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!

Sometimes a Star, Sometimes an Extra

“Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?”  Isaiah 45:9

When I was an actor, I always had a lot more fun being in the starring role. As we go through our lives, we sure would rather be the star in our own production.

Being the most important person in every situation is often our goal. We want to believe that everything would be just a bit worse if we weren’t there.  We want to know that every situation is one that God ordained with us at the center.  “All things work together for good for those that love God.”  See?  It’s always about me!

Many modern, mega-churches draw their membership with assurances that God’s Word promises comfort and wealth. These modern churches preach a gospel of prosperity and success.  Earthly prosperity and success, that is.

We should, however, recall that Jesus warned His disciples that they should expect troubles. If the world persecuted Him, they should expect no less.  Christianity means having a big target on your back…for Satan.  He works harder for what he does not have.  So Christians should be quite happy when things are going well for them.  Likewise, they should be even more prayerful and even joyful, as the scriptures tell us, in adversity.  Adversity produces character and hope, if we rely on God and persevere through our troubles.

That being said, we are always crossing the paths of other people. Sometimes our lives are intertwined with others’.  Sometimes we simply glance off someone else’s life, never to be seen again.  And who’s to say who is the star of that scene?  Are they there at a pivotal moment to move our lives along, or did God put us up against them to help them?  Who’s the star and who’s the extra?

For many years I was in a leadership role, both at work and at church.  I held an enviable training position at a Fortune 100 company, and I was able to help a lot of people improve their lives.  I ran management classes myself, plus I managed 3 degree programs my company had running with three different colleges and universities.  I was the man!

I was very active at church, conducting the liturgy at one of our three services every Sunday morning. Years of daily bible study had me in a position to make a lot of contributions in Sunday bible classes, which people generally reacted well to.  Again, I was the man!

So I was a star in both my private and professional lives. And I was benefitting many people in the process.  That felt pretty good.

Then the economy tanked, and I lost my job. I also lost a lot more.  Depression and stress ensued to a degree that had me wondering what would become of me and my family.  After several years I began to feel that I didn’t have more than 1-2 years left to live.  The stress was that bad.

During that time, our new pastor came and asked me to run for president of the congregation. He said he’d gotten my name from a number of members who thought I’d make a good choice.  I originally declined.  I just didn’t see how I could do it.  But a week later, it was as if God put a burden on my heart to accept, so I did.  I was narrowly elected.

I was an utter failure. I didn’t have the energy for it and I didn’t have the emotional stability to endure the unavoidable politics.  After just over a year, I could go no further.  I asked God why He gave me the call to do it but took away the abilities I had had to do it.  I was distraught and resigned.

In stepped the vice president. He chaired the next voter’s meeting, which was contentious and fraught with land mines.  He steered the meeting with a skill I could only wish for on my best day!  He was the star!  He has gone on to get a lot of problems solved that I was unable to tackle.  I realized that God just wanted me to keep the seat warm until it was his time.

I was definitely the extra in this chain of events. It was about just being the warm body needed to hold the chair until the star took the stage.  Kind of humbling, huh?  But I ended up being OK with that.  Even relieved.  Now I know why things happened the way they did.  That in itself is a gift.  I’ve experienced other situations where I don’t think I’ll ever understand what happened.  Faith is the only answer.

Will the pot complain to the Potter about how it’s made or what is put in it? Probably not the best idea.  Just keep on living.  Keep on moving.  I like to say that, because He gave us free will, not even God can steer a car that’s not rolling.  We need to keep going.  Let God have the wheel.  Know that God does make everything work together for those that love Him.

Sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes you’re nothing more than the proverbial spear-chucker. But…

“…I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

She Died Alone…?

I heard a sad story on the radio the other day while driving. An elderly woman with no family or close friends had died.  She was found sitting in front of her television, which was still on.  The TV Guide lay beside her.  The date it was opened to was about six months ago.

This poor woman had been dead for about six months, and no one knew, There was no one in her life to check on her or wonder why they hadn’t seen her around.  Not even a neighbor.  It was saddening and just a little scary.

Who wants to die alone? Who wants to feel something happening inside their body and just know that this is the end?  They gasp in surprise as they feel the stroke.  The heart attack happens, and they know it’s big by how much it hurts.  They feel themselves fading, the tunnel vision sets in, and there’s no comforting touch of a loved one…or ANY one to ease their pain and passing.

But does anyone really die alone? Did that old woman really sit there for half a year?  No, she did not.  Her body did, but she was nowhere around.  She was someplace else.  I hope it was heaven.  If she was a Christian, she’s in heaven at this moment, experiencing the greatest joy she’s ever known.  At the moment of her death, Jesus came to her and escorted her there Himself.  Or maybe it was a long gone loved one, family or friend.  That’s how many people tell it from their near death experiences.

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Why yes, yes He is. In life or in death God is with us.  No matter where we go in this life, God is with us.  When we die, He is there.  Not one sparrow falls without your heavenly Father’s knowledge.  Do we seek a comforting touch in our last moment?  God will give it.

Or maybe that loved one. I can’t help but think of the passage from  Hebrews:

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  Hebrews 12:1

There are all of the believers in Christ who will welcome His elect into their company in heaven. I can imagine being passed person to person, one holy embrace after another.

The pastor at my home church told me once how he had seen comatose patients suddenly sit up at the moment of their death, arms outstretched to someone unseen, and joy on their faces. Their Saviour had come for them.

He had also seen people in comas suddenly recoil, terror apparent, lifting their arms to ward off some horror. These were people who had not accepted Christ.  Pastor could only imagine what demons those people tried to escape as their body gave out.

No one dies alone. The company we have chosen awaits us.  We will melt into the sweet embrace of salvation or struggle to escape the clutches of the damned.  However we die, we won’t be alone.

Family Erosion

[ Principles of Marriage ] Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good Catholic-Church-Wedding-Decorationsfor a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.   1 Corinthians 7:1-3

A recent headline reads Controversial study claims monogamy may NOT be the best approach for human relationships and is based on ‘flawed science.’

I’ve mentioned the importance of language in previous articles about euthanasia and abortion. People who support legalized murder cover that stance with softer-sounding words like “Women’s Health Care,” “Medical Procedure,” or “Death with Dignity” to name a few.  Most recently was Told You So.  A woman who was suffering from dementia was killed by the attending physician while the family held her down for the shot!

Behavioural scientists at the University of Michigan now make the claim that “…monogamy may NOT be the best approach for human relationships and is based on ‘flawed science’.”

They conducted a study of 617 people in “consensual non-monogamous” relationships,

Sleazy Man

8 out of 10 adulterers agree…

and discovered that measurements of trust, jealousy, passion, and overall satisfaction indicated no difference in that lifestyle as opposed to monogamous relationships.

 

When they both reviewed past research and ran their own current interviews, they concluded that earlier studies were flawed due to language. They say that earlier researchers skewed the study with loaded language: cheating, betrayal, infidelity, and the like.

gleason_buford_justice

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

“Sweetheart! I apologize for being so upset with you!  Here I thought you were just f***ing my best friend, betraying the trust of our marriage.  Now I understand it wasn’t that at all.  John was just helping you to unilaterally experiment with a polyamorous lifestyle.  Can you ever forgive me?”

 

Those Michigan researchers were absolutely right; language can affect perceptions! And when one spouse cheats on the other, we call it that because that’s largely how people feel! CHEATED!!

When you call it what it is, people can give an honest response. When you slather someone with syllables, they can’t see the question for the bubbles and will agree to the most ridiculous things.

signing-a-petition-scamI saw a video of someone testing for stupidity among the general population by trying to get signatures to ban dihydrogen mondioxide, because “It’s in all of our lakes, rivers, and reservoirs all over the country. Did you know XX number of people died last year from ingesting too much of it??”

One idiot after another signed. Why?  They had no clue that dihydrogen mondioxide is H2o; water.  Not knowing, they were too stupid to ask.  And of course water is lethal if you ingest too much.  We usually call it “drowning.”

That’s the game these researchers were playing. They were skewing the surveys themselves by hiding behind technical language, and accusing others of clouding the issue with clear language.  They needed to remove the natural sense of guilt that people feel when they sin in order to promote their secular agenda, namely the erosion and eventual destruction of the family.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!    Isaiah 5:20

We don’t need a survey from any university to tell us how relationships do and don’t work. We have God’s Word.  God describes how a family operates and the roles that each member fills.  It is a social structure He created, and it has worked admirably since Creation!

The only time it doesn’t work is when someone ”…unilaterally experiments with a

adultery

Non-consensual, non-monogamous… cheating to most of us

polyamorous lifestyle.” Murder, duals, divorce…all sorts of violence rises from the tinder of cheating/adultery/infidelity.

 

Science, which is testing and observing, proves that God’s way is the right way! Observation of history, current affairs, and the divorce courts show us how costly it is to live otherwise.  Rome was a cesspool of debauchery when it fell, because God’s social system had been abandoned.

Don’t you believe it whenever you hear someone says their study proves that anything is right when God says it’s wrong!  You’ll see a healthy slathering of syllables in there to cloud the issue!

JUST SKIN AND DRONES

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.   Genesis 2:18

Robots could soon be covered in real human flesh, Oxford boffins claim. Grab your pitchforks, scientists want to coat robots in muscle fibers and tissue so they look just like us.

Just Skin and Drones

This has GOT to stop! I mean right now, not tomorrow. With all of the research and development going into robotics – and not a little of it toward perfecting sex-bots – things have already past the getting-out-of-hand stage.

Try the article SILICONCUBINES about sex-bots used for “therapy.”  I also recently saw an article on a company – I’m serious – that is developing child sex-bots.

Now they’re working on ways to make a robot almost indistinguishable from a live person. The article highlights how growing real skin and tendons on robot frames (think Terminator) will advance the search for replacement parts far beyond where we are now.  Those pieces of flesh will be more mechanically accurate in terms of how they move compared to what we get from God.

I am not necessarily against medical advances, unless it hurts someone else in the process, like harvesting stem cells from human embryos. While the intentions may be good, someone will highjack this for…other purposes.

Why else is there a picture in the article of inventor/researcher Ricky Ma with his Mark 1 life size robot? It takes a second glance to realize he is not really standing next to Scarlett Johansson.

This will be an advance past bio-bots “…made of living cells that can wriggle and walk.” See Franken-Robots.  So far, these bio-bots are under a centimeter in size, but “Last year the researchers were able to make bots powered by rat’s heart move.”

Here’s the thing; when God wanted Adam to have some company, he produced a living, flesh and blood woman. The deal was that it would be just those two together, making and raising a family.  No musical chairs with spouses, no swinger parties with those first people throwing their leaves on a coffee table.

If you really want to tick Him off, commit a sin involving sex. Someone else’s wife?  Very bad for you!  Homosexual playing around?  Worse for you!  Going animalistic?  You don’t want to know.  The most drastic punishments happen in the sex part of the laws.

Mating with a robot? That didn’t get covered, but I’m thinking He can’t be happy about it.

Find your life-long mate. Love him or her mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Make each other happy.  Make each other feel good and wanted.  That’s why God didn’t make robots.  He made us, beings that can choose!  He likes when we choose Him.  He likes when we treat each other as we were created to, choosing each other.

Robots don’t have a choice; they aren’t even alive. Yet.  We’ll save AI for maybe another time!

32 Years of Marriage

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:24

This is the third time I’ve commemorated our wedding anniversary on my blog. First was Thirty Years Together in 2015 and 31 Years: A Marriage Album last year.

This year I’m not just looking back at 32 years with my Sweet Julie. This past year I’m feeling more and more happy with being her husband.  I just want time with her.  That’s hard when the job has me traveling so much.  I want to watch movies with her, travel with her, and do whatever else we can think of.  Together.

I’ll turn 60 in June. I’ve been caught up short at the fact that I’m much closer to my end than my beginning.  Given my family history, well, we’re not especially long-lived folks.

However much future I have left, I want to be spent enjoying each other. Whether it’s sitting silently at home reading or taking a trip – long or short – I just want to enjoy her.  I want to listen to her laugh, feel her warmth next to me, tease each other about the same idiosyncrasies as we have for the last 32 years, have countless more Saturday mornings at Panera with a pastry, our books, and talks.

I’d like to revisit Paris and just watch her sipping her “Café’ American” coffee in the little park behind Notre Dame as she did before. Maybe there will be one more new overseas adventure.  Who knows?  Scotland?  Australia?

I’d enjoy another fall Saturday riding our bicycles around Put-In-Bay out in Lake Erie. I remember doing that the fall after my heart surgery.  Fatigued, she had me lay down on some lush grass and sat there next to me as I napped in the fall sunshine.

There are so many good memories, I find myself hungrier for more. I want that now more than I ever have.

I’m reminded not to let time be wasted, because when you have a fine wife every second is precious. We have a trip coming up this year to plan.  There are more holidays.  There are more times with both of our daughters.  There are more evenings spent with friends.

And not a few Saturday mornings with a pastry, a good book, and a chat with the love of my life, my Jewel.