Sunday, October 6, 2019

Lost without your love

With all due respect to the forgotten genius of David Gates, these words were not penned for a female companion, but for Someone much more important.

Lost and all alone
I always thought that I could make it on my own
Since You left I hardly make it through the day
My tears get in the way
And I need You back to stay

I wander through the Night
And search the world to find the Words to make it right
All I want is just the way it used to be
With You here close to me
And I've got to make You see

That I'm lost without Your love
Life without You isn't worth the trouble of
I'm as helpless as a ship without a wheel
A touch without a feel
I can't believe it's real

But someday soon I'll wake
And find my heart won't have to break

If we had love before
We can have it back once more

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Precipice

As I write this, I'm standing on the edge and looking down in.

Here we are in 2019. That's two thousand and nineteen years since the birth of Jesus. More anger, jealousy, hatred, resentment and suspicion than we've seen for a long time. People doing horrible things to each other, and more frequently. Apparently getting rid of God in the public square didn't have the effect that the secular humanists thought it would. People are capable of good, but they are not good by nature. That's what we've learned from the secular approach.

People still argue about the existence of God. Atheists love to insist he doesn't exist, believers love to insist he does. But none of that matters. God exists; everyone chooses how to deal with that inexorable fact. Neither side argues logically. They both are merely defending the world they want to live in.

What are those two worlds? Let's postpone that for a moment.

For all my life (that I can remember), I knew God existed. I was drawn toward God, without any influence from my parents (they were non-practicing Catholics that never spoke about the subject). So we didn't attend church, didn't have religious friends, and just did our own non-religious thing.

In grade school I wanted my own Bible, so I asked my mom if I could get one from Goodwill. In junior high I gave my life to Christ, and of course, in the years that followed, because I had no real foundation to stand upon, I pursued worldly interests and fell by the wayside, like the sower's seeds that fell among thorns.

As a young man on my own, there were times I really wanted to get back to a good place with God. But life and my own selfishness would soon overtake those desires and replace them with worldly concerns, such as getting a girlfriend, trying to become a rock star, getting people to accept and like me, etc.

I had an important experience at the age of 25 that completely altered my understanding of my place with God. Being near death can certainly be an attitude adjuster. I came out of that experience with an important piece of information: God will do as God will do, and we are all but arrogant potsherds to the mysterious and merciful Potter.

Nevertheless, time went on, I grew older, eventually got married and had a child.

I tried my best to toe the line, but in retrospect I was really quite pathetic in my failed attempts to stay with God. I still hoped that my efforts would make a difference with my life and the lives of those I interacted with. Sunshine and rainbows, that was the message. God is in charge, God will take care of everything, God is truth.

All that is true, most certainly. But there was one tiny problem. I was fooling myself regarding my eternal destiny. About who I really am.

I have met people I know are going to be with God someday. I can't properly explain how I know, but I know. I can tell you they are few and far between, just like the Bible says. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

What are they like? Well, I can tell you what they're not like: they're not rough, not aggressive, not violent, not selfish, not cruel, not judgmental, not proud, not vain... and definitely not decadent. You disagree? That's fine. Just remember we're all geniuses at self delusion. Many people are mistaking their road to Hell for a subjective moral high ground.

Yes, this is anecdotal, yes I have no tangible proof. Some people think they can identify who goes to Hell, but I think that's nonsense. No one really knows who goes to Hell, because that destination is not ours to decide for others.

I have confidence I can tell who goes to be with the Lord (Heaven), because I realized recently that I was exercising cognitive dissonance on the subject. More simply put: I would guess most people think they're right with God, because they "know down deep inside" that they're "good people with good intentions."

However, when looking at myself with critical eyes, based on things I know about myself, I realize that despite anything kind or good I may have done, my eternal destiny is not Heaven, no matter how much I might wish it to be so.

The next question is: so if that's true and you know it for sure, what do you do with that?

My answer is simple: live my life, respect God and others to the best of my ability, and just accept the fate that awaits. Am I happy about it? Obviously not. Am I angry at God? No. God is God. The person that I am is the person I am, regardless of my wishful thinking, or attempts to change. And those people who will be with the Lord someday? I wish them all the happiness they deserve.

We are not the Creator, we are the created. Our responsibilities to each other are only square one. Most people think they don't deserve to end up in Hell. But a significant portion of them are wrong.

Honesty about one's self is probably the hardest thing for everyone to address.

Oh, and the "two worlds" thing mentioned earlier? Despite the fact that I don't think I'm going to Heaven, I still prefer the world with God. Why?

Because that's the world that gets righted eventually, and that's more important than my comfort.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Resentment disguised as justice

A customer came up to me last night asking about a product we did not carry, but one he said was available at Walmart. I apologized for his inconvenience, and he took the exchange in a strange direction.

He said he had no interest in making the "richest family in America" any richer.

I thought, okay, everyone's entitled to an opinion.

Then he continued with what I thought was a finished conversation, and related an anecdote regarding cashiers at Walmart asking if customers wanted to donate their change to a charitable organization for children.

I said, "Cool."

Then he said, "Why don't those rich people donate their own money instead?"

So I asked him a question:

"Do you think the rich people should donate money to charity instead of the rest of us?"

He answered, "Yes."

I responded by saying, "Interesting," and backed away.

There have been many times I've disagreed with those in power about various issues. The disparity in quality of life between the one percent and "the rest of us" is obvious.

However, referencing the success of the rich as an excuse to release oneself from the responsibility of looking after others is a grim example of self-righteous hypocrisy. I fail to see the moral high ground in that philosophy.

Climate Change, aka "How dare you!"

If Earth is so fragile, why do I have to fight weeds every year, all summer long, and even cancer-causing herbicides can't stop them? This is no joke. I literally cannot stop them from invading my terrace and lawn every single year, no matter what I hit them with, no matter how many I pull up, no matter what I do to block, discourage and destroy them.

As Candace Owens has observed regarding media-induced paranoia about racism, am I the only person who judges reality by what I actually experience?

Weeds have nothing to do with turtles snorting straws, sea temperatures rising or coastal cities submerging? Okay, fair enough.

It seems that Global Warming has been a concern since the early 1980's, when world aggregate average temperatures were breaking 100+ year records. Much has been ado about melting polar ice caps. Over twenty years ago, a well-known movie called "Waterworld" was released (1995), demonstrating what a future with melted polar ice caps would look like: everyone lives in boats because dry land has been submerged.

Even if Waterworld turned out to be wildly overstated, the polar ice cap melting actually has been happening non-stop and at allegedly dangerous levels since the early 80's, so why haven't the coastlines already been encroached by noticeably rising water levels? I mean any at all?

As we approach our third decade since Global Warming was first being presented as a grave danger to the world, why is it the only level we've seen rise is the level of hysteria regarding our impending doom?

Somehow, despite 30 years of no coastal submerging, apparently the remaining 10 to 12 will add enough water to force panic-ridden migration, and destroy Greta Thunberg's future with "mass extinction."

Does anyone else think this may be a bit overstated?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Divide and Conquer as predicted by The Unabomber

Anyone interested in facts instead of vindictive emotion can surmise our society is being subjected to a divide and conquer strategy. How else could respected institutions be promoting such ludicrous ideas as toxic masculinity, the world ending in 11 years (yes we're going to keep track), systemic racism in a country that majority voted for a black president, and "anti-hate" propaganda in a country that is disproportionately obsessed with pansexuality in movies, television, books, music and art?

How else could otherwise intelligent, rational people of different worldviews argue so vehemently and venomously about things that don't resonate with most of the population? And why are both sides of the political fence so filled with fear and dread?

The astute response to this is: what would be the motivation for the elite wanting the public to fight over nonsense?

The answer is unexpected: as technological progress allows the elite to incrementally replace the human workforce, the slow nature of that development demands that it be allowed to flourish and continue uninterrupted by public concern. We don't have time to watch the people in charge while we're fighting with each other.

Today we're asked to stop eating hamburgers, stop riding in planes and cars, and stop having children. Tomorrow we won't be asked, we will be told.

The elite are now, and will be in the future, in charge of all the automated systems, including AI systems, which will eventually replace our workforce. So when the elite, who control the means by which all labor is performed (by robotic workers, such as the Japanese factories of today) decide that the rest of the population is not worth sustaining anymore, how do you think that will play out?

All this political correctness controversy is just a diversion to keep our eyes off the inevitable. Read Theodore Kaczynski's parable called "Ship of Fools." In a world where humans are considered expendable bio-matter, there's no room for God or the uplifting of the human spirit. I'm not one for making predictions, but I'd say humanity's history is drawing to its close, and not because of plastic straws, cow farts or melting ice.

Also, do yourselves a favor and read paragraphs 171-179 in the essay called "Industrial Society and Its Future" (the paragraph numbers are displayed in the document). The media rebranded it as "The Unabomber Manifesto."

Yes, Theodore Kaczynski was the Unabomber. Yes, he's in prison for murder. However, most people aren't aware that quite a few publicly respected entities (such as Ray Kurzweil, Bill Joy, et al - some references below) agree with the logic of Kaczynski's cogent premise regarding technology in the aforementioned paper. Yes, it was wrong for him to bomb people, but his essay's arguments would be no more or less valid had he never harmed a single human being.


The Unabomber was a tech-obsessed crazed killer – but 40 years on, technologists are starting to wonder if some of his theories might be true

Three Prophets Walk into a Bar...

Why the Future Doesn't Need Us

Who is Ted Kaczynski?

Flashback: Unabomber Publishes His ‘Manifesto'

Rise of the Machines: The Future has Lots of Robots, Few Jobs for Humans

And in a related issue, not pertaining to Kaczynski in particular:

Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence

Monday, September 16, 2019

"The Frame" by Jamin and Kiowa Winans

I just finished watching The Frame for the third time on Amazon Prime. For the last three days I've felt compelled to watch it each night before going to bed.

Brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant.

Through taking many chances on late nights with movies I've never heard of, and sometimes ignoring reviews due to subject matter, I've managed to discover a handful of independently produced diamonds that I will forever cherish. The Frame has already permanently engraved its place on that short list.

With The Frame, I was initially intrigued by two things: that it was the next successive full length movie by the Winans's, after their altogether original and touching film called "Ink," and the fact that it either garnered 1 star or 5 stars on Amazon, with not a lot in between.

The Winans's themselves are to be admired and supported. I watched an interview with both of them, and their situation as independent film makers with no substantial Hollywood 'backing' thus far is sobering. No, they're not starving, but I find it odd how a filmmaker such as Terrence Malick, whom I also respect and admire, makes beautiful but much less accessible movies, and yet has considerable Hollywood money and many big stars waiting in line to be in his projects.

To that end, as there is no DVD to purchase on Amazon, I'm going to visit the Winans web site this week and buy the deluxe package for the sole purpose of supporting their exceptional work. They've made three full length movies in fifteen years, and I'm sure they'd be more prolific if the proper recognition were administered.

Their film Ink, released in 2009, was deservedly given 100% from six critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The Frame, released in 2014, has no critics weighing in on it at all on the same review site. I find that strange and perplexing, as they seemed to love Ink. The audience gave Ink an overall score of 81%, and inexplicably gave 70% to The Frame. Yes, Ink seems to have been more popular, and it is a great movie.

But The Frame is no Ink. Not even in the same ballpark. It is a far, far greater accomplishment. The Frame does no less than create a brilliant allegory that effectively addresses the mystifying, frustrating, bewildering and glorious relationship of Man and God. Winans pulls this feat off so well, apparently many Ink fans just didn't know how to approach the subject matter.

As for The Frame, so many details I could comment on. Things that were so clever, so inspired, so well thought out and so emotionally upheaving, that "mind-bending science fiction thriller" becomes a worst case attempt at properly describing the profound nature of the film. The name of the city it all takes place in is merely square one. But if I were to go on about all these things, I would end up sounding starry-eyed, and honestly, I'd also end up spoiling some of the shining moments the viewer gets to discover.

The movie is well made entertainment. But it's also an experience that either speaks directly to you and makes you aware of yourself as a humble, naked creation of God, or it befuddles you as you try in vain to decipher what on the surface appears to be a confusing cinematic journey. Quite an accomplishment for a film that is not considered a 'Christian movie.'

Jesus spoke in parables on purpose so that only those who sought truth would understand, and I expect those who appreciate this movie would share that same understanding.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The disparity is there if you know where to look

Depending on the 'side' you choose in terms of political correctness in 2019, you are either aware of how conservative voices are being vilified and banned, or you think that concept is just false hype perpetrated by whiny Right wingers who can't take the truth.

Seeing the truth of the matter used to be as easy as looking at the like versus dislike ratios on YouTube videos. However, with YouTube's ever-increasing tendency to remove comments, videos and entire channels, it gets more difficult to find how the majority of viewers genuinely feel about something.

An excellent still-existing current example of the difference between the media and the public, are the ratings shown on Rotten Tomatoes for Dave Chappelle's Sticks and Stones show.

In the show, Chappelle's societal provocations, which happen to be funny due to their contemporary relevance, are received with polarity, as witnessed by the conspicuous disparity between the critic (media) and audience (public) ratings.

As of September 6, 2019, all of ten media critics have weighed in with an overall rating of 30%. In contrast, 22,250 members of the audience have given Sticks and Stones an overall rating of 99%.

Think about the stark contrast and what it implies.

Fake News earned its tag by deliberately and consistently espousing a narrative that is the opposite of the ethos of the people.

The Left's voices may be the loudest in the public square, but they don't speak for the majority of the country.