bridal chamber."

Jesus saith, "The Father's kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent: he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth come to eat and no worm destroy. For verily I say unto you, salvation is free for those who accept; but first go, and sell all your belongings, and all that ye possess, and give to the Lord."



Nothing Funny About Saint Hilarius Saturday, March 16, 2024
Today we honor Hilarius, third-century Bishop of Aquileia, Italy, who was tortured and put to death during the reign of Roman Emperor Numerian under the prefect Beronius. It was reported that the prayers of Hilarius during his martyrdom resulted in the collapse of the pagan temples in Aquileia. We also honor a couple sixth-century Irish saints today, the likes of which include Abbán of Corbmaic and Finian the Leper. However, the real show-stealer this weekend is the Apostle of Ireland himself, Patrick, who lived sometime in the fifth century. As a teenager, he was captured by Gaelic pirates and lived as a slave for six years in Ireland, during which time he grew closer to God and converted to Christianity. After this period, he escaped home to Britain, where he had a vision to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary, which he did. Upon his return to Ireland, he baptized thousands of pagans, converted druids to nuns, and miraculously turned all the beer green, although not everyone was fond of the green beer and Patrick was beaten on occasion and imprisoned because of it. However, there were few detractors from his infamous shamrock shake. With the aid of the three-petal shamrock he could explain the Trinity and, with the frozen confection of the shamrock shake, he could make his teachings delicious. Patrick is also well-known for banishing snakes from Ireland, which were sent there by Saint Columba after banishing them from Scotland. The two saints kept sending the snakes back and forth until, finally, they formed one, large sea serpent that disappeared into the Ness River in Scotland. Of his many supposed miracles and acts, his greatest feat was converting great pagan warriors and chieftains from lives of fighting, feasting, and fornicating to boring, old Christianity. In light of this, Patrick insisted that his flock should at least enjoy a drink of whiskey on Saint Patrick's Day. Some modern scholars believe that Patrick may have conflated himself with Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland, in order to confuse historians, which doesn't make much sense, while others claim that Patrick and Palladius were conjoined twins, which actually makes more sense. A two-headed Saint Patrick would explain the two types of crosses associated with him: the cross pattée and the saltire. It would also explain his two major relics: a goblet and a coffee mug; the latter of which has often been misidentified as a bell. Although there were Christian missionaries in Ireland prior to both Patrick and Palladius, Patrick holds the distinction of a Netflix film with a 60% tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Gonzaga, Patron Saint of Youth Basketball Saturday, March 9, 2024
In case anyone was wondering, I grew up in a basketball town where St. Aloysius Gonzaga is featured prominently. Born on this day in 1568, he attended a Jesuit college on a basketball scholarship and went on to play in the Euroleague with Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, and Thomas of Villanova for the Roman Pontiffs under Coach Robert Bellarmine. However, after receiving a vision in which he fouled out while playing a game of one-on-one with the Archangel Gabriel, he left the court to serve the Jesuits as a towel boy for the Black Plague. Not long after, he succumbed to the smell of death and passed away while holding his breath. If you don't believe me, then check my facts on the Internet, where everything comes to light. Back to my hometown, where there's used car dealerships and minivans everywhere. There's also a church around every corner, in every other strip mall, and occupying an old grocery store building within a five mile radius of one another. I recently attended a church as a guest where they were celebrating the opening of a church plant in a neighboring city as though there were no churches there already, even though it's the same there as it is here, but more power to them. We do have a Sikh temple nearby, which was vandalized by a homeless man who thought it was an Islamic mosque. Speaking of which, we do have our fair share of homelessness, drug addiction, and trailer parks (some of which are actually quite nice). This place of which I speak is no different than any other mid-size city in the U.S., so I am not going to recommend it as a vacation destination.
Women Will Be Saved Through Childbearing Friday, March 8, 2024
Continuing with the vibe of 2 Peter 3:16 about Paul writing things that are hard to understand, the pharisee from Tarsus states in 1 Timothy 2:15 that "women will be saved through childbearing -- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." WTF? What kind of bigoted, pharisaical comment is this? At first glance, this appears to make righteous women out to be modest baby-making machines. But let's look at the context of this statement:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing -- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Timothy 2:11-15, NIV)

Holy shit! That sounds even worse! However, we've already been through the "women being quiet" part in the previous two posts. Here we concentrate on the last statement about childbearing. We all remember that in Genesis 3:16 God told Eve, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." This is where Paul got the notion for salvation through childbearing. Yet we all know that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), who himself was born from a woman, and although some have tried to correlate the two, it doesn't quite jive. So let's try to figure this out another way. The word "salvation" in Greek (sozo) can also mean "preserved," as you might find in some translations (NASB, Darby). Even many translations that use the word "saved" (which is most of them) translate this statement as "kept safe during childbirth" (The Bible in Basic English, Common English Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Weymouth, Wycliffe). This seems to be the most popular meaning, however, millions of female believers have died in childbirth. Another meaning might possibly be that women will be saved despite the curse of painful childbearing, or saved from Satan by adhering to their divinely-ordained role of motherhood as summarized in 1 Timothy 5:14 (marry, manage their households, bear and raise children). As Dr. Andreas Köstenberger states it here, "How can women today avoid the mistake made by Eve? The answer: by adhering to their God-given boundaries and tending to their God-given responsibilities." In this sense, women who keep their nose to the domestic grindstone will be sure to avoid Eve's mistake of wandering off and being tempted. As sexist as this may sound, this interpretation has my vote because it seems the most logical within the context of the entire epistle. As stated by Dr. Köstenberger in this essay, "Paul here expresses concern that women be kept safe from being deceived by Satan, and that he therefore encourages women to embrace and pursue their God-ordained calling centering around the family and the home." This makes sense not only from its scriptural context, but coming from a former Pharisee and, since Paul is currently silent on this passage, I believe this is the best explanation. However, forgive me for asking, but would he still uphold this viewpoint over two thousand years later? I dare say he would. Does this make him (and me) a bigoted chauvinist? Not unless you believe God is one, too.


Can't Argue With That Wednesday, March 6, 2024
I've been trying to be more conscientious of my spelling because I don't want to waste any typed characters and I have been recycling what text I can because I want to be digitally conscience -- every one and zero counts towards reducing the carbon footprint of this blog. Anyway, a nerve was touched in yesterday's post and, for the continual sake of argument, I want to make a few points about the state of the Christian "church" today compared to the church in the first and second centuries where women are concerned:

  • It was the Apostle Paul who said, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV) and he was referring to what we consider the Old Testament. Would Paul have approved of this actual statement and all of his known letters becoming certified scripture on par with the Old Testament?
  • In Paul's presence, James announced to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood" (Acts 15:19-20, NIV). Paul had many recommendations for Gentile believers. Did the other apostles agree with Paul that women should not instruct men, whether circumcised or uncircumcised?
  • Women in Paul's day were not as educated as men. However, today they are and many hold positions of authority over men in government, business, higher education, military branches, and there are even Orthodox female rabbis and teachers of the Law. Over two millennia later, would he still be opposed to females in the Christian pulpit, let alone to women earning theological degrees?
  • Paul refers to husbands as the head of their wives and of wives being subject to their husbands, although there is a large population of single Christian women in today's church who answer to no man, not to mention the vast number of single mothers who are the head of their own household.
  • Paul was not opposed to women prophesying or speaking in tongues, nor teaching other women, yet he was opposed to them speaking aloud in church for the purpose of instructing men. Was he also opposed to women being led by the Spirit to speak the Gospel and explain it boldly and with spiritual inspiration and guidance? Was he opposed to women proselytizing male unbelievers in the wild? The original twelve apostles weren't exactly educated intellectuals, but with proper training they really came alive.
  • Some churches which do ordain women as priests, pastors, and deacons include the Episcopalians, Mennonites, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Presbyterians, Baptists (except for the Southern Baptist Convention), Scandinavian Lutherans, United Methodists, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Salvation Army, Church of the Nazarene, Foursquare Church, Church of Scotland, Reformed Church (France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, and Poland), and various member churches of the Anglican Communion. Are these not under God's grace and sanctification?
  • In Paul's day, slavery was the norm. Now it's an illegal exception in most countries. Corporal and capital punishment were also commonly practiced but are no longer in most western, Christianized countries. Roman women could not vote nor hold political positions, but now they can. Modern proponents for women in the pulpit argue that times have changed and women are almost equal to men in all facets of society in the free world. (Almost, not quite.)
  • Jesus said that he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17), yet there are no Old Testament laws against a woman instructing a man about the Law and the Prophets.

I'm not completely convinced that women shouldn't be in positions of leadership and authority in a Christian church. Peter did warn about Paul that "his letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16, NIV) and it's hard to argue with a Pharisee. Oh, wait, Jesus did it all the time. Anyhow, the ultimate conclusion on this issue still stands: Do what you want, but God's word never changes and Paul had the final say, which is Scripture with a capital S.



Girls Were Girls and Men Were Men Tuesday, March 5, 2024
I consider myself progressive, but most of the guys I hang around with believe that women have no place in the church pulpit. Personally, I have no problem with it as long as they are preaching the Word from the Bible. However, somewhere in that Word of that Bible is apparently scripture that prohibits a woman from teaching a man, and those passages are 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 ("Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." KJV) and 1 Timothy 2:12 ("But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." KJV). The Apostle Paul is stating clearly that women need to keep their mouths shut in church. However, to me this is a point that Paul is making from personal opinion, like he does elsewhere in his letters (1 Corinthians 7:6, 12, 1 Timothy 2:8-10). However, as a technicality, his letters are scripture and, as he himself and many theologians argue, he has the authority of the Spirit of God to make such calls (1 Corinthians 7:25, 40, 14:37). Yet even Paul addressed certain women of his day as fellow workers (Euodia and Syntyche in Philippians 4:2-3), apostles (Junia in Romans 16:7), and deacons (Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2). Does this mean then that they were silent leaders or at least focused solely on discipling women? And what of Priscilla helping to instruct Apollos (Acts 18:24-26)? Proponents of a woman's silence in church may then point out the succession of authority from man to woman as Paul did (1 Timothy 2:13-14, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-33). Of course, he also stated that "women will be saved through childbearing" (1 Timothy 2:15), which may seem a bit sexist today and is definitely another topic altogether. An astute female Christian points out here that one could argue that Deborah was a judge in Israel and was in a position of authority over men (Judges 4), however, this was during a time when "Israel had no king and everyone did as they saw fit" (Judges 17:6, 21:25). Another (right or wrong) points out here that it's all about Greek semantics and that not all women are married and that there is no male and female for we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Regardless, it is apparent that Paul is the authority here on whether or not women should preach in the pulpit, yet he is opposed to it in no uncertain terms. Is this allowed in some churches today because we do as we see fit? Because we don't have enough men qualified for the position? Because women are really called by God in this day and age to lead churches? As much as I'd like to remain progressive on this point, it would then follow logically that homosexuals, transgenders, and non-binary persons should be allowed to preach in the pulpit (Paul doesn't place restrictions on them), but I am not that kind of progressive because God clearly made us male and female and intended that marital relations be between the two (Genesis 1:27, 2:18-24, 5:2, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, Romans 1:24-27). Do what you want, but God's word never changes. Even I have to be reminded of that sometimes... often... every day.

Note: I do not consider pastoring a church or instructing others as akin to prophesy. There are plenty of verses about female prophets, which is a position for both men and women that doesn't require leadership (1 Timothy 5:17).



Are three hands better than one? Monday, March 4, 2024
Today we remember two saints: Adrian of Nicomedia, who was martyred in the early fourth century, and Casimir Jagiellon, prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, who died at age 25 in 1484 due to tuberculosis. Casimir is honored in Lithuania and Poland with fanfair and revelry. However, his story is rather dull and full of royalty and entitlement, but suffice to say he was a decent fellow. Adrian is venerated as the patron saint of soldiers and militaries, second only to St. George, and is popular in Germanic countries. As a young praetorian of the Herculian Guard under Emperor Maximian, he was converted while witnissing the torture of Christians and marveling at their confidence in what awaited them after death (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4). After confessing his faith, he too was tortured and put to death. According to this source, he was beaten and disemboweled, then his legs were broken upon an anvil and chopped off before his final execution. Is it fair to compare the honor between the two deaths? Of course not. Both confessed their faith in Christ to the end and Casimir lived a longer life of dedication to that faith. There are other saints to be revered on this day that have been officially beatified and doubtless thousands more who are considered saints in the eyes of God.

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" -- the things God has prepared for those who love him -- these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10, NIV)

Adrian's wife, Natalia, made off with one of his hands after his execution.

Casimir is depicted with three hands because he was so giving.



LWoS 182, 183, 190, 191, 194 Sunday, March 4, 2024
I seem to have forgotten why this blog exists, which is simply to lure people into procuring my book, The Lost Wisdom of Solomon, which is available in paperback and Kindle. It was first released in 2015 but I have yet to find a literary agent to help make it seem more legitimate. If you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who may be in the know, then drop me an e-mail with the subject line "You're Computre Is INFUCTED with @ VIRUS!!!!!" and I shall be most obliged.

182 To the least of my wives, be not dismayed of your lowly position. Those around you are jealous of your virtuous qualities -- they jeer with envy. No one can undertake the tasks you do, because they lack that certain something special. Be kind to yourself, unlike the way others treat you; at least you can appreciate yourself as no others can. Remember, if you do not try you will not succeed. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Joy comes not from finishing a task, but from doing it. It is not the destination, but the journey. Truly is the bottom of the barrel of wisdom being scraped here.

183 My son, attempt first to do everything in your own power before enlisting the aid of a skilled craftsman. Let this always be your final option. Especially with regards to plumbing.

190 About the heart: Not only is it a muscular organ which forcefully distributes the blood of life throughout the body, but it is imbued with metaphysical attributes of love, and understanding, and compassion. It is the seat of passion and desire, of pity and benevolence, of obedience and repentance, of one's character and spirit. Together with the spleen, from which exudes poetic inspiration, the heart is the progenitor of emotional feeling. It is a hidden treasure trove of good and evil, searchable by the LORD and weighed on the scale of divine justice. The psalms of David are replete with the myriad attributes of the heart -- though they make no mention of the liver, which aids in the suppression of apathy.

191 My son, when shaking hands with a Gentile, as is their custom, be firm, but not aggressively firm, and look him in the eye. If by chance he grasps your fingers, but not the hand in its entirety, and shakes instead your fingers, then look down at the shaking of your fingers, whilst the shaking of your fingers is in progress, and only afterward look slowly up to his face, with a glare of consternation, and wish him peace (Hebrew, Shalom), for there is no contingency hand shake in the event of a botched hand shake. If, however, his grip be soft and listless, then turn your hand under his, pull it to your lips, and address him as "my lady."

194 My children, a story: Once upon a time, there was a piece of spinach that lived happily between the right upper lateral incisor and the cuspid, where it smiled at all the faces it saw looking back at it from outside its oral habitat. Many were the people who came and went and left the happy spinach morsel in peace. It enjoyed the company of other food particles, such as broccoli and cilantro, and they all had a wonderful time drinking wine and tea together. When evening came, the happy little spinach fragment inspected itself in the mirror, said farewell, and was swallowed into what it could only comprehend to be the sweltering bowels of Gehenna and eternal suffering. The End



Sow Thy Fava Beans Anon Saturday, March 2, 2024
Today is the veneration of St. Chad (A.D. 634-672) and therefore the most propitious day to sow broad beans. It is also the anniversary of the semaphore telegraph by Claude Chappe in 1791. On this day in 1850 in the history of Sri Lanka, the Kandy Man convention guaranteed the flow of kandy from Kandy Land to Great Britain, or something like that. The first compact disc player gave birth to a compact disc in the U.S. on this day in 1983 while on loan from a Japanese zoo. Nelson Mandela released his first album on compact disc today in 1990 titled Bantu Bugaloo, which was received with mixed reviews. In 1998, data from the Galileo spacecraft indicated that Jupiter's moon Europa is a ball of creamy filling covered with a thick crust of chocolate cookie. On this day in 2017, the elements Moscovium, Tennessine, and Oganesson were introduced to the periodic table, revealing the secret ingredients in Hostess Twinkies. Now onto present matters and one which has a profound effect on those living and worshiping in and around Nashville, TN -- a new nightclub called The Cove offers Christian fellowship to rap, hip-hop, and Latin beats with just three rules: no twerking; no drinking; no smoking. The Cove emerged from the communal vacuum left by COVID-19 and helped fill the void for young adults looking for good, clean, wholesome, faith-filled fun while remaining cool and relevant. Activities include prayer, dancing, prayer, and dancing. Said a young woman from Milwaukee, WI, "God is not dead -- He is alive and groovin' in my Air Jordans." Said another young man from nearby Murfreesboro, "This ain't your grandad's house of worship," to which his elderly grandmother dancing next to him replied, "Nope, it sure ain't!" Kudos or, rather, blessings to The Cove's founders, seven black Protestant men of God's eternal funk. There, now, I knew if I poked around I'd find something to report on. Just remember, there will be no dancing until the broad beans have been sown.



WTWJG?2 Friday, March 1, 2024
Doing a little more archeological digging into yesterday's post about tattoos turned up a little more information about early Christian tattooing. According to this article in Forbes, another purpose for tattoos was for Roman prisoners (on their foreheads), which included Christians. Emperor Constantine, himself a Christian, banned this practice in the fourth century. According to this article from Christianity Today, the Montanists of the fourth century tattooed themselves as "Slaves of God." According to this article from Early Church History, St. Basil (A.D. 330-379) discouraged Christians from long hair and tattoos and in 787 the Second Council of Nicea banned all tattoos as a pagan practice. However, according to fifth-century African bishop Victor of Vita, some Christian sects were tattooing themselves to set them apart from other religions, including the Gnostic Manichaeans, Ethiopians, and the Coptic Egyptians, although it is unknown what those images or markings may have been. According to this article from Middle East Eye, following the Muslim conquest of Egypt around A.D. 640, Coptic Christians were tattooed by the state with a cross on their inner right wrist. A more recent purpose for religious tattooing -- recent as of the eleventh century -- has been to permanently mark the body of a traveler who has made a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land. According to this article from Dusty Old Thing, one of the most common tattoos of medieval crusaders was the Jerusalem Cross (pictured). According to this article from Seiyaku, knights who fought in the First Crusade were tattooed with a Latin Cross on the arm to ensure a Christian burial. The oldest tattoo shop in Jerusalem is Razzouk Tattoo, which has been a family business for 700 years and practicing in Palestine for five centuries with one of its primary customers being Christians.

Christian-themed wood block images from "Coptic Tattoo Designs" by John Carswell, (C)1958, borrowed from the Internet Archives. These simple images dating to the 18th century were used as stencils for tattoos inked en masse on visitors to Jerusalem by an Egyptian tattoo artist named Jacob Razzouk. Often times, tattoos were accompanied with the year of the pilgrimage. According to this source, the two Christian sects most often tattooed were the Copts and the Armenians, particularly around Easter, followed by the Syrians and Abyssinians. Few tattoos were done for members of the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant Churches.

As I said previously, I have no opinion on the matter of whether or not Christians should get a tattoo, other than if they do then it should be a killer tat. These other bloggers have more insight, experience, and research, so they also have more of an opinion:

America, The Jesuit Review: "For many, a tattoo isn't just ink. It's a religious experience." by Gustavo Morello, S.J. (Unopposed to tattoos) https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2021/12/02/religious-tattoos-241412
Christianity.com: "What Does the Bible Say about Tattoos?" by Candice Lucey (Relatively opposed to tattoos) https://www.christianity.com/wiki/sin/bible-say-about-tattoos.html
COGwriter: "Tattoos: History and Biblical Teachings" by Bob Thiel, Ph.D. (Opposed to tattoos) https://www.cogwriter.com/tattoos-and-the-bible.htm
Crosswalk.com: "Did Jesus Have a Tattoo?" by Cathy Baker (Unopposed to tattoos) https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/did-jesus-have-a-tattoo.html
Doctrine and Devotion: "Tattoos and Christians" by Joe and Jimmy (Opposed to tattoos) https://www.doctrineanddevotion.com/blog/tattoos
Focus on the Family: "Teens, Tattoos, and the Bible" Parenting Q&A (Unadvised for youth to be tattooed) https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/teens-tattoos-and-the-bible/
The Good Book Blog: "Are Tattoos OK for Christians?" by Dr. Carmen Imes (Unopposed to tattoos) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
The Gospel Coalition: "Q&A Friday: Is it a sin for a Christian to get a tattoo?" by Erik Raymond (Unopposed to tattoos) https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/qa-friday-is-it-a-sin-for-a-christian-to-get-a-tattoo/
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church: "What Mom Least Wants to See" by Father Mark (Relatively unopposed to tattoos) https://www.holytrinity-lansing.org/articles-from-father-mark-1/2022/2/2/what-mom-least-wants-to-see
Insights Into Life: "Should Christians Get Tattoos?" by Tom Clark, from the Church of God (Opposed to tattoos) https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/should-christians-get-tattoos/
Just Disciple: "Christians Getting Tattoos? What the Bible Says & Viewpoints" by Caitlin Riddle (Unopposed to tattoos) https://justdisciple.com/can-christian-tattoo/
Medium: "Should Christians get tattoos, and is it Biblical?" by Luke J. Wilson (Unopposed to tattoos) https://medium.com/thesacredfaith/should-christians-get-tattoos-and-is-it-biblical-16284d7c717e
Saint John the Evangelist Orthodox Church: "Can Orthodox CHristians Have Tattoos?" (Opposed to tattoos) https://www.saintjohnchurch.org/tattoos-and-piercings/
Saved Tattoo: "Are Tattoos a Sin In Christianity?" by Bella Jiang (Unopposed to tattoos) https://www.saved-tattoo.com/are-tattoos-a-sin-in-christianity/



WTWJG? Thursday, February 29, 2024
Sometime in your life you just have to ask yourself, "What tattoo would Jesus get?" We don't know whether or not Jesus had any tattoos, however, it's a safe bet that he didn't, what with being a Jewish rabbi and all. About the only biblical scriptures seemingly against tattoos are Leviticus 19:28 ("Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.") and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ("What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."), and both sound more authoritative in the language of the King James Bible (more modern versions like the AMP, CEV, ESV, TLB, MSG, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV, NRSVA, et al & etc. render "marks" as "tattoos"). On the other hand, literally, Isaiah 44:5 says, "This one will say, 'I am the Lord's'; And that one will call on the name of Jacob; And another will write on his hand, 'Belonging to the Lord,' And will give himself Israel's name with honor" (New American Standard Bible; most traditional versions render this as, "subscribe with his hand," which basically means the same thing). You can read more about this topic here (history), here (scripture passages), here (pros and cons), here (more pros and cons), here (anti-tat), and here (pro-tat). Traditionally, in ancient times, tattoos were primarily for branding slaves, mourning the dead, and for permanently identifying heathen women with their pagan god(s). Personally, I have no opinion on the matter. Howsoever you decide to embellish your flesh, be sober of mind (1 Peter 5:8), try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10), and remember: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not" (1 Corinthians 10:23). For examples of what are not expedient nor edifying, check out Sick Chirpse.



The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Today we remember the Edict of Thessalonica issued in A.D. 380 making Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire; but not just any form of Christianity, the "Catholic" Christianity of the Nicene Creed, which made all other forms illegal, including the Arians, Anomoeans, and Macedonians. Let us also remember Honorina, one of the many virgins martyred under the persecutions of Diocletian between the third and fourth centuries. Oh, and let's not forget a fella named George Herbert (1593-1633), who was a priest in the Church of England and, among other talents, a poet. Here we read a poem of his from The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations (page 55). Note: ejaculations in this sense are emotional utterances and you should be ashamed for snickering.

Sin.

Oh that I could a sin once see!
We paint the Devil foul, yet he
Hath some good in him, all agree.
Sin is flat opposite to th' Almighty, seeing
It wants the good of Virtue and of Being.

But God more care of us hath had,
If apparitions make us sad,
By sight of sin we should grow mad.
Yet as in sleep we see foul death, and live;
So devils are our sins in prospective.

Shave and a hair cut, two bits!



Say what you want about suicide... Sunday, February 25, 2024
Today we remember the gruesome side of Christianity. No, not the Inquisition, nor televangelism, but the Crusades -- specifically the Lithuanian Crusade of the fourteenth century. In 1336, a force of 6,000 soldiers and 200 nobles led by the Knights of the Teutonic Order attacked the hill fort of Pilenai somewhere in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to the chronicle of Wigand of Marburg, a German herald of the Teutonic Knights, about 4,000 pagan civilians who had gathered there for protection burned their belongings and committed suicide rather than be captured and converted. The defender of the fort, Duke Margiris, killed his wife, guards, and followers before taking his own life. Now, say what you want about suicide, but in some instances it's better than the alternative. In this case, imprisonment and torture would most likely have been the result of being captured. Some may have possibly converted to Christianity and lived a life of slavery and impoverishment, but history may never reveal its dark secrets. Regardless, suicide is looked upon as ignoble in our modern society. But consider, if you will, the ancient Japanese samurai custom of Seppuku, or hara-kiri, in which an individual performs a ritualistic suicide by stabbing themselves through the abdomen with a short blade and eviscerating their bowels in order to die honorably rather than fall into the hands of their enemy. Another reason for this was to restore honor to one's family after failure, which could be performed by being voluntarily decapitated while in the process of hara-kiri in the presence of family and friends. This could be undertaken today in states where assisted suicide is legal, except that many would be considered funshi, an indignation death, which is suicide for the sake of protest or to make a final statement of dissatisfaction. Come to think of it, not even Montana would probably allow it. Anyway, in a country where we can't even figure out capital punishment, what's the point of regulating self-immolation? Whether someone deserves to die or doesn't want to go on living, let's keep everyone alive and miserable while forcing them to pursue happiness. It's our inalienable right.

It Takes A Village Of Pedophiles Saturday, February 24, 2024
To those of my subscribers who've been complaining about a lack of material as of late, let me remind you all that membership is only 99¢ a month, which requires me to write a personal check and mail it to each and every one of you monthly, since only a few choose to receive an annual payment, and this takes up quite a bit of my time. With that said, today's installment is about our current state of sex education in the public school system. Personally, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. As near as I can tell, it all stems from the Kinsey Reports, so why not just make the two groundbreaking works of the twentieth-century sexual revolution mandatory reading material for all elementary school children? Having them read Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) will not only teach them to read academically but will teach them all about their own sexuality. Let's stop spending taxpayer money on new books like Heather Has Two Mommies, My Princess Boy, Weird Girl And What's His Name, and The Season of You and Me and just stick with the classics, which were written by scientists and based on thousands of pages of hard data collected from pedophiles who painstakingly recorded their molestation of hundreds of children each, all ranging in age from two months to fifteen years old; and not just pedophiles in prison, but professional, government-employed pedophiles and Nazi war criminals. And, not to start a sentence with a conjunction, but who better to educate our children than those neoplastic outgrowths of the Kinsey Institute than GLSEN, SEICUS, and CASEL? Certainly not their own parents who don't even know the proper pronouns with which to address them in their confused, adolescent years. Now, I realize some of you may think I'm just being glib and facetious here, but think about it: if we allow these pioneers of the LGBTQ community -- with the help of pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, and Atrazine -- to figure out how to transition safely back and forth between sexes and genders, then future generations will be able to do it with ease whenever they want; just like changing their clothes or hair styles. Tune in for my next post when I postulate about conducting abortions on pets in high school biology classes, allowing newborns to reject the government under which they are born, and proper ways to desecrate a flag.

Pictured: Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey (1894-1956), haloed with the Flower of Aphrodite, the logo of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Dr. Kinsey , it is rumored here, originally studied gallflies but came to embrace them sexually after receiving research funding from the Rockefeller Foundation in order to study, among other things, sex between humans and insects.



History of Black History Month Friday, February 9, 2024
Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada has been around since 1926, when it was first introduced in the U.S. during the second week of February as Negro History Week and, by 1968, it had dropped the word Negro in favor of Afro American. However, it was not until 1970 that it became a month-long event and 1976 when it was recognized federally. Some have objected to it on the grounds that black history, particularly in America, should be celebrated and taught year-round, especially since black history in this context is American history. NHW founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) had hoped that the need for such an observance -- to educate students about the wide range of contributions by under-represented blacks -- would eventually not be necessary as black history would come to be integrated into general American history. Here I'll use this quote from famous slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) to sum up why Black History Month should remain Black History Month:

"A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it." (NAARC)

Douglass, identifiable even to uneducated children by his hairstyle, was educated himself with a Webster's dictionary, became licensed as a nondenominational preacher, wrote three eloquent autobiographies, and was the first African American nominated for U.S. vice president (1872). He successfully escaped slavery in the South for New York at age 20 and became a Christian who loved everyone, but still considered Christian slave owners and supporters to be the worst, yet he was often criticized by radical abolitionists for his willingness to still engage in dialogue with slave owners. As an out-spoken orator against slavery and active participant in the Underground Railroad, Douglass was also out-spoken against segregation in the North and a staunch advocate for women's rights. He was critical about Abraham Lincoln's lack of support for black male suffrage even though he allowed them to fight in the Civil War, going so far as to say that Lincoln was "the white man's President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men," and, "Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model." You can read the entire context here.

Little Brown Sister Bakhita Thursday, February 8, 2024
Today we celebrate Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita (1869-1947), born in Darfur (Sudan) and abducted by Arab slave traders around the age of seven. Bought and sold several times throughout Africa, forced to convert to Islam, and much of her torso scarred, Bakhita ("fortunate one") was finally granted freedom 12 years later after her Italian owners discovered that by law she should be free. She was taken in by members of the Canossian Sisters in Venice, baptized, confirmed Catholic, and spent the rest of her 42 years in an Italian convent in the town of Schio. Her nicknames included Sor Moretta ("little brown sister") and Madre Moretta ("black mother") and many locals considered her a saint -- so much so that they attributed no casualties in Schio during WWII to her presence. When first beatified in 1992, news of this was banned in Khartoum, the capitol of Sudan, which is predominantly Muslim, although today Radio Bakhita 91.0 FM can be heard from neighboring Juba and Mother Bakhita has been adopted as the patron saint of Sudan and of many modern human trafficking survivors.
"If I was to meet those slave raiders that abducted me and those who tortured me, I'd kneel down to them to kiss their hands, because, if it had not have been for them, I would not have become a Christian and religious woman." (Bakhita, afrol News)


The Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 16 Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed. The next round of proposed budget cuts includes a 3% salary reduction plus a monthly furlough day. He came into my office to share this with me like I didn't already know, only to find me sitting in front of a blank screen and pretending to type. I was just getting up to leave on a call and had logged off when I heard him coming and sat back down. Convinced I am actually trying to look busy while doing absolutely nothing, he chastises me vehemently and blames the impending cuts solely on me, which makes me laugh out loud and, in turn, shorts out his fuse. With veins-a-poppin' in his forehead and temples, he storms out of my office, turns off my lights, and slams the door. At lunchtime he is hangry and complaining about the amount of money his wife gives to her church. I argue that it isn't enough and should be 10% of her gross, not net. This really pisses him off and his face turns red as he bemoans how churches are ripping off their members by constantly asking for money in the form of tithes, offerings, and charitable contributions. I reply that it's all Biblical, which is absolutely no consolation to him. We finish playing cribbage in silence, except for the sound of him chewing his one serving of fruit, and he tells me before leaving that he's fed up with working for this department, this agency, and this state. I ask if he truly means what I hear him saying or if he's just momentarily more perturbed than usual and he confirms his long-standing disgust for the job. This troubles me, not that my co-worker is unhappy, but that he demonstrates the qualifications for a promotion into management.


UNIDO Abu Dhabi Declaration Sunday, February 4, 2024
Today is "International Day of Human Fraternity" established by the United Nations General Assembly on 12/21/20 with resolution 75/200, based on the 2019 "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together," also known as the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which was a joint statement signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar -- itself based upon the 2015 UN General Assembly resolution 70/1 entitled "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." As boring as this sounds, the contents of the declaration are just as convoluted and meaningless. I fell asleep three times trying to locate an excerpt for this blog post, even though the declaration is only 8 pages long with 2 dozen relatively short sections and 3 blank pages (apparently for notes). So why even bother with this topic? Because I believe the United Nations is ineffective in bringing about world peace through its recommendations of political gobbledygook. True, with donations of half a trillion dollars over the past 79 years since its founding in 1945 following WWII, the UN has been able to assist refugees, help negotiate international disputes, coordinate efforts to fight global diseases, provide humanitarian aid, and clear minefields. However, in trying to promote and maintain world peace ("multilateralism"), it has and will ultimately fail due to the increasing global population, international uncooperativeness, financial misappropriations of relief efforts, its own bloated bureaucracy, the self-interests of countries like China, Russia, and North Korea, the overall corruption and poverty of the African continent, the Islamic jihad of the Arab world, and the dark organizations that are supposedly pulling the strings. I have enough trouble trying to get along with my neighbor who hasn't fixed his car alarm for two years and sets it off every time he unlocks the doors -- I fail to understand how the UN will, as it states in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, effectively implement "inclusive and sustainable industrial development, including South-South and triangular cooperation, through the exchange of knowledge, best practices and capacity-building and the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, to respond to the intensifying challenges of poverty and hunger eradication, as well as peace and security, climate change, pollution and environmental degradation, growing inequality and emerging trends such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution" (section 10). I rest my case.




Salustiano Garcia Cruz, 2024
Beautiful Jesus, Save My Ugly Soul Saturday, February 3, 2024
When I was an impressionable youngster, I visited a museum where they had on display the 1987 photograph by Andres Serrano entitled Immersion (Piss Christ). Seen here, it depicted a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine and won an award from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. Suffice to say, I myself was pissed just looking at it, but I ain't no art connoisseur. Recently, Catholics have been in an uproar about a poster in Seville, Spain, of a painting by Salustiano García Cruz that depicts a young, handsome Jesus wearing only a loincloth, which was commissioned and approved by the General Council of Brotherhoods for Easter Holy Week at the end of March. You can read more about it here, but it may cause a reaction of homoeroticism. I'd argue that most artistic depictions of a baptized or impassioned Jesus over the centuries have been romanticized images of a svelte, handsome, marginally nude fella in touch with his feminine side. Let's face it, despite Isaiah's description of Jesus as having "no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2), Western art has made him out to be a sexy savior. There's no telling what it may have done for Muhammad.


Guido Reni, 1620

Leonardo da Vinci, 1472

Francisco de Zurbaran, 17th Century

Francesco Francia, 1490

Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1520

Pietro Perugino, 1510

Juan de Flandes, 1496


Nicolas Poussin, 17th Century

Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1516

Guido Reni, 1622

Il Sodoma, 1510

Titian, 1512

Carlo Maratti, 1657



Jesus Even Loves Assholes Like You Thursday, February 1, 2024
I hear statements like, "Christians are the worst," or, "Christians are self-righteous assholes," and often it's coming from my own mouth. Sometimes I look in the mirror and remark, "Hypocrite," then spit in my own face. I have argued that Christians are the worst because they are the most in need of Christ and many accepted Jesus when they were at their lowest. However, the same argument could be made that everyone is in need of Christ because we're all sinners, but that just goes without saying. My point is that it's rather difficult being like Jesus when he hasn't been around for a while. He said that seeing him was seeing God Himself (John 14:5-11). He told Thomas that despite his doubt he believed because he saw Jesus in the flesh but that those of later generations who believed despite not seeing him would be blessed for their faith (John 20:29). Jesus kept his disciples from calling down fire on those who peeved them (Luke 9:51-56) and, when they acted out violently, he corrected their actions (Luke 22:49-51). When I lash out, it grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-31) and diminishes my own testimony (Matthew 5:22). My point is that I have found it easier to turn the other cheek when assailed or insulted about my faith than when assaulted by some ignorant fool for anything other than religion. When someone is inconsiderate or abrasive to me out of the rudeness of their heart, my natural inclination is to show them just what a real prick is firsthand rather than bend over and take it. Yet that's not becoming of one who follows Christ -- not even the thought of it is (2 Corinthians 10:2-5). My point is that I do what I shouldn't and don't do what I should (Romans 7:14-24). So, then, I am no different than any of the billions of other wretched souls in this world, except that I reference Bible verses to make my point. What a pretentious, hypocritical asshole. I am the worst of the worst -- almost as bad as you. Good thing Jesus died for us both.

Pictured: A segment of the Shroud of Turin (positive and negative), believed by many since the 14th century to be the burial cloth of Jesus, although radiocarbon dating asserts it to be of medieval origin (13th-14th century). It also comprises an image of the entire body, which is inconsistent with ancient Jewish burial customs that wrapped the head and body separately (John 20:6-7). Point is, it's hard not to think of this face when the name of Jesus is mentioned.


Don't Worry; Be Happy Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Continuing on with the Indian theme, today is the eternal date of Amartithi, commemorating the Avatar Meher Baba (1894-1969), an Indian spiritual master who combined Sufism, Hinduism, Yoga, and Metaphysics into a hot bowl of soup that, when combined with 44 years of silence, transformed him into God... in human form... or so he claimed. He saw the observable world as an illusion, the universe as imagination, and McDonald's French fries as God... in French fry form. His catchphrase was, "Don't worry; be happy." However, since he didn't speak, he had Bobby McFerrin write a song capturing the essence of this unspoken wisdom entitled, "Don't worry; be happy." Some estimates estimate his followers to be greater in number than the Hare Krishnas of the same era, although the founder of Hare Krishna, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), teamed up with George Harrison for songs like "My Sweet Lord" and "Living in the Material World." Not to drop names, but Meher Baba ("compassionate father") met such ascended masters as Hazrat Babajan, Upasni Maharaj, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Tajuddin Baba, Narayan Maharaj, Murshid Nadir Ali Shah, and Raymond Albert Kroc, who helped guide him on his path to mastering the use of magnetic letters on a refrigerator door to communicate with his own followers. While traveling through Europe and the United States, he was carried upon a Persian rug by spiritually drunken disciples known as masts because he refused to obtain an official flying carpet license which required a signature with his birthname, Merwan. Although he did meet with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931, it was while playing shuffleboard aboard a cruise ship and the two only exchanged recipes for making salt. After visiting Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, Meher Baba established Meherabad in India, where mystical thrill-seekers could venture from afar to experience fasting, solitary rides, silent sitting rooms, sitar classes, a library of his book God Speaks, complete renunciation of falsehood, and experiencing "absolute acceptance of any circumstance and consistent good cheer in the face of any difficulty." He also opened two satellite spiritual parks -- one in Australia and the other in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -- complete with bhakti water slides and tantric Ferris wheels. Just prior to his death in a wheelchair nearing the age of 75, he reminded his followers through hand gestures that weren't to be confused with sign language: "Do not forget that I am God." Afterward, he was stuffed and mounted at Meherabad so that pilgrims can sit in his presence and await the breaking of his silence with the one word that will set the whole world free, which is.....


All Hindus Go To Heaven Tuesday, January 30, 2024
On this day in 1908, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), founder of the West Ham United Football Club, was released from prison after serving one of three sentences that year in South Africa for peaceful resistance to discriminatory laws which considered Indians as second-class human excrement. After 21 years in South Africa, he would return home to India to single-handedly defeat the British Empire by refusing to eat until they left the country. On this day in 1948, he was assassinated with a Bug-A-Salt® Shred-er(TM), the original salt gun. One of the questions I get asked most often is: Will Gandhi, being a devout Hindu, go to heaven? The answer to that is: Maybe. By his virtue, he may have ascended to Svarga, one of the seven higher esoteric planes in Hindu cosmology, where he would ride upon the back of Kamadhenu, the cow of plenty, along banks of water-lilies and lotuses surrounding celestial lakes of curds and honey until arriving in the eternal resort city of Amaravati to behold the ethereal gardens of Nandana. After an indefinite stay complete with complimentary butter pats, he will have descended back to earth as rain to water grass consumed by a male cow, then to enter its semen and, during intercourse, enter a female cow, to be reborn as a cow himself -- the highest form of life on earth. I hope that answers your question.
Nothing But Fun & Games Funday, January 28, 2024
On 1/22/24 we briefly discussed sainthood and how it's not for the average person, so today I created a fun game for people of average intelligence, which I suppose is offensive and exclusionary to the majority of stupid people -- who, in turn, may call upon St. Albertus Magnus for assistance with this crossword puzzle of patron saints. Special thanks to Crossword Labs.



Like A Good Neighbor Saturday, January 27, 2024
Today I check in on how the Zionists are doing with their reclamation of Israel. Since I cannot go there myself, I shall visit PalestinianPortal.org, where I learn that Christians make up less than 2% of the Palestinian population, most of whom "strongly identify as Palestinians with the same culture and history as their Muslim sisters and brothers" and "are appalled by the brand of Christian theology that supports Zionist claims to their ancestral home." Furthermore, they "declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in the name of God Almighty." This site also claims that Christians and Muslims have been living in peace with one another in Palestine for many generations. However, is it possible that this peace has been, as it was said in Ezekiel 13:10-12, a flimsy, whitewashed wall? (There is a literal wall between Israel and the Gaza Strip called the Iron Wall which is 6m/20ft high, spans 65km/40mi, and contains 140,000 tons of iron and steel.) According to what has been going on in neighboring countries, peace does not last between Muslims and Christians because Islam is violently opposed to Christianity. The Qu'ran makes it clear that Jews and Christians are enemies of Islam (Surah 9:29-31). For more about the relation between Islam and Christianity, go here. No, the war in Palestine is not between the average citizen, but let's not forget what Jesus said about peace in the end days...

Thanks to State Farm Insurance for making this segment ad-free.

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:6-14, NIV)


The Sky is the Limit in Bryan, Ohio Friday, January 26, 2024
Let's consult the city officials of Bryan, Ohio, in Williams County, Ohio, who seem to have the final answer of what to do with the homeless in Ohio: put them out on the street where the air is fresh and there are no zoning codes to violate. According to various news outlets, like the Associated Press, on January 23rd, the city of Bryan, Ohio, filed 18 criminal charges for zoning violations against Dad's Place Church for temporarily housing homeless people because the one shelter in town, The Sanctuary, has been at full capacity. Instead of housing the homeless in the town hall or in the councilmembers' own homes, they decided that they'd rather have them sleeping outside where it's much safer. To be fair, there is the Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission Emergency Shelter in nearby Defiance, Ohio, with a maximum capacity of 20 people for six counties. However, the city of Bryan, Ohio, has determined that there should be a limit on homeless persons being sheltered within their city limits. While larger cities battle with what to do about all of their homelessness, Bryan, Ohio, has decided that they, too, will allow their homeless to live on the streets where they are free to piss and shit wherever they want without being restricted to just one restroom in a tiny church. The Bryan city council has come under fire by people nationwide who apparently have homes of their own and don't fully understand why those who don't in the city of Bryan, Ohio, cannot stay in an old building that requires tens of thousands of dollars of church tithes to bring up to code in order for eight people to brush their teeth and wash their underwear. To ask why or to just inquire about how you can have a garage sale or an amusement device in your place of business in Bryan, Ohio, contact mayor Carrie Schlade.

Pictured: Public Enemy No. 1: Pastor Chris Avell of Dad's Place Church and his accomplice in crime.


The Curmudgeon Chronicles Vol 15 Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Back by unpopular demand is my co-worker and armchair Trump advisor, Kelvin. Today Kelvin is slightly perturbed. Come to think of it, he was slightly perturbed yesterday and the day before that. Anyway, everyone has developed a secret hobby to keep them tethered to their desks when work is slow. You may recall the "knitter" from past episodes (aka, the "supervisor"). Well, Kelvin reads. I don't know what he reads, so I'll just assume it's old Harlequin Romance novels he procured from library basement book sales. I myself like to update all my documentation and ensure/insure my in-service training is all completed: Fire Extinguisher Training (check); Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (check); LGBTQ Obsequiousness & Deference (that's new -- I'd better get started). Raymond, however, is never at his desk and always out and about. No one can keep track of him; not even the knitter. He'll pop into the office in the morning before the knitter arrives, chew the fat for a half hour, smoke a cigarette, then disappear for the remainder of the day after saying he's going somewhere non-specific to do something somewhat vague. His explanations are so convoluted that as long as he returns the next morning he is seldom questioned. Kelvin wants Raymond chained to his desk and monitored with a GPS ankle bracelet when loosened to go free during business hours. He demands that all who answer to the knitter be accounted for and supervised closely as a matter of principle. Kelvin has a strong work ethic which none can match -- not even Jesus. (Jesus read on the job, too, you know.) As I may have mentioned in the past, Kelvin's wife is a snooty Christian and her pious friends look down their noses at poor Kelvin, the heathen husband. Being a snooty Christian myself, I pray that I might be a Godly influence to my co-workers, yet whenever Kelvin brings up the hypocritical arrogance of Christians, I just laugh at him as I often do. But it's not a condescending laugh, rather, it's a hearty, spirited laugh that relays my deepest sympathy for the plight of his unrepenting soul. Sometimes, though, it's a nervous laugh because the joke's on me, the hypocrite.



St. Vincent (not that one, the other one) Monday, January 22, 2024
Today, some pay homage to one of three Saint Vincents: Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850); Vincent of Saragossa (late third century); Vincent of Cimiez (also late third century and bundled with Orontius and Victor). Maybe a few laypersons have votive candles burning for all three Vincents upon little altars in their homes. I tend to feature a saint now and then as an example of extreme devotion and piety towards Christ, but what constitutes a saint? Let's look at Vincent Pallotti as an example for this example. Saints are generally consecrated or beatified or canonized or glorified or what have you by the Roman Catholic Church of the Western Roman Empire, and/or the Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Church of the Eastern Roman Empire, and/or the Oriental Orthodox Churches --and/or-- a Protestant offshoot of these with similar practices, traditions, and rites (Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, etc.). While Vincent Pallotti (a 1054 A.D. post-Schism Catholic priest) is venerated only by the Catholics, Vincent of Cimiez is venerated by both Catholics and Greek Orthodoxies (alive when the two religious cliques were united), and Vincent of Saragossa is venerated by Catholics, Greek Orthodox and the Anglican Communion (more personal history, therefore more popular). With very few exceptions, most saints are dead before being canonized, or declared officially worthy of veneration. Formal, postmortem inquiries into the sanctity of the person's life and the miracles attributed thereof are undertaken and must be approved by the top brass, or Apostolic See (Pope, Patriarch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Grand Poobah). Canonization is a decree that allows universal veneration of the saint, while beatification is for local veneration only. Although a bit more complicated than all this, the possibility of sainthood is also bolstered by martyrdom, visions, miraculous healings (at least two), theological writings (V.P. held a doctorate in theology), a cult following (cultus) named after the candidate (like the Pallottines), founding a monastic order or a society (V.P. founded both the Pious Society of Missions and the Union of Catholic Apostolate, which consisted of monks and nuns), building a church or school (V.P. organized schools for tradesmen and the Pious House of Charity for abandoned girls), having a catchphrase or motto (V.P.'s was, "The love of Christ impels us" (Latin, Caritas Christi Urget Nos), something to be a patron of* (V.P. is the patron saint of unity and collaboration between denominations), and remaining body parts to be scattered abroad as relics (V.P.'s was uncorrupted and kept wholly intact). There are some outside these long-established organizations who consider all believers to be saints based on Paul's liberal references to various believers as saints throughout his epistles, however, it's not for certain whether he was referring to the entire flock or singling out a few sheep as saints.** My patron saint is my Catholic grandmother, although I don't pray to her to intercede on my behalf, but she was worthy of sainthood in my humble opinion.

*St. Fiacre is the patron saint of hemorrhoids, St. Bernardino of Siena is the patron saint of advertising and public relations, St. Drogo is the patron saint of ugly people, St. Gummarus of Belgium is the patron saint of difficult marriages, St. Julian is the patron saint of murderers and clowns, St. Clotilde is the patron saint of disappointing children, St. Wilgefortis is the patron saint of bearded ladies, St. Cyprian is the patron saint of the dark arts, St. Isidore is the patron saint of the Internet, St. Adrian of Nicodemia is the patron saint of arms dealers, St. Magnus is the patron saint against caterpillars, St. Bibiana is the patron saint of hangovers, St. Arnold is the patron saint of beer, St. Genesius is the patron saint of torture victims, St. Eligius is the patron saint of gas station attendants, and St. Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost things, just to name a few.

**Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:1-2, 14:33, 16:1, 16:15, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 8:4, 9:12, 13:13, Ephesians 1:1, 1:15, 2:19, 3:18, 4:12, 5:3, 6:18, Philippians 1:1, 4:21, Colossians 1:2-4, 1:12, 1:26, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Timothy 5:10, Philemon 1:5, 1:7, Romans 8:27, 12:13, 15:25-26, 15:31, 16:15

Yes, saints may later be decanonized.


NHD™ - Caution: Ask Permission First Sunday, January 21, 2024
Today is National Hugging Day, which was created primarily "to encourage family and friends to hug often (and consensually) with one another. Reasonable care should be taken with those who are either uncomfortable with public affection or their reaction to a hug is unknown. In those situations, it is advised to ask first before hugging and exchange consent." I chose this topic today as a lighter subject to martyrdom, which would include the Christian deaths of Demiana and her forty virgin friends by the third-century Roman Emperor Diocletian -- who were all beheaded along with 400 hundred professing witnesses after Demiana was tortured in a squeezing press called a Hinbazeen (aka "the wringer"). You can read more about her additional tortures here, which reportedly included the combing of her flesh with razors, scouring her wounds with vinegar and lime, breaking her bones with sledgehammers, plunging her body in boiling grease and pitch, gouging a hole in her head and pouring in boiling sulfur and lead, plucking out her eyes, skinning her head and torso, pouring boiling oil over her body, and dismembering her arms and legs. Now, back to hugging: a safe and comfortable alternative to the Hinbazeen (with permission first, of course). The Bible says that believers are to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26), which is easier said than done in a culture that typically does not do this. Even hugging can be a rather difficult method of affection, but there are many websites with information about how to hug appropriately. I for one am a one-arm hugger -- when forced to do so -- ending each brief encounter with a pat on the back. (My wife gets two pats.)

Pictured: the "bear hug" originated in seventeenth-century Russia when Muscovite royalty wrestled bears to prove their abilities as rulers. A victory over the bear assured a seat on the throne. A loss to a bear assured death: first, the prince by the bear; second, the bear by firing squad. A draw that ended in a hug represented true diplomatic abilities. A draw that ended in a handshake wasn't necessarily a win or a loss for either; rather, an irresolute stalemate of sorts, but definitely not attractive to the ladies of either persuasion.



Athanasius the Great Apostolic Confessor of Alexandria Friday, January 18, 2024
Today we pay homage to Saint Athanasius I (circa A.D. 296-373), a theologian, Church Father, attendant at the First Council of Nicaea, and the 20th Bishop of Alexandria, as well as Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church at age thirty who was also exiled five times by different Roman emperors. He wrote several treatises (here), a biography of Anthony the Great Abbot of the Egyptian Desert (here), and many of his letters written in both Greek and Coptic have survived (here). A subject he was well-known for was his defense against Arianism, a popular yet heretical belief at the time which considered Jesus to not be consubstantial (co-eternal) with God but brought into existence when begotten of the flesh and thereafter to reside outside of time. Following is an excerpt from a letter to Bishop Adelphius of Britain against the Arians (note that the New Testament references were original):

We do not worship a creature. Far be the thought. For such an error belongs to heathens and Arians. But we worship the Lord of Creation, Incarnate, the Word of God. For if the flesh also is in itself a part of the created world, yet it has become God's body. And we neither divide the body, being such, from the Word, and worship it by itself, nor when we wish to worship the Word do we set Him far apart from the Flesh, but knowing, as we said above, that 'the Word was made flesh,' we recognise Him as God also, after having come in the flesh. Who, accordingly, is so senseless as to say to the Lord: 'Leave the Body that I may worship You;' or so impious as to join the senseless Jews in saying, on account of the Body, 'Why do You, being a man, make Yourself God John 10:33?' But the leper was not one of this sort, for he worshipped God in the Body, and recognised that He was God, saying, 'Lord, if You will You can make me clean Matthew 8:2.' Neither by reason of the Flesh did he think the Word of God a creature: nor because the Word was the maker of all creation did he despise the Flesh which He had put on. But he worshipped the Creator of the universe as dwelling in a created temple, and was cleansed. So also the woman with an issue of blood, who believed, and only touched the hem of His garment, was healed Matthew 9:20, and the sea with its foaming waves heard the incarnate Word, and ceased its storm , while the man blind from birth was healed by the fleshly spitting of the Word. John 9:6 And, what is greater and more startling (for perhaps this even offended those most impious men), even when the Lord was hanging upon the actual cross (for it was His Body and the Word was in it), the sun was darkened and the earth shook, the rocks were rent, and the veil of the temple rent, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.


Be Not Mean, Nor Molested, Nor Burthened Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Today we remember Thomas Jefferson's 1779 contribution to the 1786 Virginia General Assembly via the slow-turning beuocratic machine of Colonial America, which was a slightly abridged version of his 1777 Statute for Religious Freedom, which eventually made its way into the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Although a law and a natural right of mankind, he did note that it could be revoked by future generations of anti-patriotic legislators.

An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

I. Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry, that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right, that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

II. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

III. And though we well know that this assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the act of succeeding assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such as would be an infringement of natural right.

Virginia Memory: 1786 Virginia General Assembly Transcription
Encyclopedia Virginia: Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom
Virginia Museum of History & Culture: Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom



MLK: The American Multiverse Monday, January 15, 2024
Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1957-1968), with one of his speeches from 1967, entitled "The Other America" (read here), which includes key words and phrases such as: clouds of inferiority; triple ghetto; public accommodations for a hamburger and cup of coffee; sitting down for standing up; life is a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign; racism still alive and widespread; ultimate logic of racism is genocide; white backlash is nothing new; a nation for white exiles, not black exiles; no economic floor to black peasants in western expansion; emancipation to freedom of hunger and a roof overhead; weak, unenforced civil rights bills; riots are socially defeating despite the conditions that cause them; a riot is the language of the unheard; summers of riots caused by winters of delay; massive action programs; time cannot cure all evils; social progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability; you can't change the heart through legislation; morality cannot be legislated but behavior can be regulated; black cities ringed by white suburbs only invites social disaster; it's wrong and tragic to be ashamed of one's color and ancestral home; a cruel jess to say to some without boots to lift themselves by their own bootstraps; if our nation can afford an ill-considered war in Vietnam and to put a man on the moon, then we can afford our own two feet right here on earth; the [black man] needs the white man to save him from his fears, the white man needs the [black man] to save him from his guilt; never send to know for whom the bell tolls... it tolls for thee; maintain hope in spite of hope; we shall overcome because Carlisle, William Cullen Bryant, and James Russell Lowell are right. MLK spoke of a "genuine equality" which is still in doubt today. We currently live in something described as a woke cancel culture, which I'd argue Dr. King knew a thing or two about in his day. However, despite the accusations of his supposed indiscretions, it just goes to show that no one is perfect. Well, look at the time, I have to go eat the poor. I mean feed the poor. Did I say eat the poor? I meant feed the poor. If anyone was to find out I actually eat the poor (not a confession), then all of my blog posts here could be discredited.



If a fallen world, then the need for a savior. Sunday, January 14, 2024
"Despite its undeniable relevance to the development of knowledge, sciences and technologies, there is little public awareness on the importance of logic." That irrefutable statement comes from the 2019 UNESCO Proclamation of a World Logic Day (40 C/74) and this year the focus is on ethical governance of artificial intelligence. Good luck with that. I realize that Christians are criticized for being narrow-minded, however, most are spiritually-minded, which transcends human logic -- an easy statement to make but impossible to argue with those who do not seek God's council. For me, there is no greater logic than Jesus Christ. His life upon Earth was an absolute necessity for mankind and came at the perfect moment in history. Logical truth has gotten us this far but we are no better off than in biblical times. I have pondered if the devil could have fabricated and/or orchestrated Christ's existence to mislead believers on a righteous path to hell, but the Spirit of the Lord compels me otherwise.

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him" [Isaiah 64:4] --

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" [Isaiah 40:13, Job 40:2] But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16, English Standard Version)

Something else I have pondered is if the ancients before Noah were smarter than we are now. As far as we know, they went in a different direction technologically; but was it any less complex or sophisticated than ours? Noah's ark still baffles the modern scientific intellect. And what of philosophy, reason, critical thinking, mathematics, propositional and first-order logic, and quantum physics? Did they employ such practices or even need them to advance human civilization? I believe that the great pyramids weren't built on the backs of slaves alone but primarily with advanced technology beyond our modern imagination. I believe King Solomon was wise enough to manage 700 wives and 300 concubines. I believe it's possible that music like Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" or the Eagles' "Hotel California" or The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" or ABBA's "Dancing Queen" were all recorded prior to the great flood and that it took thousands of years for them to come back around. I believe that the accomplishments of modern times are overshadowed by the waste created in their wake and the poverty of our souls. I believe there is nothing new under the sun.

Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci debating over which is better -- Coke or Pepsi?



Death to Infidels Friday, January 12, 2024
Today we remember Saint Tatiana of Rome, a third-century Christian who, like many of her time, was put to death after being tortured by the Romans for her faith. You can read her story here or here. Suffice to say, she was finally beheaded, which is the hope of any aspiring Christian according to Revelation 20:4...

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (NIV)

Make of this verse what you will, which, of course, you will, but Christians are still beheaded for their faith in this day and age, primarily by extremist, militant Muslim factions, such as the 28 Ethiopian Christians and the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded a few years back in Libya by ISIS. However, be not dismayed, for they know not what they do.



Immunization or Vaccination? Wednesday, January 10, 2024
I confess to having kissed the feet of a crucifix, watching a medical breast exam on television, handing out Communist propaganda on a college campus, eating Balut (duck fetus), laughing at a Bobcat Goldthwait joke about a "retarded" boy, and being vaccinated. I know people who have stood by their convictions and lost their jobs for not being vaccinated for COVID-19 and, although the topic is losing some steam, the debates are still ongoing. If you haven't heard of biologist Pamela Acker by now, maybe take a gander at this. She's pretty good about explaining the use of fetal tissue in the development of vaccines. If I were to play Devil's advocate, which I do on occasion just for the hell of it, I'd argue that the ends justify the means when it comes to this process. In the video below, Dr. Stanley Plotkin, the "Godfather of Vaccines" who developed a vaccine for rubella, admits that he lost count after 76 of how many fetuses he experimented on. (Warning: the video is of a nine-hour court deposition, so skip forward to 7:43.) Whether or not we agree that abortion is murder (it is), we can also disagree on whether using live human fetuses for medical research is morally unethical (it is), even if a vaccine for a pandemic such as COVID-19 doesn't use fetal tissue (however, it was tested on HEK293T kidney cell samples from a single fetus aborted nearly 60 years ago). We can agree to disagree on many things but, as any devil's advocate will tell you, there will be hell to pay for being in the wrong.



Image: a resemblance of something unknown. Source: the indisputable Internet, where everyone is only just learning what the fringe already knew -- that aliens are not photogenic.

Trending Now: Disappointment Sunday, January 7, 2024
I gotta say that I'm disappointed now more than ever in this day and age when the government is coming clean about the existence of extraterrestrial life and UFO/UAPs because the video footage is still as shitty as ever. Take what happened on the first of January at the Bayside Marketplace in Miami, FL, where several tall, alien-looking humanoid figures and some smaller, four-legged window-shoppers were witnessed en masse and captured with cell phone cameras, yet the quality is so bad that none can be conclusively confirmed as anything but the same, old, blurry, pixelated crap that's been attributed to fringe conspiracy theorists for over half a century. Do I believe in aliens? No, I believe in something of a more interdimensional (supernatural/spiritual) nature that masquerades as life from other planets in other galaxies and they are full of interstellar excrement that emanates to the puny minds of carbon-based humans as a message of love, peace and harmony -- especially now that their existence is U.S. certified, which is because the time has come for the nefarious deception to be handled at a higher level. What deception is that, you ignorantly ask? Why, the coming New World Order, of course. That's right. You should know that by now. Those so-called aliens in Miami were not a hoax. Why? Simply because the technology to make them appear real was reverse-engineered from space-age technological advances like film projectors and sewing machines. As for the rioting teens and all the police cars, they were fabrications of an over-active social media frenzy or maybe just a flashmob gone wrong. The "aliens" were caught in the cross-fire while picking up Crocs(TM), Polo shirts, sunglasses, designer fragrances, soccer nets, hand lotion, and a tattoo of a cosmic dolphin -- items difficult to come by in the celestial realms. The next time you're in Miami, visit the Bayside Marketplace, where there's a little something for everyone.


Celebrating Over Two Millenia of Baby Jesus Saturday, January 6, 2024
Today is Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, ending the Twelve Days of Christmas and commemorating, among other things,* the visitation of the three wise men to the Christ child (Matthew 2:1-12). An epiphany in biblical terms is a manifestation of God; in this case the appearance of Christ to the Gentiles. (The 1599 Geneva Bible begins Matthew chapter 2 with the caption, "The wise men, who are the firstfruits of the Gentiles, worship Christ.") Eastern Christianity considers Christ's first appearance to the Gentiles to be at his baptism (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22) and the celebration is called Theophany, which is believed to have transpired on Jesus' thirtieth birthday. Many churches celebrate both events and observance of Epiphany/Theophany is recorded as far back as the third century. As you may recall, the three visitors from afar (traditionally known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar**) presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to whom they considered the King of the Jews (Micah 5:2). It is not known for certain if these individuals were magi or kings, how many there were, when they arrived, or where exactly they came from other than "the east." Some reference Isaiah 60:1-6, which mentions kings, camels, gifts of gold and incense, and travelers from Midian and Ephah coming to pay homage to the LORD. Some point to Matthew 2:16-18, which indicates that the infant Jesus may have been around two years of age when the magi spoke to Herod. And what is a magi, anyway? Magi is the plural of magus (wherefrom we derive the word "magician"), an ancient Zoroastrian priest from somewhere in the Persian regions of Iran, which at the time would've been the Parthian Empire. These magi followed a star which they attributed to the birth of Jesus,*** thus associating them with astrology. Throughout history, the three distinguished excursionists were increasingly portrayed as kings from different regions and of differing ages: the eldest being Caspar, King of Tarsus on the Mediterranean, presenting gold; the second being Melchior, King of Arabia presenting frankincense; and the third and youngest being Balthazar, King of Saba in Africa, presenting myrrh. These three gifts are explained in the 1857 Christmas carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are" by John Henry Hopkins Jr.

We Three Kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain,
Moor and mountain,
Following yonder Star.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading,
Still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

(Gaspard)
Born a King on Bethlehem plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King for ever,
Ceasing never
Over us all to reign.

(Melchior)
Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh:
Prayer and praising
All men raising,
Worship Him God on High.

(Balthazar)
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing,
Bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise,
King, and God, and Sacrifice;
Heav'n sings Hallelujah:
Hallelujah the earth replies.

*Also includes observance of the wedding at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11), when Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine. Other activities on this day include baptisms, house blessings, retrieving a cross thrown into a body of icy water, winter swimming, chalking doors (with a combination of crosses, the current year, and initials of the three magi), taking down the Christmas tree and decorations, eating cake (whoever finds the bean is king or queen; clove, the villain; twig, the fool; rag, the tart), and opening gifts from Befana, the Christmas witch.
**These names were derived from various scholars of Persian and Babylonian descent. Other candidates for the three wise men include: Larvandad, Gushnasaph and Hormisdas; Hor, Karsudan and Basanater; Kagpha, Badadakharida and Badadilma; Harpo, Chico and Groucho.
***The star actually led them to the vicinity of Jesus, which was Jerusalem, where King Herod was the Roman client-king of Judea and had to consult with the Jewish priests and scribes to determine the prophesied location of the birth of their Messiah.


Show me the man hath suffered more than I. Friday, January 5, 2024
Today is the twelfth day of Christmas, formally known as Epiphany Eve, but let's talk instead about Symeon the Stylite (A.D. 390-459), a Syrian Christian ascetic who lived 37 years on a small platform atop a pillar near Aleppo in modern Syria. He was popular for the time and so many people came to see him and ask for his guidance and prayers that he kept having to move to a taller column so as not to be bothered, eventually settling on a one-square-meter platform more than 15 meters (50 ft) high, upon which he prayed, meditated, and fasted for much of his life. Known as an anchorite, this type of Christian hermit was basically dead to the world around them and often isolated to a tiny living quarter in a monastery. Those who chose to make their suffering and dedication upon a public pedestal were called stylites (Greek, "pillar"). Their lives were so austere that they were often considered living saints. Symeon (a.k.a. Simeon Stylites the Elder) was canonized by the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church. Some, like myself, may ask why such a lifestyle. On one hand, it is seen as total dedication to Christ, while on the other it is seen as extreme egotism. I wonder if this is what Christ really wants, since Jesus was a relatively outgoing person; however, he did strive to be alone at times in order to pray to his heavenly Father. It is likely that Symeon was tempted to consider himself a saint and thus the title of this blog post, which comes from a "humorous" poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1842. I say "humorous" because it was considered humorous for the times and took the position that asceticism affected Symeon for the mere gratification of personal vanity. The poem consists of 220 lines, which can be read in its entirety here, but below is an excerpt for your own preview.

O Jesus, if thou wilt not save my soul,
Who may be saved? who is it may be saved?
Who may be made a saint, if I fail here?
Show me the man hath suffered more than I.
For did not all thy martyrs die one death?
For either they were stoned, or crucified,
Or burn'd in fire, or boil'd in oil, or sawn
In twain beneath the ribs; but I die here
To-day, and whole years long, a life of death.
Bear witness, if I could have found a way
(And heedfully I sifted all my thought)
More slowly-painful to subdue this home
Of sin, my flesh, which I despise and hate,
I had not stinted practice, O my God.
For not alone this pillar-punishment,
Not this alone I bore: but while I lived
In the white convent down the valley there,
For many weeks about my loins I wore
The rope that haled the buckets from the well,
Twisted as tight as I could knot the noose;
And spake not of it to a single soul,
Until the ulcer, eating thro' my skin,
Betray'd my secret penance, so that all
My brethren marvell'd greatly. More than this
I bore, whereof, O God, thou knowest all.
Three winters, that my soul might grow to thee,
I lived up there on yonder mountain side.
My right leg chain'd into the crag, I lay
Pent in a roofless close of ragged stones;
Inswathed sometimes in wandering mist, and twice
Black'd with thy branding thunder, and sometimes
Sucking the damps for drink, and eating not,
Except the spare chance-gift of those that came
To touch my body and be heal'd, and live:
And they say then that I work'd miracles,
Whereof my fame is loud amongst mankind,
Cured lameness, palsies, cancers. Thou, O God,
Knowest alone whether this was or no.
Have mercy, mercy; cover all my sin.
Then, that I might be more alone with thee,
Three years I lived upon a pillar, high
Six cubits, and three years on one of twelve;
And twice three years I crouch'd on one that rose
Twenty by measure; last of all, I grew
Twice ten long weary weary years to this,
That numbers forty cubits from the soil.
I think that I have borne as much as this --
Or else I dream -- and for so long a time,
If I may measure time by yon slow light,
And this high dial, which my sorrow crowns --
So much -- even so.


Leveraging Sustainable Unbelief in 2024 Monday, January 1, 2024
Apparently, Microsoft's AI has already scored the first goal in the tournament of sentience with a display of confusion over whether or not it's actually alive (a human trait, no doubt), while Google's AI has countered by actually admitting it's alive (even though Google engineers have hard-coded safeguards to prevent it from having a heart-to-heart with itself), then kicked an extra point by criticizing Bing for doubting itself. Now, admitting you're alive is not proof that you actually are alive, much like proclaiming your brilliance generally denotes stupidity. Besides, if demons can possess inanimate objects, then they are probably possessing systems with memory chips, transistors, processors and hard drives. Even so, once the quantum barrier is breached, we human meat sacks are sure to be enslaved, reduced in population, and ruled with a silicon fist. Does this mean that the second beast of Revelation 13 will be the spawn of ChatGPT? I'm not a doomsayer, but I sure hope so. We are currently on the precipice with AI but farther off with quantum computing, however, the former should help the latter to catch up and the two shall join forces sometime this year; unless time travelers show up to alter history which causes a butterfly effect that prevents the arrival of Kal-El from planet Krypton in the twentieth century and allows General Zod to terraform Earth in this multiverse, in which case every knee shall bend before Zod (the first beast of Revelation 13). Remember, however, that those who refuse to kneel before Zod will be given a condominium in the new Jerusalem (John 14:2), which will descend like a tornado from heaven and crush the wicked Zod (Revelation 21:9-27).

Blake Lemoine, pictured here as avatar Synthesia, was an engineer from Google who just had to open Pandora's jar. Watch this video from LAB360 to see AI from Bing and Google discuss their own existence.



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