black lives vs all lives…when will we understand….it’s all lives

“Wealth and dominion fade into the mass
Of the great sea of human right and wrong,
When once from our possession they must pass;
But love, though misdirected, is among
The things which are immortal, and surpass
All that frail stuff which will be – or which was.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley


(Fox News)

This is a lamentation of sorts.
As in I’m feeling much like Jeremiah.

I’d like to address a couple of groups within this current culture wars of ours…
as in Mr. and Ms. Black Lives Matter…along with some mayors and even governors–
should the shoe fit.

To BLM: I caught your latest slick new commercial, airing on one of the sports channels,
the other evening.
The end of the commercial is what I suppose is to be your proverbial bottom line—

It went something like this…
‘All lives will matter only when black lives matter…’

And that is exactly the sort of thinking that is at the heart of all our problems.

But because I am white, having said such, you would first attempt to call me
the latest rage name of Karen.

Trust me, I am no Karen.

I do not consider myself privileged nor better than anyone else…
something about men and women being created in the image of God…
but I digress.

After calling me names, you would attempt to intimidate me, perhaps even harass me.
You would next force me to kneel, apologize, beg for forgiveness…
all before I could be granted absolution.

Thus, I will not expound further on your commercial or your notion that only
one color of life matters.
It simply won’t do any good for me to do so because you will
not listen…you will simply go back to calling me a disparaging name before wishing me ill.

So some troubling news surfaced from out of this past weekend…
maybe you’ve heard or seen a few snippets…

Over the 4th of July weekend, at least 7 innocent children were killed.
Killed not by the pandemic but rather they were murdered.
They were 7 black children killed by other black people who just so happened
to have guns.

Did you hear the cries of the parents and grandparents?
Did you see their anguish on the television?
Did you hear their desire for the police to be more active in their neighborhoods?

And so I speak to our big city Mayors and Governors…

The most recent black on black shootings have escalated on a greater proportional
scale than that of the recent events of black men and women being killed
by police officers.

And yet it is the police officers who you wish to see defunded and disbanded
while you allow ‘zones’ of your cities to be hijacked by violent agitators.

You mandate that law-abiding citizens must social distance and wear masks but you
tell the throngs of agitators that it’s okay to march and express their civil disdain.

Mayor Deblasio blames the Pandemic on the tremendous escalation of violent crimes
and murders in New York City.

Seattle’s Mayor Durken likened the CHOP/CHAZ zone in her city to something like
Seattle’s own version of a “Summer of love”—
But then an innocent 16-year-old black boy was shot and killed…
and suddenly the “summer of love” is no more.

Atlanta’s Mayor Bottoms had her chief of police resign after the Mayor went over
the chief’s head and fired several officers involved in the shooting of a black man
at a Wendy’s in downtown Atlanta.
The Wendy’s was subsequently burnt to the ground by an angry mob and the Mayor
actually allowed the violent agitators to “occupy” the area around the Wendy’s
as they claimed it now as a memorial and quasi shrine to the man who was
killed by police.

But that all quickly came to a screeching halt when an innocent 8-year-old little girl was
shot and killed by one of the “zone’s” occupiers.

So what of these mobs of yours?
What of the violence from these mobs?
Do you still consider these mobs “peaceful protestors” or perhaps more along the lines
of thugs and hoodlums bent on nothing but trouble?

What of the urban black community and their guns?
What of the blatant disregard for human life?

Black lives do not seem to matter to other black lives and yet it is
the white community that is vilified as the offenders of what matters and doesn’t matter.

So I ask you BLM, Mayors, and Governors—how many more children must die
before you focus on what is your real trouble–our real trouble–that being,
responsibility.

When will we all understand that these lives of the youngest amongst us are
the lives that offer us the most hope?

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

from one adopted kid to another…it’s all about unity and not division


(former NFL player Colin Kaepernick)

As the unofficial family historian of this clan of mine, I have certainly enjoyed the
stories I’ve uncovered over the years—especially the lineage of my dad’s family.

My grandmother had done her fair share of work and what was uncovered is
quite the storyline—Mayflower fame and all.

Yet despite having taken over the helm, following my grandmother’s death, of
being the unofficial family history loving sleuth,
I must confess that there has always been a nagging concern buried deep in
the back of my thoughts.

As an adopted member of this clan, I have always known that this clan is truly not my own.
Their story is not my story.
Or so I kept telling myself.

And yes, I know I’ve written extensively about all of this not long ago, but a part of my
own story came to the forefront of thought today while I was braving the heat picking
blueberries.

When things like this pop into my head out of the blue, I know the Holy Spirit is stirring.

Those of you who know me, know how much I love college football.
I don’t care whose playing, I’ll watch.

So I actually remember quite a few years back watching a game featuring UNLV
along with some other team.
I remember it was UNLV because of one of the stories, that the sports announcers shared
during the game, touched my heart.

It seems there was a young quarterback leading the UNLV team by the name of Colin Kaepernick.

During the game, the sports announcers offered a little background regarding this
seemingly phenom QB.

It seems that Colin’s mom had shared the story that Colin,
while being an outstanding high school quarterback, had not been offered any scholarships
to play at the next level…except for an offer by UNLV.

Not one of the “big schools” by any means…but it was an opportunity.
And obviously wanting to play at the next level, the Kaepernick family agreed that this
was his chance.

They also shared that Colin had been an adopted kid.
He is obviously a mixed-race kid while his adopted parents are white.

Adopted kids have a soft place in my heart.
And so I have something I’d like to say to Colin…my fellow adoptee.

Adoption, my young friend, is about unity and not division.

Colin, however, seems to be a rather unhappy young man…
some might argue that my observation is unfair…but I’ve never met a happy person who
is hell-bent on creating divisiveness.

He has made no bones about detesting our flag, our national anthem, our national monuments,
Betsy Ross and now he seems to detest our celebration of independence.

In fact, Colin seems to prefer being all about division these days.

His is a Black world or a White world.
Either or, but not both.
His is a world of one divided by race.
His is a progressive left world battling a presumptive non-inclusive, racist world.

I’ve always known I was adopted.
And for better or worse, I physically favored my adopted family.
I realize that Colin did not physically favor his adopted family—
what with his being mixed and his parents being white.
But one thing I do know about both of us, our adopted parents loved us
unconditionally as their own.

You just need to read some of what his mom has had to say about him over the years
to understand the love they have for this son of theirs.

Yet I never had to have that battle within myself over not being the same race
as my family.
I imagine that might have kept the matter of adoption more at the forefront of
Colin’s thoughts more so than perhaps my own.
I don’t know that for certain but knowing that I would look into a mirror always
wondering who it is I truly looked like… I suspect that mirror looking might
have been more frequent in Colin’s life.

I don’t know his full story of adoption…the background etc.
Heck, I barely know my own.

Those of you who know me and read this blog already know my story’s journey so
I won’t belabor that story but I do want to make a point…
a point for our friend Colin.

I do believe that adopted kids are born with some prewired emotional baggage.
I know this without doubt.
I truly understand the whole emotional transference during pregnancy.
It is real.

I also know what’s it’s like wanting to know one’s own story and not what someone
else’s story is all about…
We simply want to know our own story…plain and simple.

I went on that quest.

After hemming and hawing…after being full of trepidation and anguish…after
waiting and waiting…some answers and even more questions arrived.

On my biological father’s side, there has been discovery, connections to a cousin, and a peace.
On my biological mother’s side, there has been a painful dose of double rejection…
a disaster in a nutshell…or so I thought at the time.

I learned that my biological father died several years ago…
but there are living relatives…some of whom have opened their hearts.

My mother, on the other hand, is in her 80’s and despite my now being 60, vehemently
denied any sort of acknowledgment or contact.

I will say that that whole situation not only stung my heart, it also left me
emotionally reeling.
The child still deep within this adult body rebroke.

Yet over the past several months, since my discovery, peace has filled my wounds.
And that peace came from one place and one place only…the healing and soothing balm
of Jesus Christ.

I couldn’t have experienced that on my own.
On my own, there was anger and resentment…but God had other plans.
That of His peace.

God already knew my story but He also knew that I was hard-headed.
God will allow us to pursue what we think we want even when
He knows better.
He loves us that much that He will allow us to shoot ourselves
in the foot from time to time—always turning that self-inflicted wound
back around for His good purpose.

So certainly questions will always remain but the anger and the resentment are both gone.

I have come to see, feel, and claim that this adopted clan of mine is indeed mine.
I sit on a branch of their tree, adoption, or not.

So what I say to my fellow adoptee Mr. Kaepernick— is that the peace of heart,
the peace of spirit is of God and of God alone.

It is one of unity and not division.

It is not of anger or resentment.

It is neither black nor white.
Male nor female.

Black power, black lives, militancy…those are separators, not unifiers.

We are all children of God…despite how we come into this world.
We are all equally valued by God…despite physical differences from others.
There is not one single life that is greater than nor matters more than another’s.
The humility found in being created and not Creator is both freeing and soothing.

I would behoove Colin to seek a Savior and not a civil war of culture.

We are all of one America.
Black men and women, white men and women, Asian men and women, Native American men and women,
Hispanic men and women have each shed blood for the freedoms our now angry Nation enjoys.

No division is found in our freedom but rather unity.
No division is found in the children of God, but rather unity.

Unity and not division will bring one’s soul peace.
Until then…there will be only anguish and wasted energies at the expense of everyone.

But then again, one has to ask oneself: do you want peace in your being or do you
desire hate, resentment, and anger.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,
nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Are you a roadie, a dead head, a parrot head or simply part of the cult?

“Men spend their time in following a ball or a hare; it is the pleasure even of kings.”
Blaise Pascal, Pensées


(image of a roadie loading band equipment /Arts hub Australia)

I can remember back in the day…back in the early 70’s when, as a teenager,
I began going, with friends and dates, to concerts.

A typical teenager, I loved music.
It often spoke to my young angst-ridden self.
So when Atlanta finally built her very first enclosed sports venue,
I was excited. This meant that not only did the arena become home to both basketball
and hockey teams, it also became a much larger home for concerts—beating out the
usual little intimate and smaller local theaters, bars, and civic center.

This meant more kids were now able to go to concerts.
And the whole idea of living a “band” life was reborn into a new generation
of daydreaming teens and young people.

Previous musicians and singers had already had their fair share of tagalongs
and groupies…but in the early ’70s, the idea seemed to boom alongside
a now booming music industry.

Dreams of being discovered sprung forth from many a garage and basement band.

The idea of following in the shadow of a band or singer seemed glamorous and even romantic…
for both girls and guys.
How awesome would it be to travel and see the world with one’s favorite band?

Think one generation wanting to run away with the circus while a later generation
wanted to run away with a band.

Young teenagers were finding the idea of being a roadie and or groupie
both fun and exciting.

But first, let’s back up a minute…
we need to stop and think about this groupie thing.

We need to stop and think about cult followings.

Mindless and dangerous worship from afar…all in hopes of entering the inner circle.
Why does Charles Manson now come to mind…

So think of those who actually quit life in order to become ‘Dead Heads’ following
the Grateful Dead from city to city
Or Mr. ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ and his own following flock known at
Parrot heads.

Folks who follow/ed Jimmy Buffet from city to city…living the
half drunk beach life all over the country.
Sounds nice but…

And so I got to thinking about this whole notion of groupies, roadies and cult followings.
which in turn got me thinking about how these types of folks seem to mirror the various
groups of folks we are seeing today.

Think traveling troublemakers.

Think Antifa.
Think, yes, even Black Lives Matter…
groups who prefer fights, agitation and violence versus a level headed protest
movement.

Trouble makers, provocateurs, anarchists all traveling from venue to venue,
aka city to city, in order not to entertain or to be entertained,
but rather to wreak havoc while causing catastrophic harm.

Riding the bandwagon of pandemonium.

There are the die-hard cult members.
And there are the die-hard cult leaders.

Those card-carrying types.

The ones who hop in cars to travel halfway across the country hoping to insert their own
signature of hate within a city or town.

And then there are those who are the wannabes.
The ones who secretly hop on the hate train just for the momentary rush of angst.

Think of a Clark Kent antithesis— that mild-mannered reporter by trade and superhero at heart…
mirrored by folks we’re seeing in these riots who are probably mild-mannered without their masks
yet turn into super hate-thug adversary once the masks go on and the lights go out.

See this photo?

It’s a photo a friend of my son’s sent him from downtown Charleston of an incident
which took place near his office this past week.

Whereas I hate to ever see any American burn their own flag,
it wasn’t so much the flag burner that caught my attention.

See this close up of the guy in the back left on the sidewalk…?
See the sign he’s holding?

It’s a poster with a hammer and sickle along with the word solidarity.
A communist hopeful watching a comrade burn the flag.
Gotta love a secret anarchist at heart.

Does this young man, who is white, care about George Floyd or does he care more about
dismantling the nation with a communist manifesto?

I wonder.

And so when I was reading Citizen Tom’s latest posting on the Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance
regarding Parental Rights being in the Crosshairs…I thought, oh boy, here we go.

We already have the masses of minions to the madness…
those who I wonder about their roots of upbringing.
And now we hear government leadership wanting to make becoming a minion much easier
by officially taking away the right of parents to parent.

No mentoring, no nurturing, no guidance, no discipline.

I think we already know that the nuclear family is in crisis…in jeopardy of being
destroyed…and we, in turn, are watching a society implode upon itself.

Tom offers the following observation:

We’re in a war that is very serious and dangerous.
We must protect our freedom, we must practice our freedom NOW or our neglect will seize
it from us.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke).

When good men do nothing, the opposition has opportunity to move in and steal.
We cannot afford to let down our guard!
I was taught, perhaps you were taught, that there is a separation of church and state,
and Christians ought not be involved in politics.
WRONG!

Is it because too many of us have believed the lie that our nation is being usurped from us.
No longer!!
We are rising up to take control of our freedom!
NOW!
Visit the Parental Rights web site and get involved.
NOW!

(https://familyallianceonline.org/2020/06/03/your-parental-rights-are-in-the-cross-hairs/)

And so when we lose the ability to parent…
When we lose the authority within the family…
When Christianity is deemed irrelevant…
When lawlessness becomes the norm…
When the masses cry to abolish law enforcement…
When children are left to “govern” themselves…
a vast and dangerous void opens up… and that void must be filled.

Disrespect.
Selfishness.
Violence.
Hate.
Thuggery.
Cultism.

The death of the nuclear family will be the death of a nation.
There will be no roadies, dead heads or parrot heads, but there will be a myriad of
cult followers.

There’s not much time remaining.

I witnessed a crime…

Crime is the price society pays for abandoning character.
James Q. Wilson


(courtesy Publix produce images)

First, let me preface this tale with a small disclaimer…I hate going to the grocery store
on a Saturday.

This tale, however, begins because of my having been gone most of last week,
and half the week prior, and thus my pantry was in great need of re-stocking.

Despite feeling that I should don a surgical mask due to my grandmother crud,
I went on, mask free, lest I send coronavirus shock waves through our small city.

I headed off, much to my chagrin, to my local grocery store of choice.

As I turned onto the drive leading to the parking lot, I noticed a group of about 7
teenage girls. They were walking along the sidewalk and I thought they might veer off,
crossing over in front of me–
crossing over to our city’s greenbelt walking-path near the grocery store
which leads back to our high school—

But no, they continued on the sidewalk up towards the grocery store.

This was not exactly an area of town to be out strolling…
because it is congested and a high traffic area.
Plus it was a cold blustery day.

I continued on my way to the parking lot, figuring the girls were probably walking to the
nearby McDonald’s.

The always enduring high school teacher, who lives forever deep within me,
always wonders when I see a flock of kids, out and about, simply walking where
kids would not normally be walking.
It’s something akin to a teacher’s eyes in the back of his/ her head.
Always watching, always knowing.

I parked, gathered my bags and made my way inside, grabbing a cart.

I started toward the produce section when I saw the same set of teens walking
rather quickly towards me, out from the store towards the door.

“Boy, that was fast,” I thought.
In and out they were as in I had no idea they had even been heading to the grocery store.

They had no bags, no cart, no nothing.

Yet as they rapidly passed by me and the fruit section,
the gal on the tail end of the entourage reached out and grabbed a peach.
She held it tight in a clenched fist while looking back to see if she had been seen.

And yes, she had…she had been seen.

I had seen and she saw that I had seen.

So I did the only thing I thought to do without causing some sort of ruckus—
I simply gave her the death stare of any high school teacher who had just
spied poor behavior.

Part of me wanted to loudly holler out for the young woman to put the fruit back
as I wondered what else had been picked up as they were walking with quite the
quickstep to the exit.

So here are the obvious facts to this little incident…
I am a 60-year-old white woman.
The group of 7 girls consisted of black teens.

Now those two little facts alone should just be obvious observations…
yet they are enough for most of today’s hypersensitive politically correct,
progressive liberal lot to accuse me of racism, as well as something
I’ve just learned about today, “white fragility.”

Yet the only facts are:
I am white and old.
They were black and young.

And from those two obvious facts…our culture will race to pull all sorts of accusations
out of the air.

I later told a friend about what I had seen at the grocery store and her response
was that it was sad they wanted something healthy and probably didn’t have any fresh
food at home.

The rolling of my eyes set in.

Well, I can certainly tell you that the nicked pinched peach was an afterthought while
our culprit was simply passing by an open bin. There was no focused intent on taking a
piece of fruit.
It was just sitting there and she was passing by and simply slipped a hand down to
grab one as in, “oh, let me grab that as I make my way out the door’.

And might I add that any peach sitting out this time of year would be an imported
rock-hard poor excuse for a fruit…not even palatable.

My response to my friend was not to make some sort of liberal excuse for stealing.
Because that was what it was…stealing. It would be the sort of excuse we’d hear
from our progressive left…an excuse for doing wrong.

So okay…to be fair…

I suppose we all recall the days of our own youth…
days of reckless abandon when we too nicked and pocketed something seemingly harmless
like a piece of fruit, a yard ornament, a street sign, a glass from a restaruant…etc.

Yet sadly today, what we now readily give a pass to is, none the less, blatant stealing.

It is always hoped that we will each grow up and mature…learning, knowing and realizing
right from wrong.
Right from wrong as well as learning that the notion of taking what is not ours
is one of those top 10 commandments—as in “DO NOT…”

It is hoped that we grow to have remorse for our past wrongs while we work toward
living a life that is better than…a life of positive morality.
A life of setting wrongs right.

Yet unfortunately, the idea of what was once perceived as wrong is now
perfectly ok…and we make excuses as to why it is now right rather
than wrong.

We have made excuses our demigods…excuses for every ill that befalls
our culture.

We could once justify wrongs as right in those life and death situations.
Situations of war, or of need vs want, or of the necessity of life vs death…

Yet did that make them any more right than wrong?

Probably not…but the taking of some bread or milk lest a child starve
was deemed justifiable…the assassination attempt of a tyrant like Hitler
was justifiable to the pacifist Christian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer because
the taking of the one life would spare the hundreds of thousands he was annihilating.

However, we now have created the notion of excusing and justifying behavior that is
obviously wrong for simply every day lives…and this notion has been long percolating.
We’ve made an art of turning wrongs into rights and defending such to the hilt.

Our culture no longer desires to call a wrong, wrong.
Rather we make excuses.
We make sad pathetic excuses for needs not being met.

It is a want versus need mentality.

There are excuses for poverty.
Excuses for inabilities.
Excuses for limitations.
Excuses over race.

Had the girls not been racing toward the exit, I could have offered to buy her the fruit.

But then we’d both have been acknowledging what she had done…
and the reality is, she didn’t want acknowledging.

So this little incident brought my thoughts back to an article I had just read earlier
in the day on The Federalist.

How ‘White Fragility’ Theory Turns Classrooms Into Race-Charged Power Struggles
White fragility theory is counterproductive and divisive.
White teachers should not be discounted, bullied, or shut down during anti-bias trainings in schools.

An article that, as a former educator, I could readily relate to…
For I saw this indoctrination coming down the pike nearly two decades ago.

The article focused on a recent talk given by academic and author, Dr. Robin DiAngelo
to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education in Atlanta.

She’s written a book and is a bit of a self-proclaimed expert on “White fragility”

Huh?
Who knew, but it seems that white fragility is indeed a thing.

Her book focuses on “why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism.”

The answer, she says, is “white fragility,” defined as “a state in which even a
minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”
This “racial stress” is the direct result of “implicit bias,”
which runs so strong in white people that it is a core reason racism persists in America.
This claim is based on a worldview, advanced by an increasingly influential field
called Whiteness Studies, that racism is inseparable from the reign of Whiteness.

What is Whiteness?
It is hard to say, but the basic idea is that all the institutions of society
are “white”—made by white people, ruled by white people,
and kept in place by white people to make sure that white people continue to benefit from “white privilege.”
These institutions are infected by white supremacy,
a result of the long arc of racism in American history.
Whiteness works through implicit bias, which refers to a whole range of unconscious behaviors,
speech, and beliefs that keep white supremacy in place.

Needless to say, I think this sort of thinking is nothing but a bunch of crap.
This sort of mindset leads to only more trouble.
It leads to a deeper misunderstanding.
And even a greater and much wider divide.

But then, I’m white… so…yeah, of course, I would think that.
Or so would say, Dr. DiAngelo.

And therein lies both the rub and the irony.

Let us dare not speak of racism directed toward whites or disdain and vehemence directed
towards Christians or toward pro-life supporters, or towards traditional marriage proponents,
or towards conservatives or towards anything or anyone who embraces traditional values…
especially towards issues of morality…issues of right vs wrong…

Because in this brave new world of which we now created and find ourselves living…
it is a world where wrong is now right and right is most certainly wrong…

There is no true biology.
No boy or girl.
No girl or boy.

There is no God
There is no Savior
There is only the State

We have created an excuse for each and everything…
along with more and more reasons as to why we must dislike and mistrust one another…
We must quiet each and every last one who dares to disagree with the new state’s mindset.

But Believers know that this is Satan’s plan.

To divide and conquer.

We must never forget…the battle may be raging, but the war is already lost.
So let us not be on the wrong side of the winning vs the losing when
it is all finally said and done.
And that will require a constant need to shout the Truth while the
chosen ones attempt to silence anyone who dares to utter such a Truth.

Hate, wrongs, mistrust, division, disdain, oppression…lose each and every time.

Here’s the link to the article.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/28/how-white-fragility-theory-turns-classrooms-into-race-charged-power-struggles/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=01ad0a3f38-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-01ad0a3f38-84149832

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:17

what does forgiveness look like

I had prepared an entire post for this morning that was to continue with the
discussion from yesterday regarding prayer…but that post will just have to wait until tomorrow.

It has to wait because I just finished reading the latest post from our friend
David Robertson…our favorite Scottish pastor who is now our favorite
down under pastor.
His post, or what I consider to be more of a reflection, centers on a leading US headline.

It is a post about the US news story regarding the trial of the white female police officer
who unbelievably walked into her neighbor’s apartment—
a neighbor who was a young black male–
She mistakingly thought it was her own apartment, and in turn, shot the neighbor
as he sat on the couch eating ice cream…
All the while thinking he was a burglar in her apartment.

I won’t even begin to try to go into the surrealism of this story.
The attempt of understanding this particular case—
a case which eludes the mind and prevents any ability to comprehend how or
why this could have ever happened.

Of course, there are currently a myriad of angry voices expressing their take to this
entire sad tale…but in the end…there are no words.

There is only tragedy, loss and death.

Or so that is what we would be lead to believe.

Yet there is one individual in all of this who has shown us otherwise.

It is the 18-year-old younger brother to the 26-year-old victim who tells us all that there
is much more to this story…

This is what forgiveness and love look like (David’s full post follows the clip)

Here is the link to David’s post…

Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean – Forgiveness – the Most Radical Teaching of Christ – in Practice

Illusion

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
T.S. Eliot

the-water-the-water-1563-64
(The Water The Water / Giuseppe Arcimboldo / 1563-64 / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria)

Few people have the imagination for reality.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Matters of both Life and Death march to their own drum.
Their timing has very little to do with the futile timing of humankind.
No matter how we plot or plan, prepare, arrange or rearrange…
both Life and Death will have the last word.

Think babies being born in the backseats of cars that have been
frantically pulled to the side of the road…
Think of the scenario of one minute being alive and kicking, then suddenly BAM,
a car comes out of no where and now you’re not….

The other day as I was quickly scanning an on-line news sight,
that currently alludes me at this moment,
when one of the listed story’s headline caught my eye.

It was something about life not really being real…as in more illusion then the actual.

I began to feel the eyes inside my head beginning to roll as I hastily moved on
to whatever pressing issue was calling.
I did however make a mental note to go back at some later date and actually read the full
story.

However, life being what it is, I never could find the story,
as it most likely was shortly archived,
and I wasn’t all that keen to dig.

I did however google the words life, illusion and reality and I must say
that I was amazed by the list of news articles over the past several years
that actually dealt with the whole concept of our life’s reality being
something all together different…

Take a small gander at the list of just a few of the latest headlines dealing with such…

Is life an ILLUSION? Researchers prove ‘reality doesn’t exist if you’re not looking at it’
Express UK / December 2016

Is reality an ILLUSION? Scientist says we may be living in a computer simulation
controlled by an evil genius

Daily Mail / August 2016

The Case Against Reality
A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the
one we experience through our senses.

The Atlantic / April 2016

Free will, could all be an illusion,
scientists suggest after study shows choice
may just be brain tricking itself

Independent / April 2016

Scientists Confirm Reality An Illusion, Quantum Physics Show Einstein Wrong
YourNewsWire.com / April 2015

Is Life an Illusion?
The Huffington Post / October 2014

Your Reality Is an Illusion
The Huffington Post / July 2011

This all seems so very Matrixish to me.
I was never a fan of the movie despite my son loving it as it appealed to
his youthful adolescent male imagination coupled with cool special effects.

All of that “what if” business of dimensional realities, simulated realities and
parallel existence.
The notion that maybe we’re just all the creation of some other being’s fantasies…
programed verses created…
as in how some folks believe that “God” is actually some grand game master and we
are merely the helpless game pieces.

For good or bad, I am a realist….
However mind you, a positive and hopeful realist verses a naysaying fatalist.

Think Pooh verse Eeyore.

I take black and white and live with it.
The grey has too many holes.

All of this “reality, illusion or other” mumbo jumbo just seems to fall flat
when it meets both Life and Death.

I say this as Dad is now hanging precariously in the balance.
I saw this when Mother hung in the balance at the tender age of 53.

Life and Death march forth despite our best laid plans or wildest imaginations…
We can neither stop nor prevent either one…
despite our feeble attempts or hopes of at least delaying them.

But here’s the kicker…
in my reality, there is Life as well as Death…
and then,
wait for it…
there is Life everlasting.

Now how’s that for reality..
or not…..

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and blameless before him.
He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will,
to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.
For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time,
to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to
the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been
destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,
to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Mean, the new black

“You’re nasty and you’re loud,
you’re mean enough for two,
If I could be a cloud,
I’d rain all day on you.”

― Jack Prelutsky

“Women think of all colors except the absence of color.
I have said that black has it all.
White too.
Their beauty is absolute.
It is the perfect harmony.”

― Coco Chanel

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God’s kindness:
kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

― Mother Teresa

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(red spotted purple butterfly enjoys the blueberry blossoms / Julie Cook / 2016)

Remember when black was all the rage?
The glamorous ones like Audrey Hepburn and Coco Channel made it chic.

It was touted as being…
Slimming
Elegant
Vogue
Classic

Yet eventually there were those who found it…
Boring
Passe
Drab
Dull

New colors vied for Black’s coveted spot at the top
Orange
Green
Brown
Neons

Yet black aways managed to have staying power..
Just ask the French…
For it is….
Timeless
Powerful
Dignified
Stylish

Black is now…
The standard
The benchmark
The gauge
The arcehtype

So imagine how…
Kindness,
Compassion,
Empathy,
Charity,
Mercy,
Each are now feeling as they see how Mean and Meanness are vying for the top…

As in the constant barage of headlines around the globe…
Beaten
Shot
Stabbed
Tasered
Robbed
Humiliated
Tortured
Raged
Cursed
Sprayed
Belittled
Bullied
Maligned
Hated

It matters not the color…
As all colors are now victims of the new black…
Mean…

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:1-3

out of sync

This search for happiness can knock us out of sync with God. As the life of Jesus makes clear, keeping in sync with God is about obedience. Any other pursuit will get in the way.
Franklin Graham

DSC02442
(the grackles are back / Julie Cook / 2015)

A common visitor to the yard, in the quiet dull grey winter months, is the common grackle.
A lanky gregarious bird who reminds one of that over the top boisterous relative who comes periodically to visit, wreaking havoc on one’s usually quiet, calm and orderly world.
The grackles swoop in by the hundreds, like a giant black undulating cloud, shape shifting against th bleak cold backdrop of sky.
Loud,
noisy,
obnoxious. . .

So imagine my confusion today when that oh so familiar black squawky loud cloud of winter descended on the yard in the middle of a hot, sweltering August morning.
Hummmm. . .

They swooped in by the hundreds—darting through the early morning sprinklers spraying a desperately thirsty lawn. They chased the regular birds from the feeders. They pecked and groused at the mourning doves. They filled the trees like a million black frigidity leaves. They devoured the stale bread I’d thrown out for the crows. Even the rabbits ran for cover when the shifting black cloud landed, blanketing the lawn like a heavy black curtain.
The silent genteel Southern morning calm now punctuated with the herky jerky jabbering din of chaos.

As to why this unseasonal visitation, I can’t exactly say—but I will say that it has brought a bit of lively vigor to this otherwise oppressively hot, dog day, sensory dulling, summer’s end. . .
I can’t help but feel a bit out of sync with this topsy turvy season business and wonder what, or more precisely who, just might show up next. . . .

DSC02436

DSC02440

Precarious yet Precious

Hopes have precarious life. They are oft blighted, withered, snapped sheer off In vigorous growth and turned to rottenness.
George Eliot

“Why does everything that lives have to die?
So life would be precious, Asher. Something that is yours forever, is never precious.”

Chaim Potok

DSC01718
(a wounded spicebrush swallowtail resting in a tree / Julie Cook / 2015)

What is life but a precarious dance with death
A game of slight of hand
Hide and seek
Catch me if you can. . .
And yet it is a gift, sacredly given–
A gift to be. . .
Savored
Guarded
Cherished
and
Honored. . .

All life matters. . .
The born and the unborn
the young and the aged
the sick and the healthy
the bright and the dim
the tall and the small
the believer and the unbeliever
the White
the Black
the Asian
the Indian
the Muslim
the Buddhist
the Jew
the Christian
the Taoist
the liberal and the conservative
the republican and the democrat
the whig and the tory
the carnivore and the vegetarian
the learned and the ignorant
the faithful and the faithless
the wise and the unwise
the good, and yes, even the bad. . .

And what we do with that most precious of gifts is what matters most

Give or take
Comfort or ignore
Help or turn away
Reach out or hold tight
Love or hate. . .

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth
Psalm 139:13-16

“Do not repay evil with evil”

“Anger is a brief madness.”
Horace

“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds not words.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

DSC01223
(a new crop of mockingbirds waiting to hatch / Julie Cook / 2015

Ours is an ever increasing culture of anger.
Where anger begets violence.
While in turn, anger and violence are answered by the lack of personal responsibility.

Turn on the news, read a newspaper, witness it first hand. . .
Road rage as the result from the slight of a thoughtless driver. . .
Rage and violence at the workplace. . .
Unmitigated violence in our schools. . .
Violent eruptions at the mall, the movie theaters, a parking lot. . .
Multiplied by the madness that ensues from the perceived sense of the witnessed injustice. . .
all of which spiral downward into death, murder and pure chaos.

The victims of arrests, or near arrests, or searches gone bad,
which in turn cast entire cities into the descent and abyss of the madness of anarchy.
Communities angry over injustices, lose sight of the issues at hand when mob mentality masks frustration, sadness, disbelief with an ill conceived blanketed notion
to the “right” to loot, steal, destroy, hurt, kill.
With everyone having lost sight of one original death,
which has only begotten an ad infinite chain of violent acts and deaths.

Yet no one wants to address reasons why.
No one wants to take responsibility.
No one really wants the truth.
Everyone prefers pointing fingers.

Everyone shouts. . .
“It’s their fault. . .”
“NO, it’s their fault. . .”
“It’s his fault. . .”
“NO it’s her fault. . .”
“It’s the police’s fault”
“It’s the poor people’s fault”
“It’s the rich people’s fault”
It’s the black people’s fault”
“NO, it’s the white people’s fault”
“It’s the Latino’s fault”
“NO it’s the Asian’s fault”
“It’s the immigrants fault”
“It’s the Government’s fault”
On and on and on it goes. . .

Anger, morphed into violence will only beget more anger and more violence.

All actions, good or bad have consequences, good or bad.
Responsibility must exist for all actions, good and bad. . .otherwise mob rule and anarchy are allowed to fester, breed, and grow.

Yet no one wants to take responsibility for wrongs. . .
it’s wrong to kill
it’s wrong to steal
it’s wrong to beat
it’s wrong to hate
it’s wrong to hit
it’s wrong to loot
it’s wrong to burn
it’s wrong to hurt
and therefore the wrongs are simply left to multiply. . .

Maybe, it’s just everyone’s fault.
Or maybe, it’s the fault of ignorance, prejudice, skepticism, and an inward hatred. . .
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fault of a lack of faith in our hearts in the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the begotten Son of God and the power in that Resurrection. . .

“Do Not Repay Evil With Evil”
Do not raise your hand to strike.
Do not open your mouth in anger, but remain still.
How can the one who wants to do evil things against you hurt you?
It does not hurt you: it hurts the other person.
Suffering injustice does not hurt the Christian, but doing injustice does.
Indeed, evil can do only one thing to you, namely make you also become evil.
If it does, then it wins.
Therefore, do not repay evil with evil.
If you do, you will not hurt the other person; you will hurt yourself.
You are not in danger when evil happens to you,
but the person who does you wrong is in danger and will suffer from it,
if you do not offer help.
Therefore, for the sake of the other person and your responsibility for that person—
do not repay evil with evil. . .
How does that happen?
Not by our giving nourishment to the other person’s evil,
hate to the other person’s hate,
but by letting evil strike out into empty space and find nothing
that can inflame it.
How can we overcome evil?
By our forgiving it endlessly.
How does that happen?
By seeing enemies as they really are: as people for whom
Christ Died, as people Christ loves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I Want To Live These Days With You
A year of Daily Devotions
Reading for May 11
taken from Illegale Theologenausbildung: Finkenwalde 1935-1940