Final Trip 2015-120

I remember when my father died and as I sat there with him, before his passing; I wondered what he was thinking if at all. The labored breathing, the death rattle that was evident, made me really think of his life and its existence, and what was going through his mind, beforehand. The sound stopped and I knew he was gone, and I stood and said goodbye and felt his leaving, and at that moment, it was THE time for his passing to be. Sadness on my part became, not joy, but completeness of life in my discerning of his 93 years of existence. This is not a poem of HIS passing, but one of another, or of many……..

Final Trip   2015-120

The man lay melted into the bed,

His labored breathing the only sound

The full moon rays filtered in the room,

Bathing him, caressing his furrowed brow

A gnarled and spindly hand grasped the side rail,

As the other held a wooden cross to his chest

Eyes, once full of life, stared, hardly blinking,

Slowly a tear rolled down his wrinkled cheek

Then a remembrance of past times, joys fun and mirth,

Now forming a thin grimaced smile to parched lips

His wish, his desire to escape this tortured life,

To join with a wife so long gone before

A final sigh, a shudder, tenseness, then still,

No pain, worry, so suffering more

The soul, escaping the frail still shell,

That served the man so well

A last look behind and at a past time

Then gone to join others in a final life.

Den Betts

The Man Who Could 2015-119

The Man Who Could   2015-119

The man, who could, at one time, could not. It was a process and he lived through it and it became that which he did not ask for, but received anyhow.

It started with a simple prayer. He thought he would pray for something that was somewhat generic and he wanted to see what he received. He did not receive that which he asked for, but instead something far greater.

He had been watching the news on TV and listening to the horrors of the world that transpired on a regular basis. So, he asked for peace. I guess that was too broad of a request and the one he was praying too ignored that one, he thought.

But, what he did not realize that, as part of the prayer was an additional one that asked God for the ability to hear the anguished prayers of others. Why he asked for that ability he does not even remember, but it was so.

He got more than he wanted. Yes, he heard the prayers of others to God, but he heard ALL of them or many at least. God gave him the ability to hear others pray and at the beginning of most of the prayers, he heard the word God. That was the problem.

He was inundated with the prayers that began with things like, “Oh God!”, “Oh my God”, and the ones like “God damn it” in the form of swearing at something. He heard these words and others, over and over and over. It was overwhelming to him.

Yes, there were actual prayers of requests, pleadings, those of thanks, etc., but these were far outweighed by the ones taking the name of the Lord in vain.

Most of what he heard was, of course, not prayers. He finally got the point, and realized that what he was hearing were cries of another nature. There was anguish out there; there were frustrations and heartaches beyond the norm. He realized that he, himself, was guilty of calling for God, but not really wanting God to do something or answer him.

The man then thought about what he had learned or was learning in the process of hearing other prayers and outcry’s being said. People in general, were not taking advantage of the presence of God and had learned to use the word God in an ungodly like nature as a standard way of speaking every day. He was a personal witness to these actions and he was embarrassed to know it.

Many though, were praying to God in a way that called out for help, understanding and an acknowledgement of Him. He did feel good about that fact and he realized that there was nothing he could do actively about what he was learning. BUT, there was something he could do.

He could let others know about prayer, about God and what He hears from his children. Hopefully, they will hear the man and understand that OMG, and Oh Hell, and God damn it, are NOT to be used in daily living situations. It will make a difference, a small one, but a difference for those that hear Him and perhaps they will change……. So be it…………

And so, finally he understood many things that were unknown before and he was at peace, which he originally wanted anyhow. So God in his wisdom, allowed the man to hear those asking for God, and in doing so the man found that God is what He is and not something or someone that is taken for granted. God finally gave the man respite from the hearing and did listen to when the man asked Him for help, council, comfort and love……………

Den Betts

Why? 2015-118

So easy to ask Why at times. We go through life not knowing the answers to the Why’s, but we still ask the question. Maybe when we stop asking    why, we will become so ingrained to those things that we will then, not care anymore. When that does happen, what have WE become ourselves?

Why?   2015-118

A little boy asks to his father “Why?”

He wants a reason for so many questions

 

No one really has an answer to the entire Why’s”

For the many happenings of the world today

 

The wars, the diseases, the fighting and such

Make you wonder what is or what will be

 

The horrors of the real world daily

Rival those of the works of fiction

 

There are not good reasons for many “Why’s”

Only answers that truly make no sense.

 

The little boy may not expect an answer,

But his question does raise the bar of thinking.

 

Too bad we don’t have the magic response

That would explain it to US at the same time

Den Betts

JFK Quote #2 2015-117

                                      JFK Quote #2     2015-117

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” JFK 

When will we as a society realize that being intolerant is not the way to be? We do NOT have to like the ways other people are that are different than us, but being tolerant of them is something we could try to achieve.

If we believe in something that is not the same as others, so be it. Also, so be it, if the others do not believe in what we believe; simple as that….. To condemn or oppress those that have the opposite thoughts is a persecution of others that cannot be reconciled.

The turmoil that pervades the world today, in the name of religion, is an example of this intolerance. Just where will it go? I do not know or course, but can see where nations of the world MUST do more than react in a war like atmosphere, and instead rely on intelligent means of communication to combat these feelings. I worry that the intelligence is not there though. These processes of thinking are not one about one religion, but about ALL religions to consider obtaining an answer to the problems that affect many or all of us today.

 

Den Betts

The American War on Christianity 2015-116

Joseph Callahan Become a fan

Writer, Artist, Business Owner, Human Being

The American War on Christianity

Posted: 05/05/2015 3:50 pm EDT Updated: 5 hours ago

This MIGHT have been in Huffington Post, but not sure…….DDB

This article was written by Joseph Callahan and was posted online 05/05/2015. I re-blog this as his and not mine, but agree with much of it. I really do not use the Bible as ammunition to make a point, but he does here, in a sensible way. I feel we, in America, are somewhat spoiled with the freedoms we have and sometimes take for granted.        

Den Betts   

The American War on Christianity      2015-116

It is pretty hard now days to turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about “the war on Christianity” and see devout believers lamenting on how horribly they are “persecuted” in America today. With gay marriage, abortion and atheists removing God from every aspect of the government, it seems pretty obvious that we secular citizens are using separation of church and state as a new battlefield against religion. How horrible a life American Christians must be forced to live.

In Iran, Christians are being executed for their faith. In Myanmar, you can be thrown in prison just for owning a Bible. In North Korea, well, you face death just for believing any God exists. The 2015 report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) shows that 13 million people have fled seven countries (Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic (CAR), Eritrea, Burma, and Afghanistan). Many of those displaced are Christians, and mostly due to fear of violence and/or death.

The Bible, and distributing it, is restricted in over 50 countries worldwide, and spreading the gospel will land you in jail or executed in many of those. But none of this compares to the wholly American horror of (possibly) being forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding! How could we compare the American “war on Christianity” to the Christians (and other religious beliefs) persecuted worldwide? I mean, our own little bubble, and our own discomforts in the first world are all that really matter. The rest of the world isn’t us, so we shouldn’t compare ourselves to them, right?

In America today, you can proudly say, “I’m a Christian” and carry a Bible with you everywhere you go. You can go to any church you want to without being arrested. You can say anything you want! You can even proclaim that you worship the Giant Spaghetti Monster, and all the persecution you will receive is strange looks from some people. Yet, in this, one of the most religiously tolerant nations, Christians are screaming persecution just because our laws are changing to embrace everyone’s belief structure. By not allowing one faith to force their beliefs down our legal throats, the country has launched a “war” on (one specific) faith.

Let’s say, for one minute, that this perceived war on Christianity is real, that American liberals and atheists want to persecute believers out of a shear sense on malevolence. What should the Christian believer do in face of such hideous mistreatment? Let’s turn to our Bibles.

Persecution should come as no big surprise if you read your Bibles. In John 15:20b (NIV), Jesus states “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” Well, what exactly happened to Jesus? I think being beaten and executed counts as persecution. So, since “the world” (Non-believers) persecuted Jesus, shouldn’t Christians expect persecution? Even Paul warns Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV).

So, Christians, at least those who read their Bibles, should not be surprised at persecution, weather real or perceived. They should, in fact, expect it. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer…” (John 16:33 KJV), and the Apostle Peter said, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name,” (1 Peter 4:16 NIV). So, not only should Christians expect persecution, but they should embrace it as a way to glorify God and be more Christ-like. The last thing they should ever do is complain. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV).

Now, American Christians don’t face death or jail, like many believers in other nations do, so they are forced to find this persecution anywhere they can. They have to look hard to find it, not to whine and lament about the injustice of it all, but to grow and rejoice in their faith. It makes me wonder, if we are truly waging a war on Christianity, then aren’t we really doing them a favor?

Joseph Callahan   5/5/2015

Interaction 2015-115

Interaction   2015-115

When and where do we interact? What is interaction? Why do we do so? Questions on making connections with others abound and are either easy or hard to answer!

I think that when I interact with another I am directly involved, usually, with that person. I am as I said, making a connection with them. It could be a long activity or perhaps just a glance toward them, but still a connection.

Why do we do so? Many times it is because we WANT to do that, but in other cases it is due to circumstances. Holding a door open for another is a quick and easy one, but still one. To have a conversation with someone is also one, but maybe more involved.

The other aspect is regarding whether or not it is a good one or a bad moment with the person in question. How many of us have, in looking back, said “That was not a good moment”. On the other hand, we can have good, even great, ones, where we both come from it with an experience that is or was worthwhile.

Think about it. We ALL interact, every day. We do so with the TV, in various ways, but we still do so. We interact with our pets, in many ways that result in, sometimes, pleasure for both of us. The list goes on and on.

One way I interact is with the God that I admire, enjoy and love. OK, it is ONE of my ways, but still is an interaction. I meditate, contemplate and pray almost daily. It is my moments of these interactions that I get something out of doing. This type is very personal, yet is memorable to me in completing. I get more out of these interactions than most anything else or with anyone else that I do.

Interaction is where we have an effect upon each other versus a causal affect where there is none. We communicate with others as individuals, groups, nations, and any others that can affect us in some way. The feedback with a computer, where we get a response or where we steer a car that influences the direction or position and by seeing what happens when we do so, is an interaction. Ok, a small one, but still one to consider or understand.

I think communication is the main way I understand where we interact with each other, instead of with an object or other form of action. The social interactions where they are on purpose or even accidental, or made on a regular basis form the social interactions of life.

We can relate to each other, or objects, but overall we are affecting someone or something. We cannot get away from this action. I believe that being isolated without access to anyone or something, such as a cell in prison without contact with the world in any way would be a horrible existence. To say someone would go crazy is not without thought or merit, if this is the case.

So, we are ALL creatures of interaction. We, I would think, ALL need this to exist in a normal way of being. To isolate oneself, by oneself, is not a normal manifestation of being. The important thing is to do so in a positive way that benefits us and others. This is something that is not easy at times, and not really hard, but instead a plan of doing. How we do it is another matter.

Den Betts

Was Jesus a Rabble Rouser? 2015-114

Was Jesus a Rabble Rouser? 2015-114

First off, WHAT is a rabble rouser? Hmmmm, let’s see! This may not be the best word to use, but I am anyhow. Bill O’Reilly used this word in his book “Killing Jesus” and he said it represented Jesus who disturbed the peace and challenged the authorities in His time. Sounds good!!!!

It is said that the word originated between 1825 to 1845 and the term was first used to describe Abe Lincoln, but not sure if that is a fact or not. It does have a definition as a person who manipulates the passions of the mob; and is a demagogue.

Rabble is a term for the lower classes or common people and Marie Antoinette was referring to them when she said, “Let them eat cake”. The original term rabble was coined about 1655-65 and pertained to shifting hot coals, or “churned up” and that is where the rabble comes from using the French word “raable”, a fire shovel tool. The rouser was pertaining to the stirring up or inciting strong indignation or anger.   OK, nuff of history; “Was Jesus a rabble rouser?”

I don’t think He thought He was such, but don’t know of course. He had his way of doing things. The written account of His turning over the tables of the money lenders/changers is a vivid story of when he ticked people off with His actions. He was careful though in some of his dealings with the authorities, namely the High Priests of the Hebrew faith. They were out to get Him and tried to lure Him into saying things they wanted to hear so they could “take care of Him, in a not so nice way”. They could then arrest Him and put Him to death. They were such lovely religious people of His time; NOT!!!

It is my thoughts that Jesus KNEW what He was doing and what affect it would have on the people listening to Him. I would think that, after a while, He would EXPECT a reaction from those around Him and that might have spurred Him on. His actions of performing miracles would have the same consequence and would add to the following He was having. People would have heard about the acts, and sought Him out to experience the events.

I went to a Rob Bell presentation in Cleveland, in August of 2015, and there were people that could be considered his ardent followers which were in the audience. I think the average age could have been early forties, which was amazing to me. There were older folks too, but many younger people were there listening to every word he said. His presentation was fine, but not what I expected.

The same with Jesus way back in His time. The followers would have gone and be listening to every word that was said and take back to their tribe, what they experienced, creating more followers that just HAD to hear and see Him. The fact that He might have said things that made Him a rabble rouser in their minds might have helped Him then. Rome was not a popular domineering faction and they wanted someone to hopefully go against the Roman law.

Jesus knew the Hebrew laws of Moses. He used the laws to help Him make a point in His parables and other teachings to those that followed Him. Most people knew the laws too, and knew what He said was in keeping with the Laws. That probably helped Him be accepted in many places and in this acceptance; he was in keeping with the “old laws” of long ago in the minds of those listening. Jesus was not dumb and He became the authority to those hearing the very words they grew up with listening to the Rabbis of their time.

Was He a rabble rouser? To the Roman contingent – YES. To the religious leaders – YES. To the people that followed Him – MAYBE. To the Disciples that were with Him – MAYBE or MAYBE NOT. Everyone then, probably had their opinions about Jesus based on how they perceived Him and how He came across to them.

Do I think He was one – PROBABLY. Is that bad in my mind – NO!

 

Den Betts