In Response To Terrorist Acts… Past, Present & Future…

 

 

So, you kill in your god’s name, so you say?

Your Holey War1 is to make “sinners” “pay”?

“Thou Shalt NOT Kill” is NO spin,

When YOU kill folks, that’s YOUR sin,

How will YOU pay, on God’s real Judgment Day?

 

If the voice in your head orders killing,

Commands chaos and carnage, blood spilling,

No one else is to blame,

Except you, fool, by name,

Don’t you dare try to give “God” top billing!

 

Re the god, who you claim to endorse?

Be He Christian, Jew, Muslim or Norse,

Would one gentle and shrewd,

Seek your help, cruel and crude?

NOPE, that’s not work He’d ever outsource!

 

To dive off the deep end is to sink,

Try to muster sound brain cells to think,

Instead fight the insanity,

End your war on humanity,

Seek out peace of mind, hire a shrink!

 

 

1 No… I didn’t misspell “Holy”.

 

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99 Word Blog (#044) Gun Nut Pastor Joyner Shoots Off Mouth

 

God: “Thou Shalt Not Kill”

Pastor Allen Joyner: “They should be shot!’

“They” meaning Americans not standing for the National Anthem… e.g. San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick.

1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Joyner: U.S. troops should shoot protestors.

Joyner’s 2nd Amendment “solutions” drew raucous cheers from his targeted audience… impressionable high schoolers. Ergo, he had fomented campus violence.

White Alabaman Joyner’s violent “solutions” re a Black Lives Matter issue also smack of racism.

 

 

All Creatures Large and Small

Admittedly, I had briefly considered titling this posting: “A Cute Cuddly Puppy & Kitty”. But the actual title you’ve just read is a bit more honest… for, on this new day, the “creatures” I’m talking about are none other than our world’s religious sects. These “creatures” can and oft do exert forces upon our society, which are both too large and too small.

Terrorist cells and Theocratic societies draw their energy from too large religious ideology. Blue and white collar crimes can trace their roots to too small religious influences. Either way… humanity loses.

Clearly, the polarizing, extremes of religion are not working towards the betterment of our global society. So might the solution to dealing with our world’s ills be found in a moderate, middle ground faith?

While I’d never be so arrogant as to claim I have all the answers and MOST ASSUREDLY I am NOT on a mission to ram my own religious beliefs down anyone’s throat… here’s what my CommonSenseFaith is all about.

1. I do believe in God and cannot help but base such a conviction upon some of my own life experiences. I’ve shared two of those special moments in my posts: Going Home… Going Home… and A Sliver of Sunlight. I believe, if folks stop to really think about it, some might realize they, too, have had similar “oh wow” moments in their own lives.

2. I fully accept that God may not be a wizened, old man with a long, flowing white beard… that He could even be a She OR… in lieu of that… simply be the elegant and unifying universal laws of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

3. I do not believe in organized religion and haven’t been a regular churchgoer since I was a preteen. That’s because I feel living my religion in my day-to-day life is far more meaningful than living the lie of “Only on Sunday” “morality”. Now, this is not to say that I’ve not had lapses in my own good behavior. But key here is to learn from our transgressions and then self-correct.

4. I also believe that agnostics can be and oft are paragons of virtue 99% of the time. Why not 100%? That’s because nobody is perfect.

5. I feel living the Golden Rule provides us all the structure we need… i.e., the perfect, rock-solid foundation to build a non-violent, loving, flourishing society upon.

6. I may even be like you… you, who feel that want-to-puke-revulsion every time we see fraudulent, parasitic, gold-plated, stain-glassed televangelists “fleecing” their flocks. This breed of “religion” likely ranks right up there with the pumped up on steroids, bulked up, too large sects I spoke of above.

7. While I do insist that each and every one of America’s elected leaders be a humane, humble (wo)man in possession of a moral compass, I also concur with the U.S. Constitution that religious services ONLY belong in our Houses of Worship… that they MUST NEVER be convened in the White House Oval Office, on the U.S. House and Senate floor and, MOST ASSUREDLY NOT with the U.S. Supreme Court bench serving as a rickety, makeshift altar. True… the church government mash-up a.k.a. Theocracy may work out fine in Iran… but that’s not what America is all about.

Since too large and too small religious sects are failing… I believe my seven tiered, CommonSenseFaith philosophy sounds compelling. Hell, this could even work without bringing a Supreme Being into the mix. Might such an moderate approach pave the path towards a better world? Let me know what you think.

Was it Divine Intervention? (Part 2)

In Part 1, I mentioned how my brush with death on an icy freeway overpass had been a stop and think about “IT” moment in my life… that I’ve experienced “IT” a few other times… that each time “IT” had hit me… I did get that jaw dropping, “Oh Wow”, feeling of awe.

I also claimed that “IT” has further strengthened my already rock solid faith in God… that “IT” had happened because He still had more important work for me to do on Earth. And last but not least, I made a promise to tell you all about “IT”. Now,  being a man who’s true to his word, welcome to Part 2!

To be sure here… “IT” is a rather inelegant way of talking about “IT”… that “IT” being none other than Divine Intervention. Hmm… maybe I should abbreviate “IT”? Sure… why not… let’s use the acronym, “DI”.

The DI I’ll be blogging about on this day took place just as the final paragraphs of my Dad’s bio were getting written. But… let’s first flip back a few pages… just to get you, my readers, on the same page with me.

Dad’s Life Story ~ By the time the dog days of summer, 1988, had arrived, the consequences from a lifetime’s worth of poor lifestyle choices had begun to dog him. Tobacco and a diet loaded with sodium and saturated fats had resulted in obesity, hypertension, heart trouble, diabetes and cancer.

Dad’s internist had advised him to do something before it was too late… but my father waited and waited… until it was too late. His need for an ambulance trip to the hospital certainly underscored his “too late” status.

It was after modern medical miracles had stabilized Dad’s heart issues when his doctor finally convinced him to surgically address his other problems, too.

I had visited Dad 12 hours prior to his operation. Although we both skirted the issue… opting, instead, for some pleasant small talk… we could both see the fear in each others eyes. We shared the unspoken dread that, come morning, things would not be going well. Dad’s parting words that night, “Keep the home fires burning.” I assured him I would.

Our worst fears had been confirmed in the OR… Dad’s cancer had become a raging, rampaging, homicidal, suicidal beast. Since he had intentionally left his “advanced directives” form blank, i.e., had not told what his wishes were in the event something went wrong, by default his status was “full code”… which meant he wanted doctors to do everything medically possible to keep him alive.

And something DID go wrong… everything went wrong!

The surgical team had to resort to heroics just to keep him from dying on the operating table… even though his chances for recovery were near absolute zero.

For six, long, agonizing weeks Dad laid in a quasi-living, Hellish limbo, while his doctor made repeated attempts to convince Mom, this was all to no avail. As the doctor’s frustration mounted, he even said, point blank, “This is like beating on a dead horse!” But, she just didn’t have the heart to… to put this crudely… “pull the plug”.

On November 1, 1988, Mom and I had one more confab with Dad’s doctor, where she had asked him… no… from the tone in her voice I could hear it more as her desperate plea… “Is there any chance you can save my husband’s life?” He simply nodded no.

Well, at that moment… Mom had seen the light… and as a result of her changing her husband over to “no code”, Dad had finally been liberated from his torture chamber ICU. At long last he would get the opportunity to “see the light”… albeit in a different sense…

Whether Dad would live or die was now up to God to decide.

Mom and I passed through the hospital exits in silence. Our slow walk to the parking lot was amidst a misty rain. Just as I was unlocking and holding the car door open for her, Mom turned to me to ask, “Did I just do the right thing?” At that moment the sun broke through the storm clouds and a rainbow appeared!”

To answer her, all I had to do is point upward and say, “Would you look at that!”

Well, as we all know, rainbows usually signify the end to our storms. To be sure… Dad’s post-op experience had been the medical equivalent of an F-10 tempest. But did this rainbow mean he’d be making a miraculous recovery or…

On the drive home, Mom and I had both been stunned into silence by the sudden appearance of that rainbow. As I drove, I recalled one of her favorite stories, one she had told me many times… one that I had never grown tired of hearing…

In her home state of Minnesota, there had been torrential rains for the entire week leading up to her Wedding Day in 1948. Then just as she and Dad had said, “I do” the clouds broke, and sunbeams lit up the entire church.

As we pulled up into the driveway, we both agreed we were physically and emotionally exhausted. Our number one priority was to get some much-needed sleep. We also made our plans to return to the hospital, early the very next morning… but…

Just as we were heading out the door… the phone rang. It being only 6:30 a.m… we knew this could only mean bad news. The disembodied voice informed us that it was too late… Dad had died… died alone.

I’m including the Mike + The Mechanics video “Living Years” even though the story told by lyricists Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson is not a “perfect fit” to all elements of my own story. The lyrics, which resonate with me the most are as follows…

I wasn’t there that morning… when my father passed away,

Didn’t get to tell him… All the things I had to say.

To be sure… nobody should ever die alone… and, for not being there… I do feel I had let my father down. The very last thing he had ever said to me turned out to be, “Keep the home fires burning!” And I would not let him down in that regard… that I had solemnly vowed.

So… while I regain my composure… let’s adjourn for about five minutes to give a listen to “Living Years”. Scroll down to meet me at song’s end… for my parting thoughts…

While we were listening… a thought did come to mind… and I’ll bet some of you also thought along these same lines…

Don’t postpone that long overdue visit and/or phone chat with your parents… do that soon… before it’s too late.

Now… to wrap up my story…

I realize that a doubting Thomas or secularist would dispute my claim that the rainbow, which Mom and I had seen, had any significance at all… let alone it being Divine Intervention. Such naysayers would merely chalk it all up to “total coincidence”.

OK, it’s true… God had not actually cured my Dad of all his ills. On that technicality… I’ll cede the skeptics a bit of ground. But it’s in the realm of the intangible where He worked His miracle. He had slightly eased both Mom’s and my own anguish over the decision to go “no code” re my Dad.

Consider that rainbow, too… the perfect timing of it all… had Mom and I delayed exiting the Hospital by even one minute, we would’ve entirely missed seeing that short-lived meteorological event. Think about the similarity of how the sun had come out at just the right time on her Wedding Day. “Till death do us part” is part of those vows… and this 40 year later similar weather pattern appeared to be ushering in that impending, “till death do us part” moment for this husband / wife couple.

All of this transcends happenstance, which does bring us back full circle to Divine Intervention.

For sure I know it further strengthened my Mom’s rock solid faith in God…

For sure I know it further strengthened my my own rock solid faith in God…

The Good Lord willing… I shall share with you one last experience I’ve had with Divine Intervention… in the days ahead… stay tuned…

Was it Divine Intervention? (Part 1)

It all began on a Friday. I was in the thick of 8:45 a.m., rush-hour traffic… en route to my Community College. The light falling snow was just beginning to taper off. Still harboring my “I’m invincible” delusion of youth… I asked myself, “Eh… how dangerous could a couple of inches be?”

Well… I was paying way too much attention to the rock music blasting out of my car radio speakers and far too little attention to my speedometer. Little did I realize… road conditions were deteriorating with each passing minute and mile.

But I sure did notice after I had crossed over the US-23 overpass. A thin layer of ice had turned that short stretch of highway into a skating rink. I started to fishtail… then overcorrected.

As a nineteen-year-old, with virtually no hands on winter driving experience to draw on, and with there being insufficient time to mentally flip through the “pages” of some virtual reality, Driver’s Ed manual for advice… I panicked… which only made matters worse.

Car and driver’s mind were both starting to go into a spinout. Barreling down on me was the sea of oncoming headlights. Leading that vehicular “parade” was a massive, take no prisoners, 18-wheeler.

My last minute Hail Mary (words and actions) made me quickly jerk on the steering wheel… and before I could finish saying… “pray for us sinners… now and at the hour of our death”… my last ditch effort had prevented my crossing over the center line.

What happened next, only a veteran Hollywood stunt driver could’ve pulled off in “one take”… for his or her film director. The path my car took was akin to threading a needle. I jumped the curb and came to rest… neatly perpendicular “parked” between two, closely spaced road signs.

As my level of adrenaline ebbed, I realized that I had totally avoided a head on with that semi tractor-trailer rig… that all the other drivers in the vicinity were totally unscathed, as well. I, too, had emerged from that scene with nary a scratch to either my own body or car.

Though not an exact match to the events I’ve just described, the following video will give you a general idea of what could’ve easily happened to me. And since I had been driving a 1972 Chevy Nova at the time… colliding with that semi would’ve created a whole new meaning for the phrase, “compact car”.

A note to my more sensitive readers… you may not want to view this.

Returning to my story… the other drivers, out of consideration for me (or perhaps out of fear that I’d do some further boneheaded driving) had all brought their vehicles to a dead stop, which had allowed me to shift into reverse to get back onto the highway.

Albeit with frayed nerves, bruised ego and my car’s newly acquired, minor front-end wheel alignment problems, I did make it to my 9 a.m. class, safe and unsound, a mere two or three minutes late.

Only afterwards, did the significance of my near fatal accident start to fully sink in. November 9, 1973 could’ve easily been chiseled beneath my tombstone’s D.O.B. This had been nothing short of my first, ever, actual brush with death.

Since my driving skills that morning had been so lousy… I wondered… whose hands had guided my own on the steering wheel? Who had, just in the nick of time, saved my very life? Was it Lady Luck or the Good Lord?

True… those who are secularists and/or chivalrous would say, “Ladies first”. But, as much as I am a gentleman, in this case I’d have to disagree. I do believe there was one and ONLY ONE reason that I am here to blog my story on this day…

Divine Intervention.

Now… to tie up a few loose ends, which I neglected to mention… I had no sooner resumed my commute than sunbeams broke through the dark blue/grey cloud deck and a song recorded by the British band, Badfinger… “Carry On Till Tomorrow”… broke through the crackling static of my car radio.

On that day… Carry On Till Tomorrow had taken on a whole new significance… the almost angelic / choir-like chorus reminding me of how close I had come to being fitted with my own “pair of wings.”

It was as if God had taken on the role of DJ to cue up and dedicate that song to me… to remind me that I should carry on… that He still had more for me to do in this world… in all the tomorrows, which His Divine Intervention had so graciously salvaged for me.

Why God had spared me from near certain death would only start to become apparent with the passage of time.

All, which had occurred on that nearly fatal winter day was just one of several other instances of Divine Intervention, which I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

These have been the events, which have further strengthened my already rock solid faith in God.

The Good Lord willing… I’ll share more of my experiences with you in the days ahead… stay tuned…