Traveling in the Time of Covid-19

I have been on the road for three and one-half weeks. During that time, I have flown to Washington State, Drove a U-Haul from Washington State traveling south and east to a small town in South Carolina, then drove back to my home in Albuquerque.

Quite a bit of travel in a few short weeks. But nothing compared to the real road warriors, our Truck Drivers! Without these folks driving to every nook and cranny in the United States and beyond. Despite the scared yet pathetic hoarders, we would be naked and starving, unable to take care of our basic human needs.

Driving over any Interstate Highway, and especially coming from one of the coasts, it is obvious how much our nations Truck Drivers do to keep our country running. For example, Apples from Washington State are driven down to the Florida State and unloaded to take on a load of citrus fruits for Washington. And so on and so forth, everything we need and take for granted. I will end this portion with a call out for our Nation’s Truckers! Give them a smile if and when you see them.

Washington State, which is racked with this new sickness, was in my short time there, a mixed bag. Depending on age, and perhaps education, different views on all aspects of this pandemic can be seen in a single afternoon, if one is daring enough to leave the house. I have no doubt that is how we are, wherever we live.

Empty roads to roads shared with Semi Trucks

 

Depending on where you live in the world, you are giving more or less attention and are better or poorer prepared than we are in the States as we stumble along in semi denial. There are a few people in charge who are obviously in a different reality and have different priorities than caring for the public good. However there are State Governors and small town councils who are taking this pandemic with seriousness and appropriate action.

Personally, I think our situation is a blessing in disguise. Families are forced to spend time together instead of inhabiting the same home, and leading disparate lives. We have time to explore our spirituality and look deep into our beliefs and thoughts. I went out walking in the park today, physically distant from others, and it was a pleasure to see people outdoors as a family.

I received texts and phone calls from my neighbors asking after me, and offering any help or support as they may be able to help with. What more can one possibly expect from neighbors? Neighbors are in many ways, extended families. What happens to a family in many neighborhoods is known and and effects friends and neighbors alike.

Moving back to spirituality, this is a good time to really think about what you believe and why you believe it. Some decades ago, I found myself in a position of knowing without a doubt, that everything I thought I knew to be true was not only incorrect, but was/is part of a massive effort to push beliefs that grossly falsehoods.

In light of inspecting the falsehoods and misdirection that made my belief system, I was moved from being asleep to alive and awake. I hope this quarantine period, moves others to reflect, and have the courage to admit their beliefs too are wrong. I hope they find their way on the path to truth and a more meaningful life.

After being in half the states in the U.S, in only a few weeks, I have seen people showing immense courage and empathy. People willing to feed me, rent me a room for the night, provide gasoline, coffee, and snacks. Some of these people have no choice, they need to work, no matter the risk.

Other people, either through instinct or altruism, are out there making other peoples lives better and helping folks like me get to where they need to go. My heart goes out to the probably millions of people who went to work, to find out they are now unemployed. Several industries we took for granted are now, idle, maybe never to recover.

I hope you are able to make positive changes in your life, and practice whatever form of spirituality which is important to you in the coming undefined period of time. One good thing about a pandemic, is getting through one, and learning “I” can’t do it alone. Surviving a pandemic takes all of us, “We” is in and “I” should be forgotten.

This has been a rambling and perhaps incoherent compilations of text, parading as paragraphs, and put together as a post. I have so many people to thank for getting across country twice, and getting me home safely. There are so many good people out there, no matter where you live.

A Few Christian Bible Answers For a Few Simple Questions

I have been part of an ongoing semi stifled conversation going on between what a Catholic remembers being taught verses what a non Catholic Christian believes as they understand from their Bible. I thought as long as I compiled this information below, I may as well post it. Some opinionated (mine) background first. Be forewarned – this is long and there are no pictures…

Before computers, access to Christian Bible information was very haphazard. For background: the Catholic in the conversation was an adult before computers existed. Therefore their access to information came from the person(s) who attended to their religious (in this case Catholic) education.

Unless one was willing to believe other sources of information, or one memorized most of the Bible, there was little alternative except to verify any scripture that was taught or used, and that was about as far as it went. Needless to say, this led to great arguments back in the day between people of different denominations.

The printed Bible language used was usually middle English or worse; the translations were rough and subject to great diversity depending on who was translating from what source. Then there was the issue of many people having their pet Bible verses memorized. Instead of participating in conversation, they would throw out one or a series of verses. This left the other person with the task of verifying, and making their own interpretation which may or may not align with the initiator depending on their own sources.

Times are much simpler today. Christian Bibles are scrutinized for accuracy, both in source and translation. If you find something in a mainstream Christian Bible that appeals to you, it will have the about the same wording and meaning in another mainstream Christian Bible. Of course that leaves the search engine and the web page translator in question, but with so many web competing pages willing to provide the same information, the validity of the search and related verses are almost certainly what they represent.

I searched using two different web search engines, and checked different web pages to verify the validity of the Bible verses. However that being said, I am the copy and paste engine and therefore subject to making serious errors. However, you can complete the same searches on your own, and perhaps find different Bible verses that may better suit your beliefs.

One thing the Christian Bible is not is uniform starting with the first ‘official’ version approved around 325 A.D. more or less.. You may find opposing verses on almost any topic, and find many verses you disagree with. You will have to figure that out for yourself what is true. Controversy, radicalism, and religious wars are all part of the Christian Bible’s heritage.

One real sticking point is between myself and Catholicism, so I may be biased. What over the centuries is Catholicism known for by most of the world who are not Catholic? I find a neutral position one of the least of opinions about the Catholic Church. Take that small matter as you will, as it is only my thinking.

Most Verses are from the New American Standard Bible. Not sure why some parts of verses are in all caps, maybe Jesus was yelling? Finally, the multi word search terms may not be what I actually used, but the result of what was offered back by the search engines. Most of the search terms were preceded by the word, ‘Bible’ to limit total search engine hits.

I took everything from the New Testament, as the New Testament is the newest Covenant we know of. On with the show, which may be, “Much ado about nothing” – William Shakespeare, or it may invoke strong opinion in you. If you develop strong opinion, my apologies for stirring you up.

Search Term: In Charge of the Earth

Matthew 11:27 – 30 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Luke 10:22 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.

Search Term: Light of the world

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Search Term: The Way, the Truth, and the Life

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

John 14:5 – 6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 8:41 – 43 “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.

Mathew 13:14 – 16: “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Mark 16:16 – 20 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Search Term: New Covenant

1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Luke 22:19 – 20 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Search Term: Forgiveness of Sin

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7 – 12 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Acts 13:38 – 39 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Search Term: Sin

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians: I Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Later on he adds: I Corinthians 15:56 – 57 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:38 – 39 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Search Term: Death

1 Corinthians 15:50 – 53 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

God has promised His people eternal life (John 10:27,28). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

Religious (and other) Predator Defense

Before I continue, I wanted to state this up front, as this is very important no matter how much of this post you may wish to read:

“If any religious type people approach or talk to you, and this makes you angry, it is time to do some serious introspection, and find out why you feel threatened! Take some quiet time to determine why you believe what you believe. If you believe in nothing, that is fine too, but know why. For some people, belief in nothing is its own belief system, and as valid as any other belief system. Ignorance of why you believe what you believe creates fear, and this type of fear is groundless.”

Religious Predators deny who they are. Preferring to appear in Sheep’s clothing instead. Pretending concern over your well being, your future and your soul. Never mentioning they are on a recruitment campaign and you are the next most likely candidate.

Some predatory religions take on the guise of Christian religions. The word Christian is used in a very loose context with them. However, there are many, many groups out there who profess to other beliefs that sound as if they could be Christian’s with a few modifications to the verbiage. Others are more obscure, and their beliefs are farther from the middle of the road than many are comfortable with.

Religious predators are not limited to Christianity. They can be an offshoot of any belief system. Buddhism, Taoism, Daoism, Cultism, every major and minor religion has its less than stellar subsets. No set of beliefs is immune to predation by Wolf’s posing in Sheep’s clothing.

What should you do when approached by someone who apparently has more in mind than asking how your day is? The answer is both complex, and simple. Most people’s answers and reactions are personality based, and rarely grounded in a rational thinking process. Let’s change that into something positive.

The first and foremost things to remember is, “Be street smart“. Do not volunteer any information you would not want a complete stranger to know. These people are complete strangers. Treat them with respect, and keep them at arms length.

When the matter of belief or religion comes up, it’s time to, “Man or Woman up”, as the case may be. Whether you prefer complete honesty, or a fabricated tale, the choice is yours. It really doesn’t matter if both of you know you are lying. Basic politeness prevents a stranger from calling another stranger out for a lie.

Telling the truth about your beliefs is plausible. For example, “I believe our purpose on this Earth, is to love one another and get along as best we can.” You do not have to go into more detail, other than to say you are happy where you are at. This is my way of firmly stating I am not interested without being rude.

The worst way to manage a conversation with a Religious Predator is injecting energy into the conversation, by being rude or challenging them. Remain calm, and be firm, they are people too. There is no need to disagree with comments they make which you think are wrong. Disagreement opens the door to more conversation. You want to end the conversation, not enter into a prolonged debate.

If the situation permits, state you have to attend to some task where they would not be welcome – use the bathroom for example. Say you need to attend to some distasteful task (picking up dog droppings for example) and they are welcome to join you. Finally, say you need to end the conversation because you have to get home, go inside your house, meet someone, rescue your meal from the stove.

In any of the above examples, you have not opened a door for a Religious Predator to challenge your belief system, force you into conversation or debate (which you will probably lose), as debate is their strength, or have caused any reason for offense. You are simply saying, ‘I have a life and need to attend to it’.

Anger and arguing are poor choices in most situations. You open yourself with emotion, and emotion is a slippery slope on which to mount a defense. If you can not reasonably speak to a potential Religious Predator standing in front of you, simply say, “I am busy and not interested, Thank you”, as you close the door or walk away.

When I hear of someone speaking in anger or being rude, it tells me the person is unsure of themselves and their beliefs. They are bogged down with emotion. As far as religious or other predators are concerned, angry people have a target on their forehead.

Finally, religious predators will want to leave you with a pamphlet, or perhaps a small book for you to read. Politely say, “No thank you”. Accepting material opens the door to further conversation and visitation. If you are curious about the Group, the Internet is your friend with thousands of sites more than willing to share with you any information you wish to know.

If you come home, and find information left on your doorstep, and you can stand the mess, leave where it was placed. Let it fall to the ground. You need to provide a firm message as to what, “Not interested”, means. If you take pamphlets in to throw away, you are creating an opening for further visitation and conversation.

Religious Predation is not something new, it wasn’t invented this year, and has been around as long as belief and religion have existed. A Religious Predator in your face may be new to you, but they are well polished and have lots of experience in accomplishing their objective. Follow the steps I listed above, or create a new plan on your own, and you will be successful.

In their defense, some people I have had conversation with whom I consider Religious Predators, do not see themselves in the same light. They think they are doing what their beliefs tell them they should be doing. Once again, they are just people, so treat them as you wish to be treated and all will be well.

Religious Predators Are After You

Religious Predators are looking to recruit you!

Having finished another period of having people show up at my door for weekly, “Bible” lessons, I realized there is a lot of information you really need to know. Over the previous decades, I have been visited numerous times by various groups, though they all act basically the same.

Some visits were stop and go, others longer term. They all have the same predatory practices, with hidden secondary motives. I won’t be so dramatic as to suggest your soul is in peril, but your lifestyle, family and friends are, if you are not awake and cautious.

Each time I receive a “visit”, I listen cautiously and carefully to what they tell me. I am not so vain, to think I have a lock on belief and knowledge. Caution is key in these situations though. You are constantly challenged to offer opinion or manipulated into a position of arguing a point where you may have no real knowledge, understanding or grounding.

I have Family and Friends who had solid foundations in their respective beliefs and religion. After some months of interaction with Predatory Religion visitors, they unthinkingly recruit themselves into the, “New and Better Belief System and Religion”. For the first months, they generally said little about their day to day life. They would give glowing reviews on how great the people are, what they were learning, and how much their life has improved. A “new” family was often implied.

Slowly, they grew more distant. They said they were learning the real way to believe and act. They were unknowingly transforming themselves from new recruit, into pliable student, to becoming the new recruiter – incidentally, at the bottom of their new ‘family’ food chain. Conversation with family and friends changed to discourse of how everyone is lost and confused, in danger of losing their soul, and ending up in hell.

Then the hook in their mouth is pulled tight. They are now required to not only attend all group functions, but participate in the solicitation of new members in more than their spare time – almost all their time is spent in recruitment. Their own family slowly becomes a dim memory. One was required to become a, “Street Preacher”, in hopes of recruitment of those truly lost on the streets. This in most rational opinions was dangerous and unwelcome street level evangelism.

Most of them dropped out about a year later and went back to reclaim their old religion and reclaim their lost life and now distant and distrustful distant family. One true believer stayed away for many years, always sacrificing more and more of his personal time, work time, and quality of life to promote and recruit new members, because “Church” peer pressure expected this of him.

He was punched on a few occasions while door to door preaching, but it was all in the name of the “truth”. This doesn’t include the times he was yelled at, sworn at, or otherwise demeaned. When he finally had enough and tried to slow down, he was Shunned and Ignored by his Church Group. This was an emotionally devastating time for him. His support system had been pulled out from under him, leaving him in a void. His “Church” was all he had. He lost his job of course as a Church Group Member was his boss.

He had distanced himself from friends and family for years, and was now ignored by his Church Group. He had no one to turn to. He had no current friends. He did not feel he could contact anyone and ask for help as he felt he burned his bridges with family and friends.

In the end he left his home without notice and quietly moved to a new City, hoping his church group would never locate him. After some months, he was located, after distancing himself from this group’s peer pressure, and barely disguised harassment by those who wanted him back in the fold. He was a valuable resource to them. They wanted him back.

These are some of the traits of Religious Predators who will be approaching you soon – if they have not already. In no particular order:

1. Have a pleasing personality

2. Make you feel special

3. Express a sense of urgency for your salvation

4. Are convinced the world is about to end

5. Propose to have the correct belief system

6. Urge you to share their beliefs and point of view

7. Feign being “offended”, that ‘some’ people they contact act rudely towards them

8. Schedule time to have ‘religious conversation’ with you

9. Share “real”, knowledge with you

10. Bible referenced chapter and verse to support their story

11. Bible chapter and verse re-enforcement of what you are being taught

12. Subtle suggested psychological restraints on your current belief system or religion

13. Claim to be a “Religion”, and not a “Cult”

I think 13 is the correct number to stop at. I hope the number 13 makes you think. These Groups are mainly comprised of Religious Predators. Preying on People who they think of as ‘lost’, or perceive to be lonely or vulnerable. They will try to slowly integrate themselves into your life, drawing you away from your life, slowly turning reforming your beliefs into their beliefs.

My Good Friday Tweet to the Pope

@Pontifex, Previous #GoodFriday, meat #animal’s were killed, as always. Watching People refuse meat on GF is loathsome. Tens of thousand of pounds of animal meat go to the trash to rot as it wasn’t eaten, so People may feel reverent and pure. Stop this atrocity please.

I sent the above tweet to Pope Francis today, after watching more than one person pick the meat out of their Chicken Salad and Chilli at a restaurant today to have it thrown away. Meat comes from slaughtered Animals. Animals which were killed just so we can refuse to eat their meat today and send it to the trash because it won’t last another day?

There is no Good Friday magic that happens. Meat rots on Good Friday as well as it does on any other day. What is the justification of killing tens of thousands of animals around the world just to throw their meat away on this day?

At least Twenty-Five Thousand people die from starvation each day, and we refuse to eat what is in front of us.

I am ashamed for us! We no longer live in the Middle Ages. If we did, for most of us, meat would be a rarity, not an everyday food. Let’s move Good Friday out of the dark and into the light.