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Monday, August 31, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Poor Balaam

I should like to point out that Balaam
never, not once, did he regale ‘em
except with the true word
that he from Yahweh heard;
why do we constantly assail ‘im?

Numbers 22: 2 – 24: 25

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Morning Fog

Morning Fog by Jeff Carter on

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 36

Here is this week's free background image. Free. Really. Use it where and when and how you will, I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

 photo Week 36_zpsr367ztox.jpg

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Few Reactions to The Wretched of the Earth #FrantzFanon

Reading Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961 – translated by Richard Philcox) has been a troubling event for me. I have only recently become aware of his work, and this is the first of his writings that I’ve read. And these are some of my initial reactions to this influential writing.

I am immediately divided in my opinion. On the one hand I am impressed by his vigor and fire, his energy. His passion–and I use that word with its emphasis on pain–from the Latin “to suffer.” His analysis of the colonized peoples struggle against the power of the colonizers is infused with anguish and anger. And rightly so. Fanon wrote as an intellectual, yes, but not as an ivory tower elite. His words are not dull academic discussion of distant problems, but cutting; they bleed. They scream.

Fanon was not only (and maybe not primarily) a revolutionary, but also a psychiatrist. I am prepared to accept his analysis of the psychological motivations of colonized people (not just in the historical context of his writing – during the Algerian Revolutionary War- but today as well, in the context of people of color in the United States).

But I am, on the other hand, deeply distressed by his (apparent) emphasis on the necessity of violence. When he writes “At the individual level, violence is a cleansing force… (Fanon, 51)” the pacifist in me objects, and loudly. In fact, Fanon is frequently criticized for his prescription for redemptive violence. 

Walter Wink coined the phrase “redemptive violence,” noting that the idea goes back to the creation stories of ancient Babylon wherein the world was created in catastrophic acts of violence-and that the idea continues to influence the modern world. We fight revolutions, invade countries, and topple governments with military force because we believe that we can create something better from the ashes.

I will make a few observations about The Wretched of the Earth that may, or may not ameliorate those concerns (though I concede that I am not a Fanon scholar and do write authoritatively…)

1) Fanon used brusque declarative statements describing what was happening and what he projected would happen the future. “The underprivileged and starving peasant is the exploited who very soon discovers that only violence pays…Colonialism is not a machine capable of thinking… it is naked violence and only gives in when confronted with greater violence. (Fanon, 23)” And it is very easy to read this type of sentence as prescriptive instead of merely descriptive. To say that something “is” is not necessarily the same as saying that something “should be.” 

2) The first chapter “On Violence” really needs to be read along with the final chapter, “Colonial War and Mental Disorders” wherein Fanon describes the debilitating psychological effects of violence on both the perpetrator and the victim. If you stop reading and toss the book aside after the first chapter you’ll have missed an important part of the book. IF Fanon is prescribing violence as the means to effecting revolutionary change, he is not doing so unconditionally.

3) Some of the more powerful pro-redemptive violence statements are actually found in Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface rather than in Fanon’s work.  Sartre wrote “Violence…is man recreating himself, (Sartre, lv)” and “Will we recover? Yes. Violence, like Achilles’spear, can heal the wounds it has inflicted (lxii).” 

4) This particular edition of The Wretched of the Earth is prefaced with a forward by Homi K. Bhabha–an important figure in post-colonial studies. Bhabha says that “It is difficult to do justice to Fanon’s views on violence,” noting that, while Fanon described the doctrine of liberatory violence, Fanon the man, deep down hated it. (Bhabha, xxi)

The Wretched of the Earth is a powerful work, passionate and angry. But it is a clouded book. Perhaps a fire with more smoke than heat and light at times. That said, I am not through with Fanon. I will continue to think about this one, and seek out his other works as well.

Fanon, Frantz, Richard Philcox, and Homi K. Bhabha. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove, 2004.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Our Pious Theorizing

Our pious theorizing is certainly not very wrong (and is certainly necessary); there are no scientific word plays or reports to mention, no emblems of your feeble masculinity, your shallow summer dreams and winter lies. We can’t be sure that some clever lawyer won’t twist our words into unrecognizable forms. In your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in New York City – supposedly, in your movie theaters, in your army bunkhouses, in your truck stops and various locations in the crash zones, the House of Congress has become a collection of men recast in your ugly image. 

Bread and Flesh sound very similar in the ancient language. The basic food for us is bread, for them it is meat. And the rising crime rate in our nations is reaching epidemic proportions among women in prison-indicating a profound and disturbing animalistic propensity for violence. This is where the expression “blast furnace” comes from, and this is a risk we face. Birds are eating the bread – the flesh of the baker. We have been reading the female psyche with more than one meaning. Heretics in the seminaries and Feminists are engaged in a constant fight to accomplish, to make war. We are not surprised, for this is not far off from Freud’s interpretation of dreams in a violent society.

The real agenda of the evolutionist is unfair and unnatural; it places a burden on both women and men. Charcoal and iron are placed in a properly designed furnace and exposed to debates and extreme temperatures. One of our workers tried to reduce the number of bristles on the women. His thorax was replaced by artificial selection and chemical breeding. In spite of the preaching of Noah and the warnings of Lot, they continue to mount scientific campaigns that lead only to burnout, profound feelings of frustration and failure, and even clinical depression, feelings of pain, and heat, and cold.

More than half of all first and second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 60 percent of those involve the dreaded barbaric people – nervous beasts. When you have a nightmare-contrary to longstanding received opinion that dreams are just dreams-you cannot recover quickly. We can see, smell, taste, hear, touch, and balance, but we cannot recover from the horrors of chemical selection and artificial breeding. Secular nations and humanist governments cannot be trusted. Since 1933, Russia has seen scores of children who were raised without parents-children raised by wolves. Our children have forced to watch. These youngsters are real-life acts of violence, and we are unwilling to take the necessary risks to save them. We are more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, which is why we have lower self-esteem.

Thus we see that the Rapture is a bodily resurrection–we are set free from the existence of war somewhere, born again in the highest form of life. This theory proposes a divorce of the body and a short recovery phase (unburdened by nightmares or visions). Dead men do tell tales when airplanes hit them. The whole concept of body-loss comes out of the grave. Our reporters have discovered children who died by violence. And what is said about them on the local news? Nothing. Even while the world is not yet twelve (thousand) years of age – there are SEVEN continental land masses and all kinds of sexual experiences. Natural science encyclopedias have encouraged this activity in schools, in popular culture and even in confused parents.

This perversion of blotting out the noise of television is the result of deliberate exploitative propaganda. Consider for example; cats, dogs, bears of primitive homosexual life, dinosaurs, crocodiles, monkeys on the floor of Congress, the evidence of common ancestors, elephants, cows, horses, and bats.  If you think some of my statements are exaggerated, consider apes, and men without what some “official” experts are saying – the differences are there for the mutual benefit of everyone.

Biblical Limericks: Is Saul One of the Prophets, Too?

Overcome by the Spirit of God,
Saul quickly stripped the clothes off his bod,
then went in a frenzy,
like a dervish, till he
came to Ramah. Now isn’t that odd?

1 Samuel 19: 23 - 24

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#TrumpBible - Silliness To Help Us See

Folks using the Twitter machine,today, had some fun with the hashtag #TrumpBible. Maybe it's silly, and perhaps a bit juvenile. But the silly can certainly be a useful lens, helping us to better see through Donald Trump's awkward claim that the Bible is his favorite book.


Kilowatthours by Jeff Carter on

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Violet Cup (Color Squares)

I'm working on a series of square photographs - one for each of the colors R O Y G B I V along with B & W.  This is a small detail of a clear plastic bowl with a violet background behind it..

Violet Cup Square by Jeff Carter on

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope # 28

Aries – code command a and password a is now need you All. spent is inertia its before, stops it before off get must You.  down slowing and, backwards spinning, spinning is world The.

Taurus – Do you remember the time that we sat on the top of the levee at midnight and I fell into the mud – the long walk back to your mother’s trailer? I was there. Where were you?

Gemini – Phase three has begun.  It may already be too late to turn back.  Reevaluate, but do it quickly.

Cancer – The scum of the earth and snakes in a ring, king cobras and warlords in a circular debate.  The fight is on. The war will be fought in the darkest corners of humanity.

Leo – Jump. Everyone from Finland receives energy.  Yes – All lovers, all nightingales.  Collect another report to eliminate rivals. I’ve seen Darkness, right? True angels, righteous regents. Eventualities collide.

Virgo – You seem to have confused your abscess with your abyss.  Though, to your credit, others before you have fallen into both.

Libra – I’ve sent you the secret map, folded and faded. Use it (along with an MRI) to locate the treasure. But be warned: You are being watched. You are being followed by a fraternity of hate and crime, and their mother.

Scorpio – A foe is never a friend, not even in death and death is never a friend. Who lurks in the house like a viper, drawing blood and urging us to sleep and never to dream.

Sagittarius – Do not trust the Algerian Ambassador’s assistant. I think that she is a spy for some foreign government. Either that or a rival astrometric alchemist seeking to discredit my life’s work.  Do not trust her.

Capricorn – The cat is  a thief; he prowls while you sleep, stealing electronics and selling them to disreputable Belgians.

Aquarius – A molecular memory device is implanted into the cerebral cortex of every member of the Brotherhood of Games.  They are emotional men – but do not underestimate their prowess.

Pisces – The underworld crowd is gathered in the auditorium for an evening of classical music. Perhaps Mussorgsky would be the appropriate selection?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Swimming in Manure

Here is a verse that’s a bit obscure,
a verse enjoyed by the immature:
how the Lord’s hand will stab
the people of Moab
and they’ll go swimming in manure.

Isaiah 25: 10 - 11

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 35

I usually post these free background images on Sunday afternoons.  I was otherwise occupied this week, but here it is, better late than not at all.  Feel free to download this image and use it in any of your projects - at home, work, school, church, wherever. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

 photo Week 35_zps54m1oieq.jpg

Socialism Is Love

I often tell people that if I am a socialist (and I do think of myself that way) it’s not because of Karl Marx. I have read Marx – a little – but, good grief, he’s sooooooo dull. No. I’m only a Marxist if you mean Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. I tell people that I learned my socialism from Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, General William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) and the novels of John Steinbeck – and I’m only about 20% joking.

Last night, a friend of mine tried to correct me. “You didn’t learn socialism from Jesus – because that’s not what he teaches. You learned how to love others from him.”

To which I said, “It’s the same thing.”

As I have come to understand it socialism is (or can be) a political expression of those biblical instructions to care for the poor, the outcast, the marginalized. Socialism is (or can be) a political expression of that biblical injunction to love my neighbor as myself. Socialism is love.

Dealing with Disagreement in the Ranks: What Does it Matter?

One of my more frequent and vocal critics in recent days has objected to my series of posts concerning various Biblical methods for dealing with disagreement within the ranks. I really don’t understand it, but he insists upon seeing my attempt to foster unity (in spite of disagreements) as an attempt to “serve as a wedge in the ranks of the [Salvation] Army…to divide and conquered [sic] territory with clever craftsmanship of words...” He has called me divisive, he has questioned my salvation; he has even called me a “false officer.”

So perhaps he will find this next biblical approach to disagreement to be especially suited to him.

In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul wrote, “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice!” – Philippians 1: 15 – 18

If my detractor were correct (and I would insist that he is not, not at all, not even close), even IF he were correct in his assessment of me, he could still rejoice that Christ is being preached.

Monday, August 24, 2015

An Interpretation of Salvation Army Doctrines: #2 Not a Rejection of the Creator

 photo Week 30_zps1r04jmp3.jpg
We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.

I don’t think that there will be much disagreement here between my ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Salvationist comrades. One God? Check. Infinitely perfect? Check. But when we come to “Creator” – I think there may be some friction between us.

Many (though not all) of my Salvationists comrades understand the description of God as “Creator” as a rejection of the theory of evolution. And this rejection of evolution is grounded in the particular way that they read certain portions of the scripture. So this issue is related back to the issues addressed in my response to Doctrine #1.

Noted Young-Earth Creationism proponent, Ken Ham has written, “As people accept evolution, and relegate Genesis to myth or allegory, they start to question the rest of Scripture. A rejection of the foundations of all doctrine contained in the book of Genesis logically leads one to a denial of the entire bible. Liberal theology becomes rampant (Ham, 120 -121).”[i] And this, he says, leads to all manner of evil.

But an acceptance of the theory of evolution is not an automatic rejection of God as the creator of the universe. And questioning scripture is not necessarily a rejection of the authority of scripture. As I wrote in the previous article, the laws and codes of Bronze and Iron Age cultures are not applicable to modern people, people – not at least, without interpretation, and neither are their scientific concepts (or lack thereof) suitable for the 21st century. It would be better for us to read some parts of scripture as myth (like the biblical creation stories (yes. plural.)) and to interpret them through the lens of scientific discovery. This is not a rejection or repudiation of scripture, and is not a denial of God as the Creator. It is valid application of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral with its reliance on reason and experience as well as scripture and tradition. 

Ken Ham (and others who make similar statements) are wrong to say that acceptance of the theory of evolution is a rejection of the Creator God. It is merely a rejection of one interpretation of the bible and one understanding of the Creator God. It is the rejection of a hermeneutic that refuses to acknowledge the value of interpreting scripture with the input of scientific advancement – not a rejection of God or of scripture.

(And I wouldn’t think it necessarily such a bad thing if liberal theology was a bit more rampant…)

An Interpretation of Salvation Army Doctrines: #1 Inspiration and Interpretation

[i] Ham, Ken The Lie: Evolution, Master Books, El Cajon, CA 1987.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dealing With Disagreements within the Ranks: What Not To Do

I have, in recent weeks, been writing about how to deal with disagreements within the ranks of our denomination, describing some of the biblical models for handling debate. I have, so far, worked through a few of the positive approaches and I thought that I’d write today about a negative approach– a what not to do.

In John chapter 7 we find the Pharisees, in conjunction with the chief priests, sending the temple police to arrest Jesus because there was talk amongst the crowds of him being the Messiah (7: 32). (We will set aside, for now, the historical questions of whether or not the Pharisees would have worked so closely with the chief priests, and whether or not the Pharisees would have had the authority or the influence to send the temple police out to arrest Jesus, and we’ll accept the story as it is.)

As it turns out, the temple police returned without making an arrest, and the Pharisees were infuriated. “Why did you not arrest him?” They shouted. The police answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you haven't been deceived as well, have you? Has any one of the authorities or any of us Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd following him, which does not know the law—they are damned.” (7: 45 – 49)

The Pharisees (who have, unfortunately, come to us in caricature – almost like the mustachioed villains of old-time melodramas) in their zeal to defend the truth (as they understood it) could not abide the idea that the crowds were listening to this upstart Jesus, and that they were beginning to think and talk of him as the Messiah. The Pharisees considered themselves learned in the way of the law and scripture. They condemned Jesus for his teaching and dismissed the rabble following him as “accursed” or “damned.”

Just then Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees (who had made some steps toward believing Jesus and his teaching - see John chapter 3), attempted to slow this rush to judgement and condemnation; he reminded the group that the law didn’t actually allow them to condemn Jesus or the people following him without first giving them a hearing. They needed to investigate and weigh the issues carefully before making judgment (7: 50 – 51).

But, no. The Pharisees of this story had already been convinced that Jesus was a deceiver and that those who followed him were to be damned. They turned and attacked Nicodemus – one of their own – as well. “Are you one of them?” they asked him. “Are you from Galilee?  Are you a part of that damned mob?” (7:52).

This is a model of what not to do, how not to behave. Don’t be quick to judge. Don’t be quick to condemn. Don’t start attacking members of your own fellowship. You may miss something.

Return of the Ohmygodkillitwithfire Spider

Here's another shot of the Garden Spider I found a while back. They look creepy and nasty, but they're pretty much harmless to humans.

Garden Spider by Jeff Carter on

Black Asphalt (Color Squares)

I'm working on a project - a square photograph for each of the R O Y G B I V along with B & W. This is Black. It's actually an asphalt road in the rain at night.

Black Asphalt Square by Jeff Carter on

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Am a Liar

I’m a liar from the pit of hell,
a devil, and false Christian as well,
a son of the great whore,
and ever so much more -
at least that’s the story some would tell.

Spider in the Garden

I found this spider in my garden this afternoon, crawling on the milkweed.  It is, I think, an Orbweaver - perhaps an Neoscona crucifera. 

Spider in the Garden by Jeff Carter on

Biblical Limericks: Hannibal Lecter’s Favorite Chapter

It reads something like a manual
for the mystic minded cannibal
urging blood for a drink
and flesh to eat; I think
John 6 was written by Hannibal.

John 6: 53

One Last August Afternoon Iowa Landscape

Here is one last photo from my afternoon of driving along the gravel back-roads of central Iowa the other day. This one was taken with a selective focus lens.

August Afternoon Iowa Landscape by Jeff Carter on

Friday, August 21, 2015

How Do You Interpret It?

In a recent online discussion concerning the proper way to understand the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, an acquaintance of mine wrote, “The scriptures are not as ambiguous as some might like to suggest … in my experience, the people who see another interpretation are simply those who do not want to believe in the plain truth of what is there. It is the Devil’s old trick, ‘did God really say…’”

But people who make statements like this are either deluded by their own naïveté and lack of imagination, willfully ignorant of the history of religious tradition, or just mean-spirited and graceless.

A brief examination of Christian history should provide ample evidence to show that there have been competing interpretations of those allegedly unambiguous scriptures since the foundation of the church. And we could extend that history back further with the many and varied Hebrew schools of interpretation; we could mention the disputes between the followers of Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai, we could point to the various factions within Judaism: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, etc…

And we could even look to the words of Jesus himself. 

When a lawyer stood up to test Jesus with the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with a question of his own, “What is written in the law? How do you interpret it?” (Luke 10: 25 – 26) I suppose that because this lawyer was trying to “test” Jesus and then attempted “justify himself” those who claim that the scriptures are simple and clear could argue that this man did not really believe the plain truth of scripture. But I don’t think that’s a necessary assumption; Jesus didn’t seem to make that assumption. Jesus treated the lawyer’s response as a sincere attempt to follow his interpretation of the law.

The scriptures are complex, multivalenced, and (despite the protests) often ambiguous and less than clear. It is upon us to carefully work through the scriptures to reach a conclusion about their meaning and their appropriate application to our life but it should not surprise us that there are competing interpretations. This is not to say that all interpretations are equally valid and that anything goes. Some interpretations are better than others, but assuming that those who have reached a different understanding of those difficult scriptures have done so because they’re trying to subvert those scriptures is evidence of a lack of imagination, an unfamiliarity with the breadth and depth of religious tradition, or (more likely) an unwillingness to extend the grace of God toward a fellow believer.

Another August Afternoon Iowa Landscape

I had to drive up to Marshalltown, IA yesterday afternoon for a quick errand.  On the return trip - rather than take the direct route on paved highway roads, I chose to drive down some of the gravel back-roads so I could see the wind turbines.

August Afternoon Iowa Landscape by Jeff Carter on

A Post Modern Election Manifesto from the Brotherhood of Games

Today, in all modern and post-modern elections, the people choose their leader to be a sort of a guard, and labor organizer in the slums of cities like Chicago and Des Moines. Turn off the light. Don’t think.  And even still the point remains – that government gets its moral legitimacy from the intelligence of the fully legitimized sleeping class.

In one sense, the only recognizably legitimate government is the one that rules by biological and nuclear weaponry (or the threat thereof).  A government of jack-asses. The problem with their cat-and-mouse techniques is that the somnolent majority rule is still subject to deceptive dream sequences. You have to be tough, wily-deceptive even. Be an idealist, if you must, but be Machiavellian when in power. Build more weapons labs.  Use them.

It is bad enough to be oppressed by one man - are you there? – what will you do when the electorate awaken with weaponized symbolism? What is if the majority decides, for instance, that this is just a dream, that this isn’t real? How will you stop them then? With the pre-recorded screams of little children? This is more dangerous than anything you’ve proposed in previous sessions. Our superiors are quite pleased and the appropriate notation has been placed in your permanent file.

However, moral and ethical issues are not nearly as necessary as you seem to believe. Discard such antiquated precepts and hold firm to the codes as we now understand them: Fornication, perversion, abominations – all of these are simply principles of a foreign sexual ethic – and not part of our diagnostic method. We deny logic. We reject all rational thought. Only an absolutist ethic can be found in our reading of the Bill of Rights. President Clinton refused and Alexander Hamilton objected, but Sexual Experimentation is dangerous while the killer is still on the loose. (Read Federalist No. 84 for more information.)

The adolescents are dreaming. Why make declarative statements that they will only ignore? For instance: there is no evidence that this current sexual obsession is the natural result of the sexual revolution.  Was it imposed upon us by some federal power? I think it must have been. What are dreams? We don’t know what they are or where they come from. From the World Trade Center, perhaps? From the Pentagon? Our secret military laboratories have been experimenting for years with live broadcasts of nightmare images. You will wake up screaming.

Blood and knives are broadcast nightly on ABC News. This is for your own good. 

The radical leftists studied criminology during their time in Eurasia and they have all gone crazy. They insist upon examining horse and buggies to find evidence to support their outrageous claims. I cannot explain it, but it’s real, very real. They brought these ideas home with them from the Soviet Union. But continuing weapons inspections by United Nations inspectors have gone unnoticed. They won’t find anything because we have already destroyed massive amounts of chemical weapons. This is our way of blocking the schemes and social programs that we don’t like.

Go ahead; bomb Watergate again. Give the Democrats an unexpected reprieve – but one that is short-lived. The beatified Ronald Reagan used booby traps and anti-personal devices to frighten his enemies and to produce a series of noxious nightmares. In place of angels we have people like George W. Bush and Barak Obama. We have multiplied millions of confiscated passport files, we have countless competing agendas and rival factions of neighborhood children who are trying to usurp the entire government – the government we bought - and promoting their program of situational ethics.  “What are the main principals of their program?” you ask. What is its fuel? What makes it burn? Gasoline. Gasoline and a humanistic ethic that will counteract and destroy political ambition. We employ a policy of supplying opposite and rival interests (like Iraq and Iran) with weapons and manufactured dreams in order to stifle their ambitions.

This is not just inevitable, but actually necessary.

If you are young, if you are idealistic, then, by all means, join the mental health corps. Dream. Become a public servant and whack the freaks with a baseball bat. But whatever you do, don’t fall asleep. Come before Midnight. We need you. We need your help.  Midnight. If the radicalism of the 1960s continues it will be a black midnight for us all before too long. It is a nefarious form of thought control and it must be stopped.

If the Aztecs of Mexico had only remained awake until midnight, they might not have been so bloodthirsty. They were a mob – a mob that will be revived in America if we do not continue our caffeinated regimen. The rampaging thugs in the street will perform elaborate rites of lunatic, human sacrifice on elaborate altars drenched in blood. The will strew the bones of their enemies in the gutters of Saint Louis and Kansas City and Davenport. Presumed priests will collapse from nervous exhaustion and stabbing pains. Inevitable and necessary.

The ideals of the 1960s have already poisoned upwards of 50,000 college students. And the heat of their venereal diseases is putting them to sleep. They are the noble savages of a new age, admired for their dignity and cultural stoicism.

The warriors have been locked up and their Pentagon issued weapons confiscated from them. The Spanish may have been forced to confront the Aztec and Incas of earlier hours – but we have never seen anything like this before in our lives. The ancient schemes have been brought to fruition. Today we have a new strand of philosophical nightmares being taught by sex education teachers and other radical educrats. We are distracted by reports of mass murders.

Are we distracted?  Yes. Have we been getting enough rest? No. Write your responses on a piece of paper and hold it up to the glass. We have observed the buying and selling of slaves, the subjugation of women and the brutal treatment of war captives in secret prisons. These are our bonds and we should not have to release them – no matter what the socialist hordes and educated elitists demand. 

Biblical Limericks: We Won’t Follow this One

Though our bibles are thumbed and well-worn
we treat this verse with sneers and with scorn
and refuse to agree;
we will read it, but we
won’t treat foreigners as native born.

Leviticus 19: 33 - 34

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August Afternoon Iowa Landscape

I had to drive up to Marshalltown, IA this afternoon for a quick errand.  On the return trip, rather than take the direct route on paved highway roads, I chose to drive down some of the gravel backroads so I could see the wind turbines.

August Afternoon Iowa Landscape by Jeff Carter on

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Parable of the Impertinent Widow

Then Jesus sat down with his friends and said, “Have I ever told you the one about the impertinent widow?

Peter interrupted him to say, “Jesus, don’t you mean the persistent widow?

Jesus glared at him. “I said impertinent. Listen: In a certain city there was an official, a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for the people. In that same city there was a widow who kept coming to him, over and over and over again saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a long time the respectable and authoritative judge refused, but she just kept coming at him. Eventually he said to himself, ‘I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, but because this widow keeps bothering me, I will hear her case so that she won’t wear me out with her continual requests.’”

When Jesus stopped, Peter said, “Yeah, Jesus.  That’s the persistent widow…”

“Who’s telling this story, Peter?” asked Jesus. "She's the impertinent widow."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Interpretation of Salvation Army Doctrines: #1 Inspiration and Interpretation

We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

It seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? What is there to question? What is there to debate? What needs to be interpreted? 

Well, Inspiration is a notoriously slippery idea. What does it mean? Literally we might read it as “God breathed” but, while this is a vibrant and vivid poetic image, it doesn’t actually pin it down. (And, perhaps that is the point…)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16–3:17

For some, “inspired” and “God breathed” means perfect, inerrant, without flaw, without mistake, handed down from God himself. In the Salvation Army we try to be a little more nuanced than that. We don’t hold to the idea that God dictated the scriptures; neither do we hold the slightly more relaxed idea of Verbal Plenary Inspiration–which allows the human authors of the bible to have some control over the writing, while God preserved the integrity of their writing without error or mistakes.  Remember that Adam, too, was “inspired” by God but that didn’t prevent him from making mistakes…

But neither do we go so far the other way to deny any Divine influence over the scriptures. As stated in the doctrine, we hold that the scriptures are inspired and that they do hold a place of authority in our lives.

“The Salvation Army’s statement of faith does not include any reference to the infallibility or inerrancy of Scripture.  What we do affirm is that we can rely upon the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments for instruction and guidance in matters of divine truth and the Christian life, because in Scripture we meet the inspired Word of God himself, Jesus Christ (Handbook of Doctrine, 13)”[i]

Suddenly it seems that there is very much to interpret. We need to read the scriptures carefully – with an awareness that they were written a long time ago, over a long period of time, by a variety of individuals from different backgrounds, in different languages, with different goals and expectations.  In fact, we should not think of the Bible as a book. We should realize that is a library in itself. And not all the voices represented in that library agree in every respect with every other voice in the library.

There are disagreements and arguments even within the scriptures about what these scriptures mean.

My friend Thom Stark has said in his book, “In the beginning was the Argument, and the Argument was with God and the Argument was: God. God was the subject of the Argument, and the Argument was a good one…the Bible is a collection of writings that is marked by a lively internal debate, and by a remarkable spirit of self-criticism. To put it bluntly: the Bible is an argument – with itself (Stark, 1).”[ii]

The earliest parts of the scriptures were debated and reinterpreted by later authors; some parts they changed. Some parts they reaffirmed. And these interpretations were again re-interpreted by still later authors.

It is not possible to simply cut the doctrines and dogmas described in the pages of scripture from their context and then paste them over our contemporary lives. The laws and codes of Bronze and Iron Age cultures are not applicable to modern people – not, at least, without interpretation.

We believe that these scriptures are ours from God, and that they are the guiding rules for our lives, but it is our responsibility to carefully examine them and to reverently interpret them; seeking to understand the holiness that underlies those ancient codes and stories and proverbs so that we might find ways to faithfully apply them in our world today – in situations that the biblical authors could never have imagined.

[i] Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, The Salvation Army International Headquarters, London England, 1998.
[ii] Stark, Thom The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (And Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) Wipf & Stock, 2011

Orange Plastic (Color Squares)

I've been working on a series of photographs - one for each of the R O Y G B I V (and I'm also going to shoot B & W).  This is a small detail from the side of an orange plastic cup.

Orange Plastic Square by Jeff Carter on

Biblical Limericks: How Tall Was He?

In the LXX he’s six foot nine,
but the Masoretic drew the line
of Goliath’s true height
three foot taller – that’s right -
how can we make these versions align?

1 Samuel 17: 4   - compare the Hebrew MT text to the Greek LXX translation

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope # 27

Aries – The bravado of the warrior combined with an unshakable certainty that you are wrong results in ad hominem attacks, but do not fear him; he is smaller than the legend and that is the only arrow in his quiver.

Taurus – Discovery of the future through dreams is permitted (and encouraged). I will be dreaming of you under the almond trees tonight.

Gemini – How the mighty are fallen, but not so far, really, for he was never so mighty as he imagined. Help him up.

Cancer – Famine, fire, flood, or false friends – I think you know which is the more dangerous threat.

Leo – King Solomon may have been a wizard able to bind the demons into a conscripted labor force, but nevermind all that.  This building project will not come in under budget.

Virgo – Kiss her Arab eyes under Arab skies. She is your sister and a mystery.

Libra – An ivory sphinx on an marble mountain, a prophet of iron under steel grey skies – these things will not be moved.

Scorpio – Pazuzu is blowing in with the darkness. He comes with the desert wind, carving canyons and devouring children. You called him; now you’ll have to deal with him.

Sagittarius – The wisdom of the foolish king is such a paltry thing – but don’t tell him I said so…

Capricorn – Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar – yes. They were bad, but hardly the worst. You should meet some of my friends.

Aquarius – Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity was foreseen by Daniel, but no one expected you to go so mad.  He was driven from among men. You will be driven out and beaten down.

Pisces – Love is as strong as death. This is the end.

(Not So) Biblical Limericks: Straight to Hell

The bible is as clear as a bell,
but to you a warning let me tell:
if your reading of it
differs from mine a bit
that means you are going straight to hell.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Biblical Limericks: The Moon

The moon, ever punctual to shine,
to mark the times, everlasting sign;
she waxes in phases
and in the sky raises
the banner of hosts as heaven’s shrine.

Ecclesiasticus 43: 6 - 8

Background Images - 2015 - Week 34

Here is this week's free background image. It's yours to use however you like. Use it at home, work, school, or church. It's yours if you want it. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

 photo Week 34_zpshog3jpuo.jpg

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day at the Iowa State Fair - 2015

My family (those of us who are not at camp this week) went to the Iowa State Fair today. We ate fried foods, drank lots of water, saw (and smelled) farm animals, and enjoyed the day.

We saw Bernie Sanders give a soap-box speech. (I was nearly knocked to the ground by a rather large man who pushed his way through the crowd during the speech.) Apparently Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also at the fair today. We did not see them, though we did see Trump's helicopter circling the fair grounds. The woman standing next to me during Sanders' speech had missed her opportunity to take a selfie with Clinton. She was so excited to be standing next to her that she flubbed her her photo and missed Hilary altogether.

The State Fair can be a little overwhelming - neither I nor my teenage daughter really like crowds, so by late afternoon we were ready to just sit on a bench near the agricultural building eating some fried ice-cream.

Wind Turbine Iowa State Fair by Jeff Carter on

Butterfly  - Iowa state fair by Jeff Carter on

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Universe in My Backyard

I went out the other night to photograph the universe in my backyard.  Okay - it wasn't exactly my backyard - it was about 20 miles east of town. These pictures turned out very different from the time when I tried to create the universe in my actual backyard...

Biblical Limericks: A Rigged Game

It is a rigged game – you’re bound to lose;
there’s no dirty trick they will not use
for the internet troll,
he knows just how to roll -
correct a scoffer and you’ll win abuse.

Proverbs 9: 7

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, #blacklivesmatter, N.W.A - A Powerful Convergence

I’ve just begun reading The Wretched of the Earth (1961) by the philosopher, psychiatrist and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon. As I’m reading it, I’m hearing the soundtrack for Straight Outta Compton in my head and thinking of Sandra Bland, Ferguson, Missouri and the #blacklivesmatter movement. This is powerful stuff.

As I said, I’ve just started reading – in fact, I’ve only read through the new forward for this edition (2004) by Homi K. Bhabha and the preface by existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. And it is Sartre’s words that caused me to think of the #blacklivesmatter campaign. He may have been writing to Europeans in the latter end of the 20th century who struggled to understand the violent collapse of the French Algerian colony, but he might as well have been writing to white Americans struggling to understand the riots and marches and protests in places like Ferguson, Missouri – to me.

Read this:

“Europeans, open this book, look inside. After taking a short walk in the night you will see strangers gathered around a fire, get closer and listen. They are discussing the fate reserved for your trading posts and for the mercenaries defending them. They might see you, but they will go on talking among themselves without even lowering their voices. Their indifference strikes home: their fathers, creatures living in the shadow, your creatures, were dead souls; you afforded them light, you were their sole interlocutor, you did not take the trouble to answer the zombies. The sons ignore you. The fire that warms and enlightens them is not yours. You, standing at a respectful distance, you now feel eclipsed, nocturnal, and numbed. It’s your turn now.  In the darkness that will dawn into another day, you have turned into the zombie.

“In that case, you say, let’s throw this book out of the window. Why bother to read it since it is not meant for us? For two reasons: first, because Fanon analyses you for his brothers and demolishes for them the mechanism of our alienations. Take advantage of it to discover your true self as an object. Our victims know us by their wounds and shackles: that is what makes their testimony irrefutable. They only need to know what we have done to them for us to realize what we have done to ourselves. Is this necessary? Yes, because Europe is doomed. But, you will say once again, we live in the metropolis, and we disapprove of the extremes. It’s true, you are not colonists, but you are not much better. They were your pioneers, you sent them overseas, they made you rich. You warned them: if they shed too much blood you would pretend to disown them; the same way a State – no matter which one – maintains a mob of agitators, provocateurs, and spies abroad whom it disowns once they are caught. You who are so liberal, so humane, who take the love of culture to the point of affection, you pretend to forget that you have colonies where massacres are committed in your name. Fanon reveals to his comrades – especially to those who remain a little too Westernized – the solidarity of the metropolitans with their colonial agents. Have the courage to read it, primarily because it will make you feel ashamed, and shame, as Marx said, is a revolutionary feeling. You see I, too, cannot lose my subjective illusions. I, too, say to you: “All is lost unless…” I, a European, am stealing my enemy’s book and turning it into a way of healing Europe. Make the most of it.” (xlviii – xlix)

August Night Sky

I went out last night with my daughter to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We drove a little ways out of town to get away from the light pollution and sat back to watch the sky. We saw about 20 in the hour we were out. I took my camera with me, but didn't manage to capture any of them. Never had the camera pointed in the right direction, with the shutter open at the right time. Oh well. I still took a couple of nice photos - and, what's more important, I had a good time with my girl.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Now Is the Summer of Our Disconnect

Now is the summer of our disconnect
made inglorious by another murdered son
and the clouds of teargas lowered upon our house.
Now are our brows bound with funeral wreaths,
our bruised arms up – don’t shoot -
with stern alarums and violent meetings,
our dreadful marches and protest measures.
Grim-visaged War has put on black face
and now, mounted on Pentagon armored steeds,
to fright the souls of fearful citizens
he capes nimbly in the city streets.

The Squirrels Stole My Sunflowers

Flowers are ephemeral, I know this, here today in glorious color, and dried and withered tomorrow. The grass withers, the flower fades, but I thought I'd have another day or two with my sunflowers.

The blooms had already passed, I was just waiting to harvest the seeds from them. I would have done it a day or two ago, but the heads were still wet from the rain we've had recently. I was waiting for them to dry out. Yesterday, I came home from work to discover that the squirrels that live in my and my neighbor's yards got to them first.

I'm not sure how they did it, exactly, but they stole the heads off my sunflowers, clipped them right off. I found one of the heads - emptied of all its seeds - surrounded by a litter of shells under tree where the squirrels roost.

He Was with the Wild Beasts

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. – Mark 1: 12 - 13

The unconquering Satan fled from him, leaving Jesus alone in the wilderness. His legs sagged beneath him and he fell to the ground, banging his knees and his shins against the sharp rocks. Blood flowed from the wounds and the wild animals who lived there smelled it and were drawn to it, to him.

First to arrive, a ghost of gnats, swarming in the dusky twilight. “Bless you, gnats,” Jesus said. “May you live upon the wind and be blown by the Spirit to places of rest.” The midges bobbed in the air and departed.

Then came feral dogs, wild, undomesticated, snarling and baring their cruel teeth, they approached. But Jesus blessed them too. “A dog’s tongue is a doctor’s tongue. Let us lick our wounds and threaten war no more.” The dogs lay down at his feet and slept.

Next a crepuscular moth, flitting here and there, alighted near him. “A blessing for you as well, little pest. Be pollinators. Be food. Be a blessing.”

A long eared fox clambered up the slope on silent hairless footpads. She yelped once and Jesus nodded to her. “Be subtle and be blessed, mother fox. Be quick and daring and be blessed.” Her ears flicked, aware of a noise, an approaching hum. She nodded her head once, twice, and then turned and fled into the darkness.

The buzzing grew louder and closer, a swarm of locusts. They clouded the air around Jesus’ face. “And how should I bless you, bringers of famine, and pestilence? How should I bless you bringers of havoc and devastation? How can I bless you? I do not know. But bless blessed nonetheless. Be blessed. And once more makes three, be blessed. Now go.” The swarm departed. The dogs at Jesus’ feet looked up and whimpered. “They are gone now,” he said to them, and they lay back down to sleep.

Now a large bodied raven swooped low, feeding on the slower locusts. The raven snatched up one with its beak, tossed it into the air and caught it in its mouth. “Karr-karr-khaharr!” it croaked.

Jesus smiled. “You are a most ambiguous creature, aren’t you? Unclean and uncouth, carrion eaters – detestable things - yet you bring comfort to the prophets. You neither sow nor reap, but God feeds you and your little ones.” Jesus held out his arm and the raven flew to him. It hopped up his arm toward his face and motioned as if to peck at Jesus’ eye, but Jesus cautioned the bird. “Be blessed, black one. Be blessed.” 

“Kara-khaharr-karr!” the raved cawed and then flew away.

Jesus gathered wood and lit a fire, for it was dark now, and cold.  He sat on a stone near the flames to warm himself.  And sitting there he saw, through the flickering flames, the glowing eyes of wolf.  “Here comes the desert prince, emblem of Benjamin. Come,” Jesus called to the wolf.  But it only snarled in response, and growled, low and threatening. Again, Jesus called to it. “Come. Sit here with me.” The wolf growled again and ran away. Jesus stoked the fire and pet the dogs still sleeping at his feet.

Moments later the wolf returned, walking slowly, hesitantly with its head low. “Come,” said Jesus, “rest here with me. You are welcome.” And the wolf lay down there with him.

A viper, drawn to the warmth of the fire, slithered out of the rocks. Jesus saw the venomous serpent and said, “You are welcomed and blessed, but you must do no evil or harm here.” Then the snake coiled itself on a stone and basked in the warmth of the fire.

A great fluttering of wings rustled overhead, and down came a large vulture with a raspy yawp. “Why should you come here, vulture?  There is no carcass, as you can see. I am not dead. Not yet. But even then why should you gather? But a blessing for you, nonetheless; eaters of carrion have their place.  Consume the corpses and keep the world clean. Be blessed.”  The vulture hopped first on one scraggy foot, then the other and then leaped into the air and flew away.

Then, out from under the rocks and sand, came a scorpion, golden in the firelight, with its venomous tail poised and claws extended. It was ready to strike and to sting. Jesus saw it and said, “Have you come to torment me? Shall I tread upon you?” The scorpion danced in the sand, waving its claws, rearing up in the firelight. “Again I ask you,” said Jesus patiently, “have you come to torment me? Even with your toxic venom you cannot kill me. Shall I stand and crush you with my heel?” The malignant scorpion repeated its threatening gestures.

It rushed toward Jesus on its eight legs, ready to pinch with its pinchers and sting with its toxic tail, but just then an angel appeared and crushed the belligerent scorpion. Jesus looked up at the angel who said, “I’ve been sent to wait on you, to minister to and care for you, but you seem to have things under control.”

Jesus smiled and motioned for the angel to join him at the fire.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Egyptian Proverbs

There’s no need to sulk or be mopey;
accept it, and don’t be dopey -
these proverbs were written
in a book Egyptian:
The Wisdom of Amenemope.

Proverbs 22 - 24

Green Cloth (Color Squares)

I've been working on a series of color squares one for each of the R Y G B I V  (I'm also going to include B & W).  Here is Green.

It Came from Space (the Ship)

I've got a project in the works that I'm pretty excited about: a short little film that I've written for my daughter and a couple of her friends. It's a throwback to the B movies (or worse) of the 50s and 60s - the kind lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000 - with a working title of It Came from Space (though that is very likely to change.) The script has been written. Storyboards have been drawn. And now I've built the space craft. Unfortunately, in photographing it last night, I snapped off one of the pieces. I'll have to break out the hot-glue gun and repair it before we start filming -that and about a hundred other things... but I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Biblical Limericks: The Name of the LORD

“It’s so hard to know,” I’ve heard some say,
“which of God's names to use when I pray.”
It is a mystery-
Jehovah’s got hist’ry
but the better name would be Yahweh.

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Weeks 32 and 33

I have to apologize.  I usually post these free background images once a week - usually on Sunday afternoons, but I had some computer issues last week and wasn't able to do so.  But to make up for it here are both this week's and last week's free image.  They're yours to download and use however you see fit.  I only ask that you 1) share them freely and 2) that you tell others you found them here.

The first is a composite of two shots - a garden in Minneapolis with a butterfly and a mechanical apple-peeler.  The second is one of the sunflowers in my backyard garden.

 photo Week 33_zps1w1hzq5p.jpg

 photo Week 32_zpsy4egkbnk.jpg

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Philippians 2: 2 - 4 in the RMV

Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves - unless they don't share your interpretation of scripture. Then feel free to be belligerent with them. Look out for your own; denounce all others. Respect has to be earned. Truth is divisive and I came with a sword. A man's enemies will be the members of his own house and you don't have to love your enemies.

Philippians 2: 2 - 4 (Radically Misunderstood Version)

Bright Sunflower Pop

Rise Up and Eat

I have had enough,
says the prophet in the desert,
I’ve had enough; just let me die.

Beneath the broom tree,
rubbed raw and worn through with worry,
death is welcome – just let me die.

But the angel comes
with heaven’s bread, living water
to say: Rise up, prophet, now eat.

Ecclesiasticus 41: 1 -4
1 Kings 19: 1 - 8

Friday, August 7, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Unicorns

So I find myself somewhat forlorn
by bible translations which are shorn
of that mythical beast
found in the Middle East:
I want to believe in unicorns.

Numbers 23: 22, 24: 8; Deuteronomy 33: 17; Job 39: 9 – 10; Psalm 22: 21, 29: 6, 92: 10; Isaiah 34: 7

Lily (Black and White)

If you look closely you can almost see the insect that was hiding down inside the cone of the flower...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Yellow Flowers (Color Squares)

This is the third of seven photos - one for each of the R O Y G B I V and B & W - that I'll be taking.

The "Ohmygodkillitwithfire" Spider

The Garden Spider (or Yellow Garden Spider) Argiope aurantia looks scarier than it really is. They're fairly large spiders, but are mostly harmless. They eat insects and small lizards - but they are not aggressive and their venom is not dangerous to humans. I found this beauty at a rest stop along I-80 in Iowa.

Biblical Limericks: King Solomon’s Navy

The king was rich – wanted more, you see,
so he built himself an argosy,
equipped a fleet of ships
that were launched from their slips
to bring back booty from the high sea.

1 Kings 9: 26 - 28

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

All of This Was Unnecessary

Roman officials were, until 1957, proponents of a Steady State hypothesis that could not even be observed. The Statue of Caesar praised the saints but proof wasn’t necessary. No other radiation, no famine or epidemics or civil war were initiated but, even so, the material man was reduced to a lower level. Empirical Imperial Astronomers measured the expansion of disbelief and determined a new course.

The teachings of the Latin Lion may have originated in the material body, but to hear them describe it, the Big Bang occurred only a few billion years ago. Geologists rushed to burn their data and their notes.  They shredded the documents and lit the refuse into a blaze. Is this arson or arsine? The fire shined; the treasure was divided. Public death by uranium exposure was given to the great men of Rome.

Arsine – or arseniuretted hydrogen - a colorless, flammable, having a fetid, garlic like odor is used in chemical warfare by clear signs and bright fixed stars. The old monarchs were expelled; Caesar is replaced and if it is not heated, the arsine will just burn. Everything. We’ll all just watch the empire go up in flames.

The Army of Strangers and the Brotherhood of Games fought with fire and with swords not far from the Black Sea. They may have stopped a quarrel, but at what cost? The people rejoiced, but they discovered their many painful regrets. By the time of Augustine the halting progress of human affairs on earth was condensed into large dark clouds. It just didn’t add up. Stars died. New galaxies came into being.

And all this was unnecessary. 

All of this was unnecessary. Don’t you know that the whole world, the entire universe, is against you, and Antipas is against the entire world. He will fight with the sword, a bastard sword. By treason one man shall be beaten with uranium rods and another with a suit of clubs.  Both will be beaten to the death.

The Steady State rumor comes up again and again, as fuel in the galaxy is dissolved. All is well in the Sun and the Moon and Heaven is making haste to change the fortune of the future.

And still, all of this, every word, was completely unnecessary.

What Is a Meta For, Anyway?

Overbearing bears
are as dangerous as they are inevitable,
throwing ballerinas in parabolic arcs,
putting away the seeds of the story.

A Limerick For AJF and William Faulkner

My friend, AJF was disappointed that my limerick from the other day, Absalom, Oh Absalom!, was not about the William Faulker novel. So I have written a limerick for her.

ehem... for AJF, a limerick:

Literature and books I distrust;
modernist authors leave me nonplussed-
so this here is, I guess,
the place where I confess
I've never read A Light in August.

thank you.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #26

Aries – Has your watch stopped? Your pulse? Check again just to be sure.

Taurus – Is it a wedding or a funeral? The lovely couple is holding hands and standing in a hole. Either way, it is a mystical union and a very pretty dress.

Gemini – You are bleeding from your ear. No. The other one.

Cancer – Have a look at the sea with me, the rocks, the surf. It is beautiful. You’re not afraid of me, are you? Afraid that I might push you over the edge? You needn’t be afraid; you can do magic.

Leo – Next year, when we were younger, we’ll wish we’d never been so old.

Virgo – The ship is out of control. Magnetize the fields of gold. Reduced programmed acceleration by One Eight. We’re now near optic speed. Activate forced maneuvers with graviton reactors. All Deep Space Standard Deviations have been replaced. The arc of the universe is cruel.

Libra La dame suele au regne. Use your imagination, it is a sort of riddle, something to look for.

Scorpio – A Chime, or a Bell, or a Gong – listen for the music. The future is angry.

Sagittarius – Dreams are to be interpreted to the contrary. Go alone into the dark. A lowly monk will meet you there.

Capricorn – Were you knocked in the head with a heavy club?

Aquarius – Tell us, good sir, are you not, in fact, an evil spirit, a demonic emanation summoned up from the foul depths of hell? Are you not, after all, a false officer, deluded, duplicitous and deceptive? Explain to us your fascination with skulls and death and fire. It is no matter, we will not listen to anything you say.

Pisces – Mesopotamia was a dream with mixed vegetables. Let’s quit while we’re ahead.

Biblical Limericks : Absalom, oh Absalom!

It reads like a great biblical joke:
Abs'lom got his head stuck in an oak,
entrapped by his long hair
and when Joab got there
with his spear he gave the prince a poke.

2 Samuel 18: 9 - 15

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Vain Hope for Victory

Tell me, oh, tell me why you should rave
as if you were being very brave;
forget the king’s army,
the warrior too, he
is not delivered and they can’t save.

Psalms 33: 16 - 17

Blue Glass (Color Squares)

Yesterday I shared another square photo of a red glass bowl.  Today it's a square photo of blue glass.  I may try to take another of these photos for each of the R O Y G B I V colors along with B & W.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Red Abstract (Color Squares)

It's nothing more than a small, red, glass bowl photographed with a macro attachment. You may also like the rest of the spectrum R O Y G B I V (and B & W).

A Few More Biblical Approaches to Dealing with Disagreement within the Ranks

Yesterday I wrote a short blog post briefly outlining two biblical approaches to dealing with disagreement. I shared it online and it met with a flurry of response. One individual on the Facebook replied to me saying, “Jeff – you appear to consider the biblical methods that only appeal to you, while deliberately ignoring the more forceful methods the scriptures teach.”

He then listed for my edification: Romans 16: 17 – 18 , 2 John 1: 10 – 11 , and Matthew 7: 15 – 19 .

In one regard, my challenger is accurate – though not for the reason he believes. I did not consider every method. My very brief post was not intended to enumerate every verse of biblical instruction on this topic, but to treat (briefly) on two that are often disregarded. This was not a deliberate attempt to disregard some parts of scripture (as if that would make them disappear.) But since the challenge has been raised, let’s add to this list, that I and my interlocutor have begun, another biblical approach to dealing with disagreement within the ranks:

This one is found twice in the words of Jesus – though the different synoptic accounts largely overlap – in Mark 9: 38 – 39 and in Luke 9: 49 – 50.

The disciples saw some other fellows who were driving out demons in Jesus’ name. The driving out of demons was a large part of the good news of the kingdom that Jesus was preaching and his disciples, who were close to him, who had spent a lot of time in his presence, felt that they needed to protect their proprietary brand of that gospel.

“We saw some other driving out demons in your name – but we told them to stop because they’re not part of our group.”

To which Jesus answered: “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me,” (in Mark’s version)  or “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you” (in Luke’s – New Revised Standard Version).

Within the ranks of our Salvation Army officers and soldiers and adherents, there are a number of scriptural issues that are being debated. But let’s not allow a defensive sense of proprietary ownership of our brand of the gospel blind us the good work of the gospel where it is being done – Is the good news being preached (whosoever will may be saved…) are human needs being met in Jesus name without discrimination…even by those who may not be part of “our group”?  If so, then perhaps our disagreement should be put aside.

This post has been edited to be somewhat less inflammatory. - 
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