Enduring Less Than 30 Meters

Sunday, May 22, 2022

From on the Water,

the Sun Rises

Also

Over the Campers Parked Within 5 Metres

of the Protected Water.

Job 10:12

You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.

James 5:11

Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Words of Grace For Today

Job showed great endurance, suffering greater losses and illness and pain than most of us care to imagine. Endurance is a gift from God, as it is fueled by faith, as Job’s demonstrated.

What are we to do when the earth and it’s fragile systems cannot endure the onslaught we have brought against her?

In Canada the law has sought to protect bodies of water and the fragile ecosystems on their shores by proscribing camping within 30 meters of a body of water and driving through any waterway.

Here the area used by many campers each summer is a random camping area, which used to be a municipal campground decades ago before it was handed back over to the province to ‘care for’ as Crown Land. Signs ask that people respect the land, not cut down trees for firewood (logs already on the ground can be used for firewood), stay no longer than 14 days, and take out with them everything they bring in.

Still many leave garbage, unbelievable garbage behind, stay months on end (it’s supposedly their right!) and they hack down living trees and worse scar trees so that in a few years they will die, and generally show great disrespect for the land, tearing it up with motorized deep tread tires among many other things. What no sign says is that camping is prohibited within 30 metres of the shoreline, and scores of campers dig up the sand to park within 10 meters of the shore everything from subcompact cars with tents to 50 foot 5th wheel campers.

This first long weekend, the start of the camping season for many, is certainly no exception. Only noteworthy is that there are ‘only’ ten vehicles parked within 20 meters of the shore, and only two larger camper units within 10 metres. That will change, for the worse … or for the better … as the summer progresses?

One can only hope.

And trust that as the Lord is compassionate and merciful so too will the enforcement officers first be clear with what is legal and what is not, and then be compassionate and merciful, but not afraid to ban people who cannot seem to learn to camp responsibly and respectfully.

Now excessive noise from partying and quads or side-by-sides that do not have sufficient mufflers are another problem, as is the public drinking, that is the drinking of alcoholic beverages anywhere other than in one’s own camping area, which begins to beg the question if there are ten units parked around one campfire, is all that drinking still at each person’s campsite? Stretch it far enough and anyone can drink anywhere in the whole random camping area. Or rather, that is how far it is stretched and tolerated by any enforcement persons I’ve ever witnessed out here. Some of the partiers are off-duty enforcement officers.

So we will endure, for the damage is not to us, but to the land … as long as God keeps the craziness of these ‘illegal’ campers at a great distance from us. After all, compassionate and merciful as God calls us also to be does not mean that we need to be ignorant, naive, or stupid about other’s stupidities, does it?

We pray the earth will endure, for generations and generations to come, so that they can enjoy the beauty of such a camping area.

This day will be marvellous, a wonder to behold, in spite of the disrespect so plentiful here.

Selah.

Tears and Ears

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

God Gave Us Many Things.

One Would Hope Enough Brains to Figure Out Something Better for the Environment,

Like Haul It Out (As The Law Requires)

1 Samuel 3:19

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.

Luke 10:16

Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

Words of Grace For Today

Letting one’s words fall to the ground.

That’s a great image of losing one’s voice, of not being heard, of not being enough that one’s voice reaches any ear and merely peters out like a plane out of fuel and they bite the dust.

But

To have God ensure that one’s words do not fall to the ground! Now that is something blessed.

We really don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it. And then when we lose our voice, and people shun us (though we’ve done nothing to deserve it, it’s all lies and deception made up to cover other’s sins), and we are cast out, unable to work, or earn a living, and we become dependent at best and desperate at least, and dead at worst.

So after one has been made to be nothing by other people’s cruelties that seem to have no end, when God comes along and promises to ‘not let your words fall to the ground’, it is to be raised from the dead and to be brought home again.

So it is.

Whoever listens, listens. And whoever rejects a person, rejects the one who gives life to that person.

May we learn to listen more carefully, kindly, with empathy to those ‘cast out’ by the world’s ways.

That’s what those two good ears God gave us are for, after all! Holding glasses in place and hanging ear rings from them may be good and even beautiful, but listening …

now that’s what God created those ears for,

and our minds for,

and our hearts for.

God Save Us! Do Not Forsake Us in Our Darkness!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Oh, God, Save

Those Caught In The Darkness of The Bright Days

And Those Who Cannot See, Hear, or Imagine …

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Words of Grace For Today

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

He could not see the horizon out there where the sun should have been. Not that many years ago he’d met Beatrice and she swept him off his feet before he knew what was happening. She was in her mid-thirties. Jim was 8 years older. Then he’d fallen in love and given everything to her. They proclaimed their love for each other and promised their lives to each other, until death did them part. They were madly in love with each other and everything looked so wonderful.

Jim moved in with Bea in her grand house and he worked to turn it into their shared home. They travelled to France and then to the Maritimes. They went sailing in the Caribbean for a week. It was all a dream come true. Their second year together their twins arrived, a girl and a boy. As agreed he stayed home to raise the children so she could go back to work. He put his career on hold. That first year was a dream come true.

The honeymoon shine wore off soon after Bea became pregnant with twins. He did everything he could to support her. She flew off the handle at him and others, making wild accusations. Her screaming at him cut him to the quick and he’d be silent trying to ‘fix’ whatever Bea ‘needed fixing’. He interpreted everything she did in the best possible light and went out of his way to bolster her fragile ego. She tore strips of him, saw everything he did in the worst possible light and worse blamed him for things he had nothing to do with.

Jim tried valiantly to reconnect her to her parents and siblings, though she seemed to hate them for no real reason. He met them and they were pretty good people, and as in-laws they were very supportive of him, even in awe of him. Bea refused to have anything to do with his family or his friends. She’d have a wild tantrum, throwing things, and even beating on him every time he spent time on the phone with them. Visiting any of them was out of the question. Soon he gave up keeping any contact with them.

Then Bea started telling ‘stories’ about Jim to her family. They were things he had never done. Some Bea had done to him. When she told them that he was the one beating on her, they stopped talking to him all together. He heard from their daughter’s teacher at school that she said he was sexual with her. It wasn’t true but soon it was impossible to go to school with the children for anything. People at church started to avoid him.

That had been more than a year ago. Jim could barely sleep. The doctor put him on one drug, then another, then another until he was taking 5 medications besides his allergy medicine and the sleep apnea machine he wore at night. Every two weeks he got either a testosterone or a B12 shot. He was so dragged out he could barely get anything done. He would often sit down alone after everyone left for school and not notice anything until the bus arrived to deliver the twins home. He talked with two different therapists by phone, and once a month travel 3 hours to see one of them. His hair turned grey and already the first year with Bea he’d lost 50 lbs trying to please her. He just went hungry and did not eat. No one could tell him what the matter was with him. He prayed, he meditated, he gave Bea gifts for no special occasion. He had worked out at the gym for a year but gave up on it when he injured his shoulder. He tried to walk but it was slow going, nothing like the running he’d done when he was in his 20’s. He told his doctors and therapists that he felt like he was 85 or 90 and barely able to think, work, sleep or even exist.

Bea’s promise to him, and his to her, that they would love each other until death did them part, looped endlessly in his mind. The only sense he could make of anything was that he needed to die, to be free of the weight, to finally be accepted by someone somewhere. He already had a new bottle of sleeping pills. He bought 2 large bottles of the cheapest whisky he saw at the liquor store. He cleaned the house, sorted the garaged, and their two vehicles. He made sure the groceries were bought for the coming two weeks. The fridge was bursting. He even took the recycle bottles to the depot and the garbage and recycling to the transfer station. Months ago he’d made sure his life insurance was in order. There was nothing more he could do to make things better.

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

There was no distance between the end of the horizon and his arms stretched out pleading in prayer. No one heard his voice. No one had heard his voice for longer than he could remember.

It was a Sunday evening. He read a story to the twins and said good night. He made sure everything was secure in the house. He grabbed his backpack with the whisky in it. He put the sleeping pills in his pocket, put on a warm jacket and walked a mile to the woods. He sat on his special log, took all the sleeping pills, drank one bottle and most of the second before he was numbed and so tired. Finally he would be able to sleep and be free and be home.

Jim knew well most of the Bible. He was familiar with Isaiah’s words: I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.

He had to trust that this path he’d taken was the only one God had for him.

There were no shelters for abused men. People could not imagine that men are abused just like women are, not the therapist and certainly not the doctors or the teachers or their pastor or any of Bea’s family … or any one at all.

Not one single person could imagine a man being abused, not one person Jim had talked to in the last 9 years as he suffered … until he could not take any more.

Many of them may have been members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that they may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.

But no one thought they could help Jim find the light of life, because, well, women may beat on men, but they do not abuse them, not women. Reports are abuse kills ten times as many men than women, many of them by abuse that drives them to suicide. It is important to stop men abusing women, because it always ends in death for the abused. But, they say, men are not abused,

so they say.

So Jim is just another statistic that is ignored. And Bea will find another man to raise the children for her, and abuse him and the children. He will likely die, and they will become abusers if they survive.

But women do not abuse men or

so they say.

Oh, God, save us!

Save us all, though it is too late for Jim and millions like him, God, save us!

Turn the darkness before us into light, the rough places into level ground.

Do not forsake us!

Do not forsake the men who are abused to death!

Do not forsake the children who never have a chance to know what love really is.

.

Today, many men will sit in the darkness of the bright day. No one will see them. No one will hear them.

Oh, God save them and us who do not see and do not hear and cannot imagine the darkness of their reality of being abused.

Different? Precious!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Francesco Melzi’s Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci

As Neurodiverse as We Get!

As Many Children Are,

If We Would But Notice!

Psalm 127:3

Sons and daughters are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb and a reward.

Mark 9:36-37

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Words of Grace For Today

In Jesus’ day, children were a nuisance of too much trouble to be ignored. One had to actively work to keep them … away, out from under foot. They were less than human and they died in droves. Why care for them? Why bother with them? Why? Why? Why?

Today we have a different attitude towards children, at least in some parts of the world. In other places they are soldier fodder, as long as they are big enough to carry guns. In some places they are sexual fodder, no size minimum. In some places they are labour fodder. In some places the girls are necessary for future wives, married off even prepuberty, and then boys carry on the family privileges. In other places only girls are valued and boys are ridiculed into self-loathing and shame (well that’s getting to be the case here at home too.)

No matter how we value them, children are a challenge. As infants until (hopefully) they are teenagers, they require care in order to survive, though there is no shortage of children having to fend for themselves at much younger ages.

So how do we appropriate them?

Like so many humans that we put less worth on, our appropriation of them, our valuing them, influences how they develop and how they live.

When we do not give value to others we diminish their lives.

Elders, revered by their culture, live longer. Not only that they live more capable much longer as well, thinking more clearly, moving more ably, contributing more value to their culture longer.

People we classify as ‘mentally ill’ herded into institutions, fared much more poorly (generally) than when they receive appropriate care, supports, and self determination living ‘in the population’. So today the ‘mental institutions’ that flourished in the 50’s and on have all but disappeared.

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) first came out in 1880 in the USA. While the history of recognizing and suppressing (killing usually) expressions of neurodiversities is long and cruel, the ‘modern’ era certainly does not improve much on the damage done to people identified as mentally ill, though we’d like to think so.

The truth is neurodiversity is the evolutionary mechanism in the human brain allowing us as a whole species to adapt to a far greater spectrum of circumstances than would be possible otherwise. The list of artists, inventors, designers, discoverers, explorers, and geniuses is occupied almost entirely by neurodiverse persons. Why? Because they are capable of ‘thinking outside the box’, which is exactly how their brains work from the get go!

This does not minimize that many neurodiverse people face huge challenges just ‘getting along.’ I should say, though I am no genius, that I am one of this group, and have paid heavily for thinking and being different throughout my lifetime.

The real cost, as I have experienced is the cruelty shown me in the last decade by so many (also the courts). It goes like this: people tell you you are X (some kind of different), and they ridicule and devalue and silence and shun and incarcerate and shame you for being different, then one’s ability to ‘fit in’ becomes life threatening.

Not only do we experience the world differently and often more accurately than ‘normal’ people, we also have to dig deep in history and in ourselves to find our own worth, in the face of so many people cruelly devaluing us in order to try to establish their worth to be more than it is. Being ‘normal’ is not that great!

And then many sociopaths having risen to exceptionally powerful positions and extracted their power from the ‘normal’ masses. One can look at Putin today pouring soldiers lives into over running Ukraine, or Trump amassing popular support while he continues the stripping of money and opportunity from the ‘normal’ masses, the middle class, to provide for the huge corporations, whose legally defined primary value has to be profits (ie, taking from others for themselves.)

It’s been like this, with variations in players and their ways and means, since the beginning of time. How can one, even as a ‘normal’ person, live well yet alone survive in such a world order?

God’s shows us that this is not, this most certainly NOT, anything like what God intends for us. This is the cruel sin that God would save us from inflicting on each other and on ourselves.

For each person life starts in infancy, and one develops through childhood. During that time huge parameters are made as to how one lives thereafter. Some are hard parameters and one never outlives them. Many are ‘soft’ parameters, which one butts up against throughout one’s life though one can overcome them, maybe.

As Jesus came to love and save all people, Jesus certainly does not dismiss the children, devaluing them. Instead, Jesus demonstrates that children (like all people we devalue and cast out) can be appreciated and given attention, and therein give abundant life!

Some of us neurodiverse people have special gifts of receiving children, treating them so as to communicate to them that they are of great value (which they are!)

It is a deep, dark mark of sin on our culture that as we rush to value women (and falsely blame men wholesale for all the problems of the world) we play it out as a zero sum game. We make men lose as if that will help women! Worse, we devalue and falsely accuse and exile men who are so gifted with children (as if all so gifted men were instead sexually deviant and a threat to children!) The price is paid by us all, first by the children, and then by our collective loss of people who know their own value and give to life and to all people.

Such a loss.

Jesus would have it otherwise: ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

The children are our future. How we teach them to value themselves and all creation and all creatures is our legacy. We set the parameters that our species will have to deal with in the future.

Ahh, people, treasure what is precious. Different is precious!

Images of Blessings and Dangers to Life Itself

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Spring Snow Falls Heavy on Rust Leaves That Forgot To Let Go Last Fall

Are We Also Out of Sync with Creation

Or

Has God Blessed Us Beyond All Imagination or Image of Blessing?

Genesis 49:22-26

Joseph is a fruitful bough,

a fruitful bough by a spring;

his branches run over the wall.

The archers fiercely attacked him;
they shot at him and pressed him hard.

Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms were made agile

by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,

blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father
are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,

the bounties of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

by the God of your father, who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

1 John 3:18-20

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Words of Grace For Today

Images of God’s blessings reflect the world of the writer.

These passages from Genesis use the image of the bow held taut, arrows shot at one by one’s enemies who press hard against one (seeking one’s death), in counterpoint to God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

The bow and arrow are no longer common in the arsenal used to kill us by our enemies. Mighty warships with great guns, fighter jets with smart missiles, drones for surveillance and armed with missiles and guns, automatic rifles, RPGs, tanks and artillery, fighter helicopters, nuclear submarines, silent submarines, radar, sonar, anti tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, and propaganda. Closer to home the weapons are hunting rifles, shotguns, poisons, deadly-wrongly-provided health care, webs of lies and deceptions, and corrupt police, lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The deadliest, the least detected or spoken of, are always the psychological assaults, most destructively spun by one’s who have pursued, won, and spoken of love, though love is so far from their capability. Their self-interests are everything to them, and the lies told never end until one is dead and gone and hopefully forgotten … for if and when the truth is known the false-love persons are most detested and shamed … for they attack under the guise of what all know (even if they pretend not to accept): namely that love is the one precious piece of life that God gives us so that we can overcome all other challenges to life, and with love press on to live honest, honourable, and holy lives.

So we say with the writer of 1 John: Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

In love we see God’s attitude toward us and all creation, and by love we are emboldened to live and live abundantly, blessed with all blessings ever imagined, including God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

Broken and Contrite Hearts

Friday, April 1, 2022

God Starts With Contrite and Broken Hearts

And Teaches Us to See

Wonders upon Wonders.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

1 John 1:3

We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

It is a difficult row to hoe.

Offering God one’s broken spirit, one’s broken and contrite heart is an extremely difficult row to hoe.

After 12 years serving in the navy Lt.-Cmdr. Nicole Dugas has resigned. Lt.-Cmdr. Jennifer McGean has resigned in support of her friend. CBC reports: Cmdr. Ian Bye, sexually harassed her and abused his position of power as a senior officer in charge of base administration. He was charged with making a sexual comment in the mess on Oct. 22, 2020, given a written warning and fined $1,500. The navy released Bye in July 2021 as “unsuitable for further service” following an administrative review, according to a letter sent to Dugas. Three other senior, male officers involved in the handling of Dugas’s misconduct case were not held accountable, Dugas and McGean claim.

No one is surprised.

The military has long been an institution based on abuse. We not only expect it, we condone it and demand it. Basic training is designed to break the spirit of a young soldier to be, so that under fire in the field (and in all other aspects of military life) the young person will obey orders without hesitation and without questioning them. That has changed sort of maybe: soldiers are not to follow illegal orders, but then we expect them to anyway. We demand this, so that our soldiers can fight when told to, supposedly to protect our freedoms.

Anyone with a head on their shoulder knows, though, that soldiers are ordered to fight most often in order to guarantee the continued wealth and power and privilege of very few. Today that most often means huge corporations that are larger than most countries.

Since we know the military very rarely is put into action to protect our freedoms …

Since we know basic training is designed to break the spirit of soldiers so they will do the unthinkable for really bad reasons …

Since we know that the commanders of soldiers were all soldiers (even if never less than officers) who were broken in basic training …

Since we know that being broken in basic training really is to be abused and not to have a choice then or forever after to be free of it …

Since we know that those who are abused almost always become abusers given any chance of power over others …

Since we know that abusers rarely contain their abuse to one specific kind of abuse but rather spread abuse like a sawed off shotgun …

It therefore does not surprise us that abusive commanders also sexually abuse those under their command, that women are readily made targets of this abuse, and that those higher up in command have a difficult time dealing with abuse of any kind at all, since climbing the command structure seems to require one to be an abuser grown out of being abused.

It will not, or should not, surprise us, when we start to read how female commanders abuse those under their commands, and that their abuse is of all kinds including sexual abuse.

Given that, we ought to do everything we can to stop the abuse … but we’ve boxed ourselves in a pretty deep, cavernous, in nearly inescapable hole.

For generation upon generation humans approached God, hoping to control God’s power over them and their surroundings and their enemies, or at least to sway God to act a bit in their favour every once and a while. The standard approach was to bring God a sacrifice, always a sacrifice of some other animal’s life, or (horrors of horrors, as it is still done today on the altar of capitalism to the god of greed) … or the life of another human (or as is done today still, the lives of many, many other human lives.)

It did not take long for intelligent and insightful and inspired humans to recognize how dangerous and destructive this ‘sacrifice’ mentality was, as they knew that God was not to be controlled or swayed by the killing of others. What people will come up with, when the Devil takes control! Wise people knew that God asked for the spirit (built up by the Devil’s deceptions) of proud humans to be broken, so that they recognized their privileged place in creation as those loved by God. So the Psalmist writes even to us today: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Most humans set on making their way up in the world view contrite and broken hearts as the debilitating destruction of their core and their way upwards.

God’s ways are not human ways, to be sure, for God starts with our contrite and broken hearts, forgives with unconditional love, and restores us to a fullness of life that cannot be achieved on our own, and cannot be taken from us.

For we live in fellowship with the saints of all time, with Jesus our Saviour, and with God the Creator, and with the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps some of us, in the right positions of command in the military, can start to overcome their own being abused, and the abuse that is all around them.

This we hope for, and pray for. Also that the abuse and bullying in the police and in the courts (for they are as horrendously swallowed by abuse coming from the top down to all people) will be overcome as well, by God’s immeasurable power of Grace and steadfast, unconditional love.

Not even a fool would pray for anything else, not even on April Fools’ Day.