The Final Protest

 

The whole world is watching” was a chant by antiwar demonstrators outside the Conrad Hilton Hotel the evening of August 28 during the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago

-Wikipedia

“Prologue, August 29, 1968”

 

If you lived through the 60s as I have you will remember the numerous protests across the nation. If you lived in Chicago during that time you will remember the local newscasts showing nuclear armament protests, civil rights protests and antiwar protests. At the time of the DNC Convention in August of 1968 downtown Chicago was flooded with protestors. The violent confrontations between anti-war protestors and the police and the responses of Mayor Richard J. Daley were shown on our family’s black and white with rabbit ears every night.

The national and local protests appeared to me, a teenager, to be a release of anger, frustration, hatred and anarchy. The protests, in a way, looked familiar. They appeared to a be a rebellious teenager’s emotional response to the authority in his life.

The signs, the shouts, the shoves and the protest songs were captured on tape for the whole world to watch and to listen. I said all you got to do is listen. Ironically, as witnessed in Chicago, many antiwar protests turned violent, as protestors incited a civil unrest to make their point about wanting peace in our time.

Protests have been around since day one. And many if not most of those protests focused fault for an objectionable situation away from the protesting party and outward onto a larger amorphous party – The Man. The Man is typically God or government or a boss or “the system”.  Any authority figure can be in the index finger’s protest sights. Here’s Adam (the man) protesting God (The Man) questioning him (the man):

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

 The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3: 9-12 (emphasis mine)

Behind many protests today there is an “It takes a village” mindset that says everyone is responsible while making no one personally responsible except for The Man – an authority figurehead. Making every one democratically responsible then puts the onus for change dangerously into the hands of those elected – the political and religious elite – and away from personal accountability. When those in power are offered more power, totalitarianism follows. The State – The Man – then confiscates your liberty to control those situations and people you want controlled.

There are protests that hamstring or hamper others. These protests are meant to cause others to feel the protestor’s pain. One such protest happened in Chicago recently. Protestors shut down Lake Shore Drive on a Thursday afternoon. They carried signs decrying the ongoing violence on the west and south sides of Chicago: No More Violence Black Lives Matter, Help My Community and Enough is Enough.

Violence should be a matter of concern. Yet, in my view, the LSD blockage protest was a redistribution of responsibility for the choices the protestors had made. Consider that most of those protesting were the same people who voted for Chicago’s mayor and city council. And, if you recall, those elected officials made Chicago into a “Welcoming City” allowing in a criminal element composed of drug lords, MS-13 gang bangers, sexual predators, molesters and pedophiles, to name a few generators of imported violence. Consider also that most of those protestors are Democrats who continue to vote for programs that foster government dependence and not self-reliance and responsibility. The pols these protestors vote for offer to assuage fears by throwing money at a problem. And that means raising property taxes, which creates more poverty and more dependence on government, which, by lack of ownership and responsibility, creates more gang violence in neighborhoods. Therein is a Self-Induced Catch 22 for the protestors.

There are protests as marches which are meant to be a show of strength, and perhaps intimidation, in numbers. Union protests, the Million Man March and The Woman’s March in DC are these types of protests. In the end the marchers have had their fifteen minutes of fame and then often go on with nothing changed but their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts.

Many protests are about perceived injustices, inequities and intolerable conditions. As I see it, the cries for “equal rights for all” is often conditional on others being treated unequally.

Did you know that there is a Chicago protest website called Chicago Protest? Today you will find the following protests scheduled:

All Out – the Jason Van Dyke Trial

Rally to #End Money Bail

MeToo MacDonald’s

SayHerName: A march to end the violence against trans women

There are protests against personalities which represent The Man. The #Resistance protests against Trump. As they do, have you noticed that many of those who protest Trump’s behavior act as bad or worse than Trump as if by projection of their own immaturity? The #Resistance appears to justify its jejune behavior by saying Trump is The Wrong Man and anyway he should be a better-behaved (but not like those of the #Resistance). Of course, such personality protests are egged on by deep political and ideological divides which are stoked by media personalities who have their own following. Like all else regarding human nature, personality protests are not new under the sun.

In Paul’s day there was such a protest within the young and immature Corinthian church. The protest involved personalities Paul, Cephas and Apollos. It seems that these three each represented to the Corinthians a unique style presentation of the Gospel. The Corinthians, eager to take sides, had lined up behind the personality who was the most pleasing to their ears. Some chose Cephas, the hands-on fisherman who had walked with Jesus and could tell tales of his time with Jesus. Some chose the didactic deep thinker and talker Paul and others chose the polished speaker with the locally familiar Greek god name – Apollos.

Paul, writing to the church, reprimands the Corinthians for their partisan protests based on worldly wisdom.

In my own case, my dear family, I couldn’t speak to you as spiritual people, but as people who were all to obviously merely human, little babies in the Messiah. I fed you with milk, not sold food, because you weren’t able to take it—and you still can’t, even now! You’re still determined to live in the old way! Yes, wherever there is jealousy and quarreling, doesn’t that mean you’re living in the old way, behaving as any merely human being might do? When someone says “I’m with Paul!” and someone else says “I’m with Apollos!” are you not mere humans?

– 1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Personality protests are self-serving protests. They derive from a person’s worldly human wisdom which generates errant expectations about how things should be – for me.

In Mark’s gospel account (Mark 8: 31-33) we read of Peter’s protest of Jesus announcing his coming suffering and death. Peter was expecting a Messiah who lived out Israel’s’ covenant hopes.

Jesus now began to teach them something new.

“There’s trouble in store for the son of man,” he said. “The elders, the chief priests, and the scribes are going to reject him. He will be killed – and after three days he’ll be raised.” He said this quite explicitly.

At this, Peter took him aside and started to scold him. But he turned around, saw the disciples, and scolded Peter.

“Get behind me, Accuser!” he said. “You’re thinking human thoughts, not God’s thoughts.”

How should we frame our thinking about protests? With human thoughts? Or, with the “mind of the Messiah” (1 Cor. 2:16)? After Jesus protests Peter’s mere human wisdom, Jesus, the Messiah, goes on to tell the crowd his mind: what protest should be about and about the Final Protest:

“If any of you want to come the way I’m going,” he said, “you must say no to your own selves, pick up your own cross, and follow me. Yes: if you want to save your life, you’ll lose it; but if you lose your life because of me and message you’ll save it. After all, what use is it to win the world and lose your life? What can you give in exchange for your life? If you’re ashamed of me and my words in this cheating and sinning generation, the son of man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:34-38

Jesus calls us to a protest that is personal, self-effacing and not world attention-grabbing. In fact, it is the opposite of the social media-grabbing, exploitive and often violent protests occurring in the world today. The violence of the Jesus protest is directed toward one’s ego and fleshly desires and even to one’s self-esteem. We are to sever all claims to self and all protesting rights from our thinking.

Be warned if your worldly human wisdom has you say “I’m behind the person that gives me the gospel the way I like it”. Be warned if your worldly human wisdom has you say “I will march for and demand my rights because my rights define me.” Be warned, also, if you protest the Lord’s claim on your life. Jesus, as we read above, warns of a Final Protest where he reveals his total displeasure with your cause to gain the world of self-interest and his embarrassment to be seen with you in the company of heaven.

 

 

~~~
Here is how the Apostle Paul understood the Jesus Protest:
“…I didn’t come and proclaim God’s mystery to you by means of a superior style of speaking or wisdom. No: I decided to know nothing in my dealings with you except Jesus the Messiah, especially his crucifixion. I came to you in weakness in great fear and trembling…” Paul’s first recorded letter to the church at Corinth, 2: 1-3
And…
“As for me, God forbid that I should boast – except in the cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, 6: 14

Livin’ the Dream

 

Livin’ the Dream

 fruit_cocktail

Lew spooned out fruit cocktail from a can as he sat in front of the TV. The fruit squished in his gums. The sweet syrup dribbled down from the corners of mouth. A chunk of cherry flew into the air when he yelled “Those corporate fat cats! There’s nothing left for us!” The cat lapped up the sticky red dot and looked up.

“Scoot!”  Lew shoved a foot under the cat’s belly and picked it up. The cat yowled and leaped forward onto its front paws. The hind legs followed, scrambling for footing on the wet vinyl floor.

The can of hot plate-warmed chili and two cold beers for his dinner had made Lew drowsy. He struggled to keep his eyes open to watch the cable news program. He rubbed his eyes twice and yawned each time. As he put his head back on the chair his eyelids came down. Another program came on…

 

I was Lew’s armored car route partner before he retired ten years ago. Here is what Lew told me about his dream the night before:

“A big cat was sitting in my chair. The cat looked all pleased with itself. It was licking its fir and purring like our truck’s diesel engine. The cat took a bite of a cheese sandwich and mice ran up to eat the crumbs. I was looking up at the cat waiting for food to drop. When it did the mice ate it up before I could get any.

The cat then handed me a plaque. It said, “Thanks for piling on 40 Years with Us”. Then I saw the front door open and you poked your head in. You said, “You’ve always been in the driver’s seat, pal.”

Then, I saw my dad on TV. He was in a Stockpile Self-storage commercial. He was sitting in his recliner smoking a pipe inside a storage unit full of his stuff. There was an auction going on and he was in buying and storing mode, like when he was alive. He said to me, “As a man thinketh in his chair so he is. And I think it’s no crime to have more than you want.”

Then, a stray cat walked in and read a fortune cookie fortune: “If continually give, continually have.” And that’s when I woke up.”

Lew, speaking through his screen door as I stood on the “Welcome” mat, then asked me “What do make of that crazy dream?”hoarders

I told him “Pal, I was lucky to get into your dream since I can’t get into your house to check on you. There is so much stuff in there. You’ve kept everything and now everything is keeping you in that chair.” I told Lew to lay off the cans of chili and fruit cocktail which I saw strewn in the yard and to enjoy his big fat pension. “Get out of this house.” I told him. “C’mon, buy yourself and your old partner a good meal in town before there’s nothing left of you to hold on to.”

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2018, All Rights Reserved

Circumstantial Evidence

You don’t feel right. You feel unsettled and unable to sleep at night. You feel achy, restless and depressed. You wonder if there is something in the air. You feel that there is something going on but you can’t put your finger on it.

One day, on the way to work, you stop for a “Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free” at Starbucks. Getting out of your Subaru, you see a sign across the street: “GOT CARE?” The sign is out front of the Hope and Change Clinic. Another yard sign says that the clinic accepts all patients and rejects none. You say to yourself, “Maybe this is what I need.” You call and make your first appointment.

On the day of your appointment you find the waiting room full of scrutinizing looks. You meet with Dr. Betterman. He doesn’t examine you. He tells you right off the bat what ails you. He says, “I see this all the time in my practice. My patients sense that something isn’t right and they become anxious. They often feel stigmatized by their choices. I counsel them not to worry. The problem, I tell them, is not behavioral. It is not anything you ate or did. It is not you. The problem is who and what is going on around you. A fundamental transformation is required. You will need to see me at least once a week to work through this. For payment, we accept cash, credit cards and all kinds of insurance and reject none. A copy of my best-selling book “Think Through You: 17 Steps Toward Transcendental Reasoned Being” is available for purchase at the front desk.”

Already feeling chipper, you reschedule and then stop at Starbucks, book under your arm, before going home.

Our Common Problem

 

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see… Genesis 11

To counter the threat of disintegration and to triumph over insignificance, they build a city and a tower “with its top to the heavens. A single “place”, a single “tongue”, and a single “tower” will provide the pillars for a centralized political, economic, and religious system with universal pretensions. Humanity will be securely unified and great. -Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace

 

On the plain of Shinar the whole world acted out of fear. The whole world feared loss of group identity through scattering. They feared the differences that would evolve once “scattering” began. Out of fear the whole world decided that they needed to build a towering edifice as a symbol of their identity and intransience. Out of fear, the whole world acted like the woman who believed that having a child would solidify her identity and her relationship with a guy.

For their One World Project it could be assumed that the people living on the plain of Shinar used clay and straw for their bricks. The plain had stones but they were likely smooth river stones. Shinar translated literally is “country of two rivers”, the two rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates. River stones were not going to work for a towering monument to themselves and for their socialized labor effort. Besides, to achieve structural integrity for both the tower and a One World society, the bricks and the people had to be uniform or be tossed onto the rubbish pile.

We learn from Genesis 10:8-10 that the Land of Shinar was the site of the kingdoms founded by Nimrod. We also learn that the name-making business had already started with Nimrod:

 Cush became the father of Nimrod, who was the first on earth to become a powerful man.  He was a powerful animal-killer in the eyes of the Lord. So, it is said, “Like Nimrod, a powerful animal-killer in the eyes of the Lord.”  The beginning of his nation was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

The tower was meant to create a unifying One World name for the people. We never hear of a name later on. Maybe the tower would have been named Nimrod Tower to honor a mighty hunter and self-made man.

The narrator, with tongue-in-cheek, relates “But the Lord came down to see” the finger in His face. In that same narration (Genesis 11:5-9) we learn of a God who is “us”.

Come, let Us go down and mix up their language so they will not understand what each other says.”  So the Lord sent them everywhere over the whole earth.

Why would God mix up their language and then scatter the Shinar plain’s people? Well, God earlier had commanded their forefathers (and remnants of the flood judgment) differently:

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.  The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. – Genesis 9:1-3

In response to a centralized obstinate hunkering down in disobedience tower building people, God confounds their language. The people are scattered, fear and all.

 

Scattering (and moving people out of their comfort zones) happens throughout Scripture. In the next chapter of Genesis (12), we read of the beginning of God’s people:

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Like the remnant theme, the scattering theme is repeated throughout Scripture. The people of God are scattered into exile when they choose other gods and the ways of the world.

When men or a nation hunkers down as an immovable force and starts going vertical with pride and not horizontal in obedience, God scatters. Read Daniel 2. Daniel reveals the king’s dream. The dream portrays the knocking down of the towering kingdoms man has built up and affixed their name to. God scatters the remains.

To be sure, God doesn’t scatter for the sake of scattering. God is good. Listen to the what the prophet Jeremiah wrote (Jeremiah 29) to God’s exiled (scattered) people:

This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:…

 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

“I will be found by you.” Consider how God, by sending his Spirit, communicates (without towers) the gospel at Pentecost to those who had been scattered. From Acts 2:

There were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem at that time. When they heard the noise, they came together in a crowd. They were deeply puzzled, because every single one of them could hear them speaking in his or her own native tongue. They were astonished and amazed

“These men who are doing the speaking are all Galileans, aren’t they? they said. “So how is it that each of us can hear them in our own mother tongues? There are Parthians here, and Medians, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia (the land of Shinar!), Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and parts of Libya that belong to Cyrene; there are people from Rome, proselytes as well as Jews; there are Cretans and Arabs. We can hear them telling us about the powerful things God has done—in our own languages!”

 

Scattered people come together in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost. They hear the Apostles speak in their own native tongue. They hear about “the powerful things God has done” (and not about the powerful hunting of Nimrod). They return home to announce the Gospel – “Jesus is Lord” – in their own tongue. They were filling the earth with the knowledge of God.

 

Notice in Genesis 9 (above) that the fear of going without has been lifted off of mankind. Mankind has to choose to live in fear. Yet, when we live in fear and act out of fear we make terrible decisions. We become codependent in relationships. We become sexually involved. We overeat. We make monetary demands of others for socialized this and that. We shun others who are not the same as us. We lie. We steal. We kill. We take revenge. We isolate. We hoard. We surround ourselves with the like-minded. We build mega-churches to make a name for ourselves. We become territorial. We become ultra-nationalistic. We spend our days making bricks of straw and clay for a tower that will symbolize our efforts to secure our brick and straw identity.

By scattering and filling the earth with the knowledge of God, God desires to drive out fear from the whole world as each embrace his perfect love for us. And, God makes an endearing name for the scattered – adopted sons and daughters.

By scattering and filling the earth with the knowledge of God, God desires to prosper us as we seek first His Kingdom and not the kingdom of the clay tower. Man’s vertical projects are always redirected into God’s horizontal filling the earth with the knowledge of God.

God knows that our being scattered, redirected and moved out of our comfort zones involves risks of the unknown. But, God is there. Like Abraham, I want to go into the unknown and follow God to where God is working and communicating. Don’t you? That is the only way for us to experience God’s character and His presence. You won’t gain that experience with your head in the clouds at the top of Nimrod Tower.

 

As people are “fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” they will find the earth full of God’s love. As the Psalmist wrote (Ps. 33:4-5):

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
 The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

 

~~~~~

Remember:

“We are to regard existence as a raid or great adventure; it is to be judged, therefore, not by what calamities it encounters, but by what flag it follows and what high town it assaults. The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one’s life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being.” G.K. Chesterton

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Scattering appears to be consistent with God’s character. Consider the creation of the universe. The Big Bang unleashed atomic particles which later formed into mass. The universe continued to expand and so did the evolution of species. Pentecost reminded me of another Big Bang, a Kingdom Big Bang.

Consistent with man’s character: tower building with the accumulating and hoarding of mass.

Because the human heart remains the same throughout millennia there is a current political ideology of “a centralized political, economic, and religious system with universal pretensions.” Progressivism is its name and it is based on fear. It is also based on the fear of scattering.

God’s command mankind to “fill the earth” is certainly not a directive for a One World centralized tower top down collectivism.

For Progressivism to be about “Hope and Change” it must first invoke fear: fear of going hungry, fear of medical bills, fear of going bankrupt, fear of having to pay for one’s college tuition, fear of not being accepted, fear of having to care for an unborn child, the fear of being insecure, and fear of an unapproved of group, to mention just a few of the promoted social insecurities. Progressivism’s answer to fear is to centralize, homogenize and to be given totalitarian authority.

For Progressivism to be about hope and change it must reach the heavens. So, it uses the words of a well-being gospel Jesus (aka, a prosperity gospel). When it invokes Jesus, Progressivism can then justify its means to an end. The means can be socialized medicine, socialized income, and socialized well-being all done under totalitarian control.

The ends are to remove differences in income, differences in thought, and differences in morality. Progressivism suppresses differences that do not fit their narrative. Progressivism seeks to homogenize, repress and to pull suckers into its social tar, the mortar holding the clay bricks together. To build their tower of hope the bricks are to be handmade – formed by all the same to be all the same. The bricks are to laid, one on top of another, until they reach the pinnacle of Tower Utopia.

“With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.” – from FDR’s First Inaugural Address

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The Tower of Babel…

…reminds me of top down centralized government.

…reminds of the high places mentioned in the OT. They were places where false gods were worshipped.

…reminds me of the Eye of Sauron.

Added 8/21/2018, fixating on a problem:

The belief that everything is getting worse paints a distorted picture of what we can do, and makes us more fearful. But while getting the facts wrong – or willfully misrepresenting them – often results in misguided policies, fact-based recognition of what humanity has achieved encourages policies that can achieve the most good. –  Bjørn Lomborg “A Better World is Here

What Remains to Be Seen

 

The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. Joshua 6:17

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient Hebrews 11:31

One cannot read through Scripture without coming across the remnant theme – God preserving a trace element of faith. And, as you will read, nothing, not even man’s wickedness including that of an idolatrous harlot, will thwart God’s plan for His Creation. His kingdom is forever. Below are just a few of the verses which reveal the Lord’s dealing with man’s unfaithfulness and His deciding to leave a humbled and teachable remnant, as the prophet Ezra described,

“But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.” Ezra 9:8

 

Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. Genesis 7:23

“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” Joseph, Genesis 45:7

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Joseph, Genesis 50:20

“Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 kings 19:18

But some of the poorest people who had nothing, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time. Jeremiah 39:10

Likewise, also all the Jews who were in Moab and among the sons of Ammon and in Edom and who were in all the other countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant for Judah, and that he had appointed over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. Then all the Jews returned from all the places to which they had been driven away and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and gathered in wine and summer fruit in great abundance. Jeremiah 40:11-12

…and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, that is for all this remnant; because we are left but a few out of many, as your own eyes now see us,…” Jeremiah 42:2

“But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.” Ezra 9:8

“After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, Ezra 9:13

‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, Haggai 1:14

“The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD drives you.” Deuteronomy 4:27

“For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant within them will return; a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.” Isaiah 10:22

‘One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them. “Ezekiel 5:12

As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, “Alas, Lord GOD! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:8

For thus says the Lord GOD, “The city which goes forth a thousand strong Will have a hundred left, And the one which goes forth a hundred strong Will have ten left to the house of Israel.” Amos 5:3

“Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9

“The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 37:31-32

“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. Joel 2:32

“Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. Isaiah 10: 20-21n; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. “Isaiah 10:22

Now let’s turn to last Sunday’s Gospel reading, John 6: 1-21. As I listened to the reading I was reminded of the persistent remnant theme in Scripture. This theme is clearly evident in the two events described by John, though the miracles are what usually capture people’s attention: the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on the water.

The feeding of the five thousand:

After multiplying the loaves and fishes of a boy’s lunch to feed a vast crowd, Jesus tells his disciples (the Twelve) to gather up the remnants. The remnants fill twelve baskets. Isn’t it interesting that God’s people Israel belong to twelve tribes? The remnants, the twelve tribes are later enshrined in the Holy City of Jerusalem:

It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Revelation 21:12

 

Jesus walking on the water:

The disciples are on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. A furious squall whips up. The possibility of capsizing terrifies the men. Then, they see Jesus walking toward them. He is walking on the water! (Jesus, the Creator, had just multiplied organic compounds – loaves and fishes – to feed the many and now he modifies water, an inorganic compound, to reach and secure the few). As the disciples reach toward Jesus to pull him aboard (where they perhaps thought he would again calm the sea) they immediately reach where they were going – the other shore. The storm is not quieted as before. But that is of no matter. What matters is that another humbled and teachable remnant is saved.

 

The recurring remnant theme tells me that God is sovereign. God oversees the works of His hands. Nothing escapes his attention. God is involved with you and me. He supplies food and sure-footedness. The remnant theme also tells me beyond any doubt that the wicked and evil will be dealt with and be removed to where they need to go. The faithful will be gathered up and brought safely to where they need to go. And, another humbled and teachable remnant is saved – me. Everything is under His control. And that is what remains to be seen …by faith.

One Nation Under a Bed of Roses

 

Our current notion of cultural diversity — trumpeted as the repudiation of racism and biological essentialism — in fact grew out of and perpetuates the very concepts it congratulates itself on having escaped. The American love affair with race — especially when you can dress race up as culture — has continued and even intensified. Almost everything we say about culture (that the significant differences between us are cultural, that such differences should be respected, that our cultural heritages should be perpetuated, that there’s a value in making sure that different cultures survive) seems to me mistaken. We must shift our focus from cultural diversity to economic equality to help alter the political terrain of contemporary American intellectual life.

The Trouble With Diversity by Walter Benn Michaels, August 13, 2006

 

 What do you make of the above quote from the web article? What do you make of “We must shift our focus from cultural diversity to economic equality to help alter the political terrain of contemporary American intellectual life.”?

 

 

I thought of how everything the Left offers as societal ‘fix’ is off-kilter. I thought of how the Left seeks to alter the political and cultural terrain so as to espouse the “For the people” narrative for their own Ruling Class benefit.

Has dictator literature a future? If the absence of a sense of humor in public life is anything to go by, it very well might. Indeed, dictator-like literature seems to be increasingly common in academe, as a genre to be imitated rather than eschewed. It is either self-imposed or a manifestation of ideological conformism in the face of social pressure. – Author Authoritarians: The literary talent (or lack thereof) of tyrants at the typewriter by Anthony Daniels

I also was reminded of some of the clarion words of Thomas Sowell, economist:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding the initial quote, there are certainly cultural differences and they are certainly not of equal worth to humans. A culture of cannibalism or animism or Voodoism or a culture of abortion where human life is deemed an inconvenience or a culture of hedonism where self-pleasure is god or a culture of enforced slavery to a socialist political state or a culture of ‘red in tooth and claw’ materialism…none of these are worthy of humans.

We must maintain what is worthy of humans. That would include the cultural heritages that have sustained and benefitted humans down through time: mother and father families, transcendent art, music, and literature, the rule of law, and Christianity. There are without doubt differences between us that are more significant than cultural. These differences come down to whether one believes in the one True God and His kingdom way of life. One cannot equalize light and dark

Regarding the income inequality narrative, promoted as “For the people”: the benefit is solely for those pushing it – the ruling class who want to maintain control of their narrative and of you to flesh out their narrative. But, income inequality should not be an impetus driving anyone to do anything. Income inequities like cultural inequities should be resolved by the free individual and not by coercion.

People, though born equally human, are not equal in ability, desire or will. What should happen: each inequity should be the impetus for us to assess our personal values and goals in the light of loving God and our neighbor. Coercive income redistribution, whether via taxation or increased minimum wages, does not enable human flourishing. Rather, coercion supports further dependence, class animosity and the intellectual’s narrative that goes toward tenure consideration in the ivory tower.

 

The Left’s focus on materialism under the guise of ‘righting’ the Left’s storied wrong (“income inequality”) will have the same devastating effects as defining our culture down to the lowest common denominator for equality’s sake: humans acting as irrational animals to survive.

By seeing every human being as a soulless captive to impersonal economic forces, socialism kills human dignity. After that, as we have witnessed too vividly and too frequently, killing the human body becomes inevitable.Socialism Disregards Human Dignity, Eugénio Lopes

  In its attempts to “alter the political terrain”, the Left demands that there should be no work effort without income equality. Red clenched fists (an ersatz bed of roses) is the Left’s social justice poster.

 As a follower of Jesus in his kingdom on earth, I have no doubt whatsoever that the Evil One wants a social justice where people ‘love their neighbor’ vicariously through an impersonal government program. The Evil One does not want anyone to give directly to their neighbor. That is what Jesus wants – agape love. The Evil One would rather you move your mouse to virtue signal than do any heavy lifting for your neighbor. On the receiving end, the Evil One would rather you be one of the nine lepers would did not return to Jesus and give thanks to him for what he did for ten neighbors. The Evil One would rather you get what you want and not be grateful.

If the Left’s income equality narrative ever becomes reality you can be sure that we will become one nation under a bed of red-fisted roses.

 

 

 

Added 7-23-2018:

 

What Are You So Affirmed Of?

 

Affirmations give us feedback. They tell us our status at a certain place and time. And so, we look for affirmations from those around us. 

A wife looks to her husband for affirmation of his love for her. A husband looks to his wife for affirmation of her respect for him. Children look to parents for affirmation of their boundaries.

Outside the family, the employed look for affirmation of their employment in a regular paycheck, in a regular review and in a manager’s approval. Students seek affirmation of their studies in the grade received and in the teacher’s approval. Church goers seek affirmation of their faith and atheists seek affirmation of their faith. Both faith groups do so in communities of others like themselves.

We choose friends who will affirm us in life-sustaining ways. Or, we look for friends who will affirm our unhealthy choices. We look for feedback from our friends. Our Friend the Way affirmed for us the life-sustaining way:

“Go in by the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction, you see, is nice and wide, and the road going there has plenty of room. Lots of people go that way. But the gate leading to life is narrow, and the road going there is a tight squeeze. Not many people find their way through.”

Like the roads signs I encountered on my recent trip to Memphis, affirmations can be signposts and confirmations that we are heading in the right direction. They can also tell us where paths diverge, as shown above. Affirmations guide us along.

Affirmations of relationships are writ large in the gospels. We read of God the Father’s out-of-the-heavens affirmation of His Son in Matthew 3:17 and again 17:5:

“This is my son, my beloved son,” said the voice. “I am delighted with him.”

The Lord’s affirmation of his followers is made obvious throughout the gospels. He let us know that we are of much greater value than a sparrow that the Father feeds and cares for daily. Through parables, Jesus affirmed to us our worth. He let it be known that when the lost are found and when the prodigal returns, the heavens rejoice. My last post talked about Jesus calling us his friends if we do what he asks of us.

Jesus affirms the choice his followers make in leaving all and following him. He does so by giving them the same confirmation that he received from the world: rejection. From John’s gospel account:

“If the world hates you, “Jesus went on, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were from the world, the world would be fond of its own. But the world hates you for this reason: that you are not from this world. No, I chose you out of this world.”

 

The world seeks affirmation from its own. Writ large on social media: the world is fond of its own. If the scroll of a Twitter feed is any indication, those in the world seek constant critical-free affirmation. Some, the malignantly narcissistic, insist upon “affirmation independent of all findings” per Austrian philosopher Martin Buber. These want to live in a fact-free world about their own character. They are intolerant of any examination of their character. When challenged many will quote Jesus about not judging others even though their behavior suggests that they do not care one iota about what Jesus has to say. That pretty much sums up many of the replies I receive on Twitter.

Typically, the world’s demand for affirmation is couched in the high-sounding “rights”. Legal rights as enforced affirmation is desired by the world because legal rights coerce others to affirm them. Affirmation was demanded of the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the Court’s same-sex marriage decision that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

Yet, even with “equal dignity in the eyes of the law” the world’s superficial affirmations, in the eyes of the beholder, quickly fade. And, with it satisfaction wanes. Consider receiving a participation trophy for just showing up. Or, receiving “dignity” for just showing up.

One has to wonder if the world’s narcissistic impulse to be constantly, dramatically and legally affirmed is due to popularization of self-esteem and the big business of self-love:

Self-Esteem in the Classroom is a curriculum guide for grades 1-12 contains 416 pages detailing over 220 classroom-tested activities to build self-esteem. -Jack Canfield, Maximizing Your Potential website

You can download a free About Me: Self-Esteem Sentence Completion Worksheet

Self Esteem Activities boost your self-esteem, confidence and experience of peace and happiness. Just as a muscle requires regular exercise to maintain its’ strength and flexibility your positive self-esteem brain pathways are fortified by specific self-esteem exercises and worksheets.

-15 Great Self Esteem Building Activities & Exercises For Teens and Adults

Many psychologists will spend a lot of your time (and your money) seeking out the cause of your low self-love. 

Retired psychologist Anthony Daniels, writing under his pen name Theodore Dalrymple, offered his tongue-in-cheek thoughts about self esteem in Chapter Four of his book, Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality

Whatever else you must do, you must always love and esteem yourself, otherwise you are doomed to a life of sterile denigration. In dynamic psychotherapy one must uncover the roots of a lack of self-esteem …

In behavioral psychotherapy a lack of necessary self-esteem is the result of a vicious circle of thought in which reflections upon failure lead to real failure, which lead to future reflections upon failure, and so on ad infinitum. The object of the cognitive behavioral therapy is break the vicious circle, thus transforming a wretched mouselike creature who barley dares to leave his mouse hole into a go-getter who wins friends and influences people. It is not difficult to see the connection between these ideas and the modern pedagogic tendency to praise children for their efforts, however desultory …

The notion of self-love or self-esteem is in itself either ridiculous or repellent. No one ascribes his good character or successes in life to an adequate fund of self-esteem … Self-doubt, within reason, is something to be overcome; self-esteem is complacency elevated to an ontological plane.

In the world, self-importance and its kissing cousin self-affirmation are all the rage. Literally. Affirm one’s self and thereby avoid and denounce all critical examination. Allow others to generously affirm you at no cost to yourself. And, if someone gets close to the beloved self with the light of truth then release all stored-up wrath to blow out the candle.

 

What Are You So Affirmed Of?

Those who behave this way act out of fear. They do not know the affirmation of God that releases them from fear. As it is written, There is no fear in love; complete love drives out fear. Fear has to do with punishment, and anyone who is afraid has not been completed in love.

Jesus summed up his affirmation of us on the cross as he honored his own words: There is no greater affirmation than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. The world sums up its affirmation in self-image participation trophies and fortune cookies.

A Friend Closer Than Memphis

 

The long drive from Chicago to Memphis, past corn fields and silos and renewable energy turbines on both horizons, gave me a chance to reflect on my friendships. As I drove alone I thought of times shared with friends. As I travel alone I wonder who my friends will be when I get where I am going. My circumstances are on the move.

From childhood I have known who I would become friends with. There was immediate symbiosis – a shared our-street language. Words of approval or disapproval about things outside the proposed friendship became our spittle handshake. And sure, there was a back and forth to test the ‘waters’: “Do you like that?”; What about this?”. But, the questions were mainly asked to see what reference points were used. And so, there was plenty of note comparing to determine the ties that bind, the ones that won’t, and the ones that don’t matter.

With my growing friendships came growing elbow room. I could be silly, stupid, and sorry and still remain friends. Between the two of us there was a give and take of silly, stupid, and sorry. The balance of give and take would change from day to day and from friend to friend. Early on, because I was not worldly wise, I relied heavily on my childhood best friend. A later adult friend, who was much too worldly wise, relied on me heavily. The elbow room of friendship reminds me of God’s grace – room to be human with all its foibles and sins and room to return, ask forgiveness and receive it.

A friend means well, even when he hurts you. But when an enemy puts his hand round your shoulder – watch out! Proverbs 27:6

One who has unreliable friends soon come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

In a way, friendship is like a parable. Jesus used parables to teach his way of looking at things in his kingdom. Like the parable’s parallels, friendships alongside you draw out greater truths. For one truth there is the fact that you are not alone, and for another, there are others exposed to the same reality. Walking with my friends and they with me, through the gamut of folly to faith and sometimes back again, has taught me to see from another perspective and to care about another perspective. (Walking in the Paraclete has given me a perspective and a counselor alongside.)

An honest answer is the sign of true friendship. ~ Proverbs 24:26

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ~ Proverbs 13:20

What I like about friendships: they do not have the urgency or contingency of sex. Rather, that energy is used to add new meaning – to add more ties that bind – to the friendship. That energy is exerted in new adventures.

I also see friendship as a type of love that is evocative of the Trinity relationship. The Father and Son and Spirit are in constant communication (except at that moment of Jesus’ death). Their sharing is intimate. Friendship’s focus roughly mirrors that of the Trinity as it is both inward directed toward the other and outward directed at the same time. And though the Godhead does not need grace from us and cannot gain experience, the Godhead, as revealed to us, desires to favor creation with grace and to gain friends who have their own experiences. It was Jesus who invited us into the dancing embrace of the Trinity when he said…

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

When the disciples heard Jesus say this they understood the term “friend”. They knew about David and Jonathon. Philip had introduced his friend Nathaniel to Jesus (John 1:43-51). The disciples could not forget about ‘Our friend Lazarus who has fallen asleep’ (John 11:11) and was raised from the dead. They had heard a parable about the ‘friend of the bridegroom…” John (3:29) They had heard Jesus being called a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (Matt. 11:19). They certainly understood the term ‘friend’ when Jesus prefaced the above words with Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. What they did not yet understand was the extent of love Jesus would go to for his friends. Closer Than a Brother

The disciples understood that a friend was not your enemy. They knew that a friend wanted what was in your best interests. A friend went along with you and did what was required of him or her to remain friends and did so without a lot of hemming and hawing. You are my friends if you do what I command.

As close friends of the Lord we become privy to the Father’s communication to the Son. We are no longer servants (those tasked with household responsibilities and no place at the table) but we are brought into the main house and given a place at the table alongside our Friend. The Lord asks his friends to eat with him, to communicate with him, to learn from him, and to share with him the adventures of life in His Kingdom on earth.

Traveling alone from there to here I know there is one Friend who sticks much closer than Memphis.

St Andrews Collierville

Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine.

Corkeys Collierville Brisket

Friends have to eat together.

 

That’s the Way It Is

 

No, not this way…

This way…

 

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.[c]
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal.

Psalm 9

 

 

 

Dead to Rights

 

Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally… There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide. –Mental Health, Suicide Data, World Health Organization

 

Overdoses killed young and middle-aged Americans at a breakneck pace as the country battles a crippling opioid crisis, adding to the first two-year drop in life expectancy since JFK was President.

More than 63,600 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics found. The startling rate was 21% higher than the number of fatalities a year earlier. – Opioid overdoses kill more people in U.S. than guns or breast cancer

 

The numbers quoted above are not insignificant. These instances of mental illness are not insignificant. And, these statistics represent only a small fraction of the de-humanizing effects of mental illness. Most of the effects of mental illness are hidden from the public eye until a person’s mental illness reaches a peak. The media then reports the violence done to others or done to one’s self in the form of suicide. Mentioned briefly by the newscaster: mental illness and the need to find a way to deal with it.

Again, the numbers quoted above are not insignificant. The quotes tell us in effect that mental illness influenced a person’s choice to self-harm. The quotes (and newscasts) do not tell us the choices that led to a mental illness that in time led to an act of violence. A post about mental illness could go in many directions. Here, I will take the path less traveled. I want to talk about what I see as the genesis of most mental illness – people’s choices.

 

Certainly, there are forms of mental illness which are not based on a person’s choices. Some prominent forms of mental disorder such as Bi-Polar Disorder have been ascribed primarily to a person’s genetic make-up. Some mental disorders are related to a chemical imbalance. Either abnormality can result in abnormal brain structure and function. Much progress has been made to mitigate the effects of these disorders. Some mental disorders may have come about through a child’s early environment. Talking in therapy and building good trust relationships can bring about healing.

Beyond physiological and early childhood causes, there is a spectrum of mental illnesses due to a person’s choices, choices that have been assessed and weighed based on one’s belief system and emotions. Each of us make deliberated decisions using our free will.  We may choose to act in a mentally healthy way or in a mentally harmful way. We may choose to turn the other cheek or we may choose to imitate revenge (Copy-Cat Revenge). We may choose to endure pain or we may choose to commit copy-cat suicide (the Werther Effect). Choosing to choose to act against God, oneself and others is evil-based mental illness. Evil-based mental illness involves a person’s choices.

Adam and Eve made a choice and learned of evil through their disobedience. Their son Cain made a choice when he murdered his brother Abel. God, acknowledging Cain’s mental distress, let him know that his choice figured in his distress:

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”-Genesis 4:6-

One’s choice makes all the difference for one’s mental state. And, when a person makes the wrong choice, there are public and private consequences. There are mental health consequences. A descent into madness is one of the consequences.

“This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue….

Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. – Daniel 4:24-27, 33-34 (emphasis mine)

We live in a world where choice is king. And, people want to reign as king or queen of their choice. What you won’t hear these choice-driven folks say is that they are responsible for the choices they make. If their choice doesn’t work out the way they planned they blame others, including the government. Scapegoating is a characteristic of evil-based mental illness. For example, I was once accused by LGBT advocates on Twitter of likely going on to cause the depression and suicidal death of gay community members because I spoke out against homosexuality. The advocates of the LGBT will tell you that any resistance to the homosexual lifestyle equates to depression and death for the LGBT. People want choices and want to rule in them but it their choices which cause the mental breakdowns, depression and worse. Resistance to accountability is another characteristic of evil-based mental illness. The Apostle Paul insists on accountability to the Lord as he reminds the Ephesian church that there are those who by their choices have darkened their minds:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. -Ephesians 4:17-20

A darkened mind, evil-based Mental illness, starts with small concessions to evil. One acknowledges and then accepts these concessions and compartmentalizes them in part of the psyche. They are filed away from the conscious and away from public view. One goes on to absolve and protect oneself from outside reference with a half-truth: “It’s a hard life and I must do what I have to do to make it”.

One goes on to concede more ground to evil because the appetite for defiant free will choice has been whetted and there have not been any immediate consequences. The addiction to compromise has begun. The conscious is silenced. One’s mental health begins to deteriorate because thoughts are confused and growing darker; the light has been switched off. One becomes duplicitous. A public face is put on because one’s sanity is on shaky ground but others must see you as proudly self-assured and in control. And what better place to hide your self-deceit and look respectable:

Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one’s evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? … I do not mean to imply that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious. I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them. – Martin Buber 

When mental illness is discussed, evil-based mental illness should also be discussed. But I believe the reason evil-based mental illness isn’t discussed is because it involves putting people’s choices under scrutiny. Twitter users become afire when I speak against homosexuality as a lifestyle acceptable for the church. They have told me that I am not like Jesus; I am judgmental. In truth, as a Follower of Jesus, I am trying to help the world around me become fully human. In the process, I’ve come to learn that Evil is defensive of its territory – humans.

Because Evil is nothing and has no substance, it must have access to human choice to act. Evil can, by human will, pervert what God created and called good. A glaring example of this hideous conversion from the good and absolute to sliding scale values and Epicureanism is the growing Christian acceptance of homosexuality as an acceptable good. In truth, it is a queering, a perversion, of the good.

It is a curious state of affairs today and a clear indication of evil’s degenerative effect: there are those today who demand rights for this and that while at the same time say they have no control of themselves or they can’t help themselves in their behavior. They want special human rights and the right to live as animals at the same time. They take Pride (Month) in this. De-humanization (e.g., giving over your free will and conscious to animal impulse) is a guaranteed effect of the choice to dwell in mental illness. Renouncing sin and turning back to the One true God will begin restoring your humanity and sanity. Just ask King Nebuchadnezzar.

 

The church should be the place for evil-based mental illness to be addressed. Sadly, many mainline churches have been comprised and now affirm evil as good, thereby increasing evil-based mental illness among its members. Read the Word and receive the Eucharist. The Word and prayer can help put you back in your right mind.

I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding. -Psalm 119: 25-32

 

 

Are You a danger to yourself or to others? If so, what choices have you made to bring you to this place? You are dead to rights accountable for the wrong choices. But your life doesn’t end there. Have more fear of what you may end up doing than talking to someone. Seek out a Christian and begin talking. Ask God for wisdom and do so with no doubt of receiving it, as a matter of mental health. For, “A person who doubts is like a wave of the sea which the wind blows and tosses about. Someone like that should not suppose they will receive anything from the Lord, since they are double minded and unstable in everything they do.”

 

Interactive media has influence on your mental health, if you let it. Added 6/19/2018:

What is gaming disorder?

Gaming disorder is defined in the draft 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.