19 March 2018

Long live Shiphrah and Puah!

In the story of the Jewish Exodus from the land of Egypt, about 3,400 years ago, we have history's first recorded case of civil disobedience in defense of a moral cause, and it just so happen that it was initiated by women.

Prior to the Exodus the population of the Israelite people living in Egypt had grown so large and potentially powerful that it posed a threat to the reigning Pharaoh. Accordingly, the Pharaoh used a form of state slavery to impose forced labor upon the male population for a long and indefinite terms of service under degrading and brutal conditions in order to control and even reduce the population. The plan did not work, however, and Hebrew people continued to thrive, to the great consternation of the Pharaoh.

The Pharaoh decided that he would use infanticide to slow the population growth. So the Pharaoh said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God, and did not do what the Pharaoh had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the Pharaoh summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. (From Exodus 1:15-21)

The motivation for civil disobedience is a moral one, that, like the midwives Shiphrah and Puah, places fear of God over the laws of men that are established with a political or arbitrary authoritarian bias. It is the moral and ethical difference between right and wrong. It is the same fear of God that keeps us from mocking the handicapped or placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person, or keeps us from torturing animals. The fear of God "trumps" the law of men. It is the consciousness or subconsciousness of the existence of a higher law that makes demands upon human beings and constitutes the ultimate restraint on evildoers and provides the higher moral incentive for choosing to do what is right and just.

All of the power of the state, the outward magnificence of the regime, and the prowess of its leader, are illusionary and ephemeral, and in the ultimate reckoning they are insignificant, and turn to dust because they rest on foundations empty of moral content.


08 March 2018

Hooray for Women's Day!

On this International Women's Day of 2018 it is good for us to realize that the Lord acknowledged the rights of women at least 2300 years ago. When the Israelis had reached the promised land Moses knew that he would die before they crossed the Jordan into the land of milk and honey so he began to lay out a plan as to how the land would be apportioned to the Children of Israel. There were five sisters who spoke up regarding their rights to an inheritance and Moses asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord decided that the women were right. Later when Moses died and his successor, Joshua, led the people across the Jordan to take possession of the land, the daughters stepped up again and reminded Joshua of their inheritance. Hooray for women who speak up. Don't be timid, speak your piece. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!

The plea of the daughters: Numbers 27:1-8

Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying,
“Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons.
Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”
Moses brought their case before the LORD.
And the LORD said to Moses,
“The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.
And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter.'"

The reminder to Joshua: Joshua 17:3-4

Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, but only daughters, and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
They approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders and said, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our brothers.” So according to the mouth of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father.


04 March 2018

Thy will be done.

In the Old Testament, the unnamed servant of Abraham who was sent to Haran to find a wife for Isaac is the first person that the Bible records who prayed for personal divine guidance at a critical moment in his life. He did not ask for a miracle but he prayed that his exercise of discretion might be in accordance with God's will (Genesis 24:12-15). In the New Testament Jesus commissions us to pray in a similar manner; "Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." Each answered prayer is a miracle in itself in that we can talk to God and that he hears us. The essence of the word "miraculous" is that a single individual in good faith can experience a distinct feeling of constant nearness to the Creator of Heaven and Earth and approach Our Lord with a simple pious prayer and expect results.


02 March 2018

A double parody

Ill fares the promised land, a prey to avarice,
Where wealth accumulates, and wealthy men decay.
Presidents and Congresses may flourish, or may fade;
A vote can make them, and a vote can take them;
When gobbledygook accumulates and ideas decay
And galloping fears stalk the land.

My parody of James Thurber's parody of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village"


22 February 2018

One Nation Under God

I recently heard a televised speech on by a prominent gun rights advocate regarding the school shooting at Parkland, Florida. He said that to stop a bad guy with a gun it takes a good guy with a gun. This is the same opinion of our president who suggests that we arm teachers with concealed weapons in order to "harden" our schools. In short, they are saying that instead of banning assault type weapons, evil must be confronted with evil in equal measure. The purpose of both the perpetrator and the defender is "shoot to kill." This particular speaker and many of his colleagues state that gun control is socialism and to them socialism is anathema. There is definitely some cognitive dissonance at work here. The same people claim to be Christians. They must realize that Christianity is socialism in the manner of Christian Humanism. The Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament will bear that out. 

When I was a youth there was a simple moral dichotomy. It was called "right or wrong". Since the last presidential election cycle, however, we now have an "alternative right" and so it only follows that there must also be an "alternative wrong." In Deuteronomy 5:32-33 it says, "You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you possess." 

We should abandon the left and the right and come together in the middle where we belong as "One Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. I believe that the brave survivors of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are on the right path. I pray that God gives them the strength and the wisdom to speak truth to power with one voice as witnesses for the victims of tragic shootings not only all over America but in the rest of the "civilized world" as well. Never again!


14 February 2018

For My Valentine

Man pursues woman, striving to be
One flesh with her, as if to regain
A lost part of himself, ever since
The divine anesthetic reduced Adam
To an inert object while God
Removed his rib to form Eve.
Happy Valentine to my better half.


10 February 2018

A Warning from the Ancients

The ancient Greek poet and philosopher Hesiod wrote the following about 2700 years ago regarding the fate of mankind and that sure looks the way we are heading if we don't address the issues in a truthful and rational manner.

"For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labor and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and troubles shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And God will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonor their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of God. They will not repay their aged parents the cost of their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another’s city. There will be no favor for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right, and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all."


29 January 2018

The Power of Truth

Hatred begins in the human heart and grows from the inside out. At first a spark of humiliation kindles a flame that that is fed by the winds of anger and imagination and goes to the lips to announce a wounded pride. From there it is either broadcast or whispered to the ears of others depending upon the courage and the outrage of the offended party. Once finding sympathetic ears to hear, the indignation strikes a chord with those who harbor similar disappointments or unrealized expectations. The flames grow into a conflagration of hatred. Then a scapegoat victim is sought in order to justify redress or revenge by the collective false righteousness of the crowd. "Crucify Him, crucify Him!," they shout, or "Lock her up, lock her up!" So, we see that when the vain and arrogant are humiliated by the truth, the Devil leaves their own dark hearts and is directed to other people to stir them up against the bearer of the truth. A person who is truly just will welcome the truth and not oppose it with anger and lies.

Truth is the great anti-satanic power because God Himself is the witness for truth. A person who is truly evangelical will always seek the truth. To tell lies in the face of God's truth is the unpardonable sin and those who lie under oath are in grave danger of placing themselves beyond forgiveness, for by doing so, they blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God. Moral conduct is essential for those who seek the truth. After all, no one can see the truth while wandering around in a perpetual state of concupiscence (animal lust). There is an old saying that after every act of  fornication you can hear the Devil laughing. The blind who deny that they are blind will never "see" anything, and the sinners who deny their sins cut themselves off from any remedy.


25 January 2018

Is it time yet?

All of the people who have ever lived and all of those yet unborn are like the upper and lower globes of an hourglass that are connected by a narrow passageway. Each passing from birth to death is like a grain of sand that passes through the neck of the hourglass. Just before the end of the world the last grain will fall and that will represent the last soul to receive a mortal body on this earth. The hands of the "Doomsday Clock"  have just been moved forward to two minutes until midnight because of "the failure of our president and other world leaders to deal with the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change." The last soul at this moment may very well be sitting at the top of the pile, nervously waiting for the nod.


24 January 2018

No matter what I say

No matter what I say, other people seem to remember only the words that they were expecting. It is not the tongue that determines what people hear. It is the ear that decides what they will hear, and what they won't.


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.