Talk to Me!

Jonah and Whale SharkNow the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.    Jonah 1, selected verses.

I believe God speaks to us. It’s usually more in the form of signs for us to understand than actual words, although that still happens in this current time.  There are many instances of Jesus visiting Muslims in their dreams and in visions, because that’s the only way they can know of Him.

Sometimes I really wonder what’s happening in my life. I’ve got a good job, but lately it feels like the wheels are coming off.  Shall I brush up my resume’?  Do I have something to worry about here?

As these questions swirl, I had two job opportunities come to my attention out of the blue. I’m not quite a good match for either, even though they are both in my “sweet spot” as far as the discipline goes.

This reminded me of when I moved to Memphis for my current job after going through bankruptcy. I lost count of how many recruiters called me with inquiries for jobs I might be interested in.  NOW they show up??

It occurred to me in this instance that God is just showing me that He has this and this is where He wants me right now. What’s the message?

“Jeff, I know you’re getting the heeby-jeebies over your company’s current condition, but I’m still in control. Just to prove it, I’m going to send you two jobs that are almost perfect for you, but that you can’t really win.  Just to show you that I can whistle up whatever I want whenever I want.  If I want you somewhere else, I’ll get you there.  That just isn’t gonna happen right now.  So stop worrying and carry on.”

I didn’t hear a voice, but after prayer and reflection, this is the answer, the impression that formed in my mind. This is my interpretation of recent events.

I can see the message being similar when I got all of those recruiters calling after I moved to Memphis.

“I could’ve moved you anywhere, anytime. You just had to wait and go through some trials to get your where I wanted you, both physically and emotionally.  So hang in there.”

Does God talk to you? I’m sure He does…through events, “coincidences,” etc.  Here’s the thing, when you think God is sending you a message, pray about it.  Be careful of forcing your wishes into occurrences.  You might not get anything.  If not, don’t get hung up on it.  Either He doesn’t want you to know now, or ever, or maybe it’s simply the fact that stuff happens.

So hang in there. God has this.  He may explain why something happened.  He may use circumstances to funnel you into a course of action, like He did moving me to Memphis.

So that’s me sharing what I suddenly felt was a communication. Am I right?  Maybe, maybe not.  But then, my interpretation is pretty well in character with God, right?

Luke 14:7-11

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.      Philippians 4:8 [Full Chapter]

Book StoreI was browsing around the bookstore this evening and saw some new titles. One title was “You are a Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.”

First, language people! This was on the New Arrivals shelf maybe 20 feet inside the door.  Kids see this stuff!  Is this how we want them…EVERYONE talking all of the time?

Second, it’s a lousy message. We have no inherent greatness.  That’s the road that leads to self-worship and narcissism.  How about focusing on others and community, building the team?  If everyone starts talking themselves into how great they are, who’s going to be listening?  Who is going to care?

Rather, give up to God and your neighbor in humility. Tooting your own horn won’t get you nearly as far as someone else caring enough to toot it for you!

33 Then He (Jesus) came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”    Mark 9:33-35

Or one of Jesus’ parables:

humilitySo He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”    Luke 14:7-11

The other book I saw was even worse: “The Subtle Art of not giving a F****.” Except it was spelled out with a dirty ink splotch instead of the vowel.  Once more; language, people!

If that’s the best this clown can do with a title, what would make me trust there’s anything subtle anywhere in this book?

The basic premise is a good one. See the Bible passage at the top.  But this profane person wants you to buy his book for $20 or more.

Let me save you some time and money. Read my article Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys from 02/02/2016.

Here endeth the lesson.

Getting Justice

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.    Romans 12:19

I watched a documentary series on NetFlix, The Keepers, over the weekend. It is about Sister Catherine “Cathy” Cesnik (who) was a nun and an English and Drama teacher at the former, all-girls Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, Maryland. On November 7, 1969, Cesnik disappeared.[1] Her body was later discovered on January 3, 1970 near a garbage dump in Lansdowne, Maryland.[2] However, the murder still remains a mystery.”Who-Killed-Sister-Cathy-Keepers-Netflix

What is clear is that a Father Joseph Maskell, the school chaplain, had sexually assaulted scores of girls during his time there. He was a manipulative, evil man who not only engaged in raping the girls, but also provided them for other in his circle to engage with.

This was after having been transferred to Keough from a parish where he had been caught molesting an altar boy.

Maskall

Maskell

Maskell never faced criminal charges for his crimes, which destroyed many lives, both the girls and their families, in the decades since. He died in a mental hospital, where he was sequestered by the archdiocese of Baltimore to keep him and his sordid tale out of the courts and the news.

 

Two former students of Sister Catherine have taken the matter into their own hands, using social media to do the detective work that the Baltimore PD never did. In a latter episode they interview the current head of Homicide.  He was not a part of the department during the time of Sister Catherine’s murder, so there is no question of collusion on his part.  He did have a pretty uncomfortable time of it, though, as the ladies and their film crew had much more data than he was even aware of.

He had to keep looking over at assistants off-camera for any confirmation they might have of what these two civilians had uncovered. He stopped the interview at one point and left the room.  When he came back, he explained that he had just made several calls to state offices and the FBI to track critical missing evidence.  You could see he was getting hot, but not at the women.

That’s the very rough outline then; The Sister was murdered by Maskell and or someone in his circle. The men who disposed of the body have been identified, but one is dead, and the other is a feeble man in his 80’s.  I couldn’t decide if he was now a moron or very good at playing one on TV.

Sister Catherine’s parents have both died, never knowing who would’ve killed their daughter. Time is running out to find and get anyone responsible before they die.  The series leaves with comments that they want justice for their former teacher, but they don’t know if that will ever happen.

I started sharing their anger, wanting those who committed all of these inhuman acts from the abuse to the murder to get theirs. No satisfaction was to be had in the conclusion.  The women will just keep on digging and pushing until they can break something loose or die.

Maskell died a shell of a man. A former victim found him and scammed her way into the hospital to see him.  She found him in a wheelchair, pushed by a nurse and lied as to who she was to talk to him.  She knelt and got her face close to his and sweetly introduced herself by name and a few details that wouldn’t give her away, but would jog his memory.

I couldn’t wait to hear how he reacted; the fear, the panic. I was disappointed to hear her tell how he was a blank, a mere husk of a human being.  She looked into his eyes and found “no one home.”  He died not long after.

“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

We’re all pretty familiar with the Old Testament. If God wants to punish someone, He can be pretty thorough and imaginative.  I recall a passage that tells us it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.  Whatever Maskell lived through in his last days and what he endures at this moment…  I don’t even want to know.

There but for the grace of God… I’ve never done those things, but I’ve sinned and deserve damnation myself.  I can’t rejoice at Maskell’s fate.  I feel like the only smart play is to mentally fold my hands and not get in the way, so to speak.  If I were to give a victory dance, I can imagine God looking over His shoulder at me.  You know The Look, right?  The one your dad used to shoot you that shut you right up?  Imagine that from God.

If vengeance is God’s. should those women give up their quest? By no means!  I cite the well-known quotation – “The only thing required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.

So, ladies, continue the fight. God gives us each our mission to accomplish.  You may not get justice from your government.  You may not win your cause in this world.  God will take care of things in the end, however.  You are in my prayers.

Sister-Cathy-916144

Sister Cathy Cesnik

Shaking the World

So Jesus said to them, “…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”     Matthew 17:20

MountainI remember the first time I heard the verse from Matthew 17 and wondering what would happen if everyone decided to give that a go. I mean, there aren’t enough mountains, right?  I was young, and tended to take things very literally.

BBBIn a recent online discussion with fellow blogger, BeautyBeyondBones, the idea of doing something earth shattering for someone came up.  Sometimes we do that without any real effort.  Sometimes we do it and never even know it!

I remember someone coming to me once and telling me that I said something that completely changed his life for the better. I couldn’t even remember the visit let alone what I said.  As a college instructor I changed a young woman’s life, and didn’t even know it till after the term.  She came to my office, changed from blond to brunette.  She finally felt like shewas really smart after all and decided to leave behind the “dumb blond” she had always thought she was.  See Smart Blond.

We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn’t we, Wang?   Jack Burton: Big Trouble in Little Chinabig-trouble-little-china

When BeautyBeyondBones does something earth-shattering to help the followers of her blog – and she is very inspirational – she’s not sure she did that much.  I haven’t always known when I’ve made a contribution that made someone else’s life better, that “rocked their world.”  Or tossed their mountain into the sea.

Drink of water

Whoever gives a little one only a cup of cold water…  Matt 10:42

When you or I do something earth shattering for someone else, it isn’t always a Herculean effort on our part. When we live in faith, God works through us to help others.  God gives us spiritual gifts that we use to help those around us.  Just as a bird would find nothing amazing about flying or a fish about swimming, someone with a gift from God finds that changing someone else’s life can take little effort.

 

God can use anyone to accomplish His intended purpose, believers and unbelievers. God using Babylon and other wicked nations and people to accomplish His ends in the Bible are examples.  But here is the difference; when we perform good works through faith, when caring for others comes from acting on Jesus’ love to us, when it blooms as the fruit of the Spirit, we can do so much more than feed someone or give them money.  We can start to show them the way to God!

I am a board member of a Christian charity called Friends of Russian Orphans, F.O.R.O.  This is their mission statement: Friends of Russian Orphans (“FORO”) is an American mission organization, dedicated to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ to Russian orphans and their caregivers through practical assistance and friendship programs.

Bathroom-Stalls-CommercialWe’ve rewired orphanages that were in danger of burning down, replaced holes in the floor over sewage lines with REAL TOILETS, complete with stalls! We’ve paid for education programs to be introduced into some orphanages.  We’ve also introduced Jesus to them in places where we were allowed to.  Showing we did more than talk, we gained credibility and could begin to work with their souls in addition to bodies and minds.

One of our programs was hosting a group of orphans from a Russian orphanage here in the states for two weeks, ten kids or so, accompanied by a couple caregivers from the orphanage to chaperone their travels and help with communication. Each child stayed with a host family, had their own bedroom, went to Vacation Bible School, the zoo, swimming, all sorts of things.

Over half were adopted by their host families over the three years we could do this. The orphanages reported noticeably improved behavior from those who weren’t.  They had seen what a real family can be like, and tried to bring that back with them, buoyed with the hope that life CAN get better!

The last time we were able to do this, one of the chaperones just seemed to be an old sourpuss, some crusty, Russian government employee. We couldn’t help feeling a bit put off that we had paid for her travel along with the rest and she couldn’t show a little courtesy in return.

We would give the chaperones a treat every time of a shopping trip to Chicago for a couple days. FORO’s founder has a sister there, and she put the chaperones up at her house.

Old Crusty got one daughter’s bedroom. The daughter’s white confirmation Bible was on the bed stand.

BibleThe next morning the chaperone came to the kitchen looking like she’d been up all night. The white Bible was in her hand.  She had indeed been up all night, reading God’s Gospel.  All she could say was something along the lines that she had never known any of this.  She was devastated, but…changed.  She wanted to get her own Bible to take home with her, so they spent a good part of the day finding a white confirmation Bible just like the one she read.

They prayed with her, and she accepted Jesus as her Saviour.

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.    Luke 15:10

It was just a shopping trip from Toledo to Chicago. It was a daughter letting a stranger sleep in her room.  It was a Bible just left where it always was.

But those things shattered her earth, rocked her world, changed her life, tossed her mountain into the sea, and shook the pillars of heaven with the joy of angels over one sinner who repented.

Not bad. For a shopping trip.

False Security

23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. 24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.  Isaiah 40:23-24

I’m currently reading through a study of Daniel and its relationship to Revelation prophecy. I just finished Daniel 5, which most of us know best for the moment when a disembodied hand writes on the wall during a feast of the King.

King Belshazzar was giving a feast…well, more like an orgy, really. He even had the sacred vessels from the Jerusalem Temple brought in to drink and celebrate his gold and silver idols.  God pronounced judgment on him by way of “the handwriting on the wall.”  He called for Daniel to come interpret the writing.  It turned out that was the very night Babylon was breached by the Persians and Belshazzar was killed.

He and the rest knew King Cyrus was out there, but they had faith in their mighty walls, which had never been conquered. They thought they were secure.  They were not.

However, the could have been. If only they’d placed their trust in God instead of their walls, they would have been truly secure!

In his book, “Agents of Babylon,” Dr. David Jeremiah writes:

“Contemporary civilization is similar to ancient Babylon in that it has much to foster human pride but little to provide human security.”

What else but pride causes a row over seats at a high school graduation big enough to make national headlines? Who in their right mind kills a family member over the last drumstick at dinner?  What are people thinking when they abuse a waitress over the most things?

Litmus test – If this is my biggest problem today, just how bad of a day is it, really? Answer?  Not very bad unless you are blinded by pride!

For the same reasons, we don’t have the security anywhere in the world that we used to. People feel more and more entitled to do whatever they wish; cut someone off in traffic with the potential to cause harm, pull a gun on someone over cutting in line, and more.  I actually had someone spit at me from a car while riding a bicycle several years ago.

In “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything,” the author points out that civilization, law, & order are myths that most people buy into.  When people start realizing what they can actually get away with and have the pride, the sense of entitlement to give it a go, chaos is just around the corner.  Only when we are taught humility by God is civilization possible.  The more prideful we become as a society, the less secure we are…at movie theatres, fast food restaurants, in our parks, and even just walking or driving down the streets and highways.

Dr. Jeremiah rightly points out that “The disaster of the world, however, does not overtake the child of God…”

Daniel was in his eighties when Cyrus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy by capturing Babylon and killed Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus also made Daniel one of the leading men in his kingdom.  God wasn’t done with Daniel.

God isn’t done with us either. Don’t be concerned with self and earthly riches on earth.  And, while God is a loving God, we should never ignore the warnings and examples of wrath in the Bible.  God punishes and God corrects, and neither are seldom fun.

Stay humble; God shuns the proud.

Discussion on Depression – Share

Sometimes I have a lot on my mind and it shows on my face. Many times, random people-strangers and others-will say: “Smile, it’s not that bad!” It usually isn’t. But sometimes, it is. I suffer from depression. Up front, I want to say that this is not an anti-treatment rant, because I have […]

via Smile. — Faithfully Fit

What Did They Do?

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.   Genesis 2:8Garden-of-Eden1

Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden. *sigh*  Doesn’t that sound just perfect?  I wonder what they did.

I’m reading the Book of Enoch. Enoch was Adam’s great-great-great grandson, Methuselah’s father, and Noah’s great-great grandfather.  The Bible tells us about him thusly:

After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.   Genesis 5:22-24

He was a righteous man and seems to have been God’s closest friend. The book that bears his name is, of course, purported to have written by him and contains more detailed accounts of the events of Genesis than we find in the Bible itself.

The Book of Enoch is not part of biblical canon, not taken to be the inspired Word of God. It does answer a lot of detail about the times leading up to Moses, as well as predicting the Flood and even end times.  It was also part of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls discovery.

Enoch’s book is mostly known for his description of The Watchers, those of a class of angels who watched and guarded different parts of creation. He tells us the names of the Watchers who fell from perfection with God and revolted.

Among other things, they revealed to mankind secrets not meant for us; metal-working, decorative metals and precious stones, writing with ink and paper, music, and more.

When I read that, my first thought was Adam and eve – What did they do?!?Adam and Eve

This sounds a little too much like the movie Footloose. No singing, dancing, art…nothing.  Boring!

But let’s come at this from a different angle. As you walk out the door to go to work, school, or whatever you are required to attend to, do you ever look into the eyes of your dog or cat and wish you could just hang out all of the time like they do?

This isn’t a perfect analogy, I know. We are much more than pets to God.  He sacrificed Jesus to be our salvation.  “For God so loved the world…”

So what does your dog or cat do?

Sleep whenever they want.

Eat whenever they want.

If not alone, they probably play chase games, wrestle around, cuddle for naps, bask in the sunshine, and whatever else suits their fancy.

Adam and Eve didn’t have music, arts, nothing. At least by our standards.

They did have direct communion with God. DIRECT!  They lived in Eden, which was custom-made for them.  The maybe tended the garden, picked food, played with the animals, and who knows what else.

So why was it such a bad thing for the fallen Watchers to teach mankind the arts? We like them, right?  They are not inherently evil.  But they are those things which distract us from God.  And they are things that are misused by men.

Metal-working has always been used for warfare and killing. Music and art have glorified sin as much or more than it has glorified God.

Adam and Eve didn’t have those distractions, those temptations (one was enough, right?). God and all He supplied was enough.  There were no further needs to be filled.

Yes, we use music and all arts to glorify God now. David was a skilled musician.  Like I said, these arts and skills are not inherently bad.  They just weren’t originally meant for us.  Part of me is saddened by that.  I LOVE music!  I LOVE reading books and watching movies!  My imperfect self does not want to let those things go!

But my pets never sang, danced, painted, or wrote blog articles, and they were happy.DSC_1777 You can read about my German Shepherd, Duchess, in last year’s article.  She was a happy, fun dog.

I guess I would like to be like her; eat when I want, sleep when I want, enjoy my Master, bask in the sun, play with my fellow creatures, and basically live a carefree life.

So THAT’S what they did!

Filtering for Truth

“…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”    John 1:17

I had more to say yesterday, but I didn’t want to lose focus on my original theme. The other things I learned while writing yesterday’s “The Problem With Pain,” are a tangent that was touched on toward the end; wonderful truths supporting terrible lies.

Star Trek, of course, is where I’ll start. I grew up on the voyages of the starship Enterprise and the exploits of Kirk and his crew.  They always defeated the enemy, except when the enemy was staring back at them from their com consoles, when they were their own enemy.

Let’s first consider “This Side of Paradise,” first aired on March 2, 1967. Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia:

“Despite exposure to fatal radiation, the Federation colony on Omicron Ceti III appears to be thriving. A landing party from the Enterprise investigates, finding the colony’s population to be healthy beyond explanation. Leila Kalomi, an old friend of Mr. Spock, shows the landing party strange flowers that seem to impose a state of pure bliss on all exposed to its spores (even Spock), but at the cost of ambition and self-discipline. Will the Enterprise crew succumb to the effects?”

Everyone is happy, everyone is in better health than when they first arrived, and no one wants to leave. Except Captain Kirk.  He eventually saves the day by discovering how to neutralize the spores.  He brings everyone back to their “right minds,” including the colonists who were also purged of their spore “infection.”

In a supremely ironic moment, the leader of the colony laments their wasted time living in contentment for all of those years: “What were we doing here? We’ve made no progress at all.”

No progress? After a history of constant warfare on earth and now conflicts with Klingons and Romulans in the galaxy, peace on Omicron Ceti III and good will toward men isn’t progress?

Only the final scene on the bridge before warping off to next week gives a nod to the irony. Kirk explains why it was necessary to get rid of the spores and get on with their lives.

“Maybe we weren’t meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through, struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way.  Maybe we can’t stroll to the music of the lute.  We must march to the sound of drums!”

McCoy asks an unusually quiet Spock for his thoughts.

“All I know, doctor, is that for the first time in my life…I was happy.”

I remember thinking that Kirk and crew triumphed again preserving human life in the galaxy. Should we surrender our own agendas in favor of peace and harmony?  Isn’t that what God asks of us, offering paradise in return?

In the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition look at This Side of Paradise, Shatner sets the record straight, and points out the mistake of always assuming aliens are the enemy.

Going back to yesterday’s look at Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, there is a scene where Sybok “treats” Bones and Spock for their inner pain. When Kirk is invited to be healed, he growls back –

“Dammit, Bones! You’re a doctor.  You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand.  Those are things that we carry with us.  They’re what make us who we are.  If we lose them, we lose ourselves!  I don’t want my pain taken away!  I need my pain!”

This is an echo of a first season episode, “The Enemy Within.” A transporter accident splits Kirk into two separate selves, a good Kirk and an evil Kirk.  Spock and McCoy must find a way to reunite the two parts of their captain before the both die.  The good Kirk also discovers that he is rapidly losing his ability to command, because he needs the harder, evil side of himself to be a balanced person.

The argument is very convincing in the drama. We are invited to see evil and sin as good and necessary.  Without a counter argument, people can be led astray to believe this sort of pop culture psychology.  Remember that Star Trek was exceptionally influential in its original run.  Even today newcomers to the world of Star Trek become avid Trekkies.

Do I believe that the writers had evil intentions? I would doubt that they acted maliciously.  But this is a world where prayer is banned in schools, Christianity is smothered wherever possible, and people just…don’t…learn the truth of God’s Word and how we were made to be good and perfect.

Many faulty perspectives are propagated in our culture, and not just through Star Trek. What movies, TV shows, and books do you consume that are delivering anti-Christian messages?  Have you studied God’s Word enough to filter your entertainment for the truth?

No Country for Old Men

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.   Matthew 24:12

No, this isn’t about the Tommy Lee Jones movie. The title just sprang to mind as I contemplate the recent spate of incidents on passenger jets recently.

First, there was the doctor who was also a felon getting dragged off a plane after refusing to leave an over-booked flight. Personally, despite the fact that I’d be mightily honked off about it, I’d comply.  Making the national news via a YouTube video of me getting dragged off a plane is not a career-enhancing move.

Then there was the flight steward who reportedly smacked a mom holding her baby with the kid’s stroller. Then the same guy confronts another passenger who was ticked about how he treated the mom.  When the passenger got threatening, the steward’s considered response was approximately “Bring it!”

This morning I saw another video from a flight where two guys had a full on boxing match in coach. The apparent instigator was drunk.  He even walked away and then decided to come back for more.  Again, national news by way of YouTube.

I’m old enough to remember when people dressed their best to get on a plane. I remember wearing suits when taking some of my first flights in the 70’s and 80’s.  Some people still do, but it’s common enough to see folks in flip-flops and baggy shorts.  They look more like they’re on a run to the kitchen during football halftime than out in public and taking a trip that is by no means inexpensive.

When I first entered corporate employment suits were required in the office. My closet was mostly white shirts, a few colored shirts, half a dozen suits, and a large assortment of ties.  I even had some shirts with French cuffs for the cuff link sets I started enjoying.

Then came Casual Fridays, then casual every days. This despite studies that clearly showed decreased productivity when people dress down.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I’m some old guy who longs for the good old days.  But with good reason.

We, as a society and a world, are consistently lowering standards, accepting less admirable appearances and even less admirable behavior. We’ve fallen very far from The Greatest Generation, which won World War Two.  That was the time when people tried to make themselves presentable in public.  No one wore their pants below their butts, exposing their boxers.

What happened?

How about Madalyn Murray O’Hare? She founded American Atheists and started the American Atheist Magazine.  It was her lawsuit, Murray vs. Curlett, that led to the Supreme Court ruling that banned official Bible reading in public schools.

Ironically, she, her son, and her granddaughter were murdered and mutilated by an employee of her American Atheist Magazine, one David Roland Waters. He started there as a typesetter and was later promoted to office manager.  He apparently read all of the articles, figured “What the heck?”, and decided that he did not understand any part of Thou Shalt Not Kill nor the rest of The Ten Commandments.

I can’t help wondering if Madalyn at some point really thought David was wrong to do this. I mean, if we’re all a cosmic accident and there’s no God, there is no right or wrong.  David was just…doing what comes naturally?

O’Hare is largely responsible for the decline of religion in America. Absent God’s instruction, we can be assured of trouble, and that’s exactly what we have now.  Trouble.

So people act out on air planes, on the street, in fast food drive-throughs, etc. We decide that God’s standards are not absolute, that we can make up our own, and then lament the growing anarchy.

We find ourselves in a country that is not for guys like me who remember The Good Old Days!