Archive for the ‘Ten Commandments’ category

“RIGHTLY DIVIDING” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – 21st CENTURY STYLE

September 14, 2015

(I don’t think we’ve fully entered into what historians will call the “21st”  century — it does not yet appear what the full consequences of the 20th century are.  But I’ll go by the calendar.)

judge agreeableJudges deserve respect.  Of course they do.    But if the man who is appointed to be judge knows nothing about civil law,  ethics,  a just society,  and the objective  and unchanging principles of human philosophy,  he has, then,  only popular opinion to be  stand on.   Or: “He is being responsive to the changing times,”  which, of course,  means he has only popular opinion to stand on when making his “decisions.”

Popular opinion is not a benign force.   It evolves out of the power some people have to influence others,  and  money that exchanges hands to create that influence;  and it produces confusion, unrest,  discontent,   changeableness,  servitude,   loss of choices, and eventually loss of freedom.

And someone or someone’s agenda is usually behind the development of some “popular opinion.”

Judges left(I don’t lean that way.)

Listen to an American Supreme Court judge writing about a matter of supreme moral importance:    “The core of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe,and of the mystery of human life.”       (Justice Kennedy) 

Yep.  Pretty much covers every topic that might come up.

You get to define things the way you want to.   (Except if you disagree with these people.   No tolerance for you if you disagree.  And, as Kim Davis found out,  no freedom either.    She will never be a quiet, anonymous citizen again.   She will always be watched by the media “in case” she acts against popular opinion again.  She will never be really safe.   The most vile, the most horrid, the most pornographic and violent threats have been made against her.    )

Again — this is what you have to believe:  every man for himself,   every man his own god,   and there is no way to discover objective moral standards that keep our society safe and strong:         “The core of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe,and of the mystery of human life.” 

Here is what another American Supreme court judge commented on that (majority) opinion:   This “mystery of life” principle kicks the struts out from under the rule of law and makes it impossible to resolve conflicts of rival moral visions — except by imposition of power.     (Justice Scalia)

No.   Way.   To.  Resolve.  Conflicts.

“Except by imposition of power.”

That would be “power over you.”   There is no appeal if you’re on the losing side of the conflict, unless you have enough to offer the ones who are currently in power. 

“Imagine a world where there is no”   Ten Commandments?      No.    Better we should all be “rightly dividing”  the meaning and application of an objective set of Commandments that transcend human intellectual invention.

That’s a lifetime of humble work.

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“RIGHTLY DIVIDING” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – 16th CENTURY STYLE

September 14, 2015

“Good thinking” —

10 Com Add One More

The Ten Commandments:  Good thinking!

God gave “thirteen statements”  there in Exodus 20, which mankind has arranged into Ten Commandments, having always understood that “ten” is the number that indicates emphasis for something that has to do with God and man.  (“How many times should I forgive someone?    Seven times?”     Jesus says, ”  No, seventy times seven.”)

I’m done listing the Ten Commandments here, and observing what would happen to our world if there were no Ten Commandments.    “Imagine”  there was nothing to restrain ourselves – or our leaders!

“Rightly dividing”  (from the KJV) usually is taken to mean having a proper understanding of Scripture and knowing how to properly obey them.

But I’m going to be literal here, for a purpose.    The “thirteen” commands of God were divided into ten commandments from a very early time in Christian history.   The saints and scholars and theologians and doctors of the Church have always referred to one commandment or another by using this arrangement.

If the numbering is made to be different,  say by a group of people who rebelled against the Church,  then that means that their followers will be a bit confused when a Commandment is referred to,  but the new reader finds that that particular Commandment doesn’t match what the writer is talking about.

This is an effective way to cut people off from their past!

You do that because you want to put into place a new version of the past.   “He who controls the past controls the present;  he who controls the present controls the future.”       Although that may not have been a slogan of the 16th century,  its principle was well known and effectively used to disrupt the continuity of society.

So who has the authority to rearrange the Ten Commandments?  As the cartoon shows,  only God can create the Commandments.   We could create some . . .   but we would do the job badly and not completely, and we would make a complicated mess out of it.   (78,000 pages just to delineate US tax code?   An eight-foot stack of papers just to make health control “fair” in our country?)

Who is the authority for changing the numbering?  Who is the authority for emphasizing one part of a  commandment over another?    Who is the ultimate authority . . . for anything?        It’s important to think about things like “ultimate authority” because these Commandments,  revealed to us,  have a bearing on the moral climate that we live in today.

(Do you really want your husband cheating on you?   Do you really want your daughter sleeping  with her current boy friend, with all the subsequent worries and heartaches?    Do you really want your government  “shaking you down”   –   taking your money without your consent — to financially support a hostile group of Third World invaders?     Do you really want to hear blasphemy and vulgar language wherever you go,  along with the accompanying lack of respect for anything sacred or honorable?   Do you really want institutional murder of the innocent to be a matter of national policy?     Do you really want to live in a media world of deceit and propaganda?    Do you really want to pay higher prices, to make up for the business theft is so prevalent?   . .  .)

There is no more comprehensive guide to good social behavior that the Ten Commandments.      “Blessed is the nation”  whose king and citizens are subject to  Divine Law.

In the next post,  I’ll “rightly divide  the Ten Commandments” using two opposing voices in today’s political climate.

A COWBOY DOES THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

September 7, 2015

Oh, you know me.   I love to drive across the Great American West!

I love each issue of my Cowboy magazine!   Here’s my newest issue:

SAMSUNG

The soft, firm  voice of Clint Walker (Cheyenne)   still sounds in my head:

Cheyenne on a horse

I liked his plain simple talk,  no extra words,  just saying what he means to say;   and always that quiet strength and certainty in his voice.     I admired that during my formative years.

Yup.     So it’s a “natural”  that I should listen to how a cowboy would talk about the Ten Commandments.     I found this many years ago;  glad I saved it all this time.

The page says:   “Folks in Texas have trouble with all those shalts and shalt nots in the 10 Commandments;   folks just aren’t used to talking that way.  So some folks in West Texas got together and translated the King James  into King’s Ranch language — and here we have the Ten Commandments Cowboy Style.”

  1. Just one God
  2. Honor yer Ma and yer Pa
  3. No telling tales or gossiping
  4. Git yourself to Sunday meeting
  5. Put nothing before God
  6. No foolin’ around with another fellow’s gal
  7. No killin’
  8. Watch yer mouth
  9. Don’t take what ain’t yours
  10. Don’t be hankering for yer buddy’s stuff

Yup.   that’d about do it.

cowboy at prayer

That page with the Cowboy 10 Commandments goes onto say:    “I sure can’t  think that here in America it wouldn’t hurt to post these anywhere —   even in a courthouse.”

“IMAGINE” – NO TENTH COMMANDMENT, NO CONTENTMENT

September 7, 2015

Following each Commandment, we’re “imagining” a world without religion,  without any reason for any of the Commandments,  without any reason to hold on to the wisdom of the past — because the “modern world”  is so wise and important,  you know.  We can do quite well without God.

Bar Cross in middle

So, now, no 9th Commandment, which had told  us not to covet (desire)  the things  our neighbor has, and certainly not to act on that covetousness.

Coveting happens within us, and it’s there that our desires make us restless until they’re fulfilled.  Our desires make us feel unfulfilled!      Imagine a world in which we always have unfulfilled desires that take up our thoughts and attention and our energies.    Always a restless, nagging,  niggling feeling that we “need” something.    We’re doing without.   There’s something we should have.

Imagine a world in which there are ubiquitous  messages  telling us we should have more or we should want this or that,  and no matter how disruptive those messages are,  “wanting more”  is “good”  for our economy.    How else could we sell the abundance of trivia that is produced.  How else could we sell the latest and most insignificant improvements on the material goods that people already have?     How else to keep people working, working, working,  and thinking about money — so that consumers’  desires can be met?

No wonder so few people take time “to smell the roses.”

Imagine a world in which there is no time for intangible goods and impractical activities.   A world in which all our thoughts and plans and activities must lead to some practical result.

The Bottom Line rules.    Because if you take your eyes off the Bottom Line,  you’ll not be able to obtain those things which you covet.

Quantity or Quality in life?   

Coveting has the answer!

But God, knowing us well,   says:  “Thou shalt not covet.”       “Thou shalt . . .  just relax.”    “The lilies of the field take no thought wherewith they shall be clothed;  they neither toil nor spin,  and yet God has arrayed them    (in clothing)  greater than the golden, bejewelled robes of King Solomon!”

Coveting cancels out our sense of God’s loving care for us and teaches us that  there is no God who loves and cares, and we have to take care of our own interests.  No room for God?

Then coveting is your answer.   It is a good motivator.

And a cruel, exhausting slave master.

TENTH COMMANDMENT – AND CONTENTMENT

September 5, 2015

Here is another Commandment about the dangers of coveting –  wishing you had something that someone else has.   

The Ninth Commandment was all about fostering a climate of human love,  honoring and respecting other people and their lives, self-sacrificial love that makes families possible — and makes them happy!  (“Leave their wives alone!” the 9th Commandment says.)

This Tenth Commandment, however,  is about objects.   Things.   Property.

Who owns what?    Who has something you want?

10 babies Who’s got a better one?

Who’s got a bigger one?

10 little carGod is Good and wants what is good for us.   He wants the best possible life  for us.    He teaches us that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”    Great gain!     It’s to our advantage to be content with what we have.

And so He says: “Never mind.   Never mind what you don’t have.  Never mind if someone has something bigger, better, newer than you have.”

Don’t covet the belongings of your neighbor.   Be content.   Be at peace.  “Life does not consist in the abundance of things that a man has.” **

That’s it.

Bar Cross in middle

*(I Timothy 6:6)

** ( Luke 12:15)

“IMAGINE” — NO 9TH COMMANDMENT

September 4, 2015

So let’s “imagine”  alongside  the “Four Persuasive Crooners of Bygone Hippy Days”;    let’s imagine as they told us to,  that there is no religion,, no religious restraints on our behavior.    We’ve seen the moral mess and mayhem that results from that idea in the eight previous  “Imagine no…  commandments.”

So now the Ninth.   “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”  Remember — this is an internal sin, so to speak.   It’s committed in one’s heart and mind, one’s imagination.   And it often leads to the breaking, then, of the Sixth Commandment,  “thou shalt not DO the actual adultery or fornication or perversion. . .”  (a little paraphrase there).

Or, as Jesus said, “whoever looks upon a woman with lust in his heart . . .”  (You know . . .  has already committed adultery;  there is that close a tie between internal desiring  and actual  doing.)

Jesus teaching them

But internal or external,  a sin is a sin nevertheless.  And sin separates us from God.   “Fine” for now I suppose,  until we meet Him face to face.

So how to avoid an “internal” kind of sin like “coveting”  someone’s wife!

Here is some old-fashioned kind of instruction:     There are steps that are taken that develop a spirit of covetousness in a person,  and knowing the steps helps a person recognize if he has taken any of these “steps.”

steps

Coveting a woman who belongs to some other man  begins with Attention.   Paying attention to her,  taking time to notice her,  and her qualities.   Looking her over. . .    Imagine:  a woman walks into a room,  a store, a business office,  whatever;  and she knows she’s  being . . .  assessed.

The next step in coveting is Admiration.  Oh, yes.  Simple admiration.    What a beauty!  What a desirable beauty!   She’s a 10!        And “imagine”  all the appraisals going on all over;   women reduced to  personal, physical characteristics, and then given a score.     That ought to ruin  relationships between men and women!

But the next step after admiration is Desire.   From Attention,  to Admiration,  to Desire:  I want that!    (I want her.)

And next:    I Deserve her!     Desire tells your mind that you Deserve what you Desire.

And then comes the Necessity to have her.    It has come so far that your mind is convinced that you need that man’s wife.    Imagine a world in which a man’s wife is fair game for another man’s “need” to have her!

The man who is coveting is already Visualizing how he’s going to get at her;  how he’s going to convince her to “come along peacefully”  — and participate in his lust.    Unfortunately,  in this benighted century,  there’s lots of help in this visualizing process.   Magazines,  videos,  advertisements,  images all over.    Let coveting go this far, and you’ll have lots of help,  lots of people making a profit on your weak character.    And you’ll be creating a climate of “uncomfortableness”  among the women around you, because . . .  they know.   Women often just know.     Imagine a world with uncomfortable women,  thinking about what the men have in their minds.

Visualizing leads to Planning how to remove obstacles.    Plotting.   Planning.

Obsession.

Pity the poor human who lives a life of wishing for someone else’s wife (or husband).   A wasted, unhappy, frustrated life; nervous about getting found out, fearful of getting caught.

Imagine a world full of unrest and unfulfilled desires.  Or worse, a world of fulfilled, illicit desires, and the consequences.  Imagine a world without the Ninth Commandment.

I think God knew what He was doing when He commanded that we not covet a wife (or a husband)  that belongs to someone else.

THE NINTH COMMANDMENT — TWO ARE ONE

September 2, 2015

God may call you to be single.  Or He may lead you into marriage.

Few know that the Bible actually says:  Don’t want to get married.  You don’t have to be married.  In fact, if you do,  you’ll be distracted from knowing the wonderful things of God and from serving Him with all your heart.  But — if you see someone and you fall in love and you just have to have her,  then, by all means,  get married.   That’s not a bad thing.

man and woman flowersIf she’ll have you,  she can be your bride . . . with God’s blessing.

9 grace kellyA marriage is a big thing in God’s eyes.    Two people willing to participate in the ongoing creation of human beings.   Two people willing to help each other stay on the Right Path and  to help each other and  their children to reach Heaven.

“And the two shall walk in one flesh.”  

9 wedding begins it

The two,  walking; he,  helping to carry;  she, carrying their little one –

9 man and woman

She’s yours.   And the baby is yours together.

It  won’t always be happy and easy.  There’ll be work to do:

9 man mowingMuch tedious work.    Not fun every day, like when you were single.  And young  (and immature).

9 fixing car

The family will have to be provided for and cared for every day, and you do it together,  husband and wife,  each with a set of skills to offer —

9 husband and wife

Now,  the Ninth Commandment states:   “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife.”

Even when she’s young and pretty and lives next door:

9 clothesline“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”               Ha Ha Ha Ha, we say,  because we know, “No, it isn’t.  It only seems that way.”       Well, the Ninth Commandment says “Never mind the grass on the other side.  It belongs to someone else, and you have your own grass,  with all its familiar characteristics.”

“Thou shalt not covet . . .”     that is,  let desire enter into your mind, and then let desire grow and let it enter into your heart.  That kind of desire makes a mess of things, and if allowed to grow,  destroys the goodness around you.  Coveting happens inside you and,  thus,   it is your responsibility alone to recognize it when it comes unbidden and to find ways to squelch illicit desire.

To covet:  it’s an ugly thing.    It says, “I want, I want, I want;   and I don’t like what I have as much as what I want.”     Coveting grows where ingratitude grows.     Even though you have a bride who has become your wife who has become your companion and closest friend,  it doesn’t matter.   “I want to be ‘two’ with that better-looking woman —  and I’m willing to rip apart the Two-Walking-As-One to be “one”  in another twosome.”     Thou shalt not . 

crucifix

Now, a word of explanation about how this Commandment is different from the Tenth Commandment,  even though they both use the words:  “Thou shalt not covet . . . ”

It is because God the Creator and Commander does not look upon a wife as a man’s property.    She has been lovingly created and she is a man’s helpmate;  that is, his completion;  “At last!  bone of my bones,  I am no longer alone!”  said Adam upon first seeing Eve.     “Husbands, love your wives as you love your own selves.”

The Ninth Commandment tells men that their wives are human beings to be cherished and loved.    Wives are not “property”  to be used.  I’m afraid,  historically speaking,  wives lost a lot when Protestantism took over many territories.   No longer did Protestant men see  the  beautiful Mother of Christ reflected in the mysterious womanliness of their own wives.        Wives did indeed fall under “property” laws that had become distorted,  and wives “belonged”  to men.

This made it easy to combine these last two Commandments into one.  “Thou shalt not covet wives and property.”

IMAGINE – NO 8TH COMMANDMENT

August 31, 2015

Turns out there are many ways to “imagine”  a world without the 8th Commandment.   Lies,  calumnies,  bias and distortions,  character assassinations,  deceptions, manipulations,  deliberate misdirections seem to be such a pervasive part of modern life that we just . . .   expect these kinds of things.

Dishonesty comes to us from many directions,  and never so powerfully than from the entertainment-news industry.   It was easy to write a few possible blog postings on this —   but dishonesty also came to me this morning with a humorous twist.  Giving credit to the source,   the following cartoons are from the Patriot Post newsletter  (URL below)*

How about their power to make one side look bad and the other side innocent?

Friends and EnemiesThree elements here,  two proven enemies of American life.

How about the media power to  protect or to demonize certain causes?

Gun damageThat  “MSM”   on the wall in the background stands for Main-Stream Media – a polite name for the entertainment news media industry.   “Drive-By media”  is another polite name, referring to the tendency of the news readers behind the microphone to read for you only the most shallow description of an event —  about as much as you would learn by driving quickly past the event,  but not even understanding the issues themselves.

Okay,  how about the power of the MSM, then,  to misdirect our attention, to  tell us who we ought to think the enemy is?

No oneknew he's gay

“Misdirect our attention.”    Now, this last one is near to my experience.   In one of my classes we talked about recent “news” stories.   They all showed the “approved”  emotional response to a recent shooting  (in the bottom photo),  but NOT ONE had heard from the entertainment-news media industry that the shooter was black and that he was gay and that he had left behind lots of writings that showed he was a racist and hated white people and that he was homosexual and  hated straight people.      (Not a Hate Crime, therefore;  just mentally ill, poor thing.)

Not one had heard that from their televisions or radio.

Sheeeesh!    (Pardon the language.)    It’s not their fault,  it’s the fault of the “Drive-By” media who themselves are prevented to look beyond the most superficial  descriptions of the event.

The entertainment-news programming is just that — programming for our minds.  Every one of the three-letter names of the various news services are meant to program correct thinking into us.

The entertrainment-news industry(no, that’s not a misspelling)   is in the service of the general overall Revolution which has taken down Western Civilization, and has given us a violent,  smut-filled, anti-religious biased version of a few of the events that have transpired in the world.

Programming.  Entrainment.

It’s not the nice people in front of the television camera or  in front of the microphones.   It’s the industry that’s in charge.  And the hands that run the industry.

IMAGINE a world where there is no 8th Commandment.   Not only could we not trust our own friends and family to tell us the truth,  but neither could we trust public news services.

But maybe —   maybe instead,  imagine a world in which the 8th Commandment is respected and honored.  imagine that harmfully deceptive public  programming that insults or calumniates anyone    — anyone! —    is illegal – and stopped — for the sake of public order and decency.    Maybe it would be a much easier world to live in, with the 8th Commandment respected.

8 forked tongue(They really do have forked tongues!)

*   You can find their Humor section as well as other sections that provoke thoughtfulness about current events on their website:  http://www.  patriot post . us         (No spaces, of course.)   (And it’s offered as an alternative source of information for you to balance out all the other sources.)

IMAGINE – NO SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

August 28, 2015

(House is still cold — 60 degrees in here,  but I’m not putting on the furnace.  Sniffly cold went away fast.)

This    “IMAGINE . . . ”   business —  What we’re doing is imagining if  “there were no religion”  to guide us into ethical behavior;  no Commandments from God.   No objective right and wrong.   We humans are pretty good  know-it-alls and can just figure things out for ourselves.

Imagine that no One says:  “Thou shalt not steal.”       Just, we wouldn’t usually steal because it’s not polite  or we don’t want to start a fight,  but sometimes stealing can be justified.  like if someone has more than you do,  or like the professor at the University of Wisconsin who said:  it’s okay to steal from big corporations like Walmart, because they can absorb the loss and they’re insured anyway.    Sound stupid?   Sound like fiction?   Here’s the link which generated so much discussion this week.         He didn’t exactly say it was “okay,”  but just that police shouldn’t prosecute shoplifters.     So . .  .  “come on in!” to Walmart!

So WHO PAYS for the product loss?

price shockShoplifting product loss,  higher insurance rates,  higher cost of doing business —   we all pay,  in the form of higher prices.   (Seems like we’d all be a little better off if we didn’t have to pay for the cost of thievery.)

Same thing goes for all forms of bribery . . .

briberyUnderhanded dealings,  bribery,  shoplifting,  employee theft from at work . . .

money out the windowIt’s all chaos and “money out the window.”

Imagine a world where we were never commanded not to steal.   Who could we trust?   A simple walk in the park might lead to a mugging.   A simple walk down the boardwalk  could lead to the loss of our wallet,  phones, or ID.

pickpocket riskAnd you wouldn’t want to ride on the city bus:

Pickpocket sign

Hang on to your possessions!  Lock your doors and windows.   No Seventh Commandment —  no trust.     Anyone can justify taking anything from anyone.

Now, we have  a problem.  We do have a Seventh Commandment.    We’re supposed to teach our children not to take anything that doesn’t belong to them, and then as they get older we’re supposed to train them all that that means.    And the adult world would be a more pleasant,  more secure,  and less costly place.

But something went wrong,   and we don’t have to “imagine.”      We can observe a world where the Seventh Commandment is quickly evaporating from our common human society.    It does seem that a world without religion,  without  the Ten Commandments revealed to the ancient Israelites,  is not a world that works very well.

THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT – MINE AND YOURS

August 25, 2015

I’m not going to write well tonight.  

icicles   For three days it’s been about 62 degrees in my house — I’ve left the windows open during a cold snap and . .  .  no,  I don’t want to get the furnace going because it will be in the 80s next week,  and . . . yep . . . I’ve got the sniffles now.  Old-fashioned, juvenile type little cold:    drippy, sneezy, dopey, sleepy, scratchy and all the other little Dwarfs that Snow White dealt with.

Nevertheless,  it’s time for the Seventh.  

7 thiefMost of us wouldn’t dream of taking something that doesn’t belong to us.

The Seventh Commandment says:   Thou shalt not steal.

“Don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you.”     A child can understand that.     In fact, we must teach that to a child.   It’s the foundation for his understanding of what that Commandment is fully telling us.  As the child matures,  when the child is ready,   when the child becomes conscious of  the rightness and wrongness of actions,  then the word “steal”  can take on further implications:

People have a right to own things.   People have a right to work and earn more things.   People have a right to keep the things they have earned.

As children grow, they understand that they must return “lost property” to its rightful owner.   As tempting as it is,  if it’s not yours and you found it,  it’s still not yours.  Somebody lost it.  It’s theirs.

If you break something that belongs to somebody else,   then fix it.  Or pay for it.   Or make restitution somehow.

7 windowAs we grow up,  its easy to see how that word “steal” applies to more and more activities.

If you say you’re going to do work for someone,  then do it honestly, so your employer isn’t cheated.

Here’s the thing:   Thou shalt not steal is the basis for a whole range of ethical behavior.   And it’s not rocket science.   God is real, and a Living Being, so when you desire a relationship with Him,   He lives “within”  you, watching over you and guiding you.   Thou shalt not steal  is internalized and then, when situations come up,  right and wrong becomes instinctive.

Starts with God.    Proceeds with your relationship with Him.   Grows with your desire to honor Him and please Him.   Matures with your efforts to learn of Him.   His Spirit in you takes care of the development.

Not sure if I’m making sense.  I want to go to bed now under some warm covers and sniffle the night away.

We’ll explore a world without the Seventh Commandment tomorrow.

“IMAGINE” – VIEW FROM A WAGON TRAIN

August 19, 2015

(A word of caution:   Breaking the Sixth Commandment is a sin like any other sin.   It can bring bad consequences but it can be forgiven by the same means that all our sins — my sins — are forgiven    It’s an act of love and of mercy to talk freely about the consequences of any sin.  The sinner remains loved and lovable, with the clean love of God, and with repentance, and forgiveness.)

crucifix

I told a pretty story yesterday about two young people falling in love . . .

6 courting

And getting married, sweetly,  openly,  honestly.

And then they are open to the possibility of having a baby . . .

6 first baby

That’s all  God asks of us, if we are married.   Love each other, each other only;  excluding all others.  Be open;  be glad to receive children.     This fidelity will keep on giving rewards throughout their lives, coming up unexpectedly at times, and happily.    Ups and downs, like life itself, but always rewards of fidelity in marriage.

A happy, settled reward-filled life is what the Sixth Commandment protects.

Now let’s dissolve away all that companionship and peace and happiness.

bar dissolve er

The Sixth Commandment says:  “Thou shalt not commit adultery. . . ”  (and a whole bunch of other sexual acts against chastity and purity).

“Imagine” a world without “religion,” we are told.      Imagine no Sixth Commandment.    As I was doing my morning news reading,  I was assaulted several times by news of about 37,000,000   men and women who have an extra worry today — and extra burden of wondering “What’s going to happen to me?”

ashley-madison-hack-AP-640x480

37,000,000.    Really?   The Cheaters’ website was supposed to be anonymous and secret and, well,  you were supposed to be able to get away with it.    Shrug your shoulders?   Hey —  no Sixth Commandment, right?

I was going to then write about the finality of losing your virginity, men and women alike —  or, as nowadays,  boys and girls alike.    I was going to talk about fear of pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy,  the negative and dangerous results (sooner or later)  of using chemical means to prevent natural body functions,  the horror of abortions,  shame,  uneasiness,  secrecy,  bad reputations . . .

I was going to write about the ever-present sexual talk and innuendos, lust and the boredom it brings, obscenities and the self-degradation it causes . . .

I was going to write about  doctor worries,  dirty ickiness, disease  —

—   walking around with these little guys growing in you —

microbes vd      —  or their many, many different varieties of microbe cousins — all permanent residents in you — all ready to hop over into your next partner,  even if you begin to love her,  or him.

I was going to write about the psychological and emotional cost of breaking the Sixth Commandment.   The financial loss . .  .

But  I was reading this book . . .   about taking a wonderful ride through our country — slowly!

 Seeing America Slowly

Seeing America Slowly

That’s a picture I took of the inside cover of the book  Oregon Trail.   a man, about my age,  came across a historical marker pointing out that he was at a point along the original Oregon Trail;  and he got the idea that he would like to build a covered wagon and just follow the Oregon Trail as they did in the 1800s.

Now, I see these markers when I drive across the country, too,   and I’ve driven through beautiful scenery like this:

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I love the scenery, and I love my little blue car and it loves to drive!      I’ve never had an urge to go slowly,  but I’m glad this man did.  Every detail of the planning, the learning,  the route, and the things he saw along the way is very entertaining and highly informative!

But today I came across a chapter in his book which reminded me of the sadness of a culture without the Sixth Commandment.

He wrote of the wonderful friendliness and hospitality of the people in Kansas, along the old Oregon trail route.   They are ranchers, now, farmers, and some live in small towns.   The author noticed that there were lots of little children curious about his wagon and his mules  and there were lots of old people, friendly and helpful.   Grandparents of the little kids.

But there was no one around who would be the age of the children’s parents, or of the grandparents’ children.     Eventually he asked some of the older people.  “Where are all the parents?”    In town after town  no parents.  Just grandchildren and grandparents.

The answer:   “They’re gone.”      Meth.     Broken marriages.    Moved on with other partners.   Out of money . . . .    Broken-up families.     A whole generation gone;  gone with the old story:  Drugs, Sex, and Rock n Roll.

They had absorbed no instructions about becoming an adult and making a family.    No road map —

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No Sixth Commandment in these parents’ world.   I cant imagine their unsettledness now, their unhappiness and regrets in the future.   I guess we make sad songs and difficult movies about this generation.

The horror for our country is that the young grandchildren will not be taught chastity, purity, modesty,  respecting their physical bodies,   keeping themselves for their future spouses.   Being honest and upright before God, so they can be good and free and healthy.

Imagine a world without . . . the Sixth Commandment.      Imagine  having  no “Morals Manual”  from the One who made us.   Imagine having to just live with   un-repairable harm and damage.

Oh — here’s the book.    But . . .

 The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck.

. . .  will edit this to un-recommend the book.    Too much foul language.    Such a coarse tone diminishes the quality of our society.  As we’ve heard many times,  “words matter.”       But the author had a good idea. . . .

SO BEAUTIFUL – THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT

August 17, 2015

This is a posting filled with images,  but it’s best the images come from your own mind.

The Sixth Commandment is for  protection:

A young man, a young woman,  in love with each other before they fully know what love is.    They can look closely and openly into each other’s eyes.   Then, marriage.    Then the  “marital act”   with God’s creative force in attendance at all times.

The next image in my mind is one of my daughter and her husband.  The two are sitting together, she is leaning with her back against him.   She’s in a form-fitting rose-pink top, and she’s obviously pregnant.   He has his hands around her, resting on her belly.   They both have a look of sheer pleasure and lively excitement.   Joy and pride.  (Too precious to post that picture here in public.)

I’ve seen other young husbands whose wives are pregnant.    I’ve been pregnant myself, and I know the wonders of that, so hard to put into words.   It’s   awesome  and mysterious that there is a separate human life inside of you,  a brand-new person — and the love that pours into that child is nothing short of astonishing.   What joy!      But the thing that always fascinated me was that young husbands often show a similar strong  attachment to his unborn child,  a pride of “accomplishment,”    and such a mature sense of responsibility and protection and the need to be a strong man for his wife and child.

The baby is born.   The two new parents look down together at their sleeping child.    Words are inadequate to express everything they are feeling, though they talk anyway, and it sounds like the most stereotyped,  trite, expected set of words and phrases — because the wonder of the birth is common to all healthy, mature adults,  and there is a sense of silent understanding among all human families.

The family is the visible evidence of  marital love,  whether the family is made of two members, or three, or more.

As the married couple get older,  they can still look into each other’s eyes, freely and openly,  honestly.    They have nothing to hide from each other.    Children or no,  the two,  now older,   have done well.

And that’s what the Sixth Commandment protects.

(Of course,  historically speaking,   there doesn’t have to be “love” between the two.   They are married.   They are at peace with each other and faithful for the sake of the children to come;  the heirs.   The Next Generation.    They have a solemn responsibility to their children, and that matures the young couple.)

(And, of course,  not every married couple will have children.    Sometimes children just don’t “come.”    But the family that consists of the two of them have serious and important effects on everyone around them )

If you’re born,   if you exist as a human person,  you would wish for and hope for a young couple to receive you into the world like this.     Or arrange to have you received into a loving family.    You would wish that your parents, then,   would understand how  important you are to the world —

          — and you would especially wish your parents to know how important their marriage is to you!

Again,  this is what the Sixth Commandment protects.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

LAUGHTER – TRUE AND FALSE

August 16, 2015

“Unless you become like little children . . . “

Ever-Laughing LIfe

Remember “Family Circus” ?    Fun comic strip; and the children were inadvertently wise.

While we’re at the half-way point on the Ten Commandments,  I wanted to clear up a couple of things about the way I’m writing about them.

First of all,  the little girl is right.   There is a God.   There is a Heaven.   And Heaven is a “happy” place.   Not sure we’ll be laughing all the time,  but for now,  here on earth,  we associate laughing with joy and pleasure, so a child who can appreciate  the desirability of laughter knows some important truth about Heaven.

Heaven is not for everyone.     If you don’t care about God now,  why on earth would you want to spend the rest of your existence  (after this life)  with Him?   Doesn’t make sense.   But there is only one alternative.  And it’s not a place of laughter.     We’ree told that most humans will find their way there,  by their own choice.

Who gets to judge what choice you’ve made?

Christ Judges

The God who is Great,  the God who is Good,  the God who is Love,  the God who is Judge —   When you stand before Him, a nanosecond or two after you die,   you’ll know if you’re following the fiery tube downwards.

Those who have laughed their way through their lives on earth will laugh no more.   Those who have laughed at the things of God,  will find no more things to laugh at.    False laughter, temporary laughter.

The Ten Commandments are no laughing matter.

Why?

Remember that beautiful afghan I wrote about,  that was made by my Mom with such love and care and her hopes that I would like it?

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Stitch by stitch she created such a beautiful thing for me.  She didn’t intend that I put it away for years and years, with only  slight knowledge in my memory that she was the one who made it.   She didn’t intend for me to use it as a cleaning rag or as a carpet to walk on.   She didn’t intend for me to look at it and think how “old-fashioned” it is;  mock it, ridicule it.

It hurts to even write these words, because she made it and I love her so much.

That’s a good analogy for Creation — and our Creator’s intentions.   God lovingly “stitched together”   the beautiful universe and everything in it, and He loves the humans He made.      What then?     How can we know how we’re supposed to live this life?    One small way is learning the Manual of Moral Behavior:  The Ten Commandments.

So that’s Point One to clear up,  why I’m writing about these Commandments.    Do it God’s way.    Don’t choose to go to Hell.

(Take Pascal’s wager on that, if you have any doubts.)

Point Two is perhaps a minor point,  perhaps not.    The Ten Commandments were not numbered for us,  1 – 10.       In the Bible,  in Exodus 20,  they are a series of statements, or “words.”    Some have said thirteen statements,  which are traditionally arranged into ten important divisions.   Ten being the number that designates emphasis.   (THIS IS MY WORD FOR YOU!)

I use the original numbering of Christendom, because I am a Christian.    When a big portion of Christianity broke themselves off from the Church,  they needed justifications for their own ideas about Christianity.    One of the ways to emphasize their new-found differences is to re-number the Ten Commandments to bring out what they wrongfully promulgated;  that is,  iconoclasm,  not only don’t worship idols,  don’t have any at all.     (For some reason pictures were allowed.)

Renumbering effectively cuts off Christians from their past.   If you read the Early Church Fathers,  which you should, you will be confused about what Commandment they are referring to because the new numbering is different from what they used.   (This goes for the re-numbering and re-arranging of much of the Old Testament verses too.)

Slippery Slope

Tinkering with the numbering,   re-interpreting the Commandments,  ignoring the commandments in your daily choices  all build a Slippery Slope for us, leading down to . . .   you know,  that fiery tube.

So, I write about the Ten Commandments because they are for every human being and they’re no laughing matter (though Joy follows later for those who have patterned their lives after God’s moral teaching.).

Review?

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God  exists and it’s our duty, as creatures, to worship Him.    But only Him.

Don’t blaspheme – or take lightly –  the Holy Name of God.    The  “Name”   means more than we can possibly understand.

Remember to keep the seventh day as a holy sabbath day of rest,  because Seven is the number of perfection with regard to Creation and God’s work in it;  and because the idea of a weekly rest keeps before our minds the Eternal Rest that  God is preparing for us for forever.

Honor your father and mother — and honor and respect all those who have authority over you.   Respect even evil leaders;  they are a just punishment allowed by God for an evil society.

Do not murder — do not kill the innocent,  the helpless,  the weak, or the sick,  from conception to natural death from sickness or old age.   All human life is precious.

There is true laughter  (Joy and Happiness)   that come with these Commandments.

Ready for the Sixth one?          . . . . .

IMAGINE — NO FIFTH COMMANDMENT — WHO CARES?

August 13, 2015

Fifth Commandment:  “Thou shalt do no murder.”

Living and Dying:

In each moment, a man both lives and dies.    His life and death are one with him,  because the man living and the man dying is the same man.*

Your death is the sum total of your lived days.   Your life means something.   Your living is precious to you.

  However —

“Imagine,”  as popular culture has taught us to sing – and to believe –   “Imagine a world without religion,”  without guidance,   without values,   without purpose,  without definition.      Imagine, therefore, a world where living and dying have no ultimate reason — and it doesn’t matter if you live or die,  and it doesn’t matter if someone ends your life for you.

Without the vocabulary of religion there would be no universal and objective way to even speak about the worth of a human life qua human life —  each human being valuable because he is a human being.   All we would have is temporarily pursuasive rhetoric.

There would be no  distinction between kill and murder.

femursAnd without the Fifth Commandment,   it wouldn’t be long before it doesn’t matter who or how many get killed, as long as someone had some good reason to do it.

The Creator happens to agree with us.     Our own lives that matter so much to us also matters to God — and matters even more than we can know right now.    “We’ve been bought with a Price.”     That Price is the life of His Son.

“Do no murder.”        Our life begins and ends with Him.  Living and dying is His business.

* (I’m using English grammar, of course:  “when the sex of the subject can refer to male or female,  the male gender is used. ”  Surely a woman lives and dies, together,  at each moment.)

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT — DEATH COMES TO ALL

August 11, 2015

The Fifth Commandment from our Creator:    “Thou shalt do no murder.”

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Period.   That’s it.   Simple.  Straightforward.

Murder is the taking of an innocent life.  Abel comes to mind.   The innocent man who was killed by his brother Cain.   The killing was without justice and without authority.  That makes it murder.

Accidents happen.    As awful and final as a death is,  an accidental death is not quite “murder.”     There may be culpability,  negligence, carelessness, and it may require retribution or compensation of some sort — but it is not quite “murder.”

Self-Defense  sometimes becomes necessary, or the defense of others, up to and including the killing of an attacker.   Fortunately there can be many steps taken in the phrase “up to”  but sometimes self-defense includes the killing of the aggressor.    That’s not murder.

A society has the right and the duty to protect its members from attacks from the outside and from dangers to the social order from within.    Fortunately again,  there are many intermediate steps to take before a war is begun or before a criminal is executed;  however,  neither war nor capital punishment is “murder.”     May both be extremely rare in a civilized world!

How do you make sure you obey this Commandment?   Do not kill any innocent human life from conception all the way to old, old age.   Do not kill an innocent person in sickness or in health.    Do not take the Law into your own hands.    Do not kill until every other legitimate avenues of alternate actions have been considered and/or tried.

And here is the foundational way to avoid violating the Fifth Commandment:

Jesus TeachingDo not live a life of anger and hatred.   Do not let your continued irritation,  frustration, impatience,  embarrassment grow into anger.      “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment,  but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.”

Jesus goes on to say that angry name-calling,  character assassination,  mockery,  sarcasm, and such things are the equivalent to murder in the spiritual world,  the Eternal Spiritual Realm.    (Matthew 5:21,22)

In the physical world,  don’t commit an act of murder.    In the Spiritual world there is a higher standard:   Do not “murder” a person’s spirit.

First came the Commandments,   then came Jesus,  the Word of God,    revealing a deeper and higher meaning of those Commandments.     If you’re a Christian,   follow Him.  By your understanding,  rebuild and strengthen Christendom.

HONOR AND DIGNITY – THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

August 7, 2015

Simple, easy to understand,  straightforward.    As are all the Commandments:

“Honor thy father and thy mother . . .”     (The Fourth Commandment)

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And, see?   The word  “thy”  is used — a word of respect, giving dignity to the addressee.   The Good God gives us dignity along with our humanity.

Honor your father and mother.   In every way you can.

There is a kind of internal reverence when we give honor, that hushes all our own self-referencing thoughts.   This internal reverence arises out of an object worth and dignity inside the person.    No man is respected more than one who is seen honoring his own mother or father.

4th mother

  Remember in the last post I wrote that Virgil’s epic informed the principles of governing  –  and morality –  for men of Western Civilization  …    Here is  Aeneas supporting his father Anchises as they flee destruction,  with his own son Ascanius looking on — and learning:

It is so easy and common to see the world through our own lenses.  We are quite naturally selfish,  self-centered, and self-referencing in all that comes before us.  “How do I feel about this?”   Or, more crassly,  “what’s in it for me?”
But to stand before your parents,  to talk with them, to have to deal with them and help them and have patience with them  should immediately quiet down all those references to ourselves as we freely honor our parents.  “Honor” is an internal movement of our hearts and it manifests itself in our words and actions.

“Honor thy father and thy mother” never stops.  No expiration date on that Commandment!

Do we honor our parents because of the authority they have over us?  Sure.

Do we honor our parents because it is prudent?  Yep.  Certain times of our lives that works best for us.

Do we honor our parents because we love them?  Can be.   Hope so.

Do we honor our parents because we note the sacrifices they made on our behalf.    Yes!

Do we honor our parents because it is part of our traditional culture?  Often. It’d be smart to “conserve” that one/

Do we honor our parents because they brought us into the world in an act of Creative generation that they, in their marital act, shared with the Creator? Yes.   that’s the way it works.    (No marital act is ever committed without the Presence of the Creator.)

But most of all we honor our parents because the Good God made it so.   We are made with a kind of “software”  that keeps us running, and one of the “programs”  is honor given to our parents  because  it connects us to God Himself and reminds us of our relationship with Him also, that He made us to be humans, and He gives to us humans our dignity and worth.

God loves humans and cares for them and has not abandoned them to figure out things for themselves.   We have Free Will, of course,  but He is a rewarder of those who seek Him and obey Him.   The rest of the Fourth Commandment tells us this: “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long on the land that the LORD thy God has given thee.”

So there is a reward.

RESPECT – THE SECOND COMMANDMENT

July 30, 2015

Respect Up

We’re comparing a world with the Ten Commandments and without the Ten Commandments.    What difference does it make?

Briefly,  bottom-lining it here tonight:    it seems that the foundation of the Second Commandment is Respect – a commonly available human attitude.   Universal.     And Respect itself involves making comparisons – between you and something else,  and then developing the right perspective.

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“Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.”    

“…in vain.”     That would mean using the Name of God for inferior purposes.      God’s Name is reserved for the things of God alone.

Using the Name of God is an action that shows a person does not Respect God, and since God is infinite,  infinite respect is due Him and all things associated with Him — and conversely,  disrespecting God is not only an offense  (a sin),  it is an infinite offense.

As finite humans we don’t have “enough” of anything to make it up to God.    So we are warned.   Don’t.   Do.   It.

On a human level, we’re familiar with levels of respect due to various humans and their various levels of achievement.   A sweet, lovable, sincere four-year-old playing his violin in a Suzuki class gets a different kind of respect from what you would have towards a violin virtuoso in a major world famous symphony orchestra.

A little child creating a “very nice” house with his Lincoln Logs evokes a different level of respect than . . .

res pers city             . . . this.

Keep using your imagination.     The act of respecting involves making comparisons.    The  greater the distance between the two things being compared,  the greater the respect is owed by the lesser to the greater.

So what is God?     Who is God?    I don’t know;   not really much — but here is a helpful definition from Philosophy:

God is that than which no greater can be conceived.      Think of (conceive of)  all the greatest attributes that we know of — think of the greatest possible.    Think of a living being who has those attributes so purely and perfectly that it is greater than any other being has.    And since Existence is greater than non-Existence,  then this is not just an abstract  thinking exercise,  because if we can conceive of an imaginary Being who is the most perfect Being that we can think up,   then that imaginary figure would not be the real,  actual God,  because we could still conceive of going one better:  actual existence.

And there we approach an understanding of God.

Now make your comparison between you – who actually exists –  but imperfectly with God who has and is the source of all the perfect attributes,  to an infinite degree.     Again,  the greater the distance between the two things being compared,  the greater the respect is owed by the lesser to the greater.

There’s a funny saying we use sometimes in my classes:  “There is only one God — and you are not It !”       But we love and respect each other.

There are many levels of achievement, rank, and hierarchy among humans,  but none of us are like God, the Perfect being Who actually Exists, and is the Source of Being itself.   I AM.

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So next time,  let’s  “IMAGINE”  a world without  the Second Commandment — without  Respect.