Taste and See … Yuck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

That’s Real, Up Close and Real, Down Low and Real;

Not-People Up-Close Are Everything But Real

Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Acts 12:7

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists.

Words of Grace For Today

O taste and see that the Lord is good!

Yes!

But in life for us there is so much that does not taste good, or right, or real.

Since I cannot eat meat anymore as my body deteriorates with age and needs special attention to continue on, at the food bank they keep giving me ‘interesting’ food. Most of it is harmless if useless when it comes to nutrition. I’ve long since given up on food needing to taste even good. I just watch for nourishing and helpful for a few more years, so anything in the Mediterranean diet always sounds good.

Last time I has handed a pack of frozen burgers, ‘no meat so they’ll be good for you.’ I couldn’t say no.

I fried them up the other day. They don’t really have any protein in them, just wheat and palm oil and spices and oils and things I can’t pronounce or remember. And they taste like … well I can’t afford to throw out food, but I stopped eating that meal before I was half-full. Couldn’t swallow any more of those not-burgers. It’s never happened to me before: I started to gag on each bite.

As at the times in my life when I’ve cooked for myself I eat lots of tofu, lots of beans, peas, vegetables, fruits. I like fish, though I’m not partial to other kinds of seafood that are, shall we say, slimy or gooey. I particularly like refried beans. I don’t need to eat vegetarian but I like it.

What I can’t stand is when food tries to be something it is not. Not-burgers are like not-people; you wish you’d never seen them. I don’t mean any disrespect, but there are people, too, who try to be something they are not. Along the way they forget truth and honesty, justice and mercy, love and hope. Instead they try to make up for losing these with fake charms, broken promises, and chemically induced happiness. They just are not authentic at all any more. Everything they say and do is based on lies. And you can smell trouble coming behind them.

I’ve met drug dealers, murderers, and thieves, all who have said up front exactly who they were and what they did. Can’t say I liked what they did, but they were not trying to manipulate or con or dishonour everyone in their wake. Not-people leave nearly everyone in their wake wondering what happened and who did it to them. When you figure out who’s been conning everyone it’s usually too late and most people do not want to admit they’ve been played, so there’s little help fixing anything, if anything could be made right.

Not-burgers are like that. They promise the world and then they taste terrible going down, they mess with your system going through, and they pass with a vengeance as if they had something to prove to the world.

The most destructive kind of not-people are those that cloak themselves in religion. They promise and pretend to be oh, so good, when really they are oh, so unbelievably evil.

We need angels to come and knock the chains off our wrists, minds, and hearts so that we can, all of us, taste and see the goodness of God’s truth for all creation. We need not try to be what we are not, or try to force others to what they are not or lie about others so that the world thinks they are other than they are.

Hanging On For Dear Life

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Falling in Love is One Thing,

Falling into a Volcano …

Well!

Psalm 145:9

The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.

Matthew 5:43-45

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

Words of Grace For Today

Oh so glorious it is … to see finally poetic justice and real justice play out. A 23 year old American and his family decided that their hike up Mount Vesuvius should include a peak over the lip of the volcano with selfies to document their adventure … even though the trail was a prohibited area.

While taking the selfie, the young man’s cell phone fell over the lip into the crater. While reaching into the crater the young man slipped and fell down the crater.

Now one would think that that could well have been the end of him, but God is good and gracious, to this young man also that day. His fall ended about 50 feet into the crater, not all the way to the bottom 300 metres down, where he would have been toast. And …

And at the time four volcano guides were on the other side of the crater, saw the man fall, and rushed to his rescue. They lowered a team member down on a rope to retrieve the bruised and scraped up man

and waited with him (and his group) to be treated by the ambulance that arrived, and then to be taken eventually to the police station to be arrested and charged.

Meanwhile in Sri Lanka 62,000 people are in immediate life threatening danger and 6 million soon will be after the country no longer has money to import the necessities of life like food and cooking oil. This, it is said, is a result of fraud and mishandling of the country’s finances by the ousted president. Of course he could not have done it alone (if he was a player in creating the problem at all.) What is clear is that people will die because of other people’s greed.

So it is everywhere, and poignantly also here, where indigenous peoples, and people of ‘other’ races, creeds, and orientations are taken advantage of, and where the courts demonstrate a brash bias for the wealthy and privileged … routinely as if no one cared or noticed … or as if there were no consequences.

An American had money to travel to Italy, to hike to the lip of the volcano, and try to take a selfie there, to show off his exploits. Thousands of people slip on the verge of death because of greed and fraud.

And God is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.

We are to Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, so that we may be children of our Father in heaven; for God makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

It makes you want to protest and cry out at God for justice.

That is why Jesus had to make sure we heard clearly that we are to love our enemies, for God created and provides for them as well.

Makes us scratch our heads all too often.

Until we realize that trying to enact justice for God is impossible to get right and doing so destroys more of us and them than we can afford.

So we pray, Lord save those facing injustice and death because of greed and fraud, especially as it is done on our behalf … and save us from ignorance of your good creation and apathy to the troubles that so many people, creatures and your entire planet earth face this day. And we give God thanks that our troubles remain challenges that we can (so far, with care, skill, planning, and lots of hard work) be overcome.

Would you hand me that thingofamajig?

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Departed after the July 1 Holiday weekend there’s garbage everywhere.

So much for taking out what you bring in. New fire pits, dead spots now in the soil, are everywhere.

The worst was an air mattress box hidden in the bushes … filled with used diapers and other garbage. As if hidden it would not be found or someone would not have to carry it out, since the owners decided to carefully tuck it behind a bush.

God hand me that thingamajig

to knock some sense

into these senseless

creatures of yours.

1 Chronicles 29:12

Riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.

Mark 10:16

And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Words of Grace For Today

The truck I’m renting broke down. Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor is toast or maybe a loose wire or ????

So, hundreds of dollars spent to get a replacement part later, a 60km bike ride in the rain with knees, heart and soul that should not attempt that anymore, three days of mechanic work for which I am not knowledgeable nor really able to reach over the engine to under the windshield to get at the FRPS and the bolts that have to come out on the air manifold. There was no one to ‘hand me thatthingamafig’, so it was hours of finding stuff and hours of looking for pieces dropped into the engine (not into the cylinders – at least I know enough to cover that ‘inside’ well enough) just to eventually lose them completely and then with one last ditch look having found them in the grass. And a whole week trying to do things without the power of a vehicle to assist. All that and 1) the truck runs without an error code, though it may have just been a loose wire on the air intake, and 2) I am fixed-und-fertig (to mix a few languages and idioms). From biking I can barely walk, from damage now over a week old my right foot still does not like to bear weight, and from tip to toe I am drained of energy, reserve, and I’m way past Bingo. Not sure where I will land, if indeed I do land or crash or ?

Now if riches come from God, I guess God has spared me that challenge. Thankfully there is no shortage of honour having God’s blessings I may be just about done and way past my best by date, but life is filled with wonders and miracles.

Like God caring for Children when others ignore and despise them or disregard them or abandon them to abuse unimagined.

So we start a new day: waiting for the next miracle, perhaps that enemies hearts will be converted from hard and cruel to kind and merciful, respectful of truth. If not God has plenty of other miracles waiting for the days ahead.

With them God will demonstrate that God has, continues, and always will bless me. It may be so for you as well, if you are so fortunate to have God’s favour and grace adorning your life.

Of course if life is easy for you, or you have so many possessions and opportunities and choices, then it may be impossible for you to recognize all God is doing. You may think it’s just your own doing.

No such abundance of possessions, wealth, opportunities, and choices here, so anything that goes well is a wonder, a miracle, the hand of God demonstrating God’s presence with me, again

and again

and again

without end.

Renewing or Destroying?

Monday, July 4, 2022

This pine took about 15 years to grow to it’s six foot height. A quad (on private land beyond a barrier in the road to stop his all too frequent and intentionally extra noisy intrusions) took one roaring instant to run it over and kill it.

What was He thinking, when He created this quad-idiot?

Isaiah 66:2

All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth

Words of Grace For Today

What a wonder God has created.

It is a privilege to be able to spend time of solitude and retreat among the trees, near and on and in (chillly!) the water, gather for stories around a campfire with it’s smoke scattering the mosquitoes when the wind is not strong enough blow them away and us free of them, and to sleep in the fresh air (as long as one ignores the pollution created by the oil processing plants not a half mile away.)

This long weekend after the rain storms let up, the campground was inundated with people seeking to be campers, bringing tents, campers, small yappy dogs, large constantly barking dogs and equipment, drinks and marijuana galore, kayaks, motorboats, and jetskis to ply the water with increasing fumes, oil on the water, and endless droning whines of engines, quads and motorbikes to rip up the ground and knock down trees, sound systems to pound out loud noise for miles … oh and a few fireworks. They sought out any open space to set up their campsites, making a veritable city in the woods.

So much for solitude, retreat, and time for quiet reflection in nature. Everything they do, other than being on the water, is more easily done at home in their own backyards, though bylaws restrict the extreme noise at the late hours.

Theirs is not a quest to enjoy nature. It is, apparently, to destroy nature, and their own bodies and minds.

God created all this: the wonders of nature, and the stupidity of humanity to destroy everything around them and themselves as well. What was God thinking?

God certainly created it all, and God looks not to those who destroy nature and themselves. Doch God looks to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at God’s word.

Were it so that those who came to this place of the wonders of creation would come to be humble and contrite, trembling at God’s word, respecting the land, the water, the trees, the wildlife, and the other guests.

Were it so that those who came to this place of wonders, consecrated holy and set apart as a retreat, would come to renew their spirits, instead of destroy their hearts, minds and souls with spirits and drugs.

Of course, not all who come, come to destroy. Some actually come to bask in the beauty, drink up the wonders and fresh air, and reconnect their bodies, minds, and souls with God’s good creation. It’s just they get drowned out by the destruction-seekers-doers.

Yet, here truth is rediscovered, rekindled, and nurtured, so that if one so chooses, one can find life abundant here, and say upon departing back to their everyday lives: God has sanctified us in the truth; God’s Word (evident in God’s creation) is truth.

So let it be also in this consecrated meadow, a holy hermitage, a place to live of last resort, and a resort of God’s many blessings, as with those who live elsewhere and only by reading experience a slice of the holy life lived here.

What Was He Thinking?!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The wedge is there on the side of the tree towards where it is markedly leaning, with a long back cut towards the other side. And there is a cut above it, made by poking the saw nose first through the tree! That’s an unusual, often dangerous cut to make, and completely unnecessary here. So what was he thinking?

Here you see clearly the angled cut made up into the top cut. What was that for? It guaranteed the saw would get clamped by 3000 lbs.

From the other side you see clearly the cut that was not made, which left the tree hanging and clamping his saw. When I arrived the idea they had tried was to ‘push’ the tree over. Really! Physics is pretty much unbiased: two people totally maybe 300 lbs are not going to break that much tree fibre by pushing with all their might. That’s what saws are for.

Exodus 15:2

Moses started off his recounting God’s great deliverance through the Red Sea: ‘The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’

Luke 1:49

Mary said: ‘for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.’

Words of Grace For Today

Lordy, Lordy, what was he thinking?!!

Sometimes it is hard to figure out what motivates people or what they were thinking when the started down the road you find them on.

Take the man and the woman who found themselves cutting down a tree on private property (not their property at all) claiming they thought it was public land, as if that would make it better. His excuse was it was dead already.

(Now I was done for the day, tired and sore. There was just enough time before the late sunset at 22:00 ish to get a shower and be in bed to enjoy not being awake still for the almost as-late-as-it-gets-all-year sunset. Then I hear voices, excited, and a chainsaw revved up, working a cut, then another, then another, and then … hard to tell what that sound was, by then I’d found the three of them, and one was as it should be … the chainsaw, because even if it was stuck, it was doing exactly what it was designed to do, letting a fool get into trouble and saving his butt. My first question was, “What were you doing?” “Cutting down the tree.” “Yes, I see that, but what were you doing with those cuts? I’m curious and always willing to learn. I’ve been around a lot of tree felling and I’ve never seen any cuts like that?” To which he just got belligerent, swore and refused to talk, like a teenager caught in something stupid and inexplicable.)

Yes, the tree was dead, but what was he thinking going on private land to cut down even a dead tree.

He challenged the information I gave him that this was private land he was cutting down a dead tree on. He asked about all the other campers out here.

Well, that’s hard to figure since the neighbouring piece of land is public land, either crown land or municipal district land, that people have used and abused for generations as a camp and drink and drug and bush party place. Admittedly consumption of marijuana is legal and the current government has made it legal to drink in the provincial campgrounds, and then only at your own campsite. It’s still illegal to use other recreational drugs anywhere (well almost, since there are safe sites and cities where possession of small amounts is still illegal but they have permission from the government of Canada not to enforce those laws) and it’s still illegal to walk away from your own camp and drink, or to drink on public land without a campsite of your own. Which means that Uncle Bill cannot come visit you where you are camping and legally down a beer with you, or smoke a joint, or shoot up some ‘joy’.

That all said, the neighbouring piece of land is public land and it is illegal to cut down a standing tree (living or dead) on public land (unless you have bought and paid for a permit to do explicitly that.)

So what were these people thinking or planning?

More concerning is, if one takes a look at the cuts the guy made with the chainsaw, why did he intentionally get the chainsaw clamped in the tree?

There are lots of ways to bring down a tree, many of them very dangerous that you can get away with until that last time when you don’t and that’s the last thing you do in this life. These kind of cuts are like that: intended to get someone killed.

He was luck, extremely lucky. He went to fetch and axe to cut the last few inches that held the tree up. I went and brought back the chainsaw I borrow and waited. I offered to cut it carefully while he held his saw. No, bravado and stupidity won out and he proceeded to whack at it with his dull axe until the tree fell, all ~3000 lbs of it and his chainsaw hit the ground, luckily clear of the tree.

And there the dead, felled tree sits, 200 yards from the property line, in the middle of the woods, not even near a road. It’s pine so it’s not safe to burn in a stove unless one cleans the chimney very often, like every two weeks at least. Lots of fuel (with that sap that sticks around) to burn, but there’s no good use for it.

This guy is one of God’s creatures. What was God thinking when this guy was created?

As for me, like Mary, I can say for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And with Moses: The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

But what was God thinking? And what was that guy thinking: ‘gonna test God’s ability to save me?’

Small Pieces, Profound Peace?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Great Country,

God’s Country!

Humans Doing Their Best

to Undo It All.

Psalm 71:20

You, who have made me see many troubles and calamities, will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Words of Grace For Today

For generations people have gathered at the smaller lakes surrounding the larger Cold Lake. Cold Lake’s 210 square miles of water surface stretches for 21 km and it’s 142 meters depth keep it cold even in the hot short summers. While it has a great variety of fish, it’s catch and release today. Back as long as memory serves (some days that’s just hours) people of the area have gravitated to the many smaller lakes that dot the bush around Cold Lake. They warm up in the summer making swimming a real possibility (sort of) and freeze over sooner in the winter making ice fishing possible much earlier. Their smaller size also means that storms year around and the cold winds of winter are less drastic. Sometimes that’s a real factor when out fishing. And it makes for a better camping experience when camping, which usually means June through August, and maybe also September and May, for most people. Only the hardiest camp earlier in March and April and later in October and November. Only the real desperate homeless or the most die-hard campers stay at all in or through the winter.

The problem with the campers through the generations is that, while camping in a number of areas is by reservation and with payment only, there are plenty of ‘free’ places to camp, some even legally. That ‘free’ cost has meant that a number of people, incapable of caring for the land or water or other people have gravitated to these ‘free’ sites. During Covid restrictions they were abused as places to gather huge numbers of people to party, drink, eat, and drug up with no measures for anyone’s safety. Long before Covid the ‘bush party’ attitude descended on a number of these sites as well. Annual ‘Grad Parties’, organized by parents and grandparents descend on these sites, bringing hundreds of young people to drink, drug, and music their sanity into oblivion, as if that were the best life had to offer them. While a 14 day limit exists, there are many who claim the ‘right’ to camp for months on end. Among the many who have shown up and still do camp more discreetly are known drug dealers. The traffic in to their campsites to share a drink and buy supplies is constant. Now it’s into the third and fourth generations of people who show up, demanding that they have a heritage right to party away, without any limit, their brains, bodies and souls. To hell with the land, the trees, the animals, the water, or other people. Their claim extends to the surrounding privately owned land as well. They bring the loudest ‘toys’ to rip up the ground, traverse the private lands, belching noise and fumes as much as possible, exercising their ‘rights’ and demonstrating the value of their lives.

The land, the water, the animals, the trees, the sane people ask: where is peace to be found? Those with enough money find a quieter lake, buy property, and secure their piece of paradise with their money and ability to pay taxes, build cabins, and fence out intruders. Those without any money or choice to live elsewhere wonder aloud: how long oh Lord, how long, before peace is possible, not only when the bitter cold keeps the most dangerous of animals away?!

Would it not be nice to know that blatant disregard for life is only present here? It is everywhere. It is obvious here because there are fewer things that provide ‘cover’ for the abuses of life.

Yet, when the abuse subsides for a few hours, a day, or a week, even though nature may storm away, biting bitterly cold or thrashing wildly with ferocious winds, the beauty of God’s creation not visibly overwhelmed by human domination renews one’s spirit.

The unrelenting human need to draw out energy from the ground is all around: with bitumen drilled for, extracted, processed and shipped out. Though in the woods one can ignore it for the most part. Knowing eyes and ears discern the mark oil extraction has made everywhere.

So we pray: “Lord, when will peace come to this land, and to it’s people?”

Even if we are not afraid, how long before the nights are not broken by loud ‘music’ or exhaust pipes untamed? How long before drugs, alcohol, ‘music’, and sex are not constant escapes for so many people who might otherwise have lived productive lives? How long before … before your blessings flow to these people so far lost from life as you created us to live it?

How long, Lord, before, You, who have made me see many troubles and calamities, revive me again?

How long before your peace is apparent each day?

Or is it enough that it is only occasionally to be found here?

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.

What will happen if …?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

As Long as We Continue to Ask With Cold, Hard Hearts

What Will Happen to Me If …?

Then Our World Remains Skewed

Far From Christ’ Way for Us

And We Do Not Follow Jesus.

Micah 7:14

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.

John 10:4

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Words of Grace For Today

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.

This snippet from

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA. Hear a part of his last speech (the day before he died) as he spoke in support of 1300 sanitation workers who were striking for the right to form a Union. He introduces the parable of the Good Samaritan, and provides a number of explanations that have often been given for the Levite and priest’s passing by this man in need: that they are busy going to a church meeting, that the religious law forbade them to touch a human body 24 hours before leading a service, that they were going to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association to deal with the root cause of the danger on the road. Then King continues:

“But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. (That’s right)

… “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. (Yes) It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about … twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two hundred feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. (Yes)

… you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. (Go ahead) Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking (Yeah), and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to … lure them [over] there for quick and easy seizure. (Oh yeah) And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (All right)

“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” That’s the question before you tonight. (Yes) Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?”… The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question. (applause)

“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America [we add Canada, and the whole world] what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation [we add Canada a better nation, and the whole world better world for all people]. (Amen)”

It would be easier to keep asking ‘what will happen to us if …?’

Doch

When Jesus gathers us out of the safety of our ‘sheepfold’ and calls us to follow him, we know that all our own self interest is set aside, as Jesus set aside his, and we cannot ignore the important questions of what will happen to other people if we do not follow Jesus providing to others life, and life abundant.

The Way of the World

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Sky Remembers

With the Colour of Honour

The Blood of All

The Men Abused

and Many Who Were Killed

Ecclesiastes 5:6

Do not let your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands?

Colossians 2:18

Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking.

Words of Grace For Today

Sunday rest.

Monday work and remember the children.

Tuesday work and remember all the men who are abused by women.

Oh, you say, that is not how the world is. Men abuse women and kill them.

Yes, we’ve come a long way recognizing how some men, very few men, abuse women with violence that eventually and inevitably leads to the man violently killing the woman, or psychological demeaning until the woman feels so worthless that she kills herself. And we have recognized the signs, and coaxed and coached abuse women away from their abuser (which is very hard to do since the abuser’s abuse captures and makes the abused think she needs the abuser’s presence and approval), and provided safe places for abused women to recover their sense of self, their voice, and their assurance of their own worth … and a vision of life without the abuser.

And many women and men have gone beyond that to assume and punish all men for the abuse done by a few, which only turns the tables on the men. Now the women and men become ardent, unrelenting, unabashed misandrists, theirs is the destruction of innocent, good people (men), and the lies that are told about innocent men mushroom into a cloud over society from which no one can escape.

Meanwhile many men are caught in their abuser’s trap, just as women are also. They have lost their voice, their woman has robbed them of their sense of self, of all their friends, of all contact with reality as they are blamed for so many things each day, small at first, the huge things, that the man has had nothing to do with. And the end is the same as for women: some women abusers are violent and they eventually, inevitably kill the abused man who is so worthless she sees him as not even human. More women psychologically beat the voice, worth, and hope right out of the man until he withers into self-loathing and finds no way to go on, so he kills himself. Men with a even a small tendency for violence use a gun, those with none use other means like poison.

When the courts are involved, like the rest of society, there are precious few who even think it’s possible for a woman to abuse a man if the woman is not beating the living daylights out of the man, and even then they are more likely to charge and convict the man – even though it is the woman violently beating up the man, and the man only tries to save his life. When the abuse is psychologial the courts most likely convict the man of come kind of harassment or psychological abuse (even though it’s the woman who is the abuser, if they would only open their eyes to the possibility!)

The rest of society is not unlike the courts, blaming the man for being abused: ‘what kind of a man are you to let a woman treat you like that!’ ‘No real man could ever be abused by a woman. Look at her. She’s half a foot shorter, and 50 pounds lighter (though so much stronger physically, if they’d only look.)’ ‘You’re not a real human if you let her treat you like that. You must have it coming. You’ve done something terrible to her.’ ‘Hey, man, it’s your fault for staying with her. Anyone with sense would have left long ago.’ And so go the blaming of the man for the woman’s abuse.

In the end everyone loses, no one more than the children, who learn to lie to protect themselves, who learn that courts and cops and church people are all corrupt, who learn never to tell the real truth about who is doing what to whom, because they will be made to pay if they do.

So we remember Tuesdays all the men abused by women.

And we pray that we will not be led astray by our words or others’ words of deceit.

And we pray that we will not be caught up in the ‘human way of thinking’ so that we ignore men who are suffering, and whose suffering will always end in death … unless someone or some miracle intervenes.

Holy Ground! Come No Closer!

Monday, December 6, 2021

This Could Be

The Hermit’s Holy Ground,

If One is Faithful

And Ears to Hear and Eyes to See.

Exodus 3:5

Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’

Hebrews 12:28

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.

Words of Grace For Today

It was 2 am, and every sensible person was asleep or working the graveyard shift. Not Porgy. An alcoholic for decades with more than enough DUI’s to prove it, was drinking with his friends and when they all left at midnight he kept up by himself on the way home. At home he grabbed the left over beer and shifted from his pickup truck to his jeep. He set out to ‘run the muck around’ on crown land, except it was a foot and a half deep with snow. The better the challenge and the more fun.

He had toured all through the regular routes and left the run out to the hermit’s place for last. At 2 am his headlights off he winds onto the high road, now no longer on crown land for a ways, and follows the tracks that wind around an old basement filled with garbage and 20 year old trees, past the blocked off road above the illegal campsite sitting just 10 feet from the water of the lake, a road that can still be walked and from which the best views of sunset and fishers are enjoyed and captured by the hermit photographer. As he rounds the old deserted and abandoned camper and add-a-shack for a wood stove he guns the engine to ensure he wakes up the sleeping hermit and 50 yards later drives right through a wire that the hermit setup to slow down quads stealing wood from him. Up in the hermit’s wood yard Porgy’s jeep suddenly dies. It just stops. There Porgy sits, tries to turn the key to start the jeep but everything is black, dead, quiet.

The hermitage is holy ground. (Porgy has forgotten everything about ‘removing his sandals’ or giving God God’s due. God reminds Porgy by disabling his old jeep.)

Porgy has heard the ground is holy and not given it much credence. Now, completely dark, shut down silent, Porgy reconsiders. A light flashes down out of the sky. Porgy jumps out of his skin and prays earnestly for the first time since the last time he was drunk, “God save me!”

God has found a way to ‘speak’ to Porgy, even in his drunken haze.

It’s actually a military helicopter on an exercise, testing electronic surveillance, that God has put to use. Knowing all about Porgy’s DUI’s and alcoholism, the helicopter crew has been following his truck and then jeep for the last half hour, and having heard that the hermitage is holy ground they decide to play a bit with Porgy. They’ve remotely, temporarily shut off the jeep when they’ve known it would be safe. It was a good test of their equipment, logged and certified as effective at 500 metres.

As if in response to Porgy’s desperate prayer, the jeep lights up again. He starts it, and drives out as quietly as he can. Within days everyone hears a version of the story, Porgy’s version, how he went to visit the hermit in the evening and how God shut down his jeep as soon as he got on to the hermitage. He told everyone it must be holy ground.

Within days the military few know a different story, and they hear the story from Porgy. Only a faithful few realize that they played a part in it all, but God was at work. They realize that the hermitage really is holy ground. Humans (from his ex, the girls, the lay-pastor and bishop, the wealthiest people in town, the cops, lawyers, and more than 2 dozen judges) have sought to destroy a good, kind, and honest man, and they have only created a holy martyr, a hermit more safe from Covid than anyone of them, more blessed every day than any of them. Their practice surveillance of the area has long since established the hermit’s hard work to survive, his ingenuity, and his kindness to anyone who treads on that holy ground … and his efforts to save anyone from intruding in unholy ways on the holy ground. Their investigations of records they ‘practice’ accessing for ‘national security’ have given them enough of the completely unjustifiable effort of many different people to financially ruin him, to drive him deep into debt and poverty, and to even kill him … and the hermit’s blessed response of forgiveness to his mentally ill ex and the children and the binding of everyone else’s sins – putting their deeds over to God for judgment and offering them forgiveness if they would only but confess.

No one is holding their breath for that, since all the guilty people think no one will ever know who has done what or how.

But God knows, and a few intelligence people know, and a few honest people who listen carefully, and a whole lot of guilty people know.

That morning at 2 am, the hermit did wake up to the jeep’s engine noise, look out the window, and saw the jeep, and the light. He heard the near by helicopter and then saw Porgy start the jeep and drive away. When daylight came he went out and repaired the wire. All along, as for so many other things, the hermit gave God thanks, knowing that since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we can give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.