Thinking Beyond the Moment

(or seeing the full panorama)

revelation

But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

Daniel 12:4

I’m sure not an intellectual. I know some, and I aint like that at all. No sir… Not even close. I just have sixty-eight years of info-marbles rolling around in my head that are still active. With all that acquisition in there, I’m quieted that I can trust my thought processes for now. At least until senility seeps into my gray matter, or memories become long forgotten in layers of trivia-dust.

I’m also aware of the deeper meaning behind the great chain of human events throughout history. I’m reasonably confident that I see and understand more than ninety percent of liberal, worldly journalists who believe they have all the data we’ll ever need but has to be updated hourly. Their function is to focus on each brief period that any one event unfolds in, then quickly move on to the next one. Or update that last one. They have neither time nor the desire for circumspection or to step back and observe the grand mosaic being pieced together right in front of them. They’re too nearsighted to see it, and frankly, they don’t have the perception to do so if they tried.

It can be difficult, but I try my best not to padlock initial observations or foregone conclusions of history-making events that make their way into tomorrow’s encyclopedias without consulting my loyal comrades, ‘The Guiding Triad’ who are always close by thank goodness. And their names in order of rank are,

  1. ‘Biblical Knowledge’ inspired by God and written by His prophets and disciples,
  2. ‘Lessons of History’ and
  3. ‘Verifiable Science.’

Leaning on these three heroes of civilization rather than my understanding unveils an enlightening panorama before me that says man’s darker machinations on this Earth have an unfortunately high probability of happening despite teaching and warnings—and then repeating over and over with bits of quieter time bridging the events. By our nature, we seem to be unable to avert them successfully. Postponed sometimes, but inevitable because most aberrant social behaviors are burned into us like the bios chip on your computer’s motherboard. And it traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden. And if someone tells you that’s not true, they’re probably one of those journalists I spoke of earlier. Or a relative.

The dark and horrific human events we continue witnessing during our brief time on this planet seldom catch me entirely unsuspecting. Nor do they induce my mind to a state of irrecoverable pandemonium when they occur. My confidence is wholly due to ‘The Guiding Triad.’ They have taught me over decades to take on a more reflective mindset and view world events not as singular instances but as the waters of a flowing river, winding its way toward the end of a long journey.

Assuredly, I lower my head in sorrow and prayer when evils like 911 happen, but I’m able to rally and tell myself not fall to pieces over them because the greatest of ‘The Guiding Triad’ says, “Trust me and stay the course to the end. Then I will call you my child.” While the lesser two say, “Remember, we’ve seen this before and there’s more on the way before it’s over. So dig in and keep your chin up.” Thus, I’m able to make it through man’s continuous despicable doings by trusting these wise counselors.

Jesus explained there would eventually be an end to mans’ destructiveness, but He reminded His disciples that only the Father in Heaven knows when that will be. If Jesus didn’t know, then anyone claiming to know specific events because they did some convoluted math with the calendar and a few misinterpreted verses is either:

  1. Trying to sell a book.
  2. Are two bricks short of a load.
  3. They’re deviously forming a cult and will be seeking emotional believers just anytime now.

Doubtless, they’ll be in a bit of a hurry since their span of opportunity to leave a twisted legacy is so brief. And even more so if they’re planning on drinking the Kool-Aid at the height of their following. The point of this paragraph is, though we can not know specifics, we can still open those eyes and arrive at a rough approximation of our position on the timeline by:

  1. A logistic comparison of past to present.
  2. How much we’ve advanced scientifically and technologically.
  3. The exponentially growing lethal capacity we’ve acquired as compared to rock-throwing eons past, and
  4. The continuing loss of knowledge while mans’ hatred increases.

And because we only need to push some buttons for a few minutes to burn and kill all life on the planet, I’d say we’re pretty far along the timeline. Well, maybe in the future, we could get that annihilation time down to just one minute after the buttons are depressed. Gotta love progress.

Each generation is a tiny blip on humanity’s timeline, but we can simultaneously see the past and present. Obtaining the ability to do so allows one to see the River of Life’s rapids ahead, and we know how severe the drop will be by the loudness of its roar. I’ve rafted down actual rapids in my youth, and that’s precisely how it is. The louder the roar, the more treacherous the rapids. The more destructive humanity becomes, the greater the calamity, and the more dangerously close we are to our demise.

The key to understanding the thousands of years of human events still in progress is knowing it’s the Creator’s perfect multi-purpose mechanism to, among several other things:

  1. Allow us to learn from past mistakes.
  2. Discover how it feels to endure loss.
  3. Experience the bad with the good.
  4. Pass on God’s word to future generations
  5. And essential to God… because unfortunately, great lengths of time are required to populate heaven when there’s only a mere 6-8 percent of people from each generation who actively search for and find Him.

That’s not many of us for every eighty years. And I have a feeling the dimension of heaven is a real expansive area to have to populate. The point is we are the family God was looking for when He created the universe, and to us all this history feels like a slow moving train.

God is outside the universe that came into being with His words, “Let there be light.” Omnipresence enables Him to see the distant end of our ‘do-it-myself’ story, which Jesus hints to as not rosy. And God sees that finale as quick as the lapse between flipping the switch and seeing the light come on. It’s instantaneous because He views it from a timeless standpoint, not as a physical entity imprisoned inside His own cosmos of moving photons of light, to be measured by the ticking clock.

A side-note on the subject of time:

He created it by having the universe continually expand and giving those little white photons crisscrossing through it a traveling speed of 186,000 miles per second. We call that time over here in cow country. It took thousands of years for us to figure that one out. In the meantime, everyone stood around outside, watching boring shadows move across metal discs while waiting for Einstein to finally show up.

God intentionally had the corridors of time prerecorded in an understandable form, written by Christ’s disciples and the prophets hundreds of years before Him, so we can read them today, being prudent not to distort their teachings by taking them out of text. And when we gain the knowledge contained in its pages, we often come to an understanding of what is happening around us as pertains to the long haul of life on this temporal spinning blue satellite. That’s not being a prophet. It’s being wiser and more understanding of our purpose and destiny. We still don’t know the times and dates of anything, and it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s enough to know it will happen.

There is nothing mystical about seeing the unfolding of human events as the assembling of a divine, lengthy, and super-sophisticated plan while you’re here in a physical body. Don’t bother with reading books by people claiming to be today’s prophets. It’s doubtful that there are any prophets around as their work is finished, and these authors are usually eccentric literates twisting individual events into ominous interpretations. There are no precise interpretations for any one occasion, and you can see the lunacy of these writers just by reading the summary on the back jacket cover. I’ve read a few back flaps, and they’re always far fetched and never come close to being accurate in their predictions. If you want the genuine article, which is recommended but not required reading, I suggest you get it from all three of the authoritative Guiding Triad guys.

I don’t give credence to the forecasts of the future from televangelism either. Some of them are the very ones writing those books I just mentioned, and I can tell you they’re completely unnecessary for your salvation. And in the end, most give Christianity a black eye. They primarily attract the elderly, which is fine in itself until they clean out their bank accounts, but they also gather in the ‘sheeple’ who blindly follow their shepherd in huge flocks, backing these men or women no matter the facts, even when they’re blatantly wrong. So if you think you are a sheeple, then by all means, turn the TV on and lose the remote between the couch cushions.

You can discern how the events of yesterday, today, and tomorrow are falling into place for yourself, and be confident and calm while you’re doing it. The most important part of the effort to reach an understanding and insight into the grand path we are on is Bible lessons. Read the books of Daniel’, Ezekiel, and ‘St John’s Revelation,’ and if you actually end up doing that, why don’t you go ahead and read the rest of the book instead of raiding the refrigerator all night. Tell yourself you’re doing it just to be sure you got all the facts straight. It’ll be good for you and put hair on your chest. And a lot of women these days would kill to have some of that. Seriously.

The other two categories of lessons are the history and science ones. According to one’s mental acuity, these are more scholarly and can be challenging to grasp and understand. Mine aren’t so great, but I get the basics. History and science jump all through time and space, so persevere through it for the rewards they deliver. There’s no rush. After all, you have the rest of your life to figure it out. Or at least until they ship you off to the nursing home. You might try skimming over some of the volumes of “World History” by Howard Spodek or the easier ‘Guns Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond. If you don’t take a shine to either of these, find an old world history school book from way back in the 60s before history got canceled by the left. Finally, you can at least find some authoritative history lessons from the Old Testaments of the Bible. The New King James version is a bit easier as it replaces all the ‘thees and thous’ with ‘you,’ but doesn’t alter much else.

The ‘science lessons I’ve learned are all free to borrow as ‘young adult’ science books available at your local library. There’s also layman science publications like Discover, Smithsonian Magazine, and Popular Science. If you’re more of a couch potato, try watching science-based shows like the PBS Nova series. Finally, there are organizations like ‘Reasons to Believe’ whose impressive materials bring science and faith together.

A word of caution:

Once you’ve studied hard and mastered the teachings of The Guiding Triad, including Bible, history, and basic science knowledge, your thoughts, eyes, and ears will become blindingly enlightened, and you’ll see the complete mosaic of the collective doings of man as a continuum with a beginning and end. And it’s not that great of a painting. I’ve seen better, scotch-taped to the grade school walls and refrigerators. Don’t panic, though, when you view it. Just lean back and have a cigar, or maybe you’d prefer some Rocky Road ice cream because there’s not a bloody thing you can do to stop the wheel from turning. You can pray for the situations passing by, but that’s it. Some folks like to label those dark instances as, “Well, it’s in God’s hands now!” That’s fair enough. Whatever floats your boat, I always say.

Here’s some humor to end with:

“As for nit-picking laws dictated to this generation, that are siphoning away freedom by telling us what to put on our bodies, or what not to put in our mouths, or how we have to show our ID, sign three forms and give a urine sample to buy a can of air at Walmart…

Well, I have a habit of disobeying those nit-pickers for the sole reason that it lets me take a swing (and a miss) at Big Brother and his system we’re being oppressed by with the least chance of suffering the fine of the infraction. And that makes me a happy camper for the rest of the day. On the rare occasion when I get caught, it further allows me to be a vocal dissident for a few hours. What? Did you think I always go by the book because you gathered as much from this message about seeing the big picture? Brother, are you ever naive. It looks to me like you need to get started with those Guiding Triad classes real soon.

dougsign

Clive Staples Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven high fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954, illustrated by Pauline Baynes and originally published in London between October 1950 and March 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.

Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew, to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.

Inspiration for the series is taken from multiple sources; in addition to numerous traditional Christian themes, characters and ideas are freely borrowed from Greek, Turkish and Roman mythology, as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales. The books have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature written since World War II. Lewis’ exploration of themes not usually present in children’s literature, such as religion as well as the book’s perceived treatment of issues including race and gender, has caused some controversy.

YOU Are Important

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Whether you believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit are who they claim to be does not change the fact that they are, indeed, who they claim to be. One part of this precept supports the notion that the Bible is literally the inspired word of God. Additional support for this hypothesis is provided in II Timothy 3:16 and provides concrete evidence of this hypothesis. Timothy states that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” This point is foundational to the Christian belief system and to our healthy development as human beings.

Let me explain.

The Biblical character, King David, notes in Psalms 139 that our God, the everlasting presence, knows everything there is to know about us. There is no place where we can hide from God, and no thought that we can prevent Him from knowing. Actually, King David suggests that God already knows our thoughts, needs and desires. How does this relate to YOU and your importance?

Knowing that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and King David is right in his Psalms 139:14 narrative when he states that “for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”, then, before the beginning of time, God has known you. I suggest, no: I know, that YOU are so important that Christ designed your specific DNA before the Father actually spoke the creation narration. The artist Lindsey-Anderson depicts this concept in the painting on this page.

Please do not believe the doubts you sometimes have about your self, or what others may say or think about you. YOU are important! God said it, I believe it, that settles it! I love you.

jesushands

Comments Welcomed on:

  1. Who is the artist in the picture, and how do you know?
  2. What are your observations of the pencil?
  3. What is the artist drawing?

Ref:

The Holy Bible. The Open Bible. King James Version. (1975). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The View from God’s Eyes

This universe is but a crystal sphere in His hand

Imagine you are in the realm of the Creator right now. Wait… Let’s go all the way with it and take the ultimate leap. Imagine for a moment, you are the Creator… right now… in that place… whatever or wherever that place is. You are neither a man or woman. You are an infinitely all knowing mind, in the form of a hovering, enormous, radiating and blinding white light that casts no shadow.

From your point of view, this entire universe is suspended in front of you… no bigger than a baseball. From this perspective you can’t even see our entire ‘Milky Way galaxy… let alone our tiny sun inside it with its even tinier eight orbiting planets. You are timeless and outside of time, because time is simply the physical movement of interacting light within that sphere in front of you. You’ve existed for as long as you can recall, which seems to be forever, and may very well be. The history of events on this minuscule satellite, and all of humanity’s actions, have already been zoomed in and scoured over by you from beginning to end, so many times, it is like an old dog-eared book. The entire span of earth’s life is infinitesimal, in comparison to the grand timeline’s panorama of creation.

From this vantage point… and with you being the creator of all things… this entire physical universe could just be one of many spheres that you have designed and made during your entire existence right now. All of them dangling about like fine crystals on gold strings, along a grand hallway, with more of them still on your drawing board. You made all of them because you love creating and you want the sentient souls of your living planets within them to seek you out and become your eternal children who will love you and become family where you are now. It’s what you do, so why would you ever consider ceasing from it and just placing your hands in your lap for the rest of forever? You wouldn’t. You move on to the next beautiful concept and creation that pleases you.

You are all knowledge. You are all math. You are everywhere at once… because everywhere was conceived by your infinite mind.

Now that just leaves two questions…

1. What are you going to do with all these empty universes once all the intelligent life within them is eventually with you, and you’re done with them? You know all these souls could start bunching up around you like a starship full of multiplying tribbles if you don’t stop. And—

2. What’s on your drawing board for the next project? It’ll be interesting to find out.

Reflections on Jesus’ Parables from the Shack

I remember a certain day several years back when I worked at Emmanuel College, I found myself in the midst of an excellent discussion that afternoon with several exceptionally bright-minded tenderhearted Christian ministry students who were standing just outside my office, waiting for their rides. We were discussing the book The Shack, and it quickly lead us to a review of our perspectives on several New Testament parables. Here is one of those views that stood out for me.

Luke 15: 11-32, the story of the prodigal son.

  • In light of the story of ‘Papa’ (The Shack), what is this parable really about?
  • Is the parable about a wasteful son?
  • Is the parable about sinful living?
  • Is the parable about too lavish of gift (inheritances) to our families?
  • Is the parable about the different living standards between those that have and those who have not?

Could it be that in this parable, Jesus is teaching us about the very nature of Papa?

Remember what the Father of the prodigal son does?

I propose that the Father went daily to the property fence-line that gave him the best view to watch for his son coming down the long lane to the house, or, gave Father the best view of the driveway.

My point: Daily the Father went to watch for his son to come home. Father was proactively seeking his lost son.

Our Papa (God) not only goes to the fence-line, He sent His begotten Son, our Brother, Jesus, to come to where we are to make sure that we see the path that leads to home.

Now back to the Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:20 (KJV-Open Bible Edition) clearly presents five specific points, or traits of the Father.

First, when he was a great way off, his father saw him. The point being, Papa is always watching-waiting-yearning for us to come home.

Second, “…and had compassion…”. Sympathy, empathy, concern, kindness, consideration, and care are valid synonyms for the phrase compassion. Point: when we are not in intimacy with Papa, His heart is breaking.

Point: Papa is always fully in love with us and has nothing but heart-felt desire to nurture and provide for us. His love (compassion) is what is causing Papa to come daily to the fence-line to watch for us.

Third, “…and ran…”. A true verb. Papa not only watches for us to return, he runs toward us, with intent to close the gap that separates us.

Fourth, “…fell on his neck”. The Father is embracing the Son, pulling Him to-ward His heart, toward His breast. The closet of embraces. Not just a guy-like hug. A real picture of embracing. Like bringing someone into your private – personal space. The Father goes into the sons personal zone.

Fifth, “…and kissed him…”. The absolute sign of embrace and acceptance. Paul tells us to greet each other with a Holy kiss. Here we see the Father kissing His Son. What a sign of intimacy.

Point: The Father did not tell the son to bathe, to wash his face, or even to change his clothes. No. He just ‘loved-on’ His son as the son was in his condition.

So, now we have a picture of the relationship that Papa (Father) has with Son (Jesus). We also have a picture of the relationship, and the intimacy that Papa wants to have with us.

So I propose to each of us, that;

  • Papa is standing at the fence-line waiting for us to make a move toward Him.
  • Papa already sent our Brother, Jesus, to show us the path toward home.
  • Papa already sees us. He is already watching and waiting.
  • Papa is already displaying His compassion to-ward us, and, yet, has so much more compassion to give to us.
  • Papa is waiting to run to-ward us. He will close the gap. All we need to do is turn to-ward home!
  • Papa is waiting to “fall on our neck”. He is ready, willing, and fully able to embrace us into His absolute love.

Papa will not only kiss us, but will lavish His untold goodness and limitless bounty upon us. So much more than the Father to the prodigal son will Papa to each of us. The feast of the bride and bridegroom, so much more the ‘fatted calf’, the ‘best robe’, so much more than the ‘ring’ and ‘shoes’.

As Bill Gaither penned in one of his many songs, “Won’t you come home! Welcome back home!”

In Jesus’ name, I Remain His Servant.

God Whistles While He Works

God Whistles While He Works
maybe… probably… more than likely…

musicinstruments

First, let me begin this purely imagined theory by pointing out that the Bible clearly reveals that God especially enjoys music, and this is fundamental to the crux of my missive here. In fact, theoretically, even melancholy music from one of His children with a worried mind would hold interest for God, as the woeful sounds of the voice and instruments give amplification to one’s suffering in a melodic form. By singing from the heart, he or she is voicing that they’re in a troubling situation, perhaps beyond their ability to conquer alone.

While many songs are certainly joyful and pleasing to God, it’s also likely that the songs of despair touch Him as well and are apt to move Him to compassion. They tell Him that the situation is desperate enough to put to music and sing with fervor as intensely as any prayer. Indeed, music can occasionally be prayer.

Any type of music sent up sincerely and purposely to God must surely be heard, for this is the most expressive type of language we have. Often referred to as ‘The Universal Language, it was, like everything else, conceived by God, and being the author of such an expressive form of communication is what lead me to a theory regarding what may well be a personal attribute of God that can be shared with us.

 

I am reasonably certain at this point in my life, that God surely does not create solely in a state of never-ending silence. We know He has a voice because we hear Him speaking throughout the Old Testament, and often with a lot of authority. Here then, I present to you, the thoughts from my own speculative mind about a divine Creator who may sometimes gets a little melodic while He’s working.

I started out one morning, thinking about God’s creative propensities, His surroundings, and what He might have been doing, even before He had created the angels. I’m not sure why my mind went off on that tangent just then, but I do know it happens all the time with me, because I’ve never lost my childhood inquisitiveness that most adults do, nor have I any intention of losing it. By the way… just so you know… you’re more apt to be called a dreamer if they notice you voicing that inquisitiveness too often, rather than a visionary.

Anyway, there I was, sitting out on the porch at sunrise, gazing out across the treetops while rocking back and forth. My fingers were tapping out a rhythm on the arm of the rocker, and I began diving deep in thought. “Hmm… just what might God have actually been doing some of the time before he created the angels?” I knew He was called the Alpha and always was, but angels didn’t always exist because they were first conceived in His mind. So surely there had to have been an unknown interval before angels when God was doing other things.”

Right about then, my brain took a hard left and I said to myself, “Hold on a second, what He was doing isn’t quite what my mind is seeking here.” A list of the things He might have done or is doing is all a very intriguing subject, but really, isn’t it pretty much a given that He was forever doing an endless number of things involving things like conception, creation, or interaction with His Triune Self, but since there are no written records of what those things might have been, it’s a bit of a moot point to me. What I really want to know is some aspect of just how a perfect mind might focus and go about the task at hand. Rather like discovering what a person’s common propensities are by watching their daily routine several times from morning ’til night, and that just might be something that can very well be gleaned from the Old Testament.

Granted, my rocking chair musing was little more than a Holmesian deduction based on insufficient Biblical knowledge and a lot of the usual conjecturing, rendering it far out in left field to a lot of folks, but that’s how I relax, entertain myself, and distance my mind from depressing things… like living in this one room at the moment. Other people mow their lawns to do that, but not me. I have to be comfortably loafing. Besides, I don’t have a lawn, and to my way of thinking, pondering is no less constructive than making up jokes and one-liners for a book to be published. Well, except for the royalties the book can return if anybody buys the thing.

So I began thinking all over from scratch again, but this time with the specific angle of envisioning God out in the field, commencing His next seven-day creation project. How is He carrying Himself about? Is He moving about in that same cloud that hovered over the tabernacle tent for forty years in the wilderness? How does He start His morning, as it were? Does He tend to recline, stand, or both when He works, or does He continuously hover about?

Then a really intriguing thought suddenly entered my mind. Does God talk to Himself or make some kind of vocalization when He has an epiphany or asks Himself whether there’s a better way of doing the thing He’s creating? That was it! That’s the question! Does He talk, shout, laugh, and even sing? If so, then I’ve finally stumbled onto a unique aspect of God I can relate to on a human level.

I talk things out and sing to myself all the time when I’m alone. So if I’m made in God’s image, why wouldn’t He talk and sing to Himself as well? I find that talking to another me, gets the kinks out of the project quicker and with greater clarity. Talking to one’s self is a useful thing. Of course, having a mental condition that causes strange verbalizing is not. Still, people who make fun of you for talking to yourself need to learn the difference and try it themselves.

Now the obvious began entering my mind, and the rest of the lights came on. “Hold the phone. God made the decision to populate heaven with angels for some intelligent company and to be recognized as being their Creator.” He thought out their makeup and endowed them with the specific talents and skills of His choosing. And what do we know from the Bible, to be one of the most exceptional talents that angels possess, that would have made Him want to create them precisely the way He did? They sing! They started singing from the time they were created, and they haven’t stopped since. Their singing is said to be the most beautiful sound in existence. It’s the Heavenly Choir.

Within an hour after stepping out onto the porch that morning, my rocking chair crossed the finish line. The Creator of music must surely be making melodic sounds, either in thought or vocalized with that very same voice that spoke to Moses on the mountain. And if God is singing, then it follows that like us, when we’re busiest, we often drop back from singing the lyrics to much less distracting humming or whistling.

And there it was. A uniquely physical attribute that God undoubtedly has, that I as a music lover, could relate to and have a constant encouraging affinity with right here on this temporal plane. Whether it’s a fact or not can’t be proven while I’m still breathing the air of course, but it falls into the realm of logical probability, and I can take that rocking chair deduction and hold on to it as a comforting thought for myself for the rest of my days. Like watching a memorable sunset by the ocean. Admittedly there is no practical use for speculative thinking as this. Still, imagination has always been useful to me as it gives me nearly as much pleasure in this life as music and puppies.

Sometimes I remind myself that God loves music enough to hum or whistle, by telling folks, “Hey, I know something about God I bet you don’t.” When they ask, “Oh yeh, what would that be?” I reply, “He whistles while He works.” Then I get that look like I’m one brick short of a load and laughed at, but that’s alright because I’m pretty sure God laughs at us as well…

Praying for a Pet

johnsheop2

The answer to the Great Physician healing a suffering domestic animal is a two part prescription, with one part being 500mg reasoning, and the other part 500mg questioning. Read and follow the directions on this label carefully, and do not operate heavy machinery while praying.

There is occasionally, some degree of bond between humans and the creatures of the wild, but mostly, wild animals are instinctively wary of humans, which, from the destructive track record of man, is undoubtedly a good thing. In nature, God allows the animal kingdom to play out in an exquisite, finely tuned way which we neither directly see with our eyes, nor in the instances of natural disasters, can accurately calculate the true collateral damage to, due to the complex food chain, and several other interdependent factors.

However, in the case of nephesh (soul-like) domesticated animals in constant contact with humans, the bond between the animal and the human becomes psychologically entwined, often seeming symbiotic in nature. At this level, it becomes a one on one relationship between man and animal, and the humans soul or id has now become totally emphatic to, deeply aware of, and forever attached to the animal, which, because the pet is indeed nephesh, is nearly always reciprocated back to the human just as intensely, if not more so.

From this observation, it logically follows that if God sees your anguish and tears over that loved, suffering animal, then He is also going to sense what you sense. You have now caused God to feel the hurt you are holding inside. How can I know God shares my feelings of anguish for my sick or dying pet? Because it is written, the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son. This is how Jesus can truly say, “I am with you always”, and also, “I will never leave you or forsake you”. Wether you want Him with you is your decision of course.

So now that we know the Creator is well aware of the pet’s pain through you, we move on to the second part of the prescription which is the questioning part. Close your eyes and ask yourself this, “Am I going to pray for the sparing of pain and suffering of my pet, or a friend’s pet, as well as the likely to be saddened friend, the same as I do in any other grievous situations… or is that just too ridiculous and absurd?”

Maybe right now you are riding the fence on this topic, but common sense is telling me that God is waiting for your prayer request the same as He is for anything else that falls under the category of suffering and pain. And just like any prayer, you might not get the answer you were hoping for, but the point is that you sincerely prayed. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that if you do not pray for that sick or dying domesticated and dependent nephesh animal, you are being a rather callous individual.

What has happened here, is that this particular animal is now perceived by God as being empathically joined to one of his children (rather faintly analogous to marriage)… so the prayer is going to be answered exactly in the same way as praying for anyone’s other physical or mental ailments.

That means He will comfort you as much as you permit Him, no matter the outcome. It is not silly or frivolous to pray for the animal, because He is quite capable of healing it, and even extending its life a little longer, especially if you already have more burdens at the moment, than you can handle. Praying to get rich? Now that is silly.


The exceptional aspect of the relationship between a child of God, and their pet:

Heaven is not a realm comprised of physics or its governing laws. Heaven is both the ‘First’ Realm, and it is a realm of consciousness, perception, familiarity and eternal existence.

Therefore, it simply stands to reason that once you remember your pet in heaven, and find yourself longing for it, you can merely think your animal back, and there it will be, sitting at your feet.

To help solidify what I am saying here, I will quote the greatest twentieth century orator of God, Billy Graham, on precisely this subject of the lost loved pet.

“I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness in heaven. If it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” ~Billy Graham

Becoming Angry with God

Job pleads his case to God

“God’s Wrath” is referred to ninety-five times in the Bible.

One time he even said, “…“I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created… and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground… for I regret that I have made them.” ~Genesis 6:7

Obviously He didn’t finish the job, because we’re still here… and so are all the other creatures He said, He would wipe from the face of the earth.

Anger is an ‘Emotion’ like all the rest of emotions. We are the ‘Image of God’, so there ya go. He spills out His wrath… we spill out our wrath.

Get angry at God. Job did. You’ll need this ‘KEY’ to that anger ‘tho, before ya start giving Him ‘Down the Road’.

What we end up with, are two paradoxes:

1. Job initially did not sin by charging God with wrong doing – but then spends 30-odd chapters seemingly doing just that.

2. God declares Job and his words righteous… and although Job is not rebuked for his anger, he still feels sorrow, and repents… even though he doesn’t need to.

Although Job got angry, and said that God wasn’t being fair… God still proclaims Job as righteous and to have spoken rightly. Why? Because he met with God.

This is why Job is praiseworthy. In the end, the desire to be vindicated was not as strong as his desire to meet with God. Once he had had an encounter with God, his anger disappeared. It was enough to know God… and to have been heard by Him.

There’s an anger that leads to a renewed relationship… and there is an anger that distances us from God.

The kind of red hot, passionate, dialoguing anger of Job’s is not sinful, but an essential part of the process and conversation with God when we are faced with things that we don’t understand. Don’t worry about the red hot anger… Worry when it solidifies into a cold resentment… a bitter silence that pushes us further from God.

I don’t see Job accusing God of wrongdoing. Rather, Job’s complaint is that God is not bringing justice to his situation, which is slightly different. Job is angry at the injustice and is righteously wrestling with God… all the while keeping his faith, that one day God Will vindicate him… to set things right.

We should be angry about injustice… and bring that anger to God, constantly calling him to set things right, to uphold his name and justice, to restore his world, and to vindicate his people, holding tight and refusing to let go. It seems to me… Job’s a perfect example of how to go about it.

During my own crisis of past years, my cousin reminded me that it was okay to go to God with all my broken pieces, and cry out to Him… To even beat upon His chest in my hurt, because He’s big enough to take it, and that at least there… as I beat upon His chest, I would be in the circle of His arms so that He could comfort me in my loss.”

And that’s communication too!

Diversity in American Politics “Why is ethnicity or gender still an issue?”

Over the past couple of years I have determined two specific points. First, PEOPLE are dynamic. By design or accident we share the same DNA allele structure. We, a single ‘race’ of bipedal silicon bags of mostly water humanoids, have experienced both biological-genetic and psycho-social cultural drifts but we are still the same. These drifts bring behavior decisions that Kottak (2003, p. 13) called ‘Universals’; decisions based on human experience influences. Second, each of us IS IMPORTANT! Life really should be ‘A PEOPLE THING!’

This two-part perspective leads me to think that, boiled down to a single point, there are ‘no’ naturally occurring barriers to diversity. All roadblocks to diversity are PEOPLE-decision caused. There are many ‘detours’ that may be blamed (geography, cultural, etc), yet each detour is inter-related to PEOPLE decisions. I would speculate that these roadblocks or detours are covered by a single umbrella. Barriers are ‘learned’ behaviors. Within this thought I see three key societal influences that impact PEOPLE-decisions toward diversity.

First, some people are reared in an environment where diversity is frowned upon and sometimes downright despised. This is a society where the people do not know any different. In these cultures the normative of no-diversity is valid, not abnormal psychology. Some cultures actually euthanize disfigured babies, ‘wrong’ gender babies, and the old-folks who have become burdensome. For many years people groups of SE & SW Asia would euthanize babies of mixed tribe or cultural heritage. My interest and activities in multiple mission trips opened my eyes to these realities. This society breeds the leader who will either never accept diversity in the workplace, or may accept it under protest and then start the undertow of contention.

Second, some people are reared in an environment that realizes people are different but teaches that different peoples are ‘inferior’ or „superior‟. Similar to the warped thinking many Caucasian people felt, and maybe still feel, about people of color. This is not a Caucasian vs. non-Caucasian issue; evidence the Black-on-Black or Latino-on-Latino gang murders. This trait was evidenced by the mistreatment by U.S. citizens against U.S. citizens of Asian descent during WW II. This trait carries into cultic groups; north vs. south, Yankee vs. Rebel, inner-city vs. rural, inner-city gang vs. gang, political liberal vs. conservative. This trait lends to the ‘glass-ceiling’ within the corporate structures. This trait is akin to the first point, but the people of this behavior trait know better. This society breeds the leader who will accept and tolerate enforced diversity but will not really embrace the concept. This society breeds the leader who will accept and tolerate enforced diversity but will not really embrace the concept.

Third, some people are reared in an environment that realizes people are different but they do not know how to go about dealing with issues. Sometimes this is fear-based, sometimes based on lack of experience or knowledge.

Sometimes it takes codified action by law makers and the Courts to force the issue. These people want to do the right thing but don’t know what that is.

For example, many of the ‘Church'(cooperatively speaking) peoples of the world still do not know how to properly deal with people who make personal life decisions about personal behaviors. I offer how we see many ‘Church’ people pushing away the gay/lesbian/homosexual peoples and the ‘Church’ responses to single parents, divorced or separated by other cause, the non-traditional trend following teens, the pregnant unwed girl, and others. (CCCU Advance; IPHC Experience)

Having slapped this group, this society breeds the leaders who will embrace diversity proactively and encourage others to do the same once they understand the multiple positive elements diversity brings and the steps to follow.

All three of these influences fall under the single umbrella I see as the individual’s (the leader’s) religious perspectives. There is a pattern of thought within the religious and secular communities that understands, “We are not human beings living a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings living a human experience”. (cited by Mancini, 2004). This is NOT a Bible-thumping thought. The learned behavior is based on Spiritual teachings and subsequent personal interpretation of those teachings. Being a-religious is actually a religious perspective and therefore directly influences personal decision making.

It is the Spiritual aspects of our beings that make us ‘who’ we are. These aspects drive our personal and professional behavior patterns at work, play, school, where-ever. Who we are behind closed doors will eventually display who we are in public arenas. I am emphasizing the PEOPLE aspect of each of us.

Maslow followed this logic in development of the hierarchy of needs. The highest of the Maslow needs are people-behavior based.

Pavlov determined that the theory of conditioned response could be broken by decision making that followed reasonable logic. Behaviorists like Skinner and Erikson (Vander Zanden, 2000) made allowances for the Spiritual impact toward human behavior and development. Erikson even modified his human development schemes to allow for changing Spiritual development within PEOPLE. I guess Erikson understood that PEOPLE are dynamic.

I would never argue that we should all believe the same religious principles. However, all of the U.N. recognized and accepted religions have value of life and value of life and equality in treatment of people threads.

These threads, value of life and equality of treatment, cross all religious boundaries and are part of what make us ‘who’ we are. This is foundational to achieving true diversity, the proverbial melting-pot. The value of life and equality of treatment, cross all religious boundaries and are part of what make us ‘who’ we are. This is foundational to achieving true diversity, the proverbial melting-pot.

In summary, there are no naturally occurring barriers to diversity. All barriers or detours toward diversity are PEOPLE-decision based. Societal and Spiritual influences are foundational to decision making and lend to producing three types of leaders: 1) the leader who will either never accept diversity in the workplace, or accept it under protest and then start the undertow of contention; 2) the leader who will accept and tolerate enforced diversity but not really embrace the concept; 3) the leader who, once they understand the multiple positive elements true diversity brings, will embrace proactively and encourage others to do the same. The roadblocks or detours preventing diversity are PEOPLE-decisions based.

In closing, I recall that PEOPLE are dynamic. Meaning: Learned behavior can be unlearned and replaced by new learned behavior.

If we are going to continue to thrive as a Nation then we must get past any discussion of the ethnicity or gender of our political candidates?

Good, reliable, ethical leadership is not an ethnic or gender issue!

Thanks for listening.

Ref:

CCCU Advance. (Fall, 2004). Beyond Color. Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Washington, DC.

IPHC Experience. (April, 2005) (Multiple Issues). LifeSprings Resources. Franklin Springs, GA.

Kottak, C.P. and Kozaitis, K.A. (2003). On Being Different: Diversity and Multiculturalism in the North American Mainstream. Second Ed.

Mancini, F. (2004). Mind, Body and Soul; A Common Sense Approach To Optimal Wellness. Pro-Solutions for Healthy Living. Vol. 2, Issue 3, p. 2. Mind, Body and Soul; A Common Sense Approach To Optimal Wellness. Pro-Solutions for Healthy Living. Vol. 2, Issue 3, p. 2.

Vander Zanden, J.W. (2000). Human Development. 7th. Ed.New York. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Ed.New York. McGraw-Hill Higher Education

Why I Do Not Use The Phrase ‘Race’ To Describe A Human

We, as a country and people group, are on the brink of overcoming a long-held, and unacceptable, mindset. Specifically, the incorrect use of the phrase ‘race’ in respect to human traits.

I respectfully submit that our success, or failure, to overcoming our people-focused shortfalls will be directly linked to changing our language, thoughts, as well as long-held prejudices.

I respectfully challenge you to consider the thoughts I presented during a discussion in one of my masters level classes on diversity on 01 August 2006.

Here is an edited excerpt from the discussion;

Disclaimer

I respectfully submit my decision to not use the term race to categorize fellow humans. The term race frequently brings an immediate negative stereotypical mindset to the discussion. Particularly, the term insinuates that people of different gender, social, ethnic, cultural, or religious heritages are automatically inferior or superior because of their inherent yet benign heritages. This decision is my way of making sure that I focus on the people aspect while trying to make sure that I do not fall victim to an artificial and unacceptable mindset.

I maintain the following personal and professional opinion:

We, a single race of bipedal silicon bags of mostly water humanoids, have experienced both biological-genetic and psycho-social cultural drifts but we are still the same. These drifts bring behavior decisions that Kottak (2003, p. 13) called ‘Universals’; decisions based on human experience influences. (Duncan, 2006)

To paraphrase a thought process proposed by Lester (2002); “By design or accident (evolution) (italics added) we share the same DNA allele structure.” (cited by Duncan, 2006)

Point

I admit that we need to understand how some people might consider elements of ethnic diversity to be negative. I respectfully assert that any effort that helps us understand the interactions of peoples of different gender, ethnic, religious, social, and cultural heritages is not really a negative thing. Some may perceive the process as negative. I ask; is it really? I respectfully submit our corporate participation in this specific learning adventure as evidence that we need to better understand all cultural perspectives.

Positive Elements

1. Busted Concepts of Stereotype. I submit that the opening paragraphs of Carr (2003), Chapter 7 regarding African Americans, Chapter 8 regarding American Indians, Chapter 9 regarding Asian Americans, Chapter 10 regarding Arab Americans, and Chapter 11 regarding Latino Americans as evidence of a significant positive that results from efforts toward diversity in all places of work. In each of the presentations Carr provided evidence of the challenges of the stereotypical thoughts vs. the facts of reality.

The sooner that we, as a people, learn to ignore the stereotypes and get to know the person that is the face, the better we will be in supporting each other. Basically, the more we know about each other’s heritage the more we will learn about our own heritage.

2. Workplace Efficiency Improvements. Carr (2003), Kottack (2003), and Somers (2001) provided several areas in the reading assignments that lead to the proverbial business fiscal bottom line and competitive advantage. Consumers come in all shapes and sizes, cross both genders, and come from many ethnic, cultural, and religious persuasions. It is logical that a business must be able to address these differences with intelligence to remain competitive. I reason that the most sensible method of providing intelligent service that crosses artificial barriers is to approach the barrier from first-hand knowledge.

I sense that businesses should strive for diversity because it is the proper course of action. A secondary benefit is the competitive advantage impact to the proverbial bottom line.

3. Two (or more) heads are better than one. For this discussion, two or more experiences are better than one. From a leadership perspective there are many models (rubrics) for decision making. The actual model does not so much matter as the process and people involved. I suggest that the key element in any decision making model is the gathering of the facts and options. Very few decisions of leadership are so simple as to not involve or affect several or many peoples. If decisions are to be valid then input and feed-forward from the peoples affected is an absolute must.

For example, Duncan Family Enterprises is a people-based NPO that provides support services to local community members who are impoverished. Until the people of Duncan Family Enterprises understand the people of need and their respective cultural and social heritages the service provided will be at best, half-vast. Without the vast data that could be gathered from a diverse workforce, there can be no vast intelligent service. To paraphrases my local mentor, Dr. Michael P. Bobic; don’t draw half-vast assumptions from half-vast data!

In summary the three positive points toward diversity in the workplace were: 1) Busted concepts of stereotype; 2) Workplace efficiency improvements; and 3) Two (or more) heads are better than one.

Negative Elements

1. Initial costs and inefficiencies. I propose the following conceptual question; “Question, in an effort to achieve better diversity, is it acceptable for a HR team to advertise in publications that are specific toward a given culture?”

For example, it is reasonable that an employer reach out to men and women of African American heritage, who are fully qualified with Master or Doctoral credentials, by using avenues that are more associated to the African-American community that other groups; advertising via BET or other mostly African-American focused media.

It is logical that a company that pursues this effort toward diversity will incur a higher than normal advertising cost as well as a slower people hired for a position fill rate. This could likely cause significant inefficiencies and effectiveness.

I note that some people may see this extra advertising cost or inefficiencies or ineffectiveness’s as a negative. The costs are just one aspect of doing the right things, and, a step toward enhancing competitive advantage.

2. People conflicts. I note that Carr (2003), Kottack (2003), and Somers (2001) provided insight into the social, cultural, ethnic, and religious persuasions of each of the ethnic groups discussed. The differences noted lend to people conflicts that will need to be dealt with by leaders at every level within an organization. Some of the conflicts will be due to unrecognized and inaccurate stereotype associations. Other conflicts will results because of language, religious, economic, and even gender issues.

I recently dealt with a people conflict that was really quite innocent yet could have been avoided with minimal fore-thought on my part. I planned a recent sports appreciation banquet that included specification of the meal. If I had been thinking about diversity, I would not have mandated pork as the entrée. This snafu was simple enough yet a conflict not the less.

3. No Stakeholder Buy-In. I note references toward the importance of “…appropriate statistical controls…”. (Somers, 2003, p. 589) Though Somers was writing about study controls. The “…implementing policy changes based on observed differences…” thought carries over into implementing a strategic plan toward diversity.

As leadership within an organization moves toward diversity it will become imperative that everyone within the organization be moving in the same direction with thought and purpose. Unless all stakeholders know what the strategic plan is, the importance, the impact, the steps-of-application, and the end-results, there will be no success. As stated; “‘…quick fix’ interventions designed to produce ‘positive employee attitudes’ are not likely to serve their stated purpose.” (Somers, 2003, p. 590)

In summary the three negative points toward diversity in the workplace were: 1) Initial costs and inefficiencies; 2) People conflicts; and 3) No Stakeholder Buy-In.

Thanks for listening.

Ref:

Carr-Ruffino. (2003). Diversity in the Workplace. Capella University.

Duncan, D.L. (2006). Capella University. HS8300. Unit 01, Discussion 01.

Kottak, C.P. and Kozaitis, K. A. (2003) Diversity in the Workplace. Capella University.

Lester, L.P., Englin, D.L., & Howe, G.F. (2002). Designs in the Living; The Natural Limits to Biological Change, and Human Cloning: Playing God or Scientific Breakthrough? SimBioSys Publishing. Retrieved on August 01, 2006 from:

http://www.creationresearch.org/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=BK-DES3&Category_Code=BB&Product_Count=7

Somers, M.J., & Bimbaum, D. (2001). Racial differences in work attitudes: What you see depends on what you study. Journal of Business and Psychology, 15(4): 579-591.