A New Era

Welcome. This is intended to be a news and information site, with lots of stops in between. Feel free to barge right in and join – or begin – any conversation. I only ask that you observe the generally practiced niceties which we sometimes call “netiquette.”

 

  • Don’t swear at one another
  • Don’t take the Lord’s Name in vain

    At Prague Cafe, Kunming China

  • Don’t make personal attacks
  • Verify when possible.
  • Enjoy

Fort Apache: America

I was planning to post something on Christians and politics today. That was derailed when I opened the news on Sunday morning. In 1981, the movie Fort Apache, the Bronx opened with two police officers being shot as they sat in their cruiser.

That scene was played out in real life in Compton, California on Saturday (https://www.foxnews.com/us/protesters-hospital-los-angeles-sheriffs-deputies-ambushed). Bad enough that these officers were attacked while serving their community, but in the aftermath protesters showed up at the hospital shouting foul and vile slogans.

According to Fox News


Protesters could be heard shouting at one officer who appeared to point some sort of weapon at the protesters.

“That’s why you’re dying one by one, you stupid f—s,” a man can be heard saying. “Y’all gonna die one by one. This ain’t gonna stop.”

“You’re next with the f—— hot pocket,” a man shouted.

“I want to deliver a message to the family of the [inaudible]: I hope they f—— die,” a man yelled.

In other Loony Tunes news,

Authorities arrest 4 in connection to possible arson, fires along West Coast

So, it’s a pretty sure thing that the wildfires burning down the west, decimating entire towns and taking many lives, were set by arsonists.

My one response: ANIMALS. DEATH PENALTY.

We are at war. Patriots, gird up your loins. They’re coming for us. They want nothing less than the death of the republic and its citizens.

God is still in charge, but we are expected to act.  Read the book of Joshua.

I close with this verse:

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Labor Day

There’s a story about a firefighter in Iowa who hit it big a few years back. He won $4.1 million in the state lottery. Yet, a few years later he was back at his old job. Only he had to go through training all over again and start at the bottom of the seniority list. Did he go broke? No. At the point when he returned to work, he was still receiving $150,000 per year from the lottery commission. So why would a millionaire go back to work as a rookie firefighter? He just wants to work. He simply got tired of sitting around managing all the property he’d bought.

There is dignity and fulfillment in honest labor. There is no better example than the labor God has performed, and continues to perform on behalf of His people. God never rests from His labors. And He expects His people to follow His example. He expects His people to labor on for Him until it’s time for our “eternal retirement.”

God’s Work

The Bible is our record of what God has done – and a promise of what He will do. And it shows that He’s a master laborer. God is not only the entire construction crew for all of creation, He is also responsible for maintenance. 

When we talk about an artist’s creative output, we usually refer to his/her work. The work of Mark Twain, for instance, is not the hours of research and writing he put into his craft, but the literary legacy – the many books and articles he authored. Likewise, God’s great work is his creation – including us – all of which He created in six days. Despite the awesome nature of this work, however, we creatures still have the audacity to ask, at times, “what is He doing now?” (or “what has He done for me lately?”).

There have been many teachers who would have us believe that once God finished His work of creation He just went into retirement. If that’s so, it’s certainly the kind of retirement I can understand. People often ask me if I’m retired. Well, I have been forced, by age and health to have no gainful employment. But I’m not retired in the golfing, fishing sense.

God’s awfully busy for someone in retirement. InJohn 5:17, Jesus tells us, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” The context of this verse in John has to do with compassion (specifically in this case healing). This is God’s work today: compassion. He is still at work. He sent Jesus to a world in need. He is busy sustaining the universe, saving sinners, answering prayer. God is not rocking on the front porch of the retirement home!

Christian Job Opportunities

Hebrew 4:10 states, “anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” We already know that God’s “rest” is not exactly a cessation of work. It’s just a different phase. This is also true of Christians. To say that a Christian will rest from his labors assumes something – that he or she labored in the first place. You can’t retire if you never worked. Verse11 adds the admonition, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”   To “make every effort” is to “strive,” or “work continually, ” or “keep on working towards,” some goal.

When I lived in Switzerland, I noticed how the Swiss cut hay. They had sloping fields so used no machinery in this task. They cut by hand. Their work was slow and constant. I also noticed that when American students from L’Abri Fellowship worked with the Swiss farmers, they would start off at a much faster pace.  Soon they were tired out and sidelined. No work was being accomplished while they tried to recuperate. Christians are called to be like those Swiss workers, continually working in the fields to which God assigns us. 

Therein lies the next question. Just what is our assignment?  Jesus actually explains this to us in several places. In John 9:4 He puts it this way, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”  We – all of us who call ourselves Christians – are supposed t SWitzerlando be about our Father’s work. Individually and collectively, we are to be involved in works of service; works of reconciliation. This involves, first of all the reconciling of man to God. It includes, however, works that help reconcile man to man and man to his environment.  

The Real Retirement Program

There is a true retirement program for God’s people. Hebrews 4:9, tells us that, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” The “sabbath rest” mentioned here (and nowhere else in scripture) is not either Saturday or the Christian Sabbath, Sunday. Rather, it refers to eternal rest – in the future. God promises that there will come a time when His people will rest from their labors – and they will do so for all eternity.

As we contemplate the earthly, and American, version of retirement, we may entertain many, varied thoughts of pleasurable activities. Fishing (tops on my personal list), puttering, gardening, reading, needlework, all conjure up restful thoughts. God promises us rest – just as he rests. When He finished His creative labors, He did not go into hibernation. He is still busy. We will also rest from troublesome, sometimes unproductive toil. Yet, when we enter into God’s Sabbath rest, we will not be idle. This will be a time of uninterrupted worship and service to God and fellowship with God.

Foreign and Domestic

Reading along in a fantasy book, uncommon reading for me, I came upon this declaration, “Paranor was taken from within.” I immediately recognized, not for the first time, the situation in which the United States of America stands. We are being assaulted from the inside by home-grown forces, aided and abetted by foreign elements. Their aim is nothing less than the dismantling of the republic which has been a light to the world since its founding.

Our nation has not always done the admirable thing.  We’ve had periods of turmoil and strife. Yet, we’ve remained the apple of the world’s eye, the desired destination for immigrants from all corners of the globe.

In 1962, I took a vow upon enlistment in the United States Navy, which includes the phrase, “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….” The vow has not expired. There’s no time limit or qualifying phrases. I said what I meant, I still mean it.

I’m not a combat vet. I’m an aware American. Now, I’m getting old. I’m somewhat frail. But, I am as ready as ever to stand up for my family, my neighborhood, my community, my nation. And yes, I’m prepared.

You don’t need to be a veteran to recognize this call to stand up to the forces of evil. Be ready, friends and neighbors, Do not let them take what was so valiantly earned. Resist the forces of domestic terror and revolution. Resist politically. Resist rhetorically. If it comes down to it, resist physically.

COMMENTS?

What the Bible says about faith?

God’s Word can be viewed as the final word on faith. The term is used 492X (some about marital faithfulness). Let’s look at a few examples.

We are Not Always Faithful.

2 Chronicles 29:6
Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the LORD our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the LORD’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.

2 Chronicles 36:14
Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

God is Always Faithful

Psalm 33:4
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 119:90
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

Lamentations 3
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Faith Brings Healing

Matthew 9:22
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

Romans 3
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And werejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (This brings up the final point. He will purify, only those with faith. Not perfect faith, but saving faith).

Faith Requires the proper Object (faith in your cat or in the [rotten] bottom rung of the ladder will not do.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 3:22
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Galatians 2:16
know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

Conclusion:

This brief overview should serve to point out two things:

Western society is, at least, non-Christian. The general consensus in society is not a Christian perspective. Even the media reporting on society tends to be non-Christian, if not openly anti-Christian. Various studies on media elite. Popular culture is non-Christian. And yet, we cling to faith and to religion.

Faith remains relevant despite attempts to destroy it; marginalize it; erase it. Example: Just a few years ago Guenter Lewy of the University of Massachusetts set out to write a book entitled Why America Doesn’t Need Religion. He wanted the book to be “a defense of secular humanism and ethical relativism.” Lewy is not a Christian, and does not believe in God. But he was determined to offer his results as objectively as possible. As he assembled his extensive research he got a surprise. He found himself forced to conclude that Christianity has a record of strong support for social justice and human dignity. Other research forced him to conclude that Christians constantly show a lower rate than non-Christians of the behaviors associated with social ills and moral failure. These include divorce, domestic violence, out-of-wedlock births, adult crime and juvenile delinquency. He finally concluded, from other studies, that people who actually live the Christian life have higher rates of happiness and are healthier. The final title of his book is Why America Needs Religion. (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996)

Christians should not be fearful about living out their faith, even among unbelievers. As they live out their faith, God is not only blessing them, but also the unbelievers who surround them. 

The church is not doing its job. The command from the Bible to have dominion over all the world, necessarily means to be leaders in all areas of life. Christians are not to “ghettoize” themselves, and sit in a dark corner of mediocrity talking and preaching to ourselves.

In What Do We Put Our Faith?

Having looked at those things from which worldviews are drawn, we now turn our attention to some of humanity’s objects of faith; those things in which men are willing trust their lives – and their very souls. .

Faith in Science and Technology. “Salvation” for many is wrapped-up in the ability of science to unlock all the secrets of the universe. These optimists are certain that science will eventually find cures for all the illnesses (hence the interest in cryogenics, placing our bodies in frozen animation until science comes up with a cure for disease or defeat of death. Science will eventually, it is also believed, produce whatever is necessary to secure world peace. What a far cry this is from the beginnings of science, when people came to scientific inquiry seeking to understand and have dominion over God’s universe. Now the scientists, themselves, are viewed as Gods. Popular astronomer Carl Sagan wrote (in The Cosmic Connection),

“In MAN, not only is adaptive information acquired in the lifetime of an individual, but it is passed on extra-genetically through learning, through books, through education. It is this, more than anything else,  that has raised Man to his pre-eminent status on planet earth.” (p. 5).

Understand that I am not saying that science and Christian faith are incompatible. But a Christian who is a scientist views his/her work as discovering the truth of what God has done in the universe. 

Faith in Material Goods. One way to learn about Western societies is to listen to their slogans. In the United States, of course, we can find these all over the bumpers of people’s cars and trucks (I {heart} my Pekinese; my Subaru, etc.). One particularly revealing sentiment found on a lot of vehicles is: “whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Now this is not science. Everybody doesn’t live and die with what it says on their bumper stickers. French philosopher Jacques Ellul wrote that, “the commonplaces” (by which he means “ready made ideas which are found in all the newspapers; slogans and clichés) “are the expression of an ideology and can be useful in distinguishing its outlines.” In other words, when a slogan becomes popular, there’s some meaning behind it. This bumper sticker about the toys, for instance, indicates much more than greed. It indicates a great need to have a way to keep score in life; a way in which to indicate that life does, indeed, have some meaning.

Faith in Hedonism. “Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses. In Philosophy. The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good. In Psychology, the doctrine holding that behavior is motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.” We all know, by now, about the “sexual revolution.” It has taken many twists and turns of late – and that isn’t going to stop real soon. But this revolution, and hedonism in general are actually part of a faith in “today.” It indicates that society doesn’t really have any faith that there is a tomorrow.

“Grab for all the gusto”

“To know no boundaries; the way life should be”

White teeth; not for health, for sexual conquest

For those who have no hope for a future, of course, these attitudes are absolutely correct. The Apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Cor. 15:32, “If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Faith in Mankind. Not a new phenomenon.. The Apostle Paul wrote:

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Romans 1:21-23; 25.

Here’s one way this faith in human-kind was expressed in a novel just a few years back. Colleen McCullough wrote, in A Creed For the Third Millennium,

I offer a creed for this third millennium. A creed as old as this third millennium. A creed summed up in three words – faith, and hope, and love. Faith in yourselves! Faith in your strength and your endurance. Hope in a brighter and better tomorrow. Hope for your children, and their children. And love – ah what can I say about love that you, all too human, do not already know? Love yourselves! Love those around you! Love those you do not even know! Waste not your love on God, who does not expect it and does not need it. For id He is perfect and eternal, then He needs nothing. You are Man, and it is Man you must love. Love wards off loneliness. Love warms the spirit no matter how cold the body might be. Love is the light of man! (p. 444).

A very religious-sounding formulation, but one which basically nudges God out of the way so that man can love himself better. There are many other faith objects in our society; education; the various “isms” of the day; History (with a capital H). 

Next week we’ll take a look at what God says about faith.

Is Faith Relevant in a “Woke” Age?

Poor atheists have competition in the quests for the minds and souls of the clueless. BLM, Black Lives Matter (the organization) and Antifa might rightly be seen as denominations in the religious world of Wokeism. Many “protestors” and rioters in the US are adherents of one or more woke sect. Others are just along for the ride.

NY Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, often shouted to crowds, “Keep the faith, baby.” It ‘s reasonable to ask in what the corrupt politician had his faith
So, I ask the question: given the ease with which many people attach them selves to these quasi-religious groups, is faith relevant today? Let’s start with a definition.

Faith: “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.”[1]

In a day and age in which morals, beliefs, attitudes changes rapidly, is it reasonable or even possible to put one’s faith in anything trustworthy?

The church was once a major influence on the mind and the values of the Western world. But the church today has lost its moral authority. People have a lot of options when it comes to faith and their view of the world. I’d like to take a look at just a few of the more popular viewpoints which form the basis for how our society thinks and what it values.

Springboards for Faith. (Platforms or foundations from which people form their ideas about society and the world around them).

Guarded Pluralism. Western democracies, by which I mean, primarily, European countries, Canada and the US, tend to pride themselves on being “pluralistic.” This means, theoretically, that members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups enjoy equal opportunity to participate fully in the development of both the society and their own special interests. In practice, this pluralism works best when one’s special interests coincide with the social and cultural trends of the day. Specifically, there is a tendency to be left outside the pluralism loop when one holds strong beliefs based upon traditional Judeo-Christian values. Let’s take a brief overview of some of the areas in which people of religious faith are excluded from the pluralism of society.

  • Textbook selection. Textbooks in the public school classrooms today include favorable readings on astrology, black magic, homosexuality, cheating to succeed. What’s left out, of course, is any positive mention of religion, or religious persons. Charles Krauthammer wrote in an article that was printed in the Washington Post Magazine, that: “…It is true that school textbooks have recently developed an allergy to traditional religion.  Like blacks a generation ago, religion hardly exists in the work of Dick and Jane.  Paul Vitz, a professor at New York University, plowed heroically through 60 social science textbooks and shows that they grossly ignore religion [Christianity] in American history and society.  One textbook manages to give the Pilgrims thirty pages without once trespassing on the issue of the religious [Christian] motivation for their excursion to the New World.  Another text defines Pilgrims as “people who make long trips.”[2]
  • The annual creche wars. Every year the battle continues regarding whether or not displays of  manger scenes can be placed on public property. Coincides with,
  • No mention of Christmas in schools. You can have holidays- even Halloween, but don’t mention Christmas. Don’t sing traditional carols.
  • Bible studies on campus. Banned. Removing funds for Christian groups on university campuses.
  • BLM. An avowed Marxist organization which has gained a foothold not only in schools and corporate America, but in many churches as well as “progressive” pastors and churches try to Out-Woke one another.
  • The Homosexual lobby and its agenda. Takeover of television (AJ and the Queen,  Boys, etc) Speaking of schools, it’s not alright to have Bible studies or wear Christian jewelry in publicly-funded schools – but it’s OK to have publicly-funded schools just for homosexuals.

Misplaced Faith. This is the second platform upon which modern society builds its world. The Apostle Paul said to the philosophers gathered in Athens, a city which abounded with household deities and pagan philosophies, “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.” Our society today is no less religious. But the object of religious faith is seldom Jesus Christ. Instead, He has been replaced with many new household deities. It is important for observers of culture to understand what mankind views as worthy of his faith and trust. For the Christian, in particular, it’s important to have a working knowledge of the competing “faith traps” of the world in order to articulate to the world a belief in Jesus Christ as the savior and in God’s Word as absolute Truth. Understanding the underpinnings of other faith systems will also help Christians to maintain their spiritual equilibrium.

Next Week: Objects of Faith

What are your thoughts, readers?


[1] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.  

[2] Krauthammer, Charles.  “Scopes Revised.” Washington Post Magazine, October 19, 1986.

More Reminiscing

This is the group I was involved with in the US Navy. I went to CTT school in 1962. This is copied from another CT veteran.

The Birth of the Communications Technician Rating

In 1948 the majority of the wartime Specialist ratings were disestablished. At that time the Communications Technician Rating (CT) was established; the Specialist Q ratings CR, TE, and IN were incorporated into the CT rating. Four CT career fields were identified as branches:

• A – Administrative

• O – Communications

• M – Maintenance

• R – Collection

Although the CT rating comprised four distinctly different branches, the service member’s branch was not a part of the rating designator.

📷Note: CAPT Holtwick, after serving as commanding officer of USS Platte (AO 24) was assigned to Headquarters, Naval Security Group as head of the Personnel and Administrative Department. In that position CAPT Holtwick is credited with establishing the Communications Technician (CT) rating in the Navy with it various branches for enlisted personnel.

Timeline

In the 1956/1957 time frame, the CT rating was further sanitized when all the “General Service” ratings still serving in the Communications Intelligence field (Radioman, Teleman etc.) were converted to CT.

In 1960 two additional career fields were added to the CT rating: the Technical Branch (T) for non-morse operations and the Interpretive Branch (I) to identify linguists. Prior to 1960 the duties assigned to the T and I branch personnel had been assigned to various other branches.

Effective 1 May 1970 the CT rating was further refined when the addition of the “branch” to the CT rating designator. The third letter rating designator was added to better identify and manage each branch.

26 March 1976 BuPers Notice 1220 announced the change in title for the Communications Technician rating to the below six Cryptologic Technician ratings. The purpose of this action was to bring the designation of the Communications Technician (CT) into consonance with the Warrant Officer (744X), Restricted Line (161X) and the Limited Duty Officer (644X) Cryptologic communities.

• CTA –Administrative Branch

• CTI – Interpretive Branch

• CTM – Maintenance Branch

• CTO – Communication Branch

• CTR – Collection Branch (MM)

• CTT – Technical Branch (SpecSigs, Classic Wizard, OPELINT, TechELINT)

1991 – CTR assumed Special Signals and Morse code

📷01 Oct 2003 – EW rating converted to CTT rating.

Reminiscing

10 Fascinating Facts About a Hospital Stay in the Czech Republic

I was living in Prague, the beautiful capitol city of the Czech Republic, when I got sick. A scary prospect at any time, but besides being in a foreign country with limited facility in the language, I was unaccustomed to being sick. I ended up in the hospital for three weeks. Here are some of the fascinating facts, I picked up along the way.

1. It’s called a “nemocnice.”
Well, it’s unlikely they’d call it a hospital since that’s an English word, and the language of the Czech Republic, not too surprisingly, is Czech. The particular hospital in which I spent that lovely interlude was called, “Fakultni Nemocnice Motol.” Czech is a Slavic language, related to Russian, Polish, and a few other Slavic tongues. It

 has also been influenced by Latin. Like most national languages, it has developed and evolved independent of the related languages. It’s a relatively difficult language for Americans to learn. The Foreign Service Institute ranks Czech as a Class IV language, meaning, “Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English.” (LINK 1). They don’t use a lot of vowels, and some words are difficult to pronounce. A good word to learn, however, is zmrzlina, which means ice cream.

2. The doctors are not MDs. They’re MuDrs.
Czechs, and other Europeans, are fond of titles. They’re important in that society. When I had cards printed in Prague, I had to make sure that I used my professional title, something I would not do in the United States. But the designations of the various degrees are not necessarily the same as in the US or UK. For instance, the master’s degree is referred to as the magisterské stadium. On a business card or an office door the person’s title would appear as Mgr (magistr). A lawyer would take the degree JuDr, and a PhD, would be designated PhDr. All of these would be prominently displayed on the business card. (LINK 2).

3. The ICU is called the JIP.
While I was in the hospital (nemocnice, remember), I was moved around a bit. I was in five different rooms in those three weeks. First I was in a seemingly private room (there was, after all, nobody there but me) in the infectious disease ward. This was, of course, in a separate building. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. Since I’d been in deepest, darkest Africa the previous year, they didn’t want to take any chances. When I had a bit of a crisis, I had to go to emergency surgery. My outpost was so far away from the main building that I had to be taken by an internal ambulance to the other side of the campus. After that surgery, I was put into the Gastroenterology JIP. This is the Czech designation for the ICU. It stands for Jednotka Intenzivni Pece, which, surprisingly, translates literally as Intensive Care Unit. BTW, after leaving that JIP, I was placed in a ward. Then I had a heart attack. Off to the Kardiac JIP, after placement of a stent.

4. All the doctors speak some English.
One of the biggest fears as one enters a foreign hospital may be that you aren’t going to understand the doctors. You might end up agreeing to have your liver cut out, when all you need is a zit lanced. But, have no fear. You can count on your doctor to have some English. For many, especially those trained in the post-communist era, it’s part of their training. It’s also true that many Czech medical professionals continue their training in English-speaking countries. But, don’t assume that their English comprehension is absolute. If it’s possible to have a translator around, that’s a good thing. At times, after getting an explanation from the doctor in English, I would hear the explanation given to a friend in Czech. Invariably it took four or five times as long to explain (presumably) the same thing. But, they do have some English. (LINK 3)

5. The nurses probably do not.
In the several different accommodations I had the pleasure of inhabiting while at Motol (the nemocnice). I found several levels of both English and nursing care. In the JIP almost every nurse had conversational English. This proves very helpful when he or she comes to hook up yet another IV, or give another shot. It also helps when it is necessary to explain one’s bathroom needs or level of pain. These nurses (referred to as sestra – sister – even the men) were skilled in all the aspects of nursing which I required. They drew blood painlessly and gave shots in the same manner. In the wards, however, such was not the case. English was really lacking and the level of care ebbed considerably. These wards are where I experienced the most discomfort and pain. I decided that the top 10 percent of the nursing classes must end up in the JIP, while those in the wards may not have graduated at all.

6. “Neni krev” is a good thing.
It’s amazing how much Czech you can learn while in the hospital. Of course, the phrases one learns are not readily transferable to any other part of society. For instance, it was here that I learned the importance of the accents in Czech. The Czech word moc that I had been singing about in church means power. But don’t confuse it with the word moč. That one means urine. Since I started out with abdominal surgery, it was some time before I was allowed to get up and walk to the bathroom like a big boy and do what was necessary. Even when that great event occurred, I had to stop on my way out of the toilet (toaleta) and report either krev or neni krev. Neni krev is the one I wanted to report. It means “no blood.” (LINK 4).

7. Men and women share the bathroom in the wards.
The wards in each department had the same configuration; three beds against a wall, separated by hanging sheets. A television, with one remote sat in the middle (BTW, did you know that Walker, Texas Ranger speaks Czech?). On the way out the door we find a bathroom. In this room are two sinks, one toilet, and one shower. Straight across the narrow room from the door is another door. It leads to the women’s ward. That’s right. Six patients, half male, half female, shared one toilet and one shower. The doors did not lock. I tended to wait until after midnight to get my showers, but my abdominal surgery forced me to have other needs considerably more frequently.

8. Want sleep – go home.
This one, of course, is pretty universal. One does not go to the hospital to rest. Late at night the sestri, (plural for sestra) would be at your bedside to take blood, administer meds, and probably a dozen other things I never quite understood. Then through the night the sounds of the hospital, coughing, wheezing, moaning, sometimes yelling, would continue. After all that sweet slumber, bright and early in the morning, a different sestra (yes, they got to go home and get some shuteye) would come in and test blood (krev), urine (moč), temperature, blood pressure, measure out the meds, and a few other things. I did learn to catch naps during the day, while I waited for the next contingent of MuDr wannabes to come through on rounds. It is a teaching hospital.

9. Want coffee – forget it, but “white coffee” is in the hallway.
I’m not an addict. I can quit coffee anytime I want. But, I didn’t want to when I was forced to reside at Fakultni Nemocnice Motol. On my first transfer into the wards, I found out that I could have a drink anytime I wanted one. All I had to do was go out into the corridor and get it myself. The offerings included fruit tea and something called “white coffee.” Now I have attempted to find out exactly what constitutes white coffee, to no avail. It certainly is not what some Americans would consider white coffee, dark, caffeinated brew with cream added. Two facts, however, I can attest. It is neither white, nor coffee. The first was obvious. It is a sickly pale brownish, concoction. Taste was negligible. The second fact is that it is not coffee. This I did find out when I asked an English-speaking sestra. “No,” said she, “we could not allow you to drink a caffeinated beverage.” But, I could have as much white coffee as I wanted. At breakfast, they even brought a cup.

10. Want beer – bring your own.
Beer is another matter. Remember, we’re talking about the Czech Republic here, the home of the first pilsner beer (Pilsner Urquell) and the original Budweiser (Budvar). Beer is the primary beverage in the nation. Czechs average 140 liters (37 gallons) of beer each every year. (LINK 5). The beer is so good that Germans junket to Prague to drink Czech beer. I have friends who go to a conference in Germany once each year. They always load up the trunk of their vehicle with Czech beer to share with their underprivileged German colleagues.
Well, there I was lying in my hospital bed, when I heard a visitor come to see the man in the bed to my left. I thought I heard the sound of bottles clinking and I looked over to see the visitor taking two bottles of Krušovice (one of the popular brands) from a paper bag. He’d forgotten the opener, so he asked one of the staff for one. And he got it. So, the two friends, one of whom had just gotten through abdominal surgery, just as I had, sat and chatted and enjoyed a beer together for a half hour or so. But, it is not on the menu (there really is no menu). It’s definitely BYOP – Bring Your Own Pivo.

11. BONUS: it’s not called Czechoslovakia anymore.
When people ask me where I lived (sadly I don’t live there anymore) and I answer Prague, more often than not they would respond, “Oh, Czechoslovakia.” No, the Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia came into existence with the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1917. It’s existence ended on January 1, 1993 when the two peoples, the Czechs and the Slovaks, separated and created the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. They remain on the best of terms. In fact the split has been referred to as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the Velvet Revolution of 1989, during which Czechoslovakia split from the Soviet Empire without firing a shot. (LINK 6).

RESOURCES:

LINK 1: http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty.

LINK 2: http://www.czech.cz/en/66997-academic-titles

LINK 3: http://www.valuemd.com/palacky.php

LINK 4: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/czech.htm

LINK 5: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/26/in-country-where-water-is-pricier-than-beer-czech-official-seeks-change/

LINK 6: http://www.prague-life.com/prague/velvet-revolution

Heresy, Cults, False Gospels

There are so many branches and offshoots of spiritual fa;sehgood that we can only mention a few, most of which you will probably at least recognize, but some of which may surprise you.

Astrology

Astrology is big business today. There are over 10,000 full-time astrologers and over 175,000 part-time astrologers in the United States. Over 2,000 newspapers carry daily astrological readings. Zodiac jewelry has become popular. Even restaurant table mats have horoscopes!  

  1. The Scriptures condemn it as an abomination before God and an occult tool of satanic origin and power (II Kings 17:16; 23:5; Isa. 47:13; Amos 5:26).
  2. Astrology is not a science but only a superstition i.e., a fraud. The scientific evidence against astrology is irrefutable.

Native American religion

“Native American Religions for instance offer a rich tapestry of ideas about our relationship to the earth.”[Al Gore, Earth In the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.].

This attitude is representative of modern both New Age consciousness and the ignorance of those seeking solace in anything but Christ. Just as many voters in the last presidential election supported “anybody but Trump,” New Agers recognize that they can’t play fast and loose with Christianity. So they seek something “noble” and “earthy.” If you’ve ever read the Last of the Mohicans, you’ve probably noticed the juxtaposition of the Noble Savage over against the wacky protestant clergyman who goes running through the middle of a battle shouting Psalms aloud. You’ve probably also heard references to Mother Earth and the respect of the native Americans (formerly know as Indians) for the earth and all the elements. Many New Agers have started practicing such practices as using Shamans (medicine man/woman; magic; incantations) and sweat lodges to clear the spirit and get in touch, etc.)

Native Americans can be just as savage as other human beings. Native Americans, BTW, also resent the New Age trying to horn in” on their religious practices.

Robert Bly teaches “manhood” by getting men back to their “roots.” For Bly this means sweat lodges drum beating and being environmentally aware.

The Unity School

Origins: Unity began in Kansas City in 1889. Both Charles (a spiritist with no Christian background) ) and Myrtle (raised a Methodist) Filmore were involved with Christian Science and claimed that principles in Christian Science lead to healings in their lives. However, they disagreed with the Christian Science doctrine that matter is not real. They broke away, taught the reality of matter (Christian Science denies the reality of matter) and added, among other doctrines, the belief in reincarnation. Charles even believed he was the reincarnation of Paul the apostle. The Fillmores studied Hinduism and wove many of its other principles into their philosophy as their new religion grew. Unity is a mind science cult.

Doctrines: Unity School of (pseudo) Christianity denies the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the necessity of the atonement of Jesus for our sins, heaven, hell, sin, and the existence of the devil. Unity teaches reincarnation. “The second birth is that in which we ‘put on Christ.’ It is a process of mental adjustment and body transmutation that takes place right here on earth.” They are largely vegetarians. It teaches that experience, if you are ‘in tune’ with God, is more accurate and reliable than the Bible. God, though, is a divine universal consciousness. Man is a part of that Divine Consciousness and is, therefore, divine by nature.
      Unity separates Jesus from Christ saying that Jesus was a man, but that we all possess the Christ consciousness within us. Christ is the one complete idea of perfect man and divine Mind. Atonement is the reconciliation of our minds with the Divine Mind. It says that the Holy Spirit is a latent power within every one of us.
      “Problems” disappear when you think correctly; that is, when you think according to the principles of divine mind as revealed in Unity. God is within us all as well as creation. “God slumbers in the rocks. God stirs in the flowers. God awakens in Man.” All are children of God and Jesus was simply here to show us what we, as children of God, can do. It denies that Jesus is God in flesh and that he is to be worshiped. “But because He remained in a high state of spiritual consciousness, He became the ethical Messiah of the world.”
      Following are quotes from Charles Fillmore’s book Christian Healing, Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO. They are at the end of each chapter in his book and are meant as summarizations and points of meditation.

  • “God is the name of my good” (p. 17).
  • “God is the name of the everywhere Principle, in whom I live, move, and have my being” (p. 17).
  • “I am the son of God, and the Spirit of the Most High dwells in me” (p. 29).
  • “I am the only begotten son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father” (p. 29).
  • “I am the Christ of God” (p. 29).
  • “I and my Father are one” (p. 29).
  • “I am one with Almightiness” (p. 29).
  • “God is good, and God is all, therefore I refuse to believe in the reality of evil in any of its forms” (p. 60).
  • “My perfection is now established in Divine Mind” (p. 83).  
  • “I see the light of the Christ consciousness always” (p. 106).

Publications: Wee Wisdom, for Children; Good Business, for business people; Weekly Unity, their devotional magazine. They use mail order extensively. There are many other writings some of which are “Mysteries of Genesis” and “Christian Healing” both by Charles Fillmore.

Environmentalism

Much of the environmental movement has gotten back to its pagan roots as it subtly fosters rejection of the Bible and Christianity. The Sierra Club Environmental Health Sourcebook, Well Body, Well Earth, tells us to “turn to the traditions of ancient cultures” such as Buddhist meditations and Native American Hopi rituals in order to “reaffirm our bond with the spirit of the living earth.” “The more you contact the voice of the living Earth and evaluate what it says, the easier it will become for you to contact it and trust what it provides.” In the New Age environmentalists view, starvation, plagues, and death are blessings that simply buy more time for planet Earth. They are pantheistic; their god is an impersonal god, who resides passively in every fiber of the universe; to them, to destroy a plant is to destroy their god; to decimate the quality of human life, on the other hand, is of no concern, because humanity represents the greatest danger to the rest of creation.

Greens in all categories generally agree on one point: Today’s ecological crises is rooted in Christian traditions. They tell us:

The Judeo/Christian belief that God assigned man to “rule over” the earth has caused us to exploit and abuse it. Sound familiar? There is a wing of one of the political parties that also accepts this viewpoint.

Perhaps more influential in raising the religion of environmentalism in recent years was the Clinton/Gore administration. President Clinton and his New Age spokesman, Al Gore, consistently pushed an agenda of “control” and promoted false “science” using their office and taking advantage of the Leftist “education” establishment to make sure our kids knew nothing else. The teaching of Humanism in the schools for several decades has created a spiritual vacuum in the hearts of our people and it has opened those hearts to receive the New Age Spiritual answers such as Vice President Gore’s solutions. We have a pantheistic, pagan type philosophy dominating the thinking of the Vice President of the United States who is a zealous New Ager advocating “a new faith in the future” which will be a return to paganism’s worship of the earth as sacred. Gore identifies the root problem of Western culture in that “we lost our feeling of connectedness to the rest of nature” and finds answers in pantheism. He attempts to blend Christianity and pantheism where the source of all life, instead of God has become Mother God, (Mother Earth/Mother Nature also frequently referred to as Gaia). He, like the radical eco-feminists who support him, see the earth as the pagan goddess Gaia who “has been seriously ‘wounded’ by the expansion of human civilization, and now there must come a universal atonement for these many millennia of grief on ‘her’ part” through an event or process they call ‘cleansing.’

For Gore and other environmentalists, the Judeo-Christian faith is the source of ecological evil, from oil spills to global warming. He asserts it is ignorant Christians who are afraid to open their minds to teachings outside their own system of belief who have become a dangerous threat to the survival of humanity…blights on the environment. To Al Gore, it seems obvious that a better understanding of a religious heritage preceding our own by so many thousands of years could offer us new insights.

“The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has … spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civiilzation’s responsibility for the earth is concerned.” (pp. 258-259)

What’s the point? No sees God. No not one (Romans 3:11). Man wants to be “spiritual,” but he does not wish to do it God’s way. Man will worship anything but the God who made him.

The New Age Gospel

There are some similarities between the various brands of false gospel. Let’s look at just a few of them (there will be more later).

New Ageism embraces supernaturalism, but ascribes it to the creature, not the Creator Jesus was not and is not the only Christ, nor is he God.

Some may think that everyone means the same thing when they say “Christ.” Christians see the one and only begotten Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many New Age writers on the other hand refer to a Christ spirit. They believe there have been many Christs, Jesus being only one of many.

New Age prophetess Alice Bailey an author of many occult books, including The Reappearance of The Christ, describes the “Avatar of Synthesis,” who she says is a “close Associate” of “the Christ.” She says: “He works under the great natural Law of Synthesis, producing at-one-ment, unification and fusion. His function (in unison with the energy of Christ) is to generate spiritual will in humanity, the will-to good.

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The New Ager understands Christ as a reincarnated avatar, Messiah, or messenger sent from the ‘hierarchy’ to give the living on earth spiritually advanced revelation. The New Age accepts that Buddha,

Mohammed, Confucius, Jesus, and many others were ‘Christ’.
The Baha’i World Faith claims to be in perfect harmony with the Christian Faith yet see the historical Jesus as only one of several manifestations of Christ on equal ground as Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroastrian, Buddha, Mohammed, the Bab, and their founder: Baha’u’llah.

“God” is impersonal, cosmic, a God of energy forces.
All things, including man, constitute, the ONE – called Universal Mind, The Source, Universal Self, Cosmic Consciousness, Universal Presence, or The Force” – your Inner Voice, Higher Self, or Intuition. ” God is an impersonal energy; force, immanent in all things (including man). God can be referred to either as she or he, mother or father, god or goddess. Do not be deceived! New Agers do not mean God or Jesus Christ of the Bible. Most New Age teachers hold that Mother Earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars, indeed all of Nature can be worshipped as God.

Man is himself God, for he consists of and is the creator of “the forces.” Man already exercises the powers inherent in his divinity and needs only to awaken to this fact.  (as in Romans 1:22-24). They flaunt the “I am God” concept as it naturally appeals to man’s ego and thirst for power, an appeal as old as the Garden of Eden.    

Man should seek and accept spiritual instruction and direction directly from the spirit world.

The lure of the occult is almost always on the basis of acquiring knowledge or power. We crave a knowledge that is esoteric, not normally available to the ordinary person. We want to experience a power that is spiritual and supernatural in origin. People don’t seem to want to hear what God has to say, they want information and direction from someone else who “knows”; a psychic, a channeler, a palm-reader, a card-reader, Ouija boards, astrology, magic charming, automatic writing, or the spirit of a dead friend of relative. In a sense these are God-given desire, but they are intended to be fulfilled by the knowledge and power which comes from God. However, Satan is busy trying to pass off his counterfeits for God’s knowledge and power as the real thing. If he can get us to accept his versions of knowledge and power, he has a foothold in our life.

All religions and religious teachings lead to the same goal. All are equally of merit.


Satan’s primary tactic in opposing God is not to foster atheism but religion; not to prove there is no God but to be worshipped as God.   
The New Age does express a cloudy sort of religion, claiming vague connections with both Christianity and the major faiths of the East (New Agers like to say the Jesus spent 18 years in India absorbing Hinduism and the teachings of Buddha), plus an occasional dab of pantheism and sorcery. The underlying faith is a lack of faith in the orthodoxies of rationalism, high technology, routine living, spiritual law-and-order. Somehow, the New Agers believe, there must be some secret and mysterious shortcut or alternative path to happiness and health.


“Ecumenism is essential in creating a “Christianity” which embraces all religions

.Psychology plays a major ecumenical role by providing common faith, language and ritual for everyone from atheists, cultists and occultists to Roman Catholics and evangelicals.” [Dave Hunt, “Mystery Babylon Part II,” The Berean Call, August 1993]

The “ancient wisdom” of Babylon, Egypt and Greece – not the Bible – is the basis of all truth.

Vice President Albert Gore in his book Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, reveals himself as a person who believes we should have a “mother goddess” that we can worship. He points back to ancient religions and Hinduism and says that they have something good in their worship of “mother earth,” and claims that our modern slogan should be the worship of “mother earth”; that man and nature are one, and that God is part of nature, and nature is part of God. On pages 258 through 259 of his book, he shows where he departed from the Baptist faith and entered in to the New Age Religion. He says “The richness and diversity of our religious tradition through out history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.” “This Pan-religious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilizations responsibility for the earth is concerned.” “Native American Religions for instance offer a rich tapestry of ideas about our relationship to the earth.”[Al Gore, Earth In the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.]

Sin and evil do not exist. Peace and love are the ultimate realities.


New Agers deny the existence of a hell (gehenna fire) and a judgment. They also deny that sin and evil exist. God (The universe) is alleged to be beyond good and evil.


The New Age gospel is not a system of revolutionary principles. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed.

Before leaving this topic today I will mention a new entry in this race to hell, the religion of “Wokism.” It is best described by this article is the Federalist.