Before you try to answer that, let’s change the words. Let’s see if the same way of defining love works with other stuff.
Rock is Rock.
Lamb is Lamb.
Bob is Bob.
Cola is Cola.
Dirt is Dirt.
Poison is Poison.
Hate is Hate.
As you can see, the words above are not as easy to define by stating that one is what it is. To say that a rock is a rock is to say a diamond is a piece of driveway gravel. To say that dirt is dirt is to equate what my flowers are growing in with stuff people dig up to smear politicians.
Is every Bob the same as every other Bob?
Is Coke really as nasty as the generic stuff?
Is a stuffed lamb in a toy store the same as the living, breathing, pooping animal capable of growing wool?
If “hate is hate,” then is it as equally immoral to hate the act of murder or cottage cheese that same as I hate my neighbor?
LOVE IS LOVE tells us nothing! all it does is confuse and belittle, elevate what is not the real thing, and degrade what is priceless.
Then What IS Love?
Is there no standard for what love is supposed to be? Is self-love the same as sacrificial love? Stating that “love is love” doesn’t even clarify whether or not love is a verb or a noun?
That is why the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write: “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16).
What love is supposed to be is directly related to the nature of God.
God is the standard. God is the Definer.
Love without God in the equation is a scary, vague, unstable, dangerous, self-serving, undefinable, always-changing emotional term that can be used to justify anything (which can be verified by doing a Google search of “Love Is Love” memes).
Poison isn’t just poison, but love without God is a poison that blinds the heart. – Ephesians 4:17-19
Like I said in a previous post, I am not writing as much due to a lot of other responsibilities and the deadline I’m facing for my degree. However, as I was waking up this morning a thought crossed my mind that I thought I would share with you.
But be warned: this may trigger somebody.
Humans and Animals
I am not an atheist nor an evolutionist. On the other hand, I am keenly aware that many, many are. And what I have heard from so many of them is that humans are no different than any other animal. Am I wrong? Is that not what they say?
Now, to a certain degree I would agree with them. And I would hope that they would have a good explanation for things like altruistic love, self-awareness, higher purpose, and the fact that 99.9% of us don’t eat our young.
But there is something more basic that we all do, creationist and atheist alike… We check our puppies and kittens the same way. Keep reading.
Puppies and Kittens
It doesn’t have to be just dogs and cats; it could be a whole zoo full of critters. The point I am going to make is that whatever it is, when we first pick them up, we almost always ask a basic, fundamental question: Is it a boy or a girl?
Granted, the way you check chickens and snakes might be different, but when it comes to most animals, especially little dogs and kittens, you pick them up, lift their tail or look at their belly, and search for a puppy pencil (penis).
If you don’t see anything protruding, you say, “It’s a little girl!” If you see a lipstick case, you say, “Oh, look! It’s a boy!”
Modern Puppies and Kittens
The problem we are having now is that any time we pick up the little yard animals to check if they are boys or girls (male or female), we are running the risk of being sued by the kennel.
You see, even though you pick up a puppy and may immediately see the lid off the lipstick, assuming that puppy is a boy is an act of violence – you are attacking it with your pronouns. Fact is, regardless the genitalia, we have no way of knowing how that puppy or kitten identifies. We must wait until it squats or hikes its leg before we fill out its papers.
Further complicating things, there’s the issue of breeding. How many times have we simply assumed that putting a “male” and “female” whatever into a box would result in a litter of look-a-likes? Fact is, many of those times we did this with our German Shepherds and didn’t get a “match,” the problem might have been an offended, pronoun-assaulted hound with unrecognized identity issues!
Animals, or Not?
So, that brings me back full circle to the Creationist/Atheist comment. Are we animals, or not? If so, if we are no different from the rest of the cast of “Lion King,” singing “The Circle of Life” as we accept our fate as feline food, then why all the confusion? Why not just call it when you see it?
Personally, I think we are more than simply animals, just as I believe we were created in the image of God, similar in many ways, but distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom.
It’s just that either way – made in God’s image as male and female or nothing more than bipedal, hunting/gathering apes – there’s little basis for kennel to be co-ed.
Those are my thoughts for this Friday. Have a great weekend!
Who doesn’t love a good, cold Coca-Cola (or as we say down here in the South – where it was invented – Coke), especially on a hot day beside the pool, after some yard work, or a good workout at the gym? Wow, not that many hands, I see. Hmm.
OK, I get it, Coke is a fun addition to a meal, especially in a big foam cup from a Sonic Drive-In, but it’s not the most thirst-quenching beverage, nor the most healthy. Yet, it’s a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse. And when it comes to their brand image, I’m sure heads could roll if some petty little inconsequential white employee was allowed to make a fool of the execs in Atlanta.
So, when a story began to bubble up about employee training that included a slide presentation suggesting we all be “less white,” the media and the company began to foam, and for different reasons entirely.
You Want Me to be LESS White?
Now, when I Googled the story about the training in question, the first thing that popped up was a Snope’s article decrying the “opponents of critical race theory and diversity training” claiming they had “no real evidence.” Typical.
However, the non-evidence produced by Karlyn Borysenko (or as Snopes describes her, “a prominent online opponent of critical race theory and many aspects of corporate diversity training“), that of a leaked photo of the slides, clearly confirms what she has reported. And what is that, exactly?
We should all try be be “less white.”
If Less, then More
I am going to skip ahead and pass over the opportunity to discuss the reasons why every person of less pigment should be grossly offended by the obvious inferences. Yes, I am going to choose to tone back the offended victim feelings and look at this from a different perspective.
I’m not that great in math, but let me propose an analogy. Let’s just say we have 100 dollars in hand (which would be nice, wouldn’t it?). How much money would you have in your hand if I reached out and took 99? You’d only have $1 in hand, correct?
Now, what if I had $100 in my hand and kindly, graciously, and typical of WAPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) gave your friend Scratchy $10 when he asked for money to get gas to see his dying grandmother? I would have “less” than $100, wouldn’t I? I would only have $90, but it would be far more than your pitiful, lonely dollar bill, correct?
Both of us would have less, but my “less” would be more than your “less” by far.
Considering the inferences are legit, and if I’m not any of the the negative stereotypes suggested in the leaked slides, then I need to have some of those qualities in order to have LESS of them.
Creating a Monster!
So, I need to be “less” than what I’m not. Therefore, I need to become a total monster of a jerk (I’m avoiding using other descriptors for the sake of propriety) in order to find room to lessen my “whiteness.”
First, I need to become oppressive. How do I do that? Slavery has been outlawed, so I don’t have anyone to beat with a whip (I need to get a whip). I don’t have enough money nor manpower to take over anyone else’s property, so I don’t know how I can force them to dig up the gold in their back yard. I’ll have to think about this one.
Second, I need to become supremely arrogant. OK, that I can do. I mean, I am smarter than those who don’t look like me. The only reason I’m not a wonderful, godly scientist like George Washington Carver; a legal brain like Justice Clarence Thomas; a political genius like Dr. Thomas Sowell; or a musician like B. B. King, is because I have all my servants do my work and study for me. I guess I could do more for myself.
Third, I need to become certain that everything I do and believe is right. I need to be absolutely certain that my way of worship is better than others’. I need to be really confident in all my decisions regarding finances, marriage, family, ministry, etc. That way all I will need to do in order to qualify as “less white” is doubt myself every once in a while.
Next, I need to become defensive and get offended at every time someone accuses me of something just because of the color (or lack thereof) of my skin. Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll write a humorous and slightly sarcastic article, yell at the dog for looking at me funny, or join up with some group who wears black, lifts their fists, and wants to be paid for their great great great great grandfather’s troubles. Then all I’ll have to do is tune it down a little and be loved by all!
The fiph ting I need tuh do is come more da ignorunt. Penceforth i’d b’n upin my noledge wid edumacation. Buh now I gotta go in da re … re … reversssss … reversal, yeah, that’s it! and become stoopid sow I kan be less stupider. Oh, wait, were they simply suggesting that I become more informed? Well, duh, wen u ignorant ju eggspect?
The last two things, well, that’s a different story. I don’t have to become more prideful to become more humble; I’m always too prideful, and that has nothing to do with whether I’m white or not. It’s always a struggle to be humble in all things. Unfortunately, God has a way of breaking down our pride.
And when it comes to listening, if I hadn’t been listening, I wouldn’t be writing this, today. If I had not been listening, I would not have become indignant with the insinuations that people of my color are horrible people by nature. If I had NOT been listening, I would have never noticed how a training like the one at Coca-Cola is as racist as anything from the KKK.
I tell you what, how about we all pass on the Coke, drink Perrier, and continue to treat people based on the “content of their heart, not the color of their skin”?
Within the wristwatch-wearing community – those who wear timepieces, not computers – there is a term which describes the watch (or watches) you someday hope to own. These watches, often expensive and/or rare, are called “grails.”
A few watches immediately come to mind when we think of “grails.”
Rolex Submariner ($15,000 avg.)
Omega Speedmaster ($5,000 avg.)
The Grand Seiko “Snowflake” ($6k-$7k avg.)
Rolex Datejust ($6k – $15k and more…a lot more)
Tudor Black Bay 58 ($4,000 avg.)
Grail watches, depending on a person’s dreams and aspirations, vary greatly. However, what is typically the same is that they are difficult to obtain and often prohibitively expensive. And we’re not even talking about upper-end luxury watches that can cost over $100,000.
But not all grails are expensive. Some are simply rare. For example, those who collect Timex watches have different models they would love to obtain. My first Timex grail was a 1967 Marlin “dot-dash.” I picked one up for $67 off eBay, but only after I lost a bid on another a few weeks before. Other collectors dream of that perfect vintage Timex dive watch.
Just recently I was thrilled to obtain a grail. For months I had been going to farmer’s markets and posting paintings online, all to generate enough money to buy a Seiko SRPE 55. When the last painting sold brought in what I needed, online shopping I a-went! Like a Knight of the Round Table with a key to the gate, I charged the virtual castle and captured the Japanese-made legend.
But let me point out a few things before you think I spent ten thousand dollars on something. First, the watch I bought, the Seiko SRPE 55, cost me less than $200. It could have cost me $275+, but I shopped around and got the best deal. Also, every dime I spent on the purchase of this watch was earned from selling my paintings, prints, and an old Timex or two.
One reason I wanted this watch was because how similar it was to the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 and 36, watches costing around $3,000. The Tudor could be considered a true grail watch for me, but I can’t justify spending that much. Therefore, when I saw the striking similarity between the Seiko and the Tudor, my decision was made. And, I didn’t have to save for 10 years to make the purchase!
Are there any other grails I want to buy one day? Honestly, not at this time (no pun intended, but it works).
Right now, my main goal is to finish my doctoral assignments, prepare sermons, visit people, and be a husband, dad, grandfather, and son. As I find old Timex pieces to add to my collection, I will take them home, clean them up, and work on my watch servicing skills. But what I am not going to do is dream about a watch that could pay for a trip to the Holy Land!
That brings me to my final though about grails: Do people ever think about the futility of what they are seeking?
From where to the term “grail” originate? Well, it comes from the word used to describe the cup from which Jesus shared the wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. That cup is often referred to as the “Holy Grail.”
You’ve probably seen other things besides watches referred to as the “holy grail” of one thing or another. It’s a term meant to describe something as the ultimate, most-elusive prize to be had. This stems all the way back to when legends described the cup Jesus used as one made of gold, encrusted with precious stones, and even capable of mystical powers.
But what was the “holy grail”? Would it not have been a simple cup made of wood, stone, or clay? Most certainly it was simple, lacked ornamentation, and had no other significance other than that it was handled by the Word made flesh, the Creator of time.
What made the grail “holy” was that was set apart unto a holy work. Other than that, it was humble. A humble grail.
So, that brings me back full circle to watches. Why do we have “grail” watches? In reality, just like the elusive Holy Grail of old, how many fortunes are lost in pursuit of something glittery, shiny, hand (of man) crafted, with no inherent power other than the ability to do what it was designed to do?
It seems very ironic to me that we want those glittery cups and not the humble one. We lust after the opulence of the Tudors and scoff at the utilitarian simplicity and dependability of the lowly Timex.
Even more ironic is that the very “grail” for which the Indian Jones’ of the world search is the very same cup (metaphorically speaking) that Jesus asked, “If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me.” He knew what it was going to cost Him, but He wasn’t purchasing it for Himself; it was meant to be a gift for those who could NEVER afford to purchase it.
Therefore, what makes the grail precious? It’s monetary value? The gold and jewels? The intricate, fine-crafted details? Or could you be satisfied with something simple?
To be honest, the most precious watches in my collection, those for which no price could buy them away from me, are those which my wife and daughters gave me as gifts. They are irreplaceable, even if they only cost $20.
I’m wearing a $30 Timex MK1 Steel on a canvas strap now, and I really like this watch! But I’m going to swap it out for my new Seiko before I leave the house.
I wonder what Jesus would wear.
Your thoughts and comments mean a lot to me, so let me know what you think 😊
I love good music, especially live music played by the ones singing their own songs. As a matter of fact, as a musician, I respect those who get up on stage and perform, regardless their style. At least they’re not singing to tracks.
Therefore (full disclosure), when I am riding in my car on long trips (anything over an hour) I tend to scan the channels for anything to keep me awake. For the most part, when I listen to the radio or music from Pandora or other sources it’s usually Christian music or talk radio. But sometimes talk radio can put me to sleep, so that’s when I turn to the “worldly music.”
Last night, as I was driving home late from dinner I had with a fellow pastor, I decided to listen to some 1980’s rock on Pandora. That’s when a song I’d never heard before started cranking out a catchy, enticing rhythm. It was a song by Sheryl Crow called “In the End.” Did she do that song in the 80s?
Anyway, Sheryl Crow is an accomplished songwriter as much as she’s ever been a singer. I like her voice and music style, so when when all of that talent comes together the sum is usually something entertaining. This song, “In the End,” is a prime example.
The Jesus Part
So, I started tapping my left foot as I began keeping time with my fingers on the steering wheel. Because “all I want to do” is stay awake, I didn’t really bother paying close attention to the lyrics.
But then the lyrics of the second verse of Sheryl Crow’s song spurred my attention.
There’s a man on the cross with His arms open wide And a tear that can quench the world’s fire But His name is a shield to the ones who would wield Their own power and greed and desire
She didn’t call Him out by name, but I do believe she was referencing Jesus. And on top of that, she was singing about those who use the name of Jesus to become rich and powerful. In other words, she was singing to the ministers who would take advantage of the “believers,” a common theme and stereotype promoted by the left.
Notice that Crow said the name of Jesus is a “shield” for those who want to use Jesus to get what they want. It’s nothing new, either. Remember Simon Magnus from the book of Acts? He actually wanted to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit in order to use God’s power to make a profit.
Have you ever heard it said, “Jesus I like, but I can’t stand his followers”? That’s kinda the idea.
But false prophets, millionaire ministers, and greedy pastors are not the only ones who hide behind a “shield,” a banner, a motif, or an ideal to fleece the sheep. Ever noticed that the most broken, crime-ridden, blood-splattered, poverty-stricken cities have been run by Democrats?
Have you ever noticed that the very same people who have been in charge for so long continue to say they are the ones needed to fix things? Why is there still poverty in black communities? Why is our national debt practically untenable, yet they say we are not spending enough on infrastructure, education, and abortion clinics?
Why is it that every Democrat politician leaves office richer than when they were elected, and by far more than the accumulated wealth from their salaries? To be fair, I could ask the same for the Republicans, too!
In the beginning of Crow’s song she is clearly referring to politicians and their “believers” who blindly accept every promise. The second verse shines light on the greedy preacher or televangelist. Both will eventually get what’s coming to them… in the end.
But what of those who year after year, decade after decade, hide behind the “shield” of the disenfranchised, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, etc., etc., etc.? It’s so easy to label those behind the pulpit, but what about the podium?
In the End,” who are the ones always telling their followers exactly what they want to hear, yet never delivering? Who are the ones hiding behind the “shields” of race, gender, equality, tolerance, benefits, and handouts while accumulating more and more power over those for whom they promise to wipe their tears?
I don’t believe in Karma, but it could explain the increased rat population.
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 4:2 (KJV)
I’m Just Asking
Maybe you’ve done all your shopping. Maybe you only plan to purchase a few small gifts for your dearest loved ones. Maybe it’s just you and your significant other – no kids, no relatives, nobody you like at work – and you’re only getting a single gift for each other.
Whatever your situation may be, unless you are out of work and broke, I am going to ask you to consider how you can gift me with some items I would like to have.
In the above verse, James said, “You have not, because you ask not.” Evidently, people will literally start wars and kill people over “stuff” they want. I don’t want that! I want peace! That’s why I’m asking 🙂
Let’s avoid that whole global conflict nonsense, shall we?
So, if you have been looking for somebody to buy for, or if you have extra money in your investment accounts that you need to burn, please allow me to share with you some options. The following are items I would like for YOU to purchase and give to ME.
A Watch. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, nor does it have to be a specific style; I just like watches. But if you want me to ask for specifics, sure, I can do that!
Rolex Explorer (or pretty much any other model)
Tudor Black Bay 58 with the metal bracelet. But of course, I’d take pretty much any Tudor watch, within reason.
If you didn’t notice, today is Friday the 13th. Are you still alive, or did a maniacal, undead mask-wearer visit your un-chaperoned slumber party? The night is still young, I suppose.
Well, so far I haven’t encountered a single monster – except our little dog who came in from running around in the wet grass and jumped in the bed.
Back in the 1980s, a movie came out to spoof Friday the 13th horror films. It was called Saturday the 14th. The promo line was, “It gets bad on Friday the 13th, but it gets worse on Saturday the 14th.” …..Whatever.
Real life, however, is far more terrifying than movies. As a matter of fact, the scariest day for any pastor comes every week. Someone should make a movie about it – a documentary. It could be called…..“Sunday Morning (before Church)”
Here’s what the announcer could say during the promo commercial…
“Forget abandoned campgrounds, haunted lakes, and dark rooms. Forget about blade-wielding criminals that won’t die. Forget about whatever goes bump in the night, requiring someone in a bathrobe and slippers to say, “Is anybody there?” All the real demons come out on Sunday morning before church….like clockwork. This is REAL!”
There is a Devil, believe me! Even if the Bible did not teach of his existence, I could take you to him, or at least one of his workers, at about 9am on any given Sunday. All I would need to summon his presence would be to ask, “Honey, where are my shoes?” I could also say something like, “How long are you going to be in the bathroom?” Any of these phrases is guaranteed to conjure something or someone.
The evidence of his presence can be seen in the items that come up missing. For instance, the Devil is regularly hiding stuff that was in total view only 8 hours before. He or his demons love to hide shoes, hairbrushes, shirts, dresses, pantyhose, lipstick, and Bibles. Occasionally, he even likes to hide the church mail that comes to the parsonage, leaving the pastor to look irresponsible.
But thankfully, one thing’s a constant: even though Satan is real, just like in a poorly-written movie, his ways are predictable.
Unlike our God, whose “judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33), the “wiles” of the devil never deviate from his modus operandi.
The Greek word translated “wiles” in the KJV is methodia (μεθοδεία). Essentially, it is a word made from combining meta and hodos (“after,” and “a way”), and is used to describe what could be called “a decided plan of deception and trickery.”
Satan is a “method” actor, in other words. He plays a part – a predictable part – in trying to deceive, trick, thwart, anger, harm, and sidetrack God’s people. He follows a pattern that can be anticipated and for which preparations can be made. It’s all in the Script.
Preparing for Sunday
So, why do unseen forces attack on Sunday morning? They do it because it is the Lord’s Day. They do it because they want us to be ineffective and powerless. They know that hurting, lost, and desperate souls need to be ministered unto, many of which might be on the verge of giving up.
The forces we battle against would love to use a missing hairbrush, a wrinkled shirt, a knicked face, burnt toast, or an upset stomach to literally raise the dead – the “flesh.” The enemy knows that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8).
Fortunately for us, all we have to do is be watchful (1 Peter 5:8), armored (Ephesians 6:11), and filled with His Spirit, the “power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). The “wiles” of the devil, his schemes, and his evil plans are no match for the God “who performeth all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).
Bonus: 6 Ways to Have a Better Sunday Morning
Do all you can do to get ready for church the night before. If necessary, get ready at different times, so as not to get ticked off at children or risk being asked, “What do you think of this dress?“
Take different cars, even if your 10-year-old has to drive the lawnmower.
Reduce dress standards/expectations so you can go to church looking like you just woke up.
Put duct tape over everybody’s mouths until they get to the door of the church.
Get up in the middle of the night to eat all you can so you can avoid breakfast, thereby avoiding arguing over what to eat.
Become Adventist and go to church on Saturday (last resort).
If I Could Make a Movie
I do wish that I could make a movie that featured some of those evil characters in horror films. One, in particular, is the guy that comes and kills people in their dreams, Freddie Kruger. Another would be the ultimate movie villain, Count Dracula. Add to the list all the other demonic entities that send women running through the woods in high heels, only to trip on a spider web.
Just for fun, I would have all the demonic bad guys come up against a couple of praying saints, or an old preacher who’s broken-hearted and fed up with sin.
The bad guys would come against them in full force, swearing and threatening and promising all kinds of pain and suffering. Then when all hope seemed lost, right at the moment of despair, as the demoniacs were making their charge,
they’d run into a solid, unconquerable wall of Light…
the ringing sound of a massive sword being unsheathed would be heard…
terror would fill the eyes of the attackers at the sound of a Voice, saying…
“These are mine!“
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4
Now, where are my clean socks? I knew I put them in the drawer…..Honey?!
This Tuesday will be the day we go to the polls to vote. Unless you were one who voted early, Tuesday will be the day you should do your public duty as a citizen of the United States. VOTE!
But WAIT!!! Do you know what you are doing?
Do you know who you are going to vote for? If not, why? If you go to the polls November 3rd just so you can push a few buttons, or check off a few marks, what good did you do? If you only go to fulfill a responsibility, without knowing any details, what kind of steward of this blood-bought gift are you?
If you don’t know the difference between liberty and liberalism, democracy and democrats, or socialism and social networking – DON’T VOTE! Just stay home and watch Oprah or Dr. Phil.
When others are heading to the polls that evening, just veg out while you enjoy another episode of some cake-baking, tatoo-designing, dance-off competition.
For over 200 years men and women have been shedding their blood for the freedom we enjoy.
More will die to preserve it in the future, that is, if we still have freedom to defend. If the uneducated, illiterate, uninformed and apathetic continue to vote for more government, all so that they can receive more “freebies,” not to mention tax-payer funded health care, then blood was shed in vain.
Stay at home, ye who do not know what is going on. Stay at home, all ye who will vote simply to remove “Orange Man” from the White House. Stay at home all ye who said “anything is better than what we have.”
Please, for the love of God and country, STAY HOME!
Let the people who have strong ideals go vote. Let the mature, the concerned, the alert, the forward-looking, the reader, the listener, the active citizen (as opposed to the apathetic moocher) go vote. We know the importance of what we are doing and take it seriously. We can handle the responsibility…
Yes, we can!
People all over the world would, have, and will die for the opportunity to have what we have.
Take it seriously. Make yourself a student, at least a “C” student, of what and Who made this country a “shining city on a hill.” Read the Constitution. Read the Bible. Take responsibility for your own actions. Know what the candidates truly stand for, then make a decision.
But if you’re wondering if it’s worth taking the time to drive to the poll…if you have to watch CNN right before you walk out the door to help you decide who to vote for…please, we’ll send you a “I Voted” sticker, just stay home.