G o d or d o g

Yesterday my wife and I watched the movie DOG. The movie follows an US Army ranger who has had a traumatic brain injury and must take a fallen comrades dog to his funeral. The dog is also a solider and the dog and the US Army Ranger have suffered physical and emotional trauma from war.

The solider decides to drive the dog to the funeral. During the road trip the solider and the dog meet another solider and dog who have suffered trauma. The fellow solider lets him know that it is important to talk with someone about the trauma. anyone one wether it is God or a dog because without out talking it through bad things can happen.

Talk therapy also known as psycho therapy was first discovered studied and researched by Sigmund Freud in the early 1890s. Freud understood that life can be painful and confusing and that talking through our relationships and situations helps give us clarity and peace.

Computer programmers will often speak to rubber ducks when writing out complicated code. By speaking out our thoughts we can actually hear them and understand why we think the way we do. Many people do not realize what has caused their trauma and how that trauma has affected their lives.

In church as a younger person I always wondered about pray. In pray we would thank and ask for support from God an omniscient being. Why pray? If God knows everything than why do I need to mention anything to God? It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized prayers were not for the God that they were aimed at but the believer. It is through prayers (if you are praying right) that you discover epiphanies and self actualize.

Never be so busy that you cannot take the time to talk through your situations and relationships, with your God, dog, friend or rubber ducky.

Should we cancel the Christian God?

Man that title! What a great post to end the week on right? I mean that is a huge question. The question stems from a Bill Maher video a friend of mine posted on FaceBook.

In the video Bill mentions how outrageous cancel culture has become. There is nothing wrong with tearing down the statues of confederate leaders in the United States. These leaders were truly on the wrong side of history. The confederate leaders in the United States killed people so that they could enslave people of another race through brutality and force. The confederate leaders in the United States deserve to be canceled however, Abraham Lincoln does not.

The King James version of the Bible has instructions for slaves and slave owners in both the old and new testaments. The instructions are not for the slaves to escape and the owners to free them either.

  • Ephesians 6:5: “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters.”
  • Colossians 3:22: “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters.”
  • 1 Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters.”

Here is a pretty good article written by a pastor concerning the bibles take on slavery. At the end of the article the pastor admits that he wrestles with the bibles take on slavery and the article outlines why. That article is definitely worth a read. Even though some passages seem like and endorsement for slavery there are other instances in which the bible almost reads as an abolitionist pamphlet.

I think it is strange and maybe speaks to the person receiving the word but the same book and God were used to support and decry slavery.

Today the same is being done with other social issues and the Christian religion and text.

There are Christians that are Pro Choice and Anti Choice in the Abortion debate. Both camps use the bible to defend their positions.

There are Christians that are pro death penalty and anti death penalty. Both camps use the bible to defend their positions.

There are Christians that are pro gay marriage and against gay marriage. Both camps use the bible to defend their positions.

  • Environment
  • War
  • Evolution
  • Universalism
  • Women’s role in the church
  • Women’s role as leaders

Depending on how you read and interpret the bible as a Christian you may fall into one side or the other of one or all of these positions.

“Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, slave-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a slave, an abolitionist, a social reformer, an orator, a writer and a statesman. Frederick Douglas escaped slavery (essentially violating Ephesians 6″5) and after ten years of freedom wrote a letter to his former owner. I found some huge insight in a letter he wrote to his former owner and current slave owner (the man still owned his sisters and brothers).

Oh! sir, a slaveholder never appears to me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise above my control….. God, the Creator of all mankind, the black and the white, and that he had made the blacks to serve the whites as slaves. How he could do this and be good, I could not tell. I was not satisfied with this theory, which made God responsible for slavery, for it pained me greatly, and I have wept over it long and oft

Frederick Douglass

I would surely cancel anyone who promotes slavery in any way. That being said, I am not ready to cancel the Christian God. Not yet anyways. I am honestly not sure why

phesians 6:5: “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters.”
Colossians 3:22: “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters.”
1 Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters.”

are in the bible but, there are many verse that call slavery what it is and are totally against the practice.

Jeremiah 22:13 ESV /

“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages,

Exodus 21:16 ESV /

“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

Galatians 3:28 ESV /

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Their is a certain western type of Christianity that seems to still be prevalent within the United States particularly. This style of Christianity makes it ok to take away peoples freedoms and rights based on how the bible is interrupted. This religion this god deserves and should be canceled. The god who says it is ok to enslave a race, prevent a woman from controlling her own body, deny adults the right to be married, deny science and destroy the world for our children to get more profit. That god that religion should be canceled. The God who tells us That we are all free. The God who tells us that all men and women are equal. The God who forgives. The God that uses love. The God that tells us to put our swords back in its place and demands peace. This God this Christian religion should be revered celebrated, studied and embraced. This religion will bring us into the 21st century with hope. All that the current western religion has is what it had during the time slavery was legal in the United States and that is destruction and death.

So I will gladly cancel the god of the western world but, I still and think I will always believe in the God of the whole world.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That tree outside

This morning I read an article that detailed how 100 leaders promised to end deforestation by 2030. The promise / plan involves money and a plan for sustainable agriculture.

My office is on the second floor and the stairs leading to it open up to an amazing view of a treetop. I know it sounds silly to some but I love these kind of views. The trees are full of life and I feel like I am peeking into an amazing home when I see the view.

Yesterday I came back from lunch and as I looked at the treetop o thought about how odd we humans are. We cut down the trees to provide shelter, and warmth, and the tree itself is a source for shelter, oxygen, food and much more. The act of cutting down the trees to survive is unsound.

In Lebanon there are the Cedars of God it is a patch of land just over 20 acres that house the last of the vast forests of Lebanon Cedars. The Cedars are massive and this remnant has survived the mass deforestation attempts for 100s of years. The cedars are spoken about in the Hebrew Bible. Unfortunately climate change now threatens these cedars.

It looks like Canada, Brazil and the United States are now at risk of loosing their forests as well. Unsustainable “progress” has destroyed countless eco systems in these countries and if this pledge is not honored these nations will be just like Lebanon.

Humanity was given a rich diverse world to be a steward of and so far we have collectively failed to be good stewards of this world. We have destroyed the forests poisoned the water and polluted the sky. The indigenous people of North and South America lived in relative harmony with the world and they have been slaughtered and their harmonious lifestyle replaced by the current destructive one. We took trees and made them landscape material.

Let’s today do our best to be stewards of life. Human life and the life all around us on this earth. If we do not try we will certainly fail and our generation. Is paying a high price now for this failure but our childrens price will be higher

By

Not this or that

I worked for a short time in the manufacturing industry. Within the manufacturing industry it is very important to safely produce a certain amount of products within an hour. When there is a safety violation or a dip in production for the hour an manager must note why.

A rule in manufacturing is that a person can never be the problem only material or quality. I love that rule however I think that there are something’s that happen that cannot be defined rarely of course but it happens.

It’s not a bad policy or procedure it’s a true unknown. We can do the same exact thing everyday the same exact way and get different results. I have heard people call this luck or chance.

A young girl asked Stan Lee what super power he would want the most and he said Luck. Stan Lee mentioned that luck was hard to define and that’s why he never made a super hero with luck as a super power but he said we need luck more than anything else.

Stan Lee was right. When I was a solider in the U.S. Army deployed to Egypt my commanding officer told me that Many Egyptians will be tardy and I should not be upset or offended because they believe that fate is more important than a time table.

This is pretty interesting to me since arguably the Egyptians invented time keeping with shadows and clocks. I myself try to be on time however I truly do not believe that there is such a a thing as time and humans attempt to measure or define time is kinda solipsistic. I do believe that we should do things and doing things together calls for appointments and time keeping helps keep appointments but when someone is early or late we need to cut them some slack for not being somewhere real at an imaginary moment.

I think life would be much more joyful if we embraced now instead of worrying about the imaginary thing we have named time and we’re grateful for the good luck we experience everyday.

No one knows

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

― Vince Lombardi

Happiness is? Subjective right? I mean a memory from Sunday school growing up was the youth pastor explaining heaven. “My dad imagines heaven as a farm in the country and I imagine that heaven will be a beautiful city with sidewalks.” – youth pastor Block (courtesy of Johns childhood memories)

Heaven is like happiness. My happiness and your happiness probably do not line up. I don’t know many people but there are some that do not enjoy petting a happy dog (I know crazy right?)! Our idea of happiness changes as we live our lives too.

When I was younger I was happy at my friends house watching his snake in the aquarium, now the snakes kind of make my skin crawl a little. I saw one on a walk with my dog two days ago and nearly jumped out of my skin.

Some say that being happy is a choice. I am not sure about that. I can choice to pursue things that I believe will make me happy however if I do not receive these things will I still be happy? Also, what things will make me happy? Lots of questions no answers.

I find joy in the unknown and the search for the truth. I really do. I think that this is good because I spend a lot of life with unknowns and looking for truth. If we are completely honest with ourselves well all do.

Enjoy every moment as much as you can because we never know when we will not be here anymore.

Darkness is funny that way …5lbs

In most western religious texts, folklore and fairy tales darkness equals evil. Evil that surrounds and infiltrates.

I was a father at a young age (at least I thought it was young). I watched my kids grow up and while growing up I saw them face obstacles, in school, at work, within their friend circles. The obstacles were in form of rocky relationships, steep learning curves, and physical ailments.

The kids and myself were quick within rocky relationships to label people good or evil but that is reductive thinking that I tried to avoid. My dad told me that the most important thing and only thing I could do to make a difference was to do the right thing.

We cannot make someone do good or bad. People have freewill and autonomy. All that we can do is steer our own ships. When we begin to try and influence others through deeds that are not good we risk allowing the darkness to fill us. Darkness is funny that way. We can do bad things in pursuit of good outcomes and then we are the darkness we were attempting to drive out.

In the Christian bible text John 8:12 we are taught that only light or good can drive out darkness. I think a lot about war when I think about light and dark. In war we use harm and force to try and drive out darkness. It seems foolish to assume that war would create good or an end to darkness.

The written book “Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies” is thought by scholars to be, part of our civilizations knowledge base. It is a very important book that seems to have guided our society and in it the author says “Only the dead are safe; only the dead have seen the end of war.” — George Santayana

When we work and use darkness we only get pain and death. Darkness is funny that way it does not heal, mend, build, or give any life. Lets make a promise to ourselves today, lets promise that we will not use darkness even if it seems like darkness is the right way. Lets promise to only use light only do good.

Deserving?

My favorite time of the workday is when I get home and see my wife. She is my best friend and I love spending time with her. My second favorite time of the work day is when I get home and see my dog.

Even when I worked from home and had to run out my dog would love seeing me. It could be an hour or 3 hours and he was always giddy to see me. Tail wagging ears up he just loves giving and receiving attention. I don’t know why he loves attention. I mean I know that wolves have evolved over time and there was a split. The dog became humanities best friend and the wolves are out there doing there own thing. I also know that dogs have been breed and were literally made for human companionship and it shows when I get home.

Originally dogs as companions had the major duty of protection and when the moment arises dog parents will tell you protection is still high for a dog but as humans lives changed so did the dogs. We now live longer and need more than protection we need affection and love and dogs show that in spades.

The thing about a dogs love is that it is present no matter what we do. If we deserve it or not. Our dog doesn’t care about how good or bad we were all day it will still greet you at the door show you an enormous amount of love. I think only when a dog is scared will that dog not show you love. When you are down the dog will find a way to physically position his or herself so that you can pet them. Many people who suffer trauma have found helpful therapy in being a dog parent.

I think this all out love we see in our pets that has been breed into them is something we need to learn from them. There are the terms “kicking them when they are down” and “piling on” and “even Killing them with kindness”. All these terms involve hurting someone. It is easier to harm someone than it is to help them. We pile on or kick people because we feel they deserve it but do they?

Deserved implies that we earned something. I don’t think anything is earned. I think that God, nature, the universe has given us everything, including a role model in our dogs. The giving nature of God and our dog should be our guide when we begin to decide what we and others deserve.