The sinking sands of our crazy times

I live in a crazy time.
Anne Frank

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(the evening beach walkers / Santa Rosa Beach, Fl / 2016)

I don’t think that there is man nor beast amongst us who wouldn’t agree that we are living in a time of utter craziness.
And that’s crazy in not a good kind of crazy way.

Granted previous generations have had their fair share of crazy…
However back then, back in the day,
one could pretty much discern who and what was crazy and who and what was not.
Everyone knew who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.
Life was black and white.

Everyone knew right from wrong and wrong from right and they could all unite on common ground to fight the common fight against the common enemy.

Folks could and would rally around a cause,
actually rolling up their sleeves to fight for that cause.

Today we live in a hazy time…a crazy time.
A time of heavy smoke and fog…
A time that sees the sands on which we stand, sifting…
As all the colors have swirled together… creating a tertiary bland sea of nothingness…
with no discernible good / bad …right / wrong.
No one knows which side of the fence to get on anymore.

That’s what happens when we decide everything and anything is simply all good because we don’t like anything to be bad. We’ve actually muddied the waters with our overt good intentions.

I’ve always been pretty even keeled and level headed…or at least that is now the case in these latter years of mine as hindsight is something I have finally, thankfully, acquired…with such being a by-product of the aging process.

I’m not one to go off half cocked and jump on the elusive bandwagons of those wearing the rose colored glasses.
I like things to be black and white.
Yes or no
Good or bad…
I like being able to readily discern what is what.

A gray, blended hodge podge of gobbledegook is not my cup of tea.

I admire the John the Baptists and Winston Churchills among us.
Those who could and can see, as well as know, what is what…
No excuses, no delusions, no appeasement and sticking heads in sand.
More of stating the facts then squaring the shoulders in order to deal with the forthcoming onslaught.
They didn’t nor currently do not mince words and they called and continue calling a spade a spade….
meaning…they don’t and won’t sugar coat the truth, no matter how hard and tough it may be.

I like to see what I’m dealing with…straight away and head on…

It’s like seeing that ominous twister in the distance.
It’s fearsome, destructive and heading your way…but at least you know what you’re dealing with.
You know your options…albeit dire and possibly deadly, but at least you know what your fighting for and against.

It’s the twister coming in the night, hidden in the darkness, that hidden monster heading your way, which is most frightening. You catch a glimpse of it in the flash of lightening… only to meekly jump into bed while pulling the covers over your head as you simply hope for the best.

Not a good plan…

Nope, not at all…

I prefer knowing what it is I’m dealing with and in turn, flatly deal with it.
And I don’t like pretending that the bad is hiding in the sheep’s clothing of good.

Now I’ve never been one to jump on Ralph Nader’s bandwagon.
You know, that forever and ever Greenpeace presidential candidate…
That fellow who has been raising his battle standard since I was young!
As Nader was always the voice in the back of the room who was reminding everyone of issues no one either cared to hear about or simply tried to ignore.
He made most folks a tad uncomfortable with his rabble rousing.

He was always a bit out there for me, a bit over the top.
Not that he hasn’t had good ideas…
He has sounded the often necessary bells of alarm over the environment and all things humanitarian.
He was the consumer’s advocate before there was the magazine.

But as a more rock solid kind of soul, I wasn’t all peace, love and rock and roll.

So imagine my small bemusement recently when reading a recent interview with Mr Nadar that actually had me more in agreement than disagreement.

Never one to shy away from what he thinks is the real reason behind big government, big business, big shenanigans, Mr Nader reflects on some of the reasons for today’s craziness of the shifting sands we precariously now find ourselves slowly sinking on….

Everything from the defunct Occupy Wall Street movement, to the overtly sensitive Black Lives Matters, to our darkening college culture of self absorption, to the crisis in middle America and the rise of Donald Trump…

Mr Nader offers a good bit to chew on in his latest bells of alarm….bells I tend to agree need to be rung….

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/06/10/ralph-nader-criticizes-absurd-college-culture/21393149/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/06/09/ralph-nader-blasts-sensitive-black-lives-matter-activists-absurd-trigger-warning-campus-culture/

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn “my Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
lyrics by Edward Mote (1797-1874)

It is what it is…

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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(up close and personal with a sheep / Slieve League, Co Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Maybe I read more news then I should…
Maybe I read the stories that don’t receive the same amount of coverage or
attention as say… those stories which fill and flood our news outlets…
just as excessive rains fill a sewer system…

Sending a sea of garbage filled overflow flooding into all of our lives…
whether we ask for it or not…

For it seems that there are just too many “newsless” stories which seem to overshadow the truly more pressing stories…
those stories that we really should be focusing on…
especially as Christians…

Why as Christians you ask?
Why should I worry myself with the happenings and business of things which take place
“over there”
you muse?

Well…because in a plain spoken reminder, by one who did just that…
Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that when Christ calls…
when He calls both you and I…
it is a call to die…
to die unto self.

We are united in the faith and fellowship in the single body of Christ,
with our brothers and sisters around this globe…
and when one part of the body hurts and aches,
so does the whole…

It behooves us to be mindful that we have a vested interest in the
honoring of God’s sovereign land of Israel…
of which the US and the current administration has opted not to do…

It behooves us to be aware of the sacrifices made globally
by our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer because of their faith.
Those who are imprisoned, tortured and killed just for worshiping…
What will ever stop that happening say…one day to us…

It behooves us to be mindful that we in the West take for granted the freedom
to walk into our various houses of worship while so many others cannot…

It behooves us to note that if we fail to speak or act on their behalf,
on the behalf of countless others scattered around this ailing world…
then who will remain to act on ours…..

The following links are to recent stories…
stories reporting the events taking place in Israel,
the Christian genocide in Iraq by IS, the destruction of churches in China and
how 2015 was a very bad year for Christians worldwide:

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-says-israels-netanyahu-opted-cancel-visit-211709688.html

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/08/separate-attacks-reported-in-israel-2-security-officers-injured.html?intcmp=hpbt3

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/08/beheadings-imprisonment-made-2015-worst-year-for-christian-persecution-report-finds.html?intcmp=hpbt2

https://www.yahoo.com/politics/catholics-urge-obama-to-use-1382330232389686.html

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/03/10/report-details-isis-atrocities-against-christians-presses-state-for-genocide-label.html?intcmp=hpbt1

http://uverse.com/uv/watch/c___Wbh9DOcn41YA?ref=yfp

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Martin Niemoller

Paying attention

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”
James Cook, British Explorer

Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.
Antisthenes

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(preening gulls / Henderson State Park / Julie Cook /2015 )

Attention verses inattention verses distraction verses indifference verses cynicism verses . . .

Living in a world full of gadgets and gizmos, internet and facebook, cell phones and ear phones,
Each vying for your time, your focus, your attention. . .are you missing the bigger picture?

Flags flap, genders clash, rights obscure, as the baby is thrown out, over and over, with the bathwater. . .are you missing the point?

Masses riot, burning and looting, while everyone’s shooting as tolerance and anger dance a dangerous waltz. . .are you missing the fire for the smoke?

Minorities rule as majorities fool with everyone more confused than before. . .are you missing the boat?

Marriages verses rights as bakeries fight refusing to make the cake. . .are you sitting on the fence

The world is changing as the enemies converge but everyone’s too busy to notice. . .

Listen and hear my voice;
pay attention and hear what I say.

Psalm 128:23

Past and Future

“. . .It’s got me hoping for the future
And worrying about the past
‘Cause I’ve seen some hot hot blazes
Come down to smoke and ash. . .”

a few lines from Joni Mitchell – Help Me

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Giovanni Bellini / Le Christ Bénissant 1465-1470 / The Louvre / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011)

Has the past left you worrying about the future?
Will the future find you wistful for the past?
Does the present find you hopeful about much of anything?

Have you turned on the news, read the paper, seen the stories. . .

Terror attacks on the beach
Heads chopped off like weeds.
Migrants are flooding across the seas
Legislation turns topsy turvy
Killings where we worship
Good guys set bad guys free
Sharks are hungry in the surf
Flags flap in the wind

That which is seen now as bad must be stricken from sight, from history, from acknowledgment—
Seek and destroy quickly lest anyone notice.
Hysteria is crying foul as the masses must now acquiesce.
Simply wipe it clean with the sweep of a pen and that’ll make it all better.
Don’t pause to consider the bigger picture.
Just erase it from view and that’ll be the end of it.
Rewrite what was and that’ll keep them happy, quiet, confused.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Is straddling that fence getting uncomfortable?
Is the grey any more clear?
Upside down for one is now right side up for many.
Thought you knew which way to go. . .

When rainbows once came after the storm
Hope grew out of the past
History directed the future
and everything made more sense. . .

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4: 12-19