Awakening from a dream a few days ago, the details totally escaped me. I did, however, have a sense it was so earth bound; every thing I’d been doing was limited by natural science laws. I wondered why.
In some dreams I’ve flown like an eagle, soaring above Earth. In those dreams there was a wire mesh high up that I couldn’t get through. Those dreams went on for a number of years until the last one, in which I was able to slip by the wire. I know those dreams were symbolic, and were stuff in my unconscious mind trying to speak in images to my conscious mind.
The last few days I’ve pondered just why my unconscious mind would obey natural laws. In a dream I could do anything, right?
As I thought about it, I know the difference between dreams that are symbolic and those that are more reality based, with normal Earthly limits.
That started me thinking about limits that my mind imposes on me when I’m not asleep.
Science, as taught in school, taught me certain things about the natural world. I believe them. I obey them. Other things I just somehow learned, and accepted, that were just a part of living. Cultural Norms.
In the 1950s and 60s, like others, I learned to question things. My generation wasn’t the first to question “common sense.” The truth is that the Earth is not flat, and the Sun doesn’t revolve around Earth.
Yet there persists some nagging questions about things learned.
Over two thousand years ago, Yeshua warned we’d been taught wrong, and set about to teach Truth. Check out His “Sermon on the Mount,” for instance.
But, one might point out, parts of the Bible are like my dreams, filed with parables, symbolic imagery. Other parts of the Bible are based on historical fact, though some people dispute even that. Which parts are meant literally? Which are symbolic? Which parts could be either, or both?
That brings me to Mike, pictured in the photo. We met early one foggy morning. He was walking along California’s Coastal Highway, Highway 1, near Morro Bay. When I saw him carrying a cross, I stopped We talked for a moment, then he headed north while I went on to work. We stayed in touch, and eventually got together in Big Sur.
Mike had carried the cross from the East Coast. He had an interesting story. Well, a lot of them. It started in church one day when he heard a simple scripture.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. "
Mike thought about it. I forget how long he thought about it, but eventually he made a wooden cross and hit the road. Just like that.
Mike walked all day, and slept where he stopped. Along the way, he met a lot of wonderful people.
Mike learned about their lives, their stories, and made many friends. Many offered him food, many a place to sleep out of bad weather. When Mike got sick, a person gave him a place to stay. One man gave him a pickup truck and a travel trailer. From that point he’d walk carrying his cross, then hitch-hike back to get his truck.
Mile also ruffled more than a few feathers. He told me he’d been laughed at many times. Ridiculed. Harassed. He’d been beaten. One town actually ran him out.
Throughout Mike’s journey, G-D provided what he needed, when he needed it. It’s not a journey for everyone. But it was Mike’s journey, and it was his story.
More important than Mike’s story was the Truth shared along the way. Mike shared Jesus’s Story.
Modern science imposes limits. Religion imposes limits, too. It seems to me True Faith leaps beyond Earthly limits and the self-imposted limits of dreams.
Today I am reposting “Peace On Earth,” which was written and posted four years ago.
There’s a scene from some movie that just popped itself into my mind. There’s an angry man spouting off about something, and another man says to him, “Ah, does someone need a hug?” Anger isn’t exactly an emotion; rather it attempts to cover an emotion. And a hug from “Mom” can go a long way to rid one of anger, expose the underlying emotion, and sooth it. Unless, that is, that a person has a problem with Mom. Dr. Sigmund Freud was hung up on “Mom” and sex, and peoples Oedipus-like desires to have sex with their moms and kill there fathers. He thought that while we were still babies our fantasies centered around having Mom all to our selves and not letting Dad near her. It didn’t work too well, and some people never got over it all. They grow up to find other ways to get even with their moms and dads.
So with 300 million people living in America and a social media that puts everyone in everyone else’s face all the time, feathers are going to be ruffled as we play out our Oedipus fantasies on each other. People have their underlying emotions stirred, that then surge, and the result is that angry words spew forth. People discover there are other people that feel the same way, and they gather together to protest someone they feel has offended them. Lately it’s been presidential candidates who’ve modeled the use of verbal assault weapons, and become the object of protests. Conflict. And the television/internet media gets to watch, film, and report all of it to an eager audience, perpetuating the cycle of conflict.
Why can’t people just get along? Why isn’t there peace on Earth?
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [Jesus said]
— Matthew 10:34
Why? Why does it seem there needs to be conflict? In a writing class, I was once instructed on the use of conflict and resolution. In a story the author allows conflict to drive the story along. building a certain tension. At some point the author must allow the reader to feel resolution, too. There must be some form of resolution after conflict has built or the reader will feel let down.
Just as conflict drive an author’s story, so does it drive our lives. But conflict is only useful if we are able to find a resolution to the conflict. A solution. An answer. Conflict drives us to look for answers.
On the back of a Jeep was a bumper sticker that summed this issue up well. It read:
This morning an owl is trying to compete with the noise in the neighborhood. “Whoo Who Whoo Whoat. . . Whoo Whoo Whoo Whoooooo!”
The commercial lawn services use extremely loud machines. Airplanes fly over, low, single-engine jobs. In the lulls other birds try to get in a few bars of their songs. Almost impossible, however. Cars drive by. A van delivers something with a “bang, slam” of its doors. In the distance Georgia 400 drones on and on and on. . .
“Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Woosh. Cajange.” “Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Woosh. Thump.” The neighbor is out shooting, or attempting to shoot, hoops. Noise Abatement. Apparently there are laws and ordinances against just about everything except the important stuff, like cars, trucks, airplanes, lawn machines, people and children in general and children with basketballs…
Apparently the cicadas didn’t get enough time last night to make noise, so they’re joining in the cacophony. Where, O Where is the Conductor? All that is required is the kid on the other block to “play” his drums. “Bam. Bam. BamBam. Bam. Bam. BamBam. (repeat adnausium (sp?).)”
My coffee didn’t taste as nice as usual. And my pipe isn’t relieving my stress as it is required to do under threat of disuse. The coffee got cold too fast. Now Sara is vacuuming her room. Alias, the members of one’s own family are among the noise makers.
Now a lawn maintenance guy just parked in the cut-du-sac. “Clang. CaJunk,” trailer doors drop open. Wheeling out his mower, mounting it and roaring off while another guy fires up a lawn edger to attack the stray strands of grass along the curb. “Woosh. Woosh,” the mower guy has done his deed and is running the insidious thing up the trailer ramp. The curb guy isn’t making enough noise, so cranks it up another notch.
Poor Zack, with all the competition, he gave up on shooting hoops and disappeared somewhere, no doubt to make noise in another part of the neighborhood.
Using a tapered pipe cleaner, I swab out the condensation from the pipe stem, pack gently, and relight sucking in a tiny piece of tobacco leaf in the process. “Puuu. Fushy,” I add the the chorus as I expel the dastardly leaf chunk.
No wonder so many men retire and soon die; they can’t handle life at home during the daytime.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
Wait. It’s not what one thinks. It means endure with what is happening. One commentator said it plainly, that it doesn’t mean sit idly by and do nothing, but in our actions, our thoughts, our ways, be righteous in all we do. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Reminds me of a comic strip. Three vultures awaiting a rabbits demise. One says, “Patience, Henry.” “Harrumph,” says Henry, “Patience my A@#$. I’m gonna kill something.”
It’s trash day today. The trash truck will have a lot of competition if it thinks it can disturb me today.
Somewhere south of the Saragossa Sea is the Horse Latitudes and the doldrums. Not much wind there. One’s sails will luff. One shan’t make much progress. One shan’t hear the sounds of Modern Life, either. Ah, to be becalmed in the Horse Latitudes. To hear the silence.
There are some sounds one becomes inured to. Like the wind. Up on the Apache-Sitgreaves, in Arizona’s White Mountains, the cowboys dread the one month each year that the wind doesn’t blow. They say it makes them a bit crazy–all the quiet on the open range in the high desert beneath the alpine mountains.
But the chorus of mechanical man’s inventions? Can one truly become accustom to such a racket? My brother who operated a B&B for some years new Yosemite said he had one of those background noise radios in each room for guest that couldn’t sleep for all the quiet. Odd, isn’t it? That it could be too quiet to sleep!
With all the noise here, in my once-rural, now metro, area north of Atlanta, I wonder if we’ll hear the final sound of the Shofar calling the living and the dead to rise to meet Messiah Yeshua.
And isn’t the devil laughing at what we’ve done to ourselves?
As I pulled out of the driveway this morning, I noticed a caterpillar climbing the post that holds the basketball hoop. It’s early Spring here in Georgia, and there are caterpillars. A few weeks ago there were tadpoles in the pond. Both butterflies and frogs do this metamorphosis thing. Caterpillars become butterflies; tadpoles become frogs. But I’ve always wondered about which stayed throughout the winter. Do caterpillars hang out somewhere, ready to climb up the pole to get on the tree to attach to a leave to eat and turn into butterflies? Do tadpoles hang out at the bottom o the pond, not becoming frogs, staying over the winter, to finish their change in the Spring so I can have lots of frogs to sound off during the evening hours? Or is it that a butterfly hits somewhere, ready to lay a caterpillar in the Spring? Perhaps a frog hid over the Winter beneath the rocks that surround the pond, emerging to lay eggs even as Winter is hardly over?
There are important questions. I think about things like this all the time.
I suppose I could try looking up an answer. I could Google it. I’d get a lot of opinions, I’m sure. After looking at replies to questions about products on Amazon, I really don’t thing the internet is to be trusted. I mean, someone asked a question about the dimensions of a particular filter, and several replies read like this: “I’ve never used this filter, but my filter is. . .” Really!
Anyway. Origin of Life. Yup. I’m told it is very controversial. I’m told that schools teach all sorts of theories about it. Unlike caterpillars and butterflies, unlike my questions about tadpoles and frogs, there’s a simple answer. Let me share it with you.
“In the beginning
and the earth. ”
Simple, isn’t it. Not like tadpoles and frogs. Not like why my Mom said I was made from puppy dog tails, and big, fat snails.
The game of life has often been said to be a test. I’ve never really figured out why. Nevertheless, if it’s a test then there are probably exams with right answers and wrong answers. Perhaps, as with some college courses, there is only One Big Final Exam. Pass. Fail. Graded. Ugh! Or perhaps there are ongoing tests and quizzes. That approach seems fair.
If that is so, then we are simply answering questions during our life. The success or failure of our life, then, is the outcome of all the tests. Or perhaps the tests and quizzes don’t count, but give us a sense of our progress. That might be worse. Then we’d have to take that One Big Final Exam to determine the course of our Eternal Life beyond this mortal life.
We are constantly having to make choices throughout our life. Each choice is like a test. And these are like multiple choice tests. I’ve “failed,” according to some friends in that I’ve tried to analyze, over think, things. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the “Right Answer.” In doing so, in effect, I’ve selected the imaginary “No Answer is Correct.” I know for sure I’ve hesitated too long in the process of finding answers that are “Right.”
One strategy in answering these multiple-guess tests is to determine which of the answers are simply wrong, obviously wrong, and scratch them off. I’m wondering if this might be an approach to life, too. Rather than try to constantly assess which choice, which decision, is “right,” scratch off the obviously wrong choices. Then simply choose the best answer and go for it. Okay. I suppose that’s the Existentialist Approach to life.
I suppose one might find fault with this way of thinking.
Apostle Paul wrote to the Galations (5:16 ESV):
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
When Apostle Paul wrote that, he said it in the context of our Freedom in Messiah YeshuaJesus. He proceeded that statement with (v. 13,14):
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
Follow the way of Love. Follow Jesus. Follow the Spirit of G-D. This keeps us from making wrong choices. And we have the freedom to simply live our lives without the anxiety of always wondering if we are doing right. Isn’t this an approach to living an abundant life?
Heading through Atlanta, Georgia, from Interstates 75, 85, and 20 requires a trucker bypass the city unless actually delivering there. Interstate 285 makes a large ring road around the town, bypassing most of the city, which lies within the ring. There are a great number of cities that offer alternate routes that bypass the main towns, even small towns like Statesboro, GA, and Dothan, AL, have some sort of ring road around them.
Then there are the towns all across America that literally got bypassed when an interstate highway was constructed. Sure, off ramps were provided so a traveller could get off and drive through the town. But travelers, and truckers, stay away from towns, opting for gas and food that are right at the off ramps.
Tucumcari, New Mexico, is a great example. It is located the famous Route 66. It flourished “Back In The Day.” Then Interstate 40 left it in the lurch. Now, driving through the town is a peek back into what it was, and could have been today if not bypassed. Empty stores and building abound. Yet remaining in Tucumcari are some things worth the drive through. There’s several nice restaurants, locally owned and better in both food and service than those chain-run eateries along the Interstate. Some of the many motels are still operating, and worth the stay. And then there’s the Lizard Lounge.
Traveling Route 66 as a young boy with my parents, I remember stopping along the way. I don’t remember Tucumcari, however. I know we stopped there. As a young adult I do remember one layover in that town. In the winter of 1973 I was heading to California from Georgia, where I’d been at Fort Benning for training. The weather turned ugly, it snowed heavily, and Route 66 was closed at Tucumcari. I spent the night in a small motel. I don’t recall eating a meal in town. I didn’t go into the Lizard Lounge, either. I do recall getting up early in the morning, going to my totally cool 1969 Mustang (jacked up with wide racing tires on the rear, and clearing the snow off, then turning on the CB radio. I went back into the room and listened to the truckers chat while awaiting word that the road was open. Finally a trucker said the barricades were removed, and he was heading out. I hustled my girl friend and our three-year old daughter into the Mustang, and we were off. We were going to beat the crowd. There was a line of cars and trucks, but few actually dared go on. I was the first car to get out of town, driving behind three semis. The highway wasn’t cleared at all. I drove precariously in the tracks left by those three trucks past cars and other trucks that had become mired in the snowfall from the previous day. The cars were abandoned, perhaps highway patrol officers had driven the owners into town. Truckers simply slept in their trucks, and now awaited tow trucks to help them onto the road again. It was a slow drive, but finally somewhere in Arizona the snow had melted off and we were back to our regular drive.
It wasn’t until sometime in 2007 that I returned to Tucumcari. There was no snow then. The Interstate had bypassed the town, but the owner-operator trucker I teamed with wanted to stop at his favorite bar and grill—The Lizard Lounge. We parked next to it for the night. It was late, the bar was open, but the grill closed. No matter. The bartender made us some tortillas and eggs smothered in salsa. We ate. We drank a few cold beers. The next morning we were back on the road again.
Last summer I made a trip out west. I followed the path of the Great American Eclipse, just a few days ahead of it. I drove from my brother’s home in North Carolina out to Oregon. I stopped on the way through Wyoming, picking up a bottle of Wyoming Whiskey Eclipse edition, only available in Wyoming. In Oregon I spent time with with that now-grown daughter. I spent some time, too, with her two children, who are now older than I was when I hustled her and her mother into my Mustang in Tucumcari so long ago. We watched the eclipse from a campsite in Gold City, Oregon. We drank a small glass of whiskey. I smoked a cigar. The eclipse from there was only 95%, but was incredible. Memorable.
On the way back to Georgia, after visiting two more brothers, I stopped again in Tucumcari. It had changed. Some. It felt darker, less inviting. I ate a great late breakfast at a small diner. In the evening I went to the Lizard Lounge. The grill was closed. The bartender was not going to make a couple eggs. I talked with a fellow traveler who’d stopped over in that forgotten town. It was an odd conversation. I don’t remember what was said, but it was just odd. I can’t put my finger on what or why. Just odd. I opted not to take a room at the motel attached to that bar and grill, staying in another cheap motel instead. In the morning I talked with a Christian woman that worked the morning shift at the motel desk. She filled me in on some of the local happenings, which weren’t many. One thing that stands out is how some of the town’s businessmen had successfully prevented competition to the one local grocery store. In the light of day, as I drove several times through town, I saw satanic pentagrams painted on some of the old buildings. That explained the darkness that had encroached on Tucumcari, I thought. I got a sense from the lady that there was a spiritual struggle brewing in town between Bible Believing folks and their opposites, their counterparts of another religion A pagan religion that invaded the town. The town seemed splintered. Light. Dark. Trouble coming, already there.
Salt of the Earth. It’s an English phrase referring to a person who is thoroughly decent. Christians are suppose to be the Salt of the Earth. “The role of salt in the Bible is relevant to understanding Hebrew society during the Old Testament and New Testament periods. Salt is a necessity of life and was a mineral that was used since ancient times in many cultures as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. The Bible contains numerous references to salt. In various contexts, it is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.” —Wikipedia.
You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his. savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good. for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men
— Matthew 5:13
There is a town in Montana that I’ve passed through many time while driving truck. It’s another bypassed town, on a nearly forgotten US route. Folks drive farther on the interstate, but avoid the small towns that are on that highway. Broadus, Montana.
My first trip through, heading north to Washington with a load, just after a stop at the truck scales, I drove down a hill and notice first that there where several churches, a large park, and a baseball field. I noticed, too, that the town just felt nice, bright, clean. Stopping at one of the small stores for a soft drink, I spoke with the owner. Nice guy. The town was doing well. Ranchers and some farming along the river areas, were the main stay of the community.
Another forgotten town that hasn’t dried up, fallen apart.
It’s off the beaten path of motorists in a hurry.
It’s a town filled with light, and the Salt of the Earth holds it.
In the garden on Thursday afternoon, Padron 7000 Maduro (cigar), a glass of water, and the fish darting about the pond. Alan Jackson sings, “Leaning on the everlasting arms. . .” Some bugs are daring to come near despite the Tiki torches lite, one to my front right, the other just behind and to my right. The breeze is mostly coming from my right. It’s warm today, but not hot. About 82 degrees with a humidity hovering around 64 percent. There are a lot of clouds, but the sun shines on and off, and cuts through the shade of the myrtle tree that shades this corner of the deck. The “real feel” is said to be about 92 degrees. The water I brought down to drink is not cold,and cold sounds good. Continue reading “Returns”→
It’s early morning here in North Georgia. After a cold Winter, the last few weeks have been nice, with temperatures in the mid-60s. Nights, however, have remained cool, dropping into the high 30s and low 40s.