Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Life and Other Puzzles"

By Tony Harriman  •

You don’t need a degree in anything to recognize that the world is full of stuff that doesn’t seem to make sense.  Anyone who’s ever made a compost pile will tell you that in the garden nothing need be wasted.  What?  Useful? That nasty, smelly, ugly pile of weeds and clippings?  No way!  Yep, everything in the garden that has life in it can be recycled — everything.  But when you look at the condition of the material that constitutes the compost pile, you ask yourself, “Can any good thing come out of THAT?”  The pile oozes indefinable liquid; it smells awful; there are flies and bugs and … well, you get the picture.  From time to time the gardener will shovel and fork the pile to stir it up, then he leaves it — sometimes for a long time.  The pile sits over there in the corner of the yard until one day, maybe two years later, the gardener pulls back the top material of the pile to reveal a treasure trove of lush, rich, organic material that, once applied to the vegetation around the garden, gives a plant very little opportunity to resist the art of growing.

It appears that the passing of time has a way of turning useless into gold dust.  Anyone who has ever read a story about the discovery of an old classic car being uncovered in some barn on the back edge of the property will realize that what might be considered junk can suddenly be recognized as treasure, worth much more than the original price tag.  Historical artifacts both recent and older gain even more value as they become more rare.  Just recently I read an article about a British World War 2 plane being discovered in the Sahara Desert seventy years after it had crashed.  Apart from some crash-landing damage, the plane is in almost pristine condition.  You can safely bet that a fortune will be spent in getting that lump of metal back to some museum in London, ‘cause you don’t find many of those lying around.  This "value" mentality is puzzling.

We’ve all read the stories about those famous European artists who were paupers in their own day.  Incredibly, at auction recently Munch’s "The Scream" sold for a cool $120 million — an oil painting that probably cost pennies to produce in its day.  The same can be said about many famous classical musicians (do some research — you won’t have to dig very deeply).  Even Shakespeare was not a wealthy man, just a humble playwright who felt he had something to say.  Many famous politicians have gone from front-center on the world stage to relative obscurity — in their own day.  It happens to modern-day musicians; “Where Are They Now?” is the name of a show from which lots of money can be made.  Even the FALL from fame appears to have appeal.  Puzzling.

It seems that a lot of what people produce has to age a little before it can gain any value.  Just like that compost pile.  It makes you wonder why some people can’t be born at the right time, instead of ahead of their time.  But we see this principle being worked out regularly: connoisseurs will tell you that a wine or a brandy has to “age” before it can be considered mature.  Some cheeses, such as Parmesan or Stilton, have to take the rite of passage before they can be considered “ready.”  Caulk must be given time to “cure” before it may be painted or can bear any weight.  Primer has to dry before the final coat can be applied.

Some things are just not complete when first prepared.  Wood stain must have time to “sink in” and dry before you can go any further with the piece of furniture.  And, of course, the grain of the field must be given time to fill out before we can enjoy a meal of corn on the cob, or make bread.  Then there’s the yeast, the leavening;  After mixing the flour and yeast it is necessary to walk away and give the mix time to work, to “prove.”  Only once the dough is proven can it be finished in the oven.  And only when the baking is finished do you actually have bread.  Making nut butter for the first time causes the person doing the job to doubt if this is ever going to happen; the food processor is working, working, working.  Minutes go by as the warm nuts are ground to a grainy lump in the container.  The lump gets thrown from side to side; and then — in an instant — the mass breaks and the processor produces what clearly resembles the finished product: nut butter.

In the preparation of metal a plan must be followed; it would be pointless to try to purify the iron or the gold, or copper, or any other metal, if you hadn’t taken the time to fire up the furnace.  Once in the smelting pot in the furnace, patience must be exercised as the heat slowly melts the metal.  This process of heating and removing dross is called “trying” the metal.  The dross, which rises to the top, may be removed only when the metal is molten.  The process of removal is as simple as skimming the top of the metal with a ladle.  Not until the metal has been tried does it make any sense to pour it into the mould.  Everything in its time appears to be a well-established recipe for success.

I was musing to myself recently that sometimes the affairs of life can be very confusing.  It’s like you’ve been handed a box filled to the top with puzzle pieces.  As you look at the pieces, you can make out the image of this or that on each piece.  The deeper you go into the box, the more you realize that there are layers below layers of smaller and yet smaller pieces.  And then you realize that you’ve been given lots of puzzle pieces, but what’s missing is the box top that shows you what the finished product is supposed to resemble.  Oftentimes the pieces will “fit” together, but they don’t “belong” together.  After much trial and error, one day you feel like you’ve finally got it figured out; but there are still a few pieces left over; some things you don’t know what to do with.  Much like after a lawnmower or some other contraption that has been fixed and put back together; there’s a handful of little parts left on the ground.  The machine still works, but you know that something is not quite right — at least as far as the original intent is concerned.  For now things are working, so you go on, hoping for the best.

Occasionally we see a spark of hope as we go through these “trying,” “proving” times of life.  Perhaps the biggest lift of encouragement comes from spending time with those who have spent time watching and facilitating these processes in the garden, the kitchen or the foundry — and have survived.

In the garden, from time to time we are given a glimpse of hope when one day we cast an eye upon the compost pile, and we see a “volunteer” being born; a seed from cast-away kitchen scraps brings new life from what looks like a hopeless case and in the most unlikeliest of circumstances.  The new plant will continue to grow healthily right where it is, or it may be safely transplanted to a grow-bed.  Either way will work, and you'll be able to eat the fruit of the plant.

In our own eyes, our circumstances are far from perfect.  Even under the best conditions we are still living on a planet that is wearing out and laboring under the strain of neglect and exploitation.  But given time I believe that all of the conditions we experience in our lives are working together to make us better prepared for a purpose that we don’t yet see or comprehend.  Whether we are in the compost pile, on the artist’s palette, the baker’s proving table or the smelter’s furnace, we are all being processed for a greater work.  The process of preparation is not the goal.  The goal is the goal.  Proving, trying and processing are necessary, and they take time, but they are only a means to an end.

Right now we seem to be just a mess of notes making noise from measure to measure.  Only when the composer puts the final touch to the score will it be prepared as a symphony.

It’s all so very puzzling sometimes ….

Just my take on it ….

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Silence Is Golden"

By Tony Harriman  •

In the Bible record there are many things about which God is very quiet.  For reasons best known to himself, there are some mysteries for which we have very few clues, and, oddly enough, it is often those things that people spend more time thinking about.  Philosophers philosophize regarding the shadows of life cast forth from the original, unseen light.  Preachers preach long about the "secrets" of the Word and the "things hidden from man."  I often want to ask, "If it's so secret and hidden, how come YOU know about it?" What is it about that which has not been revealed that causes us to lose sleep thinking about it?  In the realm of conspiracy theories, the longest-lived are those that can be neither proven nor dismissed.  Now THAT is a mystery.

It seems to me that in His wisdom and understanding of the human psyche, God has remained very silent on so many topics, perhaps knowing that man will start to search out especially those things in his attempts to find Him.  And indeed, there appears to be a healthy mandate handed down from Heaven which counsels us (humanity) to search for God with every ounce of our being, and to learn of the meek and lowly Jesus; the promise is that we will eventually find Him, and see that He has been close at hand all along.  The trick appears to be … knowing where to start looking.

On the other hand, there seem to be no marching orders for the study of evil or demons or all things dark.  Don't misunderstand, knowing our enemy is more than half of winning the battle, but no matter how well versed we might become in how the Devil and his associates operate, it seems it will do us no good if we have spent no time in the arsenal learning how to access and use the weapons of protection from these angry creatures, namely, through a study of the Word of God regarding those things which HAVE been revealed.

Most people have a room in their home that they promise themselves one day they're gonna clean out.  Anyone who's ever visited my home will quickly recognize that the sacred place of mess where the Law of Attraction is working extremely well is in the garage.  You know how it is: over time things get buried under new projects or leftover pieces of this or that, and before you know it, the room is unmanageable.  Occasionally I'll be searching for something I know is there, and after considerable digging and shifting I suddenly come across something extremely useful that I had not been looking for.  In my experience, the Bible is a lot like that.  I'll be looking for something in particular: a name of one of the kings or disciples or whatever, when, pop! right out of the blue, there sits a useful nugget that was not on my agenda.  Sometimes I guess we just have to be in search mode to actually find anything at all.

There are books I read for entertainment; others I read for enlightenment.  I could give you a list of my favorite authors, but … some other time.  I have never found the Bible to be a good book to read just to pass the time (although it's odd how quickly time passes when you do start to read it).  More than a casual glimpse at, say, the Gospels, seems to offer the reader an excellent opportunity to read between the lines.  For instance, what few verses are recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke regarding that which was spoken by Jesus during The Last Supper are expanded into five chapters by the Apostle John.  Really?  Did the other Gospel writers see no value in what Jesus had said?  Perhaps they missed it completely — too busy planning their new jobs.  Who knows?  An observation might be made in the reverse: Matthew, Mark and Luke go into great detail regarding the things Jesus said about the time of the end, but John barely makes a mention. With a bit of thought, when you put it all together, you end up with a much bigger picture of the circumstances — and the counsel.  So what might have seemed vague, suddenly becomes clearer.

We know very little about the place God calls "home," or if the expression "home" means to Him anything like it means to us.  He apparently has a house, and in that house are many spaces, spaces which Jesus said He was leaving to prepare more of — for us.    It's difficult to imagine a Being Who can stretch His arms across eternity actually pausing to put His feet up on a couch in a family room somewhere "out there."   And because it's hard for us to imagine, God says nothing about it.  He seems to speak to us in terms we CAN understand, at least a little bit.  He shows us Himself as royalty, on a throne, high and lifted up, with a river of life pouring forth from that throne, and a tree of life growing on both banks of that river, putting out leaves that heal; though how long that tree will live or how long the leaves will be needed is not shared.  I mean, what kind of healing will be needed in a place where there is no pain?  Through the Prophet Ezekiel God reveals to us an image of wheels for conveyance, but we aren't really sure what to make of that image.  Does God really travel by road in a chariot — with wheels? or are we being given a glimpse into the great concept of cycles — "What goes around comes around"?  He doesn't say.

There is very little doubt about the time of Jesus' death; we can tie a feast to it —Passover; in the Christian arena: Easter.  But no such feast marks the day of Jesus' birth.  Evidently it was not so important that God should preserve this detail, and endless arguments ensue.  A less sinister reason people may have for honoring the birth of Christ in December may simply be that it's as good a time as any.  People may reason that if God were so concerned about the date, He would tell us when it was.  But, mind you, is there counsel for honoring either birth OR death?  Maybe we do it because we want to, and that's that.  What?  Communion?  Showing the Lord's death until He comes?  Well, that gets a lot of mileage, doesn't it?  MUCH more than an anniversary, wouldn't you say?

And while we're thinking about the birth of Jesus, we should notice that NOTHING is said about the biology involved in His conception and prenatal development.  Our understanding of the need for fertilization and a certain number of chromosomes is given no heads-up whatsoever.  Wouldn't things be so much simpler if God would simply do things the way He's supposed to?  But there it is — Man's impossibility providing God yet another opportunity to do something incredible.  I wonder sometimes if He isn't trying to tell us something.

God has not made known to us the time of the Second-coming of Jesus, only the circumstances for arrival.  For many centuries the conditions have been ripe, and the arrival of Jesus has been "at hand."  But, for reasons God has chosen to keep to Himself, here we remain.  In classic heavenly fashion, I imagine the world will end at a time when we look not for it, and, dare I say, when it's not supposed to. 

Upon those things which God has been silent, He still has nothing to say — right now. But that may change … perhaps sooner, rather than later.  If God feels we know everything we need to know right now, who are we to argue?  Oh, that's right, we're the "Special" ones, the apple of His eye, the chosen and the redeemed.  Perhaps we would do well to read again the closing chapters of the Book of Job.  Though God asks Job a string of questions about the great wonders of the world, He offers no suggestions as to how He gets those things done.

If silence were to be valued as gold, God would be a very rich Man; but wait … isn't He already the owner of everything?  Is there anything He doesn't own?  He hasn't said.

As a final thought, our relationship to the Prince of Darkness is CLEARLY revealed and plainly set before us: The Devil is our enemy; he's out to kill us or use us to do harm or inflict pain on someone else.  But, thank heaven, we have counsel regarding this enemy of man which we would do well to remember: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  –James 4:7.  The imagery is priceless; this powerful, ancient, hateful being FLEEING (however an angel flees) from the face of our resistance.  I would LOVE to have eyes capable of seeing THAT.

Just my take on it ….


       

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"On Princes and Paupers"

By Tony Harriman  • 

PERHAPS NO WORLD IS AS SMALL as the one in which an individual has been raised where there is very little contact with people of other opinions.  It seems to me that this is especially true of religious societies where the children have no opportunity for exposure to peoples of other religions or world views.  And nothing seems to be more likely to cause conflict than when these groups of people become aware of the others’ existence.

When one is raised in a world where no other view is expressed than that of the parents or teachers, there appears to me to be very little opportunity for growth between the ears of the child beyond that which has already been found out and determined by the “elders.”

Very few princes are given the opportunity to see life through the eyes of the pauper, as in Mark Twain’s story from the Court of Henry the Eighth.  The divide between these two personalities is far broader and thicker that the castle wall which separates them.  The pauper thinks from meal to scanty meal; the prince thinks from banquet to luxurious banquet.  And each despises the other.

Children who grow up in conservative homes have very little opportunity to know what’s going on in the mind of the liberal.  The redneck generally has no clue how the mind of his “cosmopolitan” neighbor is operating.  The white person knows nothing of the plight of his dark-skinned cousin (and vice-versa).  And the person raised in the home of “devout” Believers usually knows nothing of the world of the “Pagan,” other than what he or she has been told to avoid.

Many, though certainly not all, of the religious folk I have met during my life have been largely intolerant of the behavior of those who don’t see things “Their Way.”  The smoker/drinker/drug-taker/alcoholic is generally looked upon with disdain by the person who has never experienced the dismal sense of the well his neighbors have fallen down.  True — not all substance-abusers are “fighting” the addiction, but most at some point wish they had never started taking this or that.  Many lose the battle, and their lives, long before any real victory is gained.  I have had many good friends whose lives were not, by any stretch of the imagination, conducted in a “holy” fashion, so I can easily speak as a bystander — more than a look-down-upon-er.  But I’ve also had many friends who have NOT ever experienced the darkness of a debilitating vice creeping in and taking over their life; their experience of hardship has been learned from the evening news, Time and Newsweek, and condemnations from the pulpit.

There is a strange mentality that captures the minds of many that runs like this: “Look at me; I’m not like that alcoholic; that child-abuser; that wife-beater — that tax-collector.  I live an upright life free from all that vice and debauchery.”  Very different is the attitude of the one who truly is thankful that he has not been broken and beat up by some addiction, but recognizes that those “over there” are our brothers and sisters.  You may wonder how you can help those who seem to DESIRE no help.  And the view of Jesus that fits your particular lifestyle will determine what picture comes to mind when you hear the slogan so recently bandied about, “What Would Jesus Do?  Well, think of the thing that you are LEAST likely to do, and that’s probably what Jesus WOULD do.

Many doctors who are brave enough to donate some of their time working as missionary medical personnel in lands not always so far away are often so changed by the experience that nothing humdrum ever satisfies them again.  When a man or woman breaks free from everything with which they have ever felt safe, and steps into the darkness of a very uncomfortable zone, and makes a difference which they CLEARLY recognize, then it is very difficult (though certainly not impossible) to return to the place in their mind which they once occupied.  Ask them why they keep returning to the ghettos, the hovels, the worst of the Third World countries, and they’ll often tell you, “I have to.  I’m needed.”

Now think of this in a context of a Holy God Who has known nothing but purity and cleanliness, in mind, body and everything else.  And think of that Kingly Being putting on our dying flesh and coming down to our level.  No, not your level, but levels far below anything we have ever disdained and despised — to a world before the luxuries of modern medicine were known, and even some of the very basic ideas of personal hygiene.  He came not to condemn, but to heal.  Why? Because He could.  It was nothing for Him to utter a word and change lives in a single breath.

How do you see God?  As a prince?  A pauper?  Perhaps for now He is both, just like our little prince in Mark Twain’s brilliant story.  Being a prince living among paupers he was given an opportunity to see how justice might TRULY be executed.  He saw — FIRST HAND — the trials and troubles that fill the days of us earthlings.  He tasted the sweat that smears our brow.  He dealt with the dust between the toes.  What, you think He didn’t know how it felt to ache in body and spirit? To thirst?  To hunger?  You think He was immune to the pain which is the earthly lot?  You want to see what Jesus would do if He were here today; take your Bible and read the words written in red, then see what it was He did for those that needed help — often those who had no clue who He was — REALLY.

Most nations on the planet are given the opportunity to vote their leaders into office.  Perhaps it would be well sometimes to think about putting in a prince who KNOWS how paupers live — not just reads about it, or views it from the castle wall.

Unless, of course, you happen to live on the castle wall and really don’t care much about the paupers down below.

Just my take on it …

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"On Predators and Prey"

By Tony Harriman  •

Much of the natural world surrounding us is absolutely beautiful.  We see stunning colors that bring buoyancy to their surroundings, shapes that have inspired countless varieties of lacework, scents that dare the chemist to do better.  And tastes … mmmmm … flavors that … well … flavors that make your mouth water.  Worldwide there are living, breathing creatures that cause even those of us with the most stuck-up disposition to wimper, “Awwwwwwww.”

But there’s also a lot of ugly.  Ugly that makes us scowl.  Ugly that really sets up the hairs on the back of our necks.  Ugly that we prefer not to think about, or refer to, when we are considering the beauties of God’s creation.  We love to watch the gazelle springing across the plain, but we turn our heads when the cheetah causing the sprint comes into view.  The owl and the eagle are majestic and beautiful — until we consider their diet.  Those gorgeous swallows with which I one day hope to fly are making such acrobatic aerial manoeuvres because they are pursuing lunch.

It’s easy to look at all things bright and beautiful and envision the splendid, glorious nature of God.  We view a God of order, precision, of infinite (and microscopic) wisdom Who can as easily plan a galaxy as He can a forest, and fill them both with all things living.  But it’s perhaps not so easy to see the same God in the swamp or the compost pile.

To the eye of appearance there seems to be a divided handling of things on the planet.  Half of the creation appears to be under the control of someone who appreciates and generates beauty, and is able to maintain that beauty, while the other half seems governed by someone who either enjoys ugly, or who simply can’t get his beauty-shop act together.

Of course, the math holding both decks of cards together is exactly the same.  Once you get below what looks like a whole lot of random rocks strewn around, you find some incredible mathematical gymnastics going on — right down to the elusive power holding together an incredible amount of destruction within each atom — within each atom that exists.

So why the contrast?  What’s the problem?  Here is where Evolution Theory and Big Bang Theory are totally at odds with each other.  The former proposes that everything in creation is getting better, while the latter predicts that chaos and yet more chaos are all we have to look forward to; and this, they say, is observable — at least, over billions of years.  Well, good luck getting THAT into your test tube.

For a moment forget what was or what will be.   RIGHT NOW the world is a mess, and getting worse.  I forget the exact estimate, but it has been suggested that shortly after the event that caused the demise of the dinosaurs, 90% of living species on the planet ceased to exist.  That’s 90 — nine-zero — nine-tenths of life on earth was extinguished.  Since that time another alarming amount of species have their lights go out every day — every day.  That really doesn’t make for good news, so that kind of track record doesn’t make it, at least for very long, into the headlines.  How inspiring would it be to lose a member of your family each day for the whole of your life?  You get the idea.

Most of the creatures on the planet really don’t get a choice regarding whether they shall be prey or predator.  I mean, a weed is a weed and is not likely to start bearing mangoes.  The big cat has to eat, and a plate of veggies won't work for him.  Jesus spoke very curiously about life on the planet: “Grass of the field cast into the oven;” “You don’t gather figs from thistles;” “The leopard can’t change his spots.”  In other words, it is what it is.

Much of the planet is beautiful; but there is a dark side.  Carnivores devour their prey until the prey is scarce, then the carnivore dies back until the prey can recover; then the carnivore is strong again.  But notice that the prey (generally a herbivore) never becomes the predator, at least, he doesn’t take the life of a creature with a mind.  He has his place in the food chain, but he eats recoverable, renewable resources.  Even the by-product of what he eats is beneficial to the sustaining of life.

When it comes to man, we appear to have a choice in how we shall behave: “Choose ye this day….”  I’m reminded of a nice turn of words I once heard; don’t take the time to look up the source, it will only detract from the thought.  But it goes like this, “We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.”  And there it is — choice.  For some of us, doing wrong comes very easily.  For others, doing wrong causes the wrongdoer awful pain and guilt.  Some of us find it very easy to hurt others, with our actions, our words, our withholding of words.  It’s perhaps easier to talk ABOUT others than to talk TO others.  It’s easier to make people our prey than to help protect them from predators.  Too costly to step into their world and try to help them escape the roaring lion that’s walking about with the intent of devouring them.

On the other side of the veil of separation, when everything is made new, I honestly believe that there shall be nothing ugly, nothing to set our teeth on edge, nothing to cause us to wish to look away in disgust.  No one who shall say, “Ouch.”  No pain, no hunger, no arthritis, no cancer.  Nothing but beauty — and peace.  A world and everything in it set up to complement and sustain everything else in existence.  Nothing taking for the sake of taking.  No loss of life in any sense.  How all that will work I have no idea.

But on a closing note, it is interesting to notice that right now God takes all that ugly which winds up on the compost pile, and in time, turns it into something that itself brings life and nutrition to where there once was nothing.  I’m not sure what to do with that thought, but maybe God is showing us that, in the end, all this ugly will have served a purpose, and will one day only cause us to grow the stronger and taller.  Oh, I hope so.

Just my take on it …

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"An American Citizen"

By Tony Harriman  •

As a Brit living in the USA for more than thirty years, I have had many occasions to celebrate and think about the Fourth of July.

My first exposure to Independence Day was in Miami, Florida in the early 1980s.  The people with whom I shared an orbit were not fiercely patriotic, but neither were they unmindful of the freedoms they enjoyed.  Even though Miami is often thought of as being populated mainly by Latin Americans, many of my friends were of Jewish descent; and these people held a special place in my heart.  Still do.

My father served in the Royal Air Force as a rear-gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the Second World War, so, through the stories he reluctantly shared from time to time, I was given some idea of what it meant for people to live in fear of their lives — both on the ground, and in the air.  Many of "Our Boys" really didn't get a good look at what they were fighting for until Europe was finally liberated from the Nazis and the prison camps were opened.  Only then did the world catch a glimpse of how inhumane humanity can actually be.

Since I first visited the USA in 1981, I have met many different brands of the “American Citizen.”  The older generation (whom I actually enjoy more than any other — not sure why) are generally the most content with their country.  Even though they remember well the Good-Ol-Days, they know for a fact that things could DEFINITELY be worse (ie: The Great Depression).  In 1981 a gallon of gas cost about 50-60 cents.  A pack of cigarettes cost .75¢.  Two people could go the movies, have popcorn and a couple of drinks, and still have change out of ten bucks.  I had visited other parts of the world before this, and to me the American Dream was looking very much awake.  It was an easy decision to move here and sort out the paperwork later.

But, like I said, I have met many different brands of American.  Fair enough — a lot of the people living in Florida shouldn't have legally been there; but the alternative for many of them "back home" was a life of poverty or fear in their native land south of the border.
Many of the American citizens I met were outwardly anti-anybody-else.  "Would the Last American To Leave Miami Please Bring the Flag" was a common bumper sticker emblazoned on the many Toyotas and Datsuns — go figure.

Having been raised in London, the multi-cultural society of South Florida actually appealed to me, and seemed to me to be what America "was all about."  I mean, everyone I spoke to in the USA was from "somewhere else" — Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the Middle East.  I do remember working in a restaurant in North Miami where one of the waiters was a full-blooded Navajo Indian; he was one of the most interesting people I have met so far on my journey through America.  I always got a kick out of how he spoke like John Wayne.  Never saw him flustered.  And I never forgot that he could honestly say, "I am an American."

I suppose "Living in America" ought, because of the Constitution for which so many gave their lives, to include the right to be indifferent about the Constitution, and to give others the right to burn themselves for their beliefs, and gather peaceably outside City Hall, or around the Reflecting Pool — or wherever else — and say their piece.

Many Americans just want to get on with their lives, make a living, put their kids through college so they can make a difference where they failed.  They are not interested in the smaller wheels of the machinery that keep the country going.  And that’s okay.

Many Americans give generously to special causes — worldwide.

Many Americans want to milk the country dry, because the Government "Owes me."

Many Americans want to make a better world for those who come behind — no matter the cost.

Many Americans would rather let the world outside our shores burn itself down, than send more of our kids to go straighten out those in far away lands who seem to have no sense.  "You don't like the way we live?  Fine!  You stay over there, and we'll stay right here.  How 'bout that?  Quit messing with our people.  You don't even know me;  Why do you want to kill me?"

In the summer of 2002 I made a decision to become an American citizen — a decision; a choice; something that I wanted to do.  No one forced me to change allegiance.  I chose to add my voice and my vote to American society.  In 2002 America was still freshly wounded from the 911 attacks.  I was living in the USA when the attacks happened and had been given an opportunity to see America at its worst and its best.  After all this time, I’m still getting angry about the event as I write these few words about it.  I don’t want to “go there,” so we’ll park that episode here ….

Many of the Americans I know are “gutsy” people: reluctant (and sometimes unable) to walk away from a challenge.  You wanna go west?  There’s a young man right here for the job.  You wanna go to the moon?  Yeah, we’ve got someone to handle that.  And gutsy is the right word.  This country is near full of gutsy people because it took gutsy people to get the country started.  Way back there before the King James Version of the Bible came off the press, entrepreneurs and those willing to work for them headed west from England to Virginia to explore a “Brave New World.”

I’m not much interested in the American political arena.  Do I agree with everything that comes out of Washington DC?  No.  Do I understand every law that’s on the books?  No.  I’m not made to feel I have to be in agreement with everything the higher-ups dish out — that’s part of being American: somewhat rebellious.  I exercise the same philosophy with the church I attend.  Do I understand and agree with everything my church has on the books?  Not necessarily.  But there are fundamental truths that this country and my church promote that are worth standing for: “Every man, woman and child is created of equal value,” and “We have a God-given opportunity to make a difference for good in someone else’s life;” no matter their country of origin.

Occasionally I engage in conversation regarding these topics, and my conclusion is always the same: I am a citizen of Planet Earth.  I had no control over where I was born, the language I speak or how I speak it.  My complexion was given me by my parents, which parents were also not of my choosing.  Though I may be an American citizen, I feel I am also a member of the great dysfunctional family of earth — just like the rest of us.  And maybe that blood should run just a little thicker.

Just my take on it …


      

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Aliens & Immigrants"

  By Tony Harriman  • 

MORE THAN ONCE IN MY LIFE I’ve been asked, “What religion do you belong to?”  Before I ever took the time to seriously consider the question, I probably responded, “Church of England,” or “Protestant Christian.”  But as the years have gone by I’ve had time to think about the question and I now fashion my answer this way: “I don’t BELONG to any religion.  I ATTEND this particular church or that, but no religion OWNS me.”  And that’s about the truth of it.  I may share views and beliefs with a larger group, but at the end of the day I and others like me are the ones who actually keep the church afloat, not the other way around; the church is not self-sufficient or self-supporting.  We, the people, are the ones to give the movement staplers, paper clips, computers, letterhead and things to write on that letterhead about, and people to write to.  It would be well for us to remember that reality when we feel we have a gripe or a grudge about the way things get done among the higher-ups.  And it wouldn’t hurt for the higher-ups to remember that reality, either.

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And more than once in my life I’ve been asked the question, “Where are you from?”  Sometimes I play around a little and tell the questioners that I’m from the next town over; you know, where I’m living now.  But they smile at me and give me that look which says, “You don’t sound like you’re from around here.”  My speech, of course, quickly gives me away.  Even though my accent has taken a beating over the years, my tongue still reveals that I am from somewhere else.  My kids think I’m STILL a little out there, but we’ll talk about that some other time.

Anywhere in Europe my appearance could place me as being from just about any European country.  I look more or less like everybody else.  But then I open my mouth, and everyone can tell they have to speak a little slower and to treat me a little differently — ‘cause, “I ain’t from around here.”

I’ve visited many, many countries across Europe; some I liked better than others, mainly because it was easier to navigate in places where you can kinda make out what the signs are saying.  I had an easier time in French-speaking countries, having been exposed to much of the language through the catering schools I attended as a young man.  When I spent time in Sweden … well, that was a whole different ball game.  I barely understood a word.  Reading a map was difficult because there was nothing to pin words to; they had no sound or spelling I could relate to.

I loved the French-speaking portion of Belgium, and was sad to leave when the time came.  Another country that attached itself to me was Hungary.  To this day I have no real understanding of the language, but that didn’t matter.  I loved the people, the architecture, the ambiance, and what little I could find out about the history.  The neighboring countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic (formerly known as Czechoslovakia) were full of people with big hearts; no one I met was lacking in generosity.

I’ve also spent time in much of the Caribbean — one of my favorite places on the planet.  If I had to go into exile, any one of the Caribbean islands would suit me fine, thank you very much.  Yes, it’s hot.  But who cares?  Put on a pair of shorts and find some shade.  Hurricanes?!  They come, they go, you rebuild.  I mean, seriously, it’s been more dangerous to live in the Southern USA over the past couple of years than in the Caribbean.  Not typical?  Okay, I’ll give you that.  But moving on ….

A large portion of my life has been lived in the USA, and I’ve loved it.  I love the diversity of terrain, culture, sub-culture (good sub-culture), the many flavors of weather, the beaches, the mountains, the deserts.  And, of course, the people.  There are people who make their home in the USA from EVERY country on the planet.  If you go to the East Coast, you’ll meet people who boast of the Irish in their blood, or Scottish, Scandinavian, Russian, German.  Go to the West Coast and you’ll likely meet people whose ancestors come from the total other side of the world: Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam.  There are still a lot of “Europeans,” of course, but less than on the East Coast.  Come to the Southern USA, and you will meet many folks whose ancestors hail largely from Africa, brought over to work on the Colonial plantations.

Scattered throughout the center portion of the USA are those whose ancestors have a history in this country going back, not hundreds, but THOUSANDS of years.  The native Americans, the Indians (mistakenly-named), have lived in this country recording their history, not on paper but largely by tongue alone.  There are a number of sites across the land where native paintings on cave walls have been preserved as much as possible.  But, really, much of the history of this land has been completely lost.  I hear a voice, “The country’s only four hundred years old.”  No, the COUNTRY is young, but the land has hosted family, tribe and nation going back much farther than the English takeover.

And, of course, we shouldn’t forget to mention how far abroad Spanish descendants have traveled.  Probably the largest people group scattered throughout this country is the one whose ancestors came to the Americas on Spanish boats.  It’s incredible when you think about it; Spain is not such a large place, but it’s people have gone everywhere.  Just like the English, who paid for most of the initial colonization.

One of the things that makes the USA such an interesting place to me is its people/culture-diversity.  I guess traveling the planet has subdued any superiority gene I might have been carrying; there are many ways to get things done that aren’t wrong.  I really don’t feel like the rest of the world has to do it “My Way,” because I am a PART of the rest of the world.  And those of us living here do it “Our Way.”  This planet is our home.  The people here, including myself, have a right to be individuals.  My children have a right to be individuals; we are of the same blood, but our interests are just a little different from each other.  And that suits me just fine.  Their unique personalities are what make them … unique.  And I love ‘em still.

Everybody on the planet is a citizen of one of the many nations currently operating here.  I don’t remember the exact count, but there are more or less only two hundred autonomous countries with a seat around the big table at the United Nations in New York or Geneva.  Two hundred!  And each of those two hundred nations contains a handful of little Frank Sinatras who cannot prevent themselves from constantly breaking into song echoing the sentiments of “My Way.” The rest of the world, in their opinion, would be better served if everyone did things “Their Way.”  The world, they say, should speak one language; exercise one religion; one set of traditions.  They believe we should all dress the same; have similar education and system of law, and on and on and on. These people have no real concept of how music works; a piece of music is not just the melody, nor is it just the bass line.  Music is a carefully crafted mix of notes, rhythm and tempo.  And music appears to have no end of possibilities, each composition appealing to perhaps a different set (or more) of people.  It’s no wonder the world is always ill at ease; no man, woman or (especially) child is willing to be bullied into conformity — of any kind.  And quite right, too.

I suppose it would be good for each of us to realize that we are all aliens and immigrants.  No matter where we live, our ancestors came from somewhere else — originally.  Our ways are no better than anybody else’s.  My way may be different from yours.  My way might be cleaner, more ethically or morally sound.  And then again, it may not be.  Who shall be judge?  The majority?  Those with more money?  More position?  More CLOUT?  Will it really be just the fittest that survive?  Better hope that the fittest are on MY side of the border.

In my opinion, it is small-minded to believe that the inhabitants of the vast cosmos should be looking to ME for guidance regarding how to conduct themselves, or raise their children, organize their fridges or bookshelves.  Should I honestly believe that I have somehow stumbled across the secret formula that keeps the physics of the universe, known and unknown, in order?

So what religion do I belong to?  None.  I belong to the One Who made me.

And where do I come from?  I come from my parents who were citizens of Planet Earth.  And their ancestors were made from the dust which came from the ground on this third rock from the sun.  If things carry on, then in the natural order of things, I shall return to that dust to be reborn in a new descendant.  My dust is no better than anyone else’s.  And neither is yours.

And when you consider that much of the dust currently residing on the planet is from way, way out there, coming into our atmosphere every day to layer the ground and provide food and material to make new people — we are ALL aliens and immigrants.
 
And that's just my take on it ….



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"Home Is Where the Heart Is … Satisfied"


By Tony Harriman  • 

Most of the people with whom I share an orbit are living in some place other than where they grew up.  Over the years they’ve traveled here and there, and for the most part they are very happy about where they have settled down.  They’ve reached an age in their lives where they are finally living where they have chosen.

Most of us learn to navigate around the idiosyncrasies of the place we presently call home and are very happy to ease into the surrounding society.  But every now and then we get the chance to return to the place of our childhood, and something happens to us.  We feel older in the body, but a place in our minds which has long lain dormant awakens, and friends long gone are quickly remembered.  Songs we used to sing echo between our ears.  The familiar smells and sights and sounds return us to a place in time when the world seemed simpler, easier to handle; questions were fewer — less complicated.  The realities of being “grown up” were for a much later time.

Many of us have the place of our ancestry built into our genes, only to find those genes awaken when we visit the places of our fathers.  An inexplicable sense of belonging, or feeling “at home,” takes over our central comfort system and we feel we are visiting a place not at all unfamiliar.  We can’t explain the sensation, but we can certainly feel it.

The saying goes that “familiarity breeds contempt,” but for some people familiarity gives a sense of stability, comfort and security.  That’s kinda the place I find my own self.  I’m not afraid of change, but I prefer things to stay pretty level.  I’ve never gotten used to losing people to any kind of sickness or accident; I’ve learned to live with it — but I hate it.  Every year a series of funerals and memorials reminds me that planet earth, as much as I love it, is a very temporary existence — for now.

Recently all the girls and I visited Orlando in Florida.  We spent time at Epcot (used to be written EPCOT — the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  But … things change).  We looked at some of the rides, and that was nice.  But the highlight of the visit, of course, is the time spent visiting the countries represented around the lake.  I visited Epcot the first year it opened in 1982, and one of the must-see places around the lake for me was England.  England is cleverly tailored and decorated and is worth a look.  The next day we visited Universal, a very different Park from Epcot.  Universal have built a section of the Park to represent the world of Harry Potter, and it really is a top-class depiction of Olde England, the one you think of when you read about the historical kings and queens or William Shakespeare.  When the sun went down and the shop lights came on I felt I could have spent the whole of our vacation just wandering around the streets and shops of the place, and would have been thoroughly contented.

I suppose I would feel different about England if, say, I had feared for losing my life to rebels or if I had faced the daily prospect of starvation.  But I didn’t, and the memories hold for me a place in time that I would love to re-visit; not to change anything … well … perhaps some things, but mainly as a spectator, re-living and enjoying many of the things and people of my past.

Occasionally people ask me what I miss about England.  It’s really hard to say.  Sometimes I miss the sights, sounds and smells of Northern England — miles of unspoilt countryside; the special sound that crows make when perched on the roofs of houses in the village; the smell in the air of coal burning on a crisp summer morning.  Roundabouts; the Milkman; Savoury pies and Cornish Pasties.  Sometimes I miss English chips — a portion of which can fulfill the needs of an entire meal.  I miss the Branston Pickle, and the real English Cheddar or Cheshire that goes with it.  The English breakfast “Shreddies” are on the list, as are Cornish Wafers.  In some towns in England there are as many Indian restaurants as there are pubs, and if you like Indian food, which I do, England is a place where you can find lots of it.  And I miss it.

Of all the things an Englishman misses about the Mother Country, top of the list has to be the way English people communicate with each other.  The sense of humor in England is a lot like you see on BBC America — but without the canned laughter.  Much of the way English people get understood by each other is bound up in harmless innuendo, using common phrases from TV commercials or soccer slogans.  Some that quickly come to mind give away my age: “Neat, Eric;”  “Nice one, Cyril;”  “I’m only here for the beer,” and “As versatile as an egg.”  All these and many, many more are used to convey approval or disapproval of … well … just about anything.  In America, the closest to understanding this phenomenon might be gained by considering, “Where’s the beef?” or “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”  Maybe even, "Can you hear me now?"

Bringing these thoughts quickly down to earth, I imagine there is a place embedded deep in the genetic soul of each one of us that longs for a time when things were much, much simpler — think, The Garden of Eden.  That sense of not quite belonging is probably a carry-over from that short period when everything was right, and holy, and beautiful, and good — and complete.  The need for these things is incredibly persistent; no wonder people try to find ways to stifle it and cover it up.  There’s a hopeless cause if ever there was one.  I imagine it’s like trying to take the English out of the Englishman, or America out of the American, or whatever.  Some things are worth fighting for.  And some … are not worth fighting against.

One day I believe we shall find ourselves in a place and Presence with which we are not unfamiliar or of which we are not ignorant.  The place of our Father is written all over us, and in and through us.  How could we NOT feel safe in His company?  After all, that’s where we came from, and "…No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it …." Ephesians 5:29.

Just my take on it ….


     

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"The Passage of Time"


By Tony Harriman  •   

What a curious thing time is.  Makes me think of a Bible verse that ought to read, “Time is like the wind; you don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going.”  We don’t know what it will bring, and only have a faint notion of what it has taken.

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You need no ticket to ride the train of time; passage is free and the timetable never expires.  And even though the tracks of time appear to be cyclical — a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly journey — we can’t help but notice that, as we look out the windows, the landscape has changed just a little from what it was yesterday.  Some things are here that weren’t here before; some things are gone — forever.  Some things are better; some worse.  Some things are healed; some not — yet.  I heard a nice turn of words recently: “I was wounded in the war, and it will never heal.”  To which the response was, “I lost my brother.”  I wanted to add, “And THAT will never heal.”

The human condition is presently such that time accompanies us gilded with mercy.  The way “Time heals all wounds” is that it paints over our mental pictures of the past with ever-increasingly more realistic ones of the “here and now,” which here and now doth itself slip quietly and eternally into the past.  Add to that the fact that our brain power is deteriorating moment by moment, and we find that dementia is merciful — at least to the one that is afflicted.  A wound takes from us something that can never be restored: our time, our peace of mind, our comfort — gone, never to be given back.

Nothing on earth stays the same.  Grass grows; paint cracks; carpets thin out; wrinkles deepen; children grow and pets age.  Once past the winter solstice the sun climbs ever so very slowly in the sky until the summer solstice when it once again makes its descent.  A well-known philosopher once observed, “No man steps into the same river twice.”  The unlikelihood of all those water molecules being assembled in the same place ever again makes even the possibility seem infinitely improbable.  Nothing stays the same.

As we board the train of time each waking day, we know very little about the journey ahead.  And part of the reason for that might be bound up in an observation we might take from the word itself — JOURney.  “Jour” is the French word for “Day.”  When the word was adopted we generally took a “daily” JOURney.  We keep a daily JOURnal.  French is such a fun language that we English-speakers have borrowed from so heavily.  We go to a “restaurant” and we look at the menu — the “Carte.”  We can order from a stable fixed selection: “A la carte,” or we might wish to know the “Plats du Jour” — the “daily” menu items.  Unlike a la Carte, which will include choices of foods that are usually always available, the Plats du Jour are almost totally the choice of the Chef and will be heavily influenced by foods in season.

To speak metaphorically, we might see things this way: Time is the paper on which the menu of life is written.  There are many things on the menu of life that change very little from day to day, if at all, and over which we have little or no control — where you were born; your complexion; your native language or the brain power you enjoy.  These and many others are a la Carte.  But some things are plats du jour: temporary, like injuries, headaches, boyfriends, girlfriends, vacations, favorite songs or TV shows.  They might be opinions, frames of mind, decisions that really don’t affect much — or decisions that mean a great deal.  There’s that use of French again: TEMPorary — “Temp” (pronounced tomp) is the French word for “Time,” also the word for “weather” (in Spanish: Tiempo).  We don’t usually think of time in the same vein as the weather, but perhaps we should; maybe time IS just as affected as the weather by the surrounding environment.  I mean, time doesn’t hand us something it doesn’t have, right?  Yes, some things on the menu are fixed; others are affected by what’s available and, simply put, by what the Chef is capable of preparing.

Some things in time seem almost accidental, but only in the sense of unplanned for.  “Accidents happen,” but not without a cause.  And if you can “cause” an accident, is it really an accident?  What kind of accident can happen if all KNOWN steps are taken to avoid it?  The condition of the players in the game might change, for instance if the bus driver should suffer a heart attack in the middle of his journey, or the pilot might have a stroke while landing the plane.  We might better refer to each ensuing event as a disaster, not an accident.  Likewise, bad weather, caused by conditions, causes disasters — not accidents.

Time appears to provide neither ink nor items about which to write; it merely provides itself as a never-ending tapestry on which to record available choices from which we may take from day to day.  Spread out before us in every direction is a series of events with which we may interact or simply observe.  Time is never wasted; we don't have that much control over it. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our lives are the things wasted, by refusing to join in the activities and choices that time is displaying to us.  It remains to be seen who is providing the choices, and, of course, who the Chef might be.  But … time will tell — eventually.

For now the saying goes “Time and tide wait for no man,” but shouldn’t we recognize that the tide eventually returns, and that the train of time will not depart empty?  It might not wait, but it certainly will not leave without us.

Just my take on it ….

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Let There Be Light!"

By Tony Harriman  •   

Have you ever tried to imagine a world without light, the kind of light that is visible to the eyes?  I’m not talking about outdoor stumbling around on a moonless night, or the kind of low light we enjoy on one of those romantic midnight strolls we take on the beach.  I’m talking about the kind of absence of light that you might find in the deep recesses of a cave, or way, way underground.  I read somewhere that constant exposure to that kind of darkness will cause blindness within fifteen days — permanent blindness.


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There are many creatures on our planet which navigate without the use of eyes; they have access to an array of senses which in some aspects provides information which is more accurate than that provided by sight.  Most human beings enjoy and are limited to five measurable senses, and beyond that, modern science can say very little about much else, ie: the GPS capabilities of the backyard sparrow or honey bee, or the ultrasound equipment installed in the nervous system of any of the members of the porpoise family, or, for that matter, the electrical-sensing array of the average shark.  We see these wonders being played out, but we really have no conclusive explanation for what’s happening.

Beyond the information being provided by this seemingly limitless supply of “tastebuds” is the incredibly complex software running inside each creature’s mind which not only directs the information to all the right places, but also performs the function of interpreting the bits and bytes into usable packages.

But let’s stick with light for a moment or two more.

The best available device for tracking light can be found in the not-so-humble police vehicle.  Many speed-measuring devices use technology which observes well-established rules laid out in what’s known as the Doppler Effect.  Simply put, different colors of light travelling, reflecting and returning off of moving solid objects travel at certain speeds and can be measured.  That’s why the officer can inform you that “You were doing 55 in a 35 — sign here.  Have a nice day.”

Let’s step off of the known and into the realm of thinking-it-through.

There appear to be versions of light that presently we have no gauge for; no pressure sensor; no barometer; no meter, or whatever else we use to measure the things we know.

The Bible often uses the concept of light when referring to things that are just a little out of our reach; things that belong more in the realm of thought than in soil.  “God is light,” says John.  An “angel of light,” mentions Paul.  An angel “with a flaming sword” of light, observes the writer of Genesis.

The first mention of light that we have to think through shows up on the very first day of creation: “Let there be light,” commands the Lord, “and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3).  This light appears to be of a different nature than that which we are used to, because the sun and the moon (generally thought to be the origin and reflecter of free usable light on the planet) don’t appear until three days later in the creation week (verses 14 thru 19).

But light is not dependent on just a sun for its being.  Light can be caused by many things, known, and obviously, unknown.  For instance, friction or pressure can cause light.  Fireflies produce light by internally mixing chemical compounds.  I remember the first time in school I saw light produced in a test tube; the teacher gave each member of my class a little of two different chemicals.  I could’ve stayed in the lab for the rest of the week just watching this phenomenon repeated as we one by one mixed the chemicals and created light.  I wish I could remember what the chemicals were; I'll look it up later.

The expression, “God is light,” appears to me to be much broader than the Apostle John understood.  Are we to believe that God is restricted to the properties and boundaries of light?  Heaven forbid, surely.  Light has limits; God has none.  If God were living in the center of our galaxy and had to rely on the fastest known form of travel, namely, the speed of light, to get around, it would take Him 30,000 years to take a journey from His house to ours.  Based on our current understanding of the properties of light, if an angel were sent from the throne of God (at the center of our galaxy) to deliver a message to someone in the center of a neighboring galaxy, it would take somewhere close to half a million years before the message arrived.  Well, you can see how interesting THAT would make things.

I don’t personally believe that the speed of a traveling angel is restricted to that of light, which is currently estimated at an average of 186,000 miles per second.  And if an angel, traveling at speeds beyond our current comprehension, had to rely on eyes like ours with which to navigate, eyes which are equipped to be light receptors, it seems that there would be constant collisions since no angel would be able to “see” anyone else coming.  The thought seems silly, and far out of the realm of order that I believe God lives in.

It’s not necessary to have eyes to respond or react to light; plants do it every day, as do worms when unearthed in the daytime, as well as does your favorite red sweater, which you accidentally left lying in the sun and now has a very visible faded area, the color carried off by the bright light in some mysterious fashion.

There is a curious observation which might be noticed from how the properties of an event are transmitted.  What I mean is this: when you’re on the sideline of any sporting event, the action and the sound made by that action are more or less simultaneous to the eye and ear, but the further you get away from the action the more you notice that the sound and the sight are not traveling at the same speed.  Way off down the field the player kicks the ball, but the sound of that kick doesn’t arrive in your ears until a second or so later.  TV stations showing a live event have to take this phenomenon into account, and the picture signal has to be slowed down so that it corresponds with the sound arriving in your TV.  Broadcasting equipment has a built-in feature that permits manual manipulation of the sound and vision.  At the time of this writing I’m sitting outside enjoying a thunderstorm, and this effect of sound and light is being demonstrated very nicely; the lightning flashes, then a few seconds later the thunder rolls.  We take this phenomenon so much for granted that I’m sure we’re missing a very grand lesson which God has laid before us.  He could have made sound waves and light waves to match each other perfectly.  But, for reasons I’m sure we will one day thoroughly enjoy, He didn’t.  Even the colors across the incredibly broad spectrum travel at different speeds.  Fascinating.

Light is the highest form of energy that a human being has the ability to knowingly sense and measure.  Modern science dictates that nothing travels faster than light, and scientists have no time for anything beyond that which they can see, calculate and predict; by predict, I mean as in an experiment which may be repeated with predictable results.  Beyond this realm of what you and I call “normal” is where I believe God lives and moves and has His being.  This is the realm of the Spirit, for which there is currently no scientific measuring device.  We don’t even know how to explain it, but just like the wind, we clearly see its effects; most notably, perhaps, in the changing of lives which were once embroiled in hopelessness.

One last look at light: if there were nothing for light to shine upon and reflect off of, we wouldn’t even know the light was there; it would just be constantly passing through unannounced and undetected on its way through the cosmos.

And as a closing thought, if you or I should one day come up with an idea which satisfies our curiosity about what God is like and how He operates, the chances are that the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, or ANY TRUTH we might concoct for ourselves.  If God IS light, it is a light with which we are presently unfamiliar, which could be part of the reason we are unable to see Him with our eyes.  And for sure, a Being Who can create light surely is not restricted by the works of His own hands — right?  Such an order of things would make some actions impossible for God — and THAT would make no sense at all.

Just my take on it ….


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