passages in the labyrinth

. . . or rewriting the story . . .

Did you ever read a short story, novella or novel and wish the less than satisfying ending could have been different?!  Some readers have been motivated to become writers themselves in reaction to experiencing such disappointing endings to stories.

What about our lives and how they have progressed seen in hindsight?  We recall a line from a movie seen a while back on television.  A young woman asked an older man what prior decisions or actions he would change in his life if he could make changes.  He replied “Everything.”  He would change everything in how he had lived his life.

 

 

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views in the fog

Some may think these scenes are beautiful.

But would these be beautiful scenes if there were no one to observe these?  Without consciousness, sentience, perhaps beauty is empty and meaningless.  In a human context, inner beauty can exist even when no other humans recognize it or appreciate it.

While finishing up my undergraduate studies at university, I took a philosophy course (or class) that dealt with beauty and art.  There were diverse arguments or postulates that our perception and appreciation of beauty were, or could be, either objective or subjective.  One could take his or her pick of which position to adopt.  Such over thinking seems to be characteristic of the West since the times of ancient Greeks.  In the East, with a touch of zen, the direct perception of beauty would simply be experienced, enjoyed and savored in the immediacy of the moment.

Here, at land’s end in San Francisco last Sunday, we capture this scene of overcast sky, trees and sea.

 

 

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substituting quantity for quality in intimacy

Quantity is a poor substitute for quality.  Numerous superficial and shallow encounters with different sexual partners do not satisfy a person’s deeper needs.

What can be said of today’s “hook-up culture” where individuals fall into bed with each other not even knowing the other person?

It is not necessarily sex per se that those promiscuous individuals are seeking.  It is likely the thrill, the rush of sexual novelty that motivates their behavior.

Taking a step back, one may rightly wonder what are people truly hungering for?

 

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critique of Protestantism part two: Christian Zionism and End Times (Rapture) prophecy

As noted in the previous post, Protestant Christianity differs significantly from Orthodox Christianity and from Catholicism.  There are aspects of Protestant Christianity not found in these other, older branches of Christendom.

Christian Zionism is a relatively recent phenomena among some Protestant denominations and among some non-denominational Christians.  For our purposes, Christians who unquestioningly support the modern state of Israel and who believe that Jews are still the “apple of God’s eye” and thus are worthy of their support in all matters can be considered Christian Zionists.  As well, these Christians do not believe they ought to attempt to evangelize Jews (both secular and religious Jews) as these “chosen” people are still governed by the Old Covenant.

 

 

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critique of Protestantism part one: faith alone is enough for salvation and Sola Scriptura

Protestant Christianity differs significantly from Orthodox Christianity and from Catholicism.  There are aspects of Protestant Christianity not found in these other, older branches of Christendom.

 

 

As to the Paulist teaching that Christians are saved, sanctified or justified by faith alone, consider Christ’s public ministry.  Read the Gospels.  Christ was not a lone hermit or sage living in a remote cave or deep in the forest or on a distant mountain top.  No, He was out among the people.  He performed many miracles and did many loving, charitable works in His time on Earth.  Think on this.

As Protestants look to Scripture, let me suggest you read the following verses from the letter of James, and think on them.

Read James, Chapter One, verses 22 – 23.  Read James, Chapter Two, verses 14 through 26.

 

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reformers contrasted with revolutionaries

There is, of course, an important distinction to be aware of.  Social revolutionaries believe the current system, current culture is too sick (too corrupt/rotten, fundamentally flawed, institutionally racist, etc.) to be fixed and must be destroyed so that a new system can replace it.  (This is classical Marxist-Leninist thinking.)  Social reformers seek to remedy the injustices within the current social system without completely destroying it.  Whereas revolutionaries desire to tear down the existing social system because it cannot be repaired or reformed, reformers seek to remedy the societal flaws from within the current system.

 

 

 a cautionary note for revolutionaries (“progressives” and social justice warriors)

But, we must bear in mind that it is always easier to destroy than to build up in this world.  Destruction can be accomplished quickly and violently.  Construction is not so easy to accomplish as it requires much more time and effort.  This is true of constructing a building, or building up a society.  Revolution can be and is a more costly approach to fixing society’s ills.

 

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some suffer in silence

Many people suffer in silence.  Many individuals are hurting now, this very second.

Pain, sorrow, grief, regret, heartache, depression, remorse, guilt, anxiety, fear, despair, etc.  Too often, persons keep these feelings to themselves, bottled up inside themselves invisible to others.

It may seem a trite remark, but it is poignantly true: That when you laugh, the world laughs with you.  But, when you weep, you weep alone.

 

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Nietzsche, Chesterton, and Christians

Today, we offer some constructive criticism to those self identifying as Christians.

G K Chesterton (died 1936) lamented that “Christianity had been found difficult and was left untried.”

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), 130 years ago, claimed that Christians lived their lives no differently than pagans.

There is a lesson here.

 

 

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funerals are the for the living

The deceased have passed on.  Thus, funerals are more for the living than for the dead.  Do not wait until a person close to you is dead to show your concern for them.  Spend time with loved ones who are in hospital or in hospice care.  Take the time now.  Don’t wait until it is too late and the opportunity is lost and gone.

 

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life is what you make it – or life makes you

Life is what you make it, or are you what life has made you?

We often hear the saying “life is what you make it”.  While we can make our life what we want it to be to a certain extent, the saying is rather simplistic, if not a half truth.  We are all confronted with constraints, many of which we cannot change or remove from our lives.  We have to learn to adapt to living with these onerous constraints.  Consider the child who is born blind or with cerebral palsy, or the victim of an accident or of violence or war-time injury that maims or cripples or paralyzes his/her body.  As well, we have to accept constraints upon our behavior and actions in society so that we are not incarcerated or placed in an institution for the mentally or psychologically ill.  We confront limits each and every day in the struggle which is life.  These limits serve to shape or influence our expectations.

Our experiences do indeed affect us greatly, especially the painful, trying experiences.  Tragic, traumatic and painful experiences suffered through when one is young can and do leave rather lasting effects (scars) on us that we may not even be fully conscious of.  These experiences shape our thinking, our view of the world perhaps more than we care to admit to ourselves.

 

 

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sexual compatibility, marriage and divorce

A terribly disturbing yet thought provoking comment on a Christian marriage blog is the impetus for this post.  Before providing the full quote of the comment (below), let us pose the relevant questions.

Is a sexual incompatibility of the spouses reasonable grounds for seeking a divorce?  Can married couples achieve a more harmonious and mutually fulfilling and satisfying sexual life over time through effort and sacrifice?  How important is good sex to the strength and success of the marriage?  Why are the Christian churches largely silent on this challenge present in many marriages today?  What about the harm, the very great harm, done to children who suffer through a dissolution of their parents’ marriage?  A final question could be: Why do women play the role of refuser or gatekeeper when it comes to being sexually available for their husband?

Our feature image was captured last May (2016) while on holiday in Arches National Park, Utah.

 

 

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the wonder of being

Or, as the late Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) would say “awe before the mystery of being”.

Consider this mystery for a moment.  Our pet cat is sitting behind me taking a bath (as we say when cats clean their fur with their course tongue).  This behavior is hard wired (instinctual) in the cat’s small mammalian brain.  Does the cat even “think” about it?  This behavior may be automatic to cats similar to how we humans often forget the actions of tying our shoe laces or washing our hands and do these “automatically” so to speak as we are not fully conscious of doing these.  (Animals do have a certain level of consciousness or sentience to be sure.  It is a pity that they, too, must suffer in the struggle which is life.)

My point is how wonderful and awe-inspiring much of the world around us truly is if we briefly step back and look at it.  We praise God for the beauty and mystery and majesty of His creation.  God’s handiwork is revealed to us in a lowly animal’s routine behavior.

 

 

copyright 2017 – larrysmusings.com

the tabu against questioning the Holocaust

Why can there be subjects of historical inquiry that are off limits?

It is currently illegal in many European nations to question the official or generally accepted account of the holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War.  This is no distortion nor exaggeration.  European readers are well aware of these restrictions.

Our purpose here is not to dissect the official holocaust story, but rather to question the possible reasons or motivations for restricting objective and open inquiry into the official history of the holocaust, and stifling open discussions of the results of such inquiries that are made.

 

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question circumcision

what circumcision does not do

Allegedly a panacea, or at least an effective preventive measure, for everything from masturbation caused epilepsy * to cervical cancer to now the spread of AIDS (HIV), circumcision has nothing to do with any of these things as the foreskin’s presence or absence does not affect cervical cancer rates **, has nothing to do with masturbation habits or practices, and does not play a significant role in transmission of HIV (we have looked over some of the “studies” purportedly showing circumcision as a factor in reducing transmission of HIV and these studies have some serious limitations and flaws).  Amputation of the foreskin (and that is what circumcision in the US is) is not medically necessary nor justified.

 

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Can Western Civilization survive?

Today, Western Civilization appears to have lost its identity, lost its soul.  It is under constant attack from many quarters.  By “western civilization”, we mean those ideas, values and traditions that have come down to us through history from ancient Greece and Rome and the rest of Europe and have been greatly shaped or influenced by Christianity.

Perhaps, our question could be rephrased as:  Can Western Civilization survive its current crisis of identity?  The crisis, the pressing existential drama, seems to be inexorably progressing towards a climax.

 

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atheism and science

“There is no God.” – is a statement of faith, not of science.  Really, the statement is an assertion.

People who self identify as atheists often think that science supports their chosen position or is “on their side”.  True, many in the scientific community are atheists and others say they are agnostic.  And, that is the danger.  Those people of science have much prestige and command much respect in today’s world.  Yet, science has its limitations.  (Gasp)  Yes, it really does have limitations albeit you rarely hear such talk from those in science.

 

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the nature of God

Do we really know about the nature of God?

Well, yes, we have the revealed religions to tell us of God’s nature.

But, some may wonder: do we humans impute our hangups, our biases, our character traits (or even character flaws) on to God, or at least on to our concept of God?

 

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Man Cannot Live By Reason Alone

A short, but thought provoking quote here – worth a quick read.

God does not believe in atheists

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Even the wisest of mankind cannot live by reason alone; pure arrogant reason, denying the claims of prejudice (which commonly are also the claims of conscience), leads to a wasteland of withered hopes and crying loneliness, empty of God and man: the wilderness in which Satan tempted Christ was not more dreadful than the arid expanse of intellectual vanity deprived of tradition and intuition, where modern man is tempted by his own pride.

―Russell Kirk,
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot

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