And Pilate said, “What Is Truth?”

Image: Gerd Altmann — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LICHEN and I’ll warn you that my response is rather rant-ish. All because I saw a headline this morning…

Another notable noble
bites the dust, exposed,
a dark villain delightfully
defrocked. Righteous media
revealing all the secret sins.
Alleged accusations hurled
cling like lichen to a rock;
scandalmongers savor
all the delicious details.
Opponents of order grin.
You’re next!
What’s not hidden
deep in your closet
can easily be fabricated.

Re: this headline: I’ve no clue as to guilt or innocence. Furthermore, I’m all in favor of truth; I believe those who misuse their powers should be exposed and called to account. But I’ve read of so many good people being “exposed.” Perhaps a mysterious photo, letter, or recording anonymously delivered to the media torpedoes someone’s career. Even the most righteous causes can become a bandwagon everyone wants to jump on. If the word “Christian” is tossed into the mix, the media’s all over it. I’m aware of several news stories and/or documentaries where facts were seriously twisted and/or ignored.

One Sad Example

A Saskatoon teacher came upon a young teen couple making out in the school hallway and threatened to tell their parents. A few days later he was arrested. The girl and her BFF had gone to the principal and reported that this teacher had touched them sexually and the police were called in.

The girls couldn’t be identified, being minors, but his name was blazed across the front page. He was branded a pervert, a pedophile. End of teaching career. Friends avoided him. Although the girls later admitted in court that they’d lied, his life was ruined.

A month or so later that same newspaper printed, way back on one of the last pages, a one-paragraph report that he’d been found not guilty. How many people even read it? He talked to a reporter later, hoping to clear his name in a bigger way, but there’s no way he’d ever get another teaching job. School Boards will usually go with, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

I believe those who love Truth and want to know it will be guided by its light. Others are usually at the mercy of hidden agendas. Or, as Sir Winston says…

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

Winston Churchill

Haiku Moments

Posted to CG2 – Nov 28, 2022

Since my mind is on haiku today, I’ll revisit and polish some of my verses posted a few years back. Hope you enjoy them.

moments of my days
trickle past — raindrops
slipping down the pane

time tunnel
take my body back
about thirty years

spindly poplars
beside an old grain bin
the dream and the drought

Star Trek travels
aliens all spoke English
incredibly

tall pines bent
almost double in the wind
since time began

the old moon
a ball of blue cheese
over-nibbled again

Thanksgiving Wishes

Image: Jill Wellington — Pixabay

To all my American readers, here’s wishing you a delightful — or at least relatively peaceful 😉 — Thanksgiving Day. In spite of all the things that are less than perfect, I’m sure you can find many blessings to count. As was said long ago…

Image: Mohamed Hussan — Pixabay

It’s All God’s Fault!

Warning: Seriously long musing on the question,
Is God really the cruel, heartless being Christians sometimes unwittingly describe?

Job’s Comforters

Imagine: A psychotic teen filled with anger, bent on revenge, waiting outside a small school. He’s carrying an AK-47; when the children pour out of the school at noon, he opens fire.

That evening two dozen sets of parents are overwhelmed with grief. John and Jane have lost two children in this tragedy, so acquaintances come to sit and grieve with them. Some offer what they hope are comforting words:

“It must have been their time to go,” said one.
“No it wasn’t,” John protested. “They were murdered!”
But it’s all according to God’s will,” said another. “The Bible says ‘All things work together for good,’ so He must have some plan for making this good.”
“This loss will haunt our family all our lives,” Jane whispered.
“God could have prevented this tragedy, but He allowed it to happen and His ways are always perfect.”
“What’s perfect about MURDER” John retorted.
Jane was thankful when their wanna-be encouragers left. She sighed and told John, “At least they weren’t quite like Job’s comforters. They didn’t tell us it was because of some sin in our life.”

Imagine: Some drunk gets into his car, thinking he’s okay to drive home. On the way he veers into the other lane and smashes into an oncoming car. Pearl’s son, daughter-in-law, and two of their children are killed instantly.”
Later a friend offered the much-repeated words of comfort: “They say God never gives us more than we can handle.”
“Then they lie,” Pearl sobbed, “because this is a lot more than I can handle!”

Beware Quick Pat Answers

In his devotional booklet, Every Day With Jesus, Mar/April 2018, Pastor Selwyn Hughes writes: “Time and again I have sat before a weeping man or woman in whose life something tragic has happened and heard them say, “If God loves me, why did He let this happen?”

He goes on to say how Christian often struggle with the fact that God allows bad things to happen to good people, and they prefer to rationalize the issue rather than face it.
“I must have done something wrong and God is punishing me.” Or like Job’s comforters, “You must have done something wrong and God is punishing you.”
And if nothing else makes sense, then, “It was their time to go,” Or “It’s all in God’s will.”

The above examples of comfort offered to the grieving demonstrate ways we tend to rationalize the inexcusable, but what sort of a God are we then portraying? He could have prevented your twelve-year old daughter from being kidnapped, raped and murdered – but He didn’t.

How cruel is that? If I stood by and did nothing while some crazy killed a child, wouldn’t I be guilty of complicity? Yet we have no idea how much and how often has God spoken to this person, urging him to turn away from evil thoughts and deeds. God has never adopted the policy of striking sinners dead — or Earth would be an empty planet!

In cases of a sudden heart attack or other non-violent death, it’s easier to find comfort in the thought that “His/her time was up.” Or “Their work on earth is done.” These thoughts do work sometimes. The world’s been saddened these past few weeks by the death of the beloved Queen Elizabeth. At age 96 and in relatively good health up until her death, I think we all feel that it was her time to go.

But can you imagine the guards at Auschwitz herding their prisoners into the gas chambers, saying, “It’s just your time to go.” Or worse, “God’s allowing this, so it must be His will.”

He Gives Us the Right to Choose

We read in the Bible that God id love, that He wants to be our Father, to guide and protect us. However, He wants to be a chosen parent, not one who forces His will on us.

Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve reached out to pick that fruit and opened the door for sin, God could have slapped her hand. “I told you, ‘Don’t touch!’” But He didn’t.

God made his will clear then and it still stands: Mankind shall have the choice to obey Me or not.” Otherwise, in his Court of Justice, He must bring every one of us into account because we have all made wrong choices – and did it knowingly. I believe the verse that says, “God calls all men everywhere to repent,” but His kingdom is not a physical kingdom that citizens are born into, but a spiritual kingdom where all are subjects by choice.

Rather, just as He allowed Eve the choice to reach out and take something she knew was forbidden, so He allows us, all through our lives Christians and non-Christians, to reach out and take the thing we know is wrong, or harmful. To say the words we know we shouldn’t say: the lies, the scathing criticism, the accusations.

Looking back, I think of many times I wish God would have reached down and given me a slap before I said, or did, something. Yes, there was that tiny voice saying, “Don’t” but it’s so easily ignored. He allowed me to make my own choice – and suffer the consequence, the loss, the tears.

At times He does actually intervene and counter man’s will, upsetting the plans of evil people. Usually they happen when He steps in to protect His children from some harm, or lets His child know that the loving Father does care. We often call these miracles and they are happening all the time; I believe every Christian can tell you of an instance where “something told me” or they’ve been prevented from some action or heard a voice giving a clear instruction or answer.

Just one example: A Christian woman in the southern US was standing in her back yard during a wild storm, the tailings of a hurricane, when an inner voice told her, “Get out of this yard.” She obeyed, and a few minutes later a huge limb of a tree came crashing down right where she’d been standing.

Not to say God’s children will never come to harm, but sometimes we are supernaturally protected. Likewise instances like this happen to non-Christians: some little voice says, “Don’t go there.” or “Don’t do that.” The choice is left to them, to listen or to ignore.

Sadly, Christians who feel their Father forces His will on mankind, are inclined to carry this even farther. His way is right/best, so His will should be enforced on everyone, Christian or not. They may carry out personal acts of punishment – my next post will touch on this – or they get into politics and start making laws, Prohibition being the most notable fiasco.

This is our human way of keeping our fellow man in line – the legal hand-slap or lash – and it’s the only way the governments of this world have of preventing evil because they can’t speak to or change hearts. However, through the ages God has worked through the still small voice of conscience, a voice every person in this world hears.

And If It’s Half Broke?

There’s an old saying that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leave well enough alone.

But what if it’s only a little broke? Still works, sort of? There are folks who fix the leaky faucet before it becomes a flood under the sink. Fix that oil leak in the car before the motor seizes up. If you ask, “Why worry about it when the problem’s so small,” they’ll tell you, “Procrastination only leads to disaster.”

And there are those of us who tend to hobble along with things as they are, hoping for a miracle, until the thing breaks down totally and becomes a real nuisance. When the drain pipe is totally clogged and the sink overflows, it’s time for action. When the tire’s almost flat, it’s time to have the leak repaired. There are those who go to a doctor while the problem is still small, while others have a health issue they hope will resolve itself. When they can hardly drag themselves out of bed in the morning it’s time to see the doctor.

A friend of my folks, a prairie farmer of Scottish birth, was fearful about the odd bulge developing on his hip. He ignored it and carried on, half fearing that if he saw a doctor, he’d hear the dreaded C word. Finally it became so big that he did visit the doctor, who sent him straight to the hospital. “That bulge is an aneurysm! It could burst any moment and you’d be dead in minutes.”

Sadly, we procrastinators are apt do this with relationships too. It’s risky to ask exactly what he/she meant by that comment. They might tells us exactly what they think of our behaviour and their words will likely be painful. So we tell ourselves, “Just let it go.” Yet the comment digs into us and festers. Usually more verbal exchanges happen and finally we’re pussyfooting around each other. The times we brave it and talk the thing over, we find it was only one point they objected to, not our whole personality. Or we completely misunderstood their remark. I can recall times when I’ve said something just as a joke, thinking the other person would get it, only to find out later from a third party that they took my comment seriously and were quite upset with me.

Image: Robin Higgins — Pixabay

What led to my musing this morning is my issue with WordPress. WP isn’t working 100% for me, but it still functions well most of the time. At times, though, the program won’t recognize my e-mail address so I have to give my username and log in anew. Especially for some blogs, while others I can leave Likes and comments no problem. So I just carry on and hope the problem will disappear. Will it, do you think?

Developers with their many “improvements” have made life so complicated for us simple minds! Sometimes I gripe that if the engineers at WordPress didn’t fix things that were working just fine, blogging would be simpler. However, I realize they were trying to accommodate a wide range of bloggers with other interests than mine, so I’ll hush it. I’m still very grateful to have this platform where I can ramble to my heart’s content. 🙂

THUNK!

Image: Ray Miller — Pixabay

Tyrant Turnaround

Sipping coffee at the table with my back to the open inside door, I was startled by a sharp THUNK. I jumped up and looked out the screen door. Just as I suspected: a bird had hit the glass and was lying beside the Welcome mat, gasping. Our cat, Angus, was heading up the steps to see about a possible lunch. I shooed him away. He knows the rules here. No Birds!

The bird, an eastern kingbird, was all askew and definitely stunned; it fluttered a bit when I stepped outside. I grabbed a few tissues from the house for padding and gently cupped it in my hands. It offered no resistance as I carried it to the flower bed and tucked it in the shelter of a shrub.

Much against his will, Angus was forced to come inside.

The kingbird lie there gasping, head on the ground, tail straight up, feathers ruffled, for about fifteen minutes. When I checked again it had pulled itself together into a sitting position. Half an hour later it was gone. Since there were no other cats about, and no tell-tale feathers, I’m sure it flew away.

I thought of a childhood song:
“God sees the little sparrow fall; it meets his tender view.
If God so loves the little things, I know he loves me too.”

This was no tiny sparrow, no warbler or wren with a beautiful song. The kingbird, a.k.a. “Tyrannus tyrannus” is a bigger bird. An acrobat when catching his meals in flight. Lordly, top-of-the-tree type. One guide calls them pugnacious. The ones in our yard live peaceably enough; I’ve never seen them bother smaller birds. But kingbirds are famous for their aggressive attacks on hawks, crows and other predators – even humans – that invade their territory.

To me its reputation didn’t matter. Here was a bird – and I like birds. I was able to help it, so I did.

Helpless little birds, gentle doves; it’s not hard to take pity on them. What about the tyrants of this world, the bullies, the belligerent, the viciously defensive? But God – so the Bible says – loves all people. No matter what our issues, He’s ready to help where He can. When we don’t thrash around and fight him off.

We can’t always see hope for change, but God knows how a lion can make 180-degree turn and become a lamb, gentle and merciful. History is full of nasty types who turned around when they met God. I think of Saul, who became the apostle Paul.

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord…” Acts 9:1 But Jesus met Saul on the road to Damascus and Saul did a major turn-around. He became Paul – meaning “Little” – the one who later wrote, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10