Category Archives: Christianity

Ship of Fools?

Posted by Mike

It was Sarah Palin, then Donald Trump, Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain. How could any reasonably intelligent person actually think any of these people

Childe Hassam Flags on the Waldorf detail Amon Carter Museum.jpgwould make (or would have made) a satisfactory President? Is this country filled with ignorant people who are unable to discriminate competence? The remaining candidates, thank goodness, all have some credibility, and hopefully some might make adequate Presidents. I have no complaints about people who might be supporting Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, John Huntsman, or Mitt Romney, though I wouldn’t agree with any of them regarding their choice of candidate.

The answer to my question above is two-fold. First, I don’t think this country is filled with ignorant people. The people I interact with every day, at work, at the grocery, at home, seem very bright and competent. And I think that people in general, in this country, are very bright and competent, at least in the areas of their expertise. But secondly, I think the problem is that in some areas – and I think politics and religion are the two prime suspects – we just don’t learn to discriminate very well, to put on our “thinking caps” and apply reason and logic, seek information, and perhaps more than anything else, be willing to challenge accepted notions. I fault religion with having the most influence in this area. Religious beliefs and doctrines are handed down from one generation to another and there is a generally unexpressed assumption that these basic beliefs are not to be challenged, that somehow, just because a belief, doctrine, or institution has survived essentially the same for 200 or 500 or a thousand or two thousand years it is sacrosanct and not to be challenged. I’ll just bore you with one issue I have with our religious beliefs. One denomination on its website reports that, “Our beliefs all stem from a full commitment to the authority of the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God.” If you think like these folks, no challenge is possible. I wonder what they say to the occasional questioning teenager who wonders, “What makes it inerrant and infallible?” In my opinion there is no satisfactory answer to that question. My guess is that such questioning if it ever occurs is squelched, but I really don’t know as I don’t run in those circles.

We haven’t really learned, in this country, to question authority, to challenge accepted notions and the status quo. It’s been to our disadvantage continually, since the formation of our nation, and it’s remarkable that we have preserved to the extent that we have , our democratic processes given this lack. I’ll grant that there have been and are countervailing forces that have encouraged independent thinking and challenges to the status quo, from Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers to Occupy Wall Street, but they have tended to be a “weak force.” The “strong force” has always been the maintenance of the status quo. One example: It took almost 100 years for the full effect of Lincoln’s emancipation of the slaves to be effectively brought into being. Equality for African-Americans was delayed in the American South for years by supposedly “well meaning” whites who were unwilling to grant equality for all Americans. Oh – and did the churches speak out against this travesty?

It’s threatening and scary for our cherished assumptions and beliefs to be challenged, but adaptation to a changing world requires openness to that process. And it’s even more important now with the extraordinary effects of the internet and global interconnectedness as well as the increasing rapidity of innovation in technology and its effects throughout the world. Oh – we’re not a Ship of Fools or we would not have survived as well as we have. We do need to assess our foolishnesses from time to time, and this is one of those times.


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Filed under Christianity, philosophy, Politics, skepticism, Uncategorized

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

An early carnivore that was a close relative of Miacis uintensis, Vulpavus. (Credit: Marlene Donnelly and The Field Museum)

An early carnivore that was a close relative of Miacis uintensis, Vulpavus. (Credit: Marlene Donnelly and The Field Museum)

Remember on the Planet of the Apes when the monkeys had evolved into Humanoid like creatures, well, don’t put your bets on that happening in reality. It’s just not the way evolution works.

I think that I’m discovering that each general species group, such as carnivores for example, has a period in its early history when it’s innovative and has the ability to evolve. Evolution is more volatile early on. But once it’s an old timer, say a wolf, it’s not going to change much from there. An old dog really can’t learn new tricks. However, the early carnivore certainly could. It was a young dog and it had the right stuff to turn into bears, raccoons, hyenas and cats too. And it did.

Take another example: the sea otter. Could it ever become like a baleen whale, the early ungulate ancestor of our water spouting cetaceans? I don’t think so. There were times in which evolution was rampant throughout the animal and plant kingdoms. The morphologies of those species were simple and general. The behaviors were probably also characterized by general habits rather than highly refined. But as species groups began filling the smaller niches, their traits became more and more specialized and as a result the morphologies became distinct and stable.

It seems that the fossil evidence shows that once a species hits it’s archetype, it doesn’t change all that much afterward. If true, this is significant. It demonstrates that, yes, evolution is unidirectional. And no, survival is not the underlying method for evolution. Species evolve because they are tending toward their archetype.

I’m not a paleontologist, but this theory could be tested by looking at the fossil record and graphing various species groups and how much they changed over time. I expect that you’d find that all species groups’ morphologies change significantly early on and less significantly as time progresses.

What does this say about mankind and our species? It says that bonobos can’t become human. It also says that mankind has an archetype into which it is evolving (or has evolved). And my bet is that it is not Homo technicus. Instead, we tend toward our Archetype: Christ.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1: 1-5


Filed under Christianity, evolution

Tale of Two Cities – Part 3 of 3

Posted by David
Two trains of the Ffestiniog Railway at Tan y Bwlch Station

Two trains of the Ffestiniog Railway at Tan y Bwlch Station

Part 1, Part 2

The key to wealth is not the actual ownership of wealth, but rather the being a conduit for it. You may either do this by being increasingly useful to the greater system or by becoming a larger conduit, which are actually the same. If you stay useful and transform and transfer the energy provided to you in increasingly innovative ways, then you keep your job in the system. If not, you are shed and become transformed wealth. “Sold! to the highest bidder.”

If that sounds a bit terrifying, well, it is if you want to be a part of one particular economic system. But in this world there are actually two economies working in parallel. Thank goodness, because one of the systems is too ruthless for me to be a member. And thankfully, one is dieing and one is living. In fact, one is death and one is life. In one, the energy driving the system is pride or powerlust. In the other, the energy driving the system is love. Pride is a contained system. Pride is a self-centered system. Pride is a closed system and has a definite limit to its innovation.

Love on the other hand is based in God, who is outside the system itself. So, it is an open system. It is eternally creative and innovative. Not only does its innovation never end, but neither does the fuel nor desire. All parts of the energy triangle work indefinitely within this economy of Love.

To be a part of the former system, you must fight, deal, cheat and steal. You must transform energy for the greater pride.

On the other hand, to be a part of the latter system, you must pass love without regard. You must transform the energy give for the greater love. And it’s not possible to horde love. It can only be passed along to the greater benefit of the whole.

I mentioned that these two economies, or what Saint Augustine called “cities,” work in parallel. This is important to understand, because some of us might think that we’re caught or trapped in the former system and can’t get out. But by being in parallel, it’s easy to just step over to the other track and start passing love rather than envy, pride and lust, no matter where you are. When we spend money, we do it out of love rather than fear. We do it out of charity rather than vanity. So you don’t need to quit your job. You can jump tracks wherever you are and serve either a master or a friend.

When you start converting your conduit over to love rather than pride, love then starts eroding your streambed, rather than ruthlessness. Your river gets bigger and draws in more love. God’s love starts broadening your conduit. And I finally understand at least part of Jesus’ Parable of the Shrewd Manager. Jesus shows us that we must use our position (our conduit) to funnel love rather than trickery. We’re not stuck. We can get out. When we do, we find true wealth to actually be relationship, particularly relationship founded in the eternally innovative Love of God.

So, what’s the key to greater wealth?

  1. Wealth can only be found in relationships.
  2. There are two types of wealth in human civilization: pride and love.
    1. Pride is a false-wealth. You become a slave to its master and will fall with the master when the peak is reached in this closed-system.
    2. Love is true wealth and is only had through a relationship with that which is outside the Universe: God.
  3. You cannot store wealth. It is uncontainable. It cannot be horded. There is simply no need to try.
  4. You can become a greater conduit for both types of wealth—pride or love—by freely passing what is given to you.

The master commended the dishonest manager for his  shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Luke 16: 8-13

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The Democracy of the Will

Posted by David

Any of our readers of this blog will notice that my dad (Mike) and I come from very different perspectives. But I must say, it’s been a great joy to blog with him on this site.

That said, I’ve been reading 2 Thessalonians. It’s a very interesting letter written by Paul warning the church to not to be deceived or be unsettled about the coming of the “man of lawlessness.” This is a particularly important letter for Christians today, because some churches are always looking for the antichrist and some are even being deceived by charasmatic cult of personality. Now, I do believe that man’s relationship with God will one day be restored and sin will be abolished from the earth. How that happens and when that occurs is not something we are not privy to and should not consume our thoughts. We are told to stand firm and pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So, here’s the passage of interest to me recently:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4

What’s particularly interesting is the idea of the “rebellion.” What is the rebellion? Do we see it today? These days, whenever I seek to understand something from the scriptures deeply, I first look in myself,  my heart, my experience, and the things I know best (or think I know best). In my life, my times of rebellion have been when I have had unbridled freedom.

In our minds, we always have conflicting thoughts and choices (Mike wrote about that yesterday with regards to decision-making). At a conscious or unconscious level we weigh those choices and make a decision. What is important is how we make the choice. Sometimes we choose based on our moral standards. Sometimes we make the choice based on which part of our body or soul screams the loudest: stomach, groins, comfort, fears, instinct, etc. If our will chooses to go with the loudest, we can get ourselves in trouble. I’ll call this the democracy of the will.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter that much. I’m hungry, so I eat a meal. But if you’re anything like me, I’m sure you know where this has gone wrong at times in your life. But what does this have to do with the “rebellion” that Paul writes about? I’m coming to think that this rebellion is simply the political state we call democracy. A republic is just a modified form of democracy, but a democracy still. In a republic, the democratic process chooses leaders and the same process makes decisions in the congress or parliament. The only non-democratic part of our particular form of government is the president, but certainly he is subject to the democratic pressures of his advisors.

In the West this democratic process began with rebellion, and arguably, it began as early or earlier with the Renaissance and the Reformation. Only now are we seeing it sweep across the Middle East. Please don’t think that I think any other particular government is benign. They are all filled with injustice, because man and his cravings and powerlust is inherently unjust. Thus, all governments have differing aspects of injustice upon which they paw.

But democracy in general may be the final stage of the succession of types of government. The age of democracy and the period of human history it spreads before us is unique and may very well be the rebellion of which Paul warns us. The only worthy government is the Kingdom of Heaven with Christ as our King.

It reminds me of those who say that “Freedom has a price.” If just one innocent man, woman or child dies, if just one person is tortured for that kind of freedom, it’s not a freedom with which I wish to engage. That type of freedom and the democracy at its base is a deception. Freedom is an ideal that is only possible when the human will is bound to goodness and love. That day will come.


Filed under Christianity, philosophy

The Pulling Force of Evolution

Posted by David

I broke the tip of my finger this week, which has limited my ability to type and has given me a new respect and compassion for those who are disabled in profound ways. My injury has also brought back the memory of a deer leg bone that I once found in a pinyon forest in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos.

Little flesh remained on this deer leg, but the joints were still intact. It had all the normal number of bones, except the upper leg bone had an ‘extra joint’ which was a bit larger than a baseball. This was a mass of bone growth, hinging a bit, which had developed from a full fracture.

What was truly amazing was how both sides of the fracture had sent calcareous projections toward the other side, like two hands full of fingers grasping at each other. Since the deer had spent much time walking on the injury, the growth never made a full connection, so the mass of bone kept getting bigger and bigger.  How did it die? I can only guess that a mountain lion got it, since I couldn’t find the rest of the skeleton anywhere.

Bodies are truly given an amazing gift of healing, aren’t they?

This idea of growth mechanics being directional and having two sides is important. I think of evolution in particular (the mechanic of gravity also provides an example of another important misconception). In classic and neo-Darwinism, the driving force of evolution mechanics come from the bottom-up, i.e. random mutations and the ‘desire’ for survival in the individual. But not only does the mechanics, the force of evolution, come from a pressure from the bottom part of the equation, but it also comes from a pulling force from the top.  Evolution has both bottom-up and top-down force mechanics. Once side pushes, the other side pull. Traditional evolution seems to be only concerned with the bottom up pressure and disregards the pulling force from the top.

As the deer bone healed, there was growth from one end of the bone to the other. But there was also a pulling force that said in effect, “here I am, your mate, the other end of this bone onto which you must adhere.” The same is the case for the process and driving forces behind evolution.

There is a pulling force from the ‘top’ which says for the jaguar, for example, “Time to become a great forest cat.” Or in the case of a temperate montane forest, the pulling force says, “Time to become a forest of pointed, snow-shedding trees.” Then the genetics, creatures and communities of organisms below respond and evolve into those species characterized by those morphological traits. This is the greatly overlooked aspect of evolution. Evolution is a pulling force rather than a pushing force from below. There is a pushing force from below, but that’s not what drives species directionally into their particular morphology. The pushing force is simply what we call life.

Tragically, this component is overlooked in our high school textbooks. We overlook the Great Pulling Force in science, because that pulling force is the love of God. Modern science won’t accept that kind of force. On the other hand, oddly enough, it will accept ‘randomness’ as a force or ‘chaos’. This is because man does not wish to go toward that great pulling force. All other forms of life grow naturally toward that pulling force, but in the human’s ability to choose, a.k.a. our will, we responds by not growing into that great pulling force, but choose to grow into our own particular egocentric bubble. We grow inward rather than outward toward the pulling force. Jesus came to change our direction of growth.

I’m hoping for a speedy recovery in my finger, that those little filaments of bone are starting their journey across the great gap!

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess…Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

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Filed under Christianity, evolution, wilderness

The Wave Begins

Posted by David

I am still overjoyed about what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa as difficult as it is for those involved. What is giving me joy is that a curtain of fear is falling which is allowing people to do things they once thought impossible.

In the commentaries on Egypt, some are saying that what is happening is a plan spearheaded by Muslim extremists. Others suggest that the CIA and Mossad is behind this democratic revolution in hopes to ‘guide’ democratization of the Middle East. I could really care less who is behind it. All I see is hundreds and thousands of people who aren’t oppressed by fear, saying “No” to brutal regimes and using generally peaceful means, at least so far.

It is okay to say “No” to a bully. It is okay to tell him the truth of who they are. In fact, it’s our responsibility to do so if we are in relationship with him or her, as painful as the outcome may be. We must do so in love and in the hope of transformation, but only after we check our own heart to make sure we aren’t actually the bully at hand. 

However, the primary tactic of the bully is to pull you to his side by getting you to use his methods. He wants a fight from you. Then he can say to you and himself, “See you’re really no different from me, are you? Ha, I win.” The bully eggs you until you either submit in fear or your fight him, which is a win-win for the bully.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the reason why when you fight the bully, no matter how hard you fight or how big your weapons, you always enter a perpetually unwinnable situation. You may think you have won, but that was only Round 1 or 2, etc. Or as was the case in WWII, we beat the Nazi bully, only to become something equally horrendous.

But when you are fearless of the bully, he has lost immediately, whether or not he crushes your mind, body or soul. There is only one other option: enslavement. If you fear him and submit to him, you are absorbed into him as his slave. If you fear him and fight him, then you become him through his means. You become slave to his methods, which is the same as being enslaved to him.

Now being fearless of the bully does not mean that you are required to not submit to him. This is one of the  most misunderstood principles: we can submit to someone and be free from his clutches. In fact, fearless submission is hated by the bully most of all. He despises it, because to him, fear is the power he lusts. The last thing he really wants to be near is you, because fearless submission is only possible through God’s love. Fearless submission is Jesus on the cross.

If he does not get that fear from you, he will move on to another victim or attempt to destroy you so you will not corrupt his next batch of prey. But because of Jesus and what he did at Calvary, I can’t be destroyed. This is the promise of the resurrection. So, fearless submission is the most powerful weapon we have. We must wield it for all the bullies that cross our path: family, friend and foe; government, principalities and authorities of all sorts. Not only is it transforming to us, but also potentially to the bully.

As simple as it sounds, yet when faced with a truly wretched, stunning, charming power which seeks to enslave us, as weak as we humans truly are, how can we be fearless under these conditions? There’s only one way: to know that there is One power higher and more awesome than all of the Universe; one truly to fear. Then all other powers and principalities become pathetic.

This is the wave that we see beginning in the Middle East. As food prices increase, as more people lose their jobs, and as the United States’ military might and WMD are seen to be the sham they truly are, this wave will ever increase across the globe. The giants will then topple one by one. Out of necessity they will consume each other, and one will be left whose destiny is the pit, but we must not fear even him while distancing ourselves from his charm.

Jesus will collect his sheep: the weak, the humble, the pathetic in the eyes of the bully and I pray that you and I both be listed as one of them. Let the wave begin!

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:19-20

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Game Over

Posted by David
Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, Karel Dujardin (1626–1678)

Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness, Karel Dujardin (1626–1678)

It’s about time for a rant from me. This blog entry is for all those Christians out there, of which I am one. If you happen to watch Fox News or any news for that matter. Turn off your TV and throw it away. It is probably one of the worst additions out there. Fox is news in sheep’s clothing for millions of American Christians out there.

What we are witnessing through the media of all sorts is a last-ditch attempt to hold on to an old world order, one where the elite of our world control the happenings of the world. But cracks seem to be forming in the ugly structure. They are the rich and the powerful, but they are losing the grip. And the last thing you want to do is to fall into the pit with them.

I continually find it amazing how Christians can support the Zionist state in Israel through the structural lies that come not only through the media, but also through circulating Christian literature. They argue that Israelis are our brothers and Muslims are not. We must support one and not the other. This is absurd logic. Our King is Jesus. He is our only King. Not Bush, not Obama, not Osama, you get the point. Noone but Jesus. Our brothers and sisters are our relations in Christ only. We follow him to death.

How does hating Muslims (or Zionists for that matter) help us fulfill what Jesus commanded us to do: Love our enemies?

There will always be until the final day be enmity between Israel and Arabs. This is an ancient rivalry between brothers that has occurred for thousands of years. It is the archetype of Cain and Able. It’s the story of Ishmael and Isaac. It’s the story of Esau and Jacob. This is not a Christian’s battle. The Christian’s battle is in his or her own heart. It is a struggle between Satan and your soul. Christ already won the battle for all of humanity. All we need to do is follow him as one of his flock and preach the news to everyone we meet and we journey toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

Zionism is a political structure. It has nothing to do with the Great I Am. When the Muslim yells, “God, Is Great.” He is talking about the same God to whom a religious Jew prays. The only difference for a Christian is that the Christian prays to God, whom we know as Jesus. The religious Jews are still waiting for the Messiah. The Muslim believes Jesus was the last of the great prophet and will return. Zionism prays to nothing except itself as a political state.

Zionism wants the land and the power. Zionism has the organizational structure and bombs of United States which have kept it alive. The only reason our country really cares about Israel is because of the nearby oil. We must have that oil for not only our people, but mostly to keep our military in business.

So, what we have in Tunisia and Egypt is only the beginning. The people of my generation in the Middle East aren’t that much different from me. They will be overtakeing over the structures of power. They are smart and capable. They use the media and the Internet. And they will do what they can to take back their land from the world elites, who lead the Zionists and our government.

With 70 years of economic structures unravelling and oil running out, the game is over for the elite of this world. We can only hope for a peaceful outcome.

The question is whose side are you on? Zionists, United States, Elitists, Peaceniks, Muslims, or on the side of Jesus? Take your pick. The first three are fascist. The second two are misguided, and Jesus is the only true King this world has ever known.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

A Statement from the protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir square to the Egyptian people

The President’s promises and the bloody events of Wednesday February 2

We the protesters who are currently on sit-in at Tahrir (liberation) square in Cairo since January 25, 2011 strongly condemn the brutal attack carried out by the governing National Democratic Party’s (NDP) mercenaries at our location on Wednesday February 2, under the guise of “rally” in support of President Mubarak. This attack continues on Thursday February 3. We regret that some young people have joined these thugs and criminals, whom the NDP is accustomed to hire during elections, to march them off after spreading several falsehoods circulated by the regime media about us and our goals. These goals that aim at changing the political system to a one that guarantees freedom, dignity and social justice to all citizens are also the goals of the youth. Therefore we want to clarify the following.

Firstly, we are a group of young Muslim and Christian Egyptians; the overwhelming majority of us does not belong to political parties and have no previous political activism. Our movement involves elderly and children, peasants, workers, professionals, students and pensioners. Our movement cannot be classified as “paid for” or “directed by” a limited few because it attracted millions who responded to its emblem of removing the regime. People joined us last Tuesday in Cairo and other governorates in a scene that witnessed no one case of violence, property assault or harassment to anyone.

Secondly, our movement is accused of being funded from abroad, supported by the United States, as being instigated by Hamas, as under the leadership of the president of the National Assembly for change (Mohamed El-Baradie) and last but not least, as directed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many accusations like these prove to be false. Protesters are all Egyptians who have clear and specific national objectives. Protesters have no weapons or foreign equipment as claimed by instigators. The broad positive response by the people to our movement’s goals reveals that these are the goals of the Egyptian masses in general, not any internal or external faction or entity.

Thirdly, the regime and its paid media falsely blame us, young demonstrators, for the tension and instability in the streets of Egypt in recent days and therefore for damaging our nation’s interests and security. Our answer to them is: It is not the peaceful protesters who released the criminal offenders from prison to the unguarded streets to practice looting and plundering. It is not the peaceful protesters who have imposed a curfew starting at 3 o’clock PM. It is not the peaceful protesters who have stopped the work in banks, bakeries and gas stations. When protesters organized its one-million demonstration it came up in the most magnificent and organized form and ended peacefully. It is not the protestors who killed 300 people some with live ammunition, and wounding more than 2,000 people in the last few days.

Fourthly, President Mubarak came out on Tuesday to announce that he will not be nominated in the upcoming presidential election and that he will modify two articles in the Constitution, and engage in dialogue with the opposition. However the State media has attacked us when we refused his “concession” and decided to go on with our movement. Our demand that Mubark steps down immediately is not a personal matter, but we have clear reasons for it which include:

* His promise of not to run again is not new. He has promised when he came to power in 1981 that he will not run for more than two periods but he continued for more than 30 years.
* His speech did not put any collateral for not nominating his son “Gamal”, who remains until the moment a member of the ruling party, and can stand for election that will not be under judicial supervision since he ignored any referring to the amendment of article 88 of the Constitution.
* He also considered our movement a “plot directed by a force” that works against the interests of the nation as if responding to the demands of the public is a “shame” or “humiliation”.
* As regards to his promise of conducting a dialogue with the opposition, we know how many times over the past years the regime claimed this and ended up with enforcing the narrow interests of the Mubarak State and the few people who control it.

And the events of Wednesday proved our stand is vindicated. While the President was giving his promises, the leaders of his regime were organizing (along with paid thugs and wanted criminals equipped with swords, knives and Molotov bombs) a brutal attack plot against us in Tahrir square. Those thugs and criminals were accompanied by the NDP members who fired machine guns on unarmed protesters who were trapped on the square ground, killing at least 7 and wounding hundreds of us critically. This was done in order to end our peaceful national popular movement and preserve the status quo.

Our movement is Egyptian – Our movement is legitimate- Our movement is continuing

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Filed under children, Christianity, war

Joy Manifest – the dawn approaches

Posted by David

Part 5 – Love, relationships, and marriage

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Despite how peaceful the world may seem at times, there’s a constant battle cry, a somber, weak whimper hardly discernable behind the grind, the shrill whine, and the roar of human endeavor. The war began long ago and for each of us the battle lines are drawn straight across the entryways into our hearts.

Each of us is given only one weapon. It is used to raze life or raise the dead. Our double-edged sword can cut through lies or mince the truth. Our tongue is that weapon and must be kept clean or it will rust and decay. Our friends’ battles are waged in our hearts. For our true friends we die a little each day. What dies in us is powerlust in which we all are tangled—a bramble of thorns that binds our will.

“Love, please swipe my right arm free with your sword, then I can wield mine own. Thank you, Dear.”

“Love, now my left leg, I must be free to lift the sword. Thank you, Dear.”

“Love, now I can free your right leg. You are most certainly welcome.”

With prayer-sharpened sword in hand, we are cut free. We emerge from the briars and start to run upward toward a lovely meadow calling us with the sounds of chickadees, kinglets and the babble of a shining, cobbled stream. The garden is beauty unimagined. We stop and look back at the thorn patch. The bramble is full of others—in destitute horror.

We turn back for the others, sharpening our swords as we go. Darkness settles across the sky and into the pain we go finding love in every life we find. Our arms are scratched and ripped and bloody from the thorns. The brambles goes further than we thought imaginable. Up a hill we go, freeing others until at the top I stop abruptly.

Alone now, I find Him still wearing his crown. He speaks kindly and tells me to turn around. As I turn, I see all I have ever loved written indelibly across the landscape. Our friends are free. Even the sky looks friendly with the cool glow of the approaching dawn.

In the eastern horizon sunlight pops above the horizon. Light streams through the woods and shines on the sparkling dew. The blaze of a bright new morning unfolds unlike no other and shouts of Joy manifest. The battle is over. The brambles have sprouted roses. I kneel and bow and thank my King. He kneels down to me and calls me friend.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:12-13

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The Habit of Agape – transformation from dark to light

Posted by David
France, World War I, 1916, © Stapleton Historical Collection / Heritage Images / Imagestate

France, World War I, 1916, © Stapleton Historical Collection / Heritage Images / Imagestate

Part 4 – Love, relationships, and marriage

All relationships are a mixture of joy and pain, everyone can attest to that—some more painful and some more joyful than others. We must remember that God has placed us where we are and some of us exist in some mighty strange and difficult situations indeed.

I recall having a dream about someone close to me. He was across the room from me yelling in a slobbering fit of irate anger. Terrible words were spewing from his mouth. I was using a bed as a bunker, hiding from the onslaught with another person next to me. I knew the person next to me was a friend, someone who I was protecting. I looked over at him and realized it was him. It was the same irate man, but instead he was cowering from himself.

As painful as it is, sometimes this becomes our role in life with our friends and spouses. What is required of us becomes almost unbearable. We need rest and must take it. But sometimes sleepless, we are thrust into the battlefield as medics and priests, pulling a wounded body from the throes of war. At times we realize we are nursing our enemy. At all times, we must look past the beast and into the eyes of the child of God, however empty of that child he or she seems to be. For as we nurse the individual, not only are we nursing ourselves, but we are nursing our Lord and Savior Jesus on the cross.

And this is the habit of agape, something in which we all must gain practice. The more we encounter life, it seems, the more this becomes the norm.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

Matthew 35-34-40

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Why Marriage? – a mirror for repentance and joy

Posted by David
The Battle against the Mamelucks,  Francisco de Goya

The Battle against the Mamelucks, Francisco de Goya

Part 3 – Love, relationships, and marriage

As a single young man, on a number of occasions, older men warned me to never get married, and peer-aged women explained to me that marriage always ends up being a compromise, and I was told that I should certainly live with a woman before I got married to make sure they were the right one. Ahhh, modern wisdom, laced with truth mixed with poison. All this great advice brought great suffering to me and to others.

Those who provided me this sagely advice understood very little about why God brings people into the bondage of marriage and what deep purpose it fulfills. I no longer blame them for my troubles. I chose the easy route, the wide road on my own.

An act of faith and courage

As a Protestant, I am told that there are only two sacraments in our faith: baptism and the Lord’s supper. Other Christian traditions believe in additional sacraments. Roman Catholics, for example, believe marriage is one of five. In Christian theology sacraments are direct actions chosen by the will that prepare the way for Jesus’ permanent residence in our heart and our permanent dwelling in him.  I fall probably closer in line with the Eastern Orthodox teaching on sacraments, that many different acts of faith may be sacraments and lead us into relationship with Christ.  But sacraments aside and no matter what religion or non-religion you choose, marriage is unquestionably an act of blind faith.

For many, marriage has become a quid pro quo contract that bonds the two parties together. The contract becomes the ruling party and both individuals become slaves to the contract. Well before the marriage, the contract is written, misinformation is developed to disguise agendas, truth is hidden from the other’s view, and contradictory evidence is dismissed. This occurs mostly at the subconscious level, but sometimes it happens right out in the open. When it all seems good and fair enough, the contract is signed and sealed with an oath and a kiss on the wedding day.

For others, the couple floats atop the wave of romance and affection to the wedding altar. As naïve as it may sound, this is probably the best-case scenario. Under this condition only brief contracts are written, which still must also be worked out later.

This is how marriages begin.

Breach of contract

The contract is devised because both the man and woman want power and the comforts of the flesh. A small kingdom is desired by both. The woman wants to be queen and have her accoutrements. The man wants to be king and have the fulfillments of the flesh. Both parties expect to not get a raw deal.

However, it is the nature of contracts to be unfulfilled. This is why Jesus commands us to stay away from oaths, but instead to make our yes, yes and our no, no. All contracts promise something for the future—a time and place to which we are not privy. We cannot know what tomorrow brings, so we cannot be 100% certains of the promises we make. If we do not fulfill our promises, we become debt-slaves and enter a ‘prison’ until the debts are paid.

So, as time progresses, various aspects of the contract become irresolvable and the battle wages. This might happen as soon as the wedding night or before! As debt-slaves, each seek revenge and restitution. But both parties are to blame. This battle extends into our communities and is waged on many fronts and may very well be the only battle that has ever existed on the planet. Every war, every battle that has ever occurred between men may be an outward manifestation of the battle between man and woman. But I may be taking things a bit too far!

As dire as this may sound, God does give us marriage for our joy and so there is a silver-lining for those who choose it.

Freedom to love

Can agape love happen within the confines of a contract-based marriage? Yes, at times when the contract is out of sight. But we must be free of contractual debt in order to provide that agape love regularly. The solution to releasing the chains of the contractual agreement, however logical and simple it may seem, is not by canceling the contract or breaking the chains. Oaths spoken from the will cannot be so easily dismissed, especially ones spoken with God as the mediator. These are chains that are unbreakable, no matter how far one may run.

God provides the bondage of marriage for our salvation. In marriage, God forces us to see our sin in our relationship to another. We may learn to blame the other or we may blame ourselves. When we learn that it is 100% my fault, it is due my sin, and I am to blame, then we begin to walk the free road and agape love begins to sprout in our marriages. In God’s grace, repentance always precedes the path of freedom from sin. God does not barter with us. It’s only through grace that we can find love and that goes for our marriage and all relationships for that matter.

There are cases when individuals engage in a wallowing of self-pity, but this is not true repentance. This is a form of self-indulgence, a destructive form of self-love.

Most only see the sin of the other. We are usually blind to our sin, because our pride will not allow it. Pride, like any other beast, will seek food and prevent death to itself. But our selfish pride must die for love to succeed. God gives us our spouse as a mirror. Holy matrimony binds us in front of a mirror, so we can get a good, long look at ourselves.

When we finally see and repent, then the true joy of marriage begins, however painful that road has become at that time. For some, marriage may be a melancholy joy that comes with suffering deeply among the wretched for God’s purpose. Under the best circumstances, both parties learn the lesson and repent. When this happens, they both become free to love the other in the most perfect way: fellowship, friendship, agape love.

My only recommendation for those who plan on getting married is that they abstain from writing the contract as much as is humanly possible; that they marry in pure faith under the witness of God. The longer the courtship, the more of the contract is written. The deeper they enter into fleshly contact, the more of the contract is written. In fleshly contact, the contract is written at a deeply subconscious level. This is why sex produces the fruit of agape love only within the bounds of marriage, otherwise powerlust is its fruit and indebtedness builds and controls both parties.

I have discovered that my spouse is a God-given sibling in Christ. I have discovered a true friend. Little else is of value if you make it to your deathbed on the cusp of heaven with a best friend at your side.

 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Matthew 5:33-37

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