Category Archives: REASON

Absolute Power

When Preaching The Gospel Releases The Power Of God

Chafing under the stifling rule of despotism, my life as a teenager underwent a stunning change in ways I had not expected; more sudden than a car wreck I arrived at University. What I had yearned for since my first sentient thoughts was freedom; expecting to receive it in gradual degrees much like a draftee moving up through the ranks to four star general. What transpired instead was a handshake, hug, and admonition to “make the most of this chance” – off into the waning afternoon sun went my last moorings of childhood, and I was free.

Expectations of liberty are far different than the reality of it; the nascent thoughts of, “I can do whatever I want”, soon give way to the sudden blanket of solitude. Never hearing the maxim “with freedom comes great responsibility”, the veil of yonder gives way, and I realize now that I very well could have uttered such a phrase if I had the erudition; I certainly had the emotion for it. Forty years of reflection gives way to certain conclusions that have matured over the decades like slowly curing Roman concrete; wrestling with life much like Israel and the mysterious Angel, I have as a certainty come through the contest with a permanent  hitch in my get-a-long, but without the victorious memories of pinning my opponent to the ground.

We all are under the illusion of bondage to higher things. Circumstances, be they economic, social, or political, have a habit of binding us with their chains; but these chains are not made of iron, but of brittle clay. There is no power over us in this life: indeed in many ways there is no power over us at all, for we have been given the most precious gift of all from He Who Is,; the power to choose our own fate. There is a wonderful line from the movie Kingdom of Heaven, “Jesus says, CHOOSE.” Through the mystery of fathomless Love comes the gift of absolute power- the power we all have to decide our destiny. There is no greater power than this; no other particle, or combination thereof within the bounds of Heaven and Earth, nor amongst the starry realms of the cosmos can claim this power but man. He who has unleashed this power within us now waits to see what we shall do. We stand as Adam and Eve did- much like I did once, at the edge of the future, endowed with liberty but restrained by the endless venues of choice that radiate from our present. If we fixate upon the past, we lose who we are in who we were; if we covet the future, we lose our sure harbor of security. Only in the present are we assured of making right choices; properly exercising the essence of being the sons of the Most High.

Each day this absolute power is with us, needing to be wielded in our constant skirmish against those who care not. The dark spaces of this world wish among other things, to fool us into the shadows of futility. Each day we must act, for their is no eternal security or damnation within the bounds of time and space. Vigilance is essential: and with vigilance comes the need to move, and movement is the exercise of decision. I know not choice others may take, but for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord


AGE

In the early 70’sthe Mets were in the World Series for the second time. I was in my early teens, and watched fervently, as my grandfather, a former NY Giants baseball fan, had switched his allegiance to the Mets. I could root for them as a loving grandson could only do; with the demand that they must win for Grampa. The added excitement included two new twists, the hated Baltimore Orioles as an opponent, with Willie Mays in the Mets lineup. The Say Hey Kid! The player who could do anything on a diamond and do it with style and grace. Never having seen him play before, who could resist the pull of watching Willie play in the Series? Not this child.

This was the first time in my life I faced with mortality- and the memory of it is seared into my brain. Willie Mays up at bat in a run situation; he was pinch hitting of course, but this was Willie Mays– the Orioles were dead meat– or so I thought.

Pitch one; a high hard one, right in the wheelhouse; Willie steps in the bucket and swings like my old great grandma. Strike one!

The second pitch; another gopher ball, Willie swings as hard as he can, and falls down(I swear he closed his eyes!). Strike two!

Here comes pitch three, a repeat of the last two pitches. Willie steps in the bucket again, and somehow… SOMEHOW, he nicks the ball and it takes a crazy bounce over the mound, evading the pitcher. In a rage– (this sorry old man miraculously hit the baseball !) the Oriole pitcher takes his glove off and hurls it to the dirt in disgust. The ball squibs into the edge of the outfield very similar to a suddenly freed spiny hedgehog. Willie fell down again after the swing but amazingly reached base safely.

Had I witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple? No, but as a stupid kid, I doubt very much that I would have been more horrified at what I had seen. The Say Hey Kid; Willie Mays; THE number 24; was washed up, and showed it in a spectacular way. The results of the play are eroded away in the detritus of my neural net. Who on or lost the game? Don’t know. Who won the Series? Could not say.

All I can recall is my reaction to that earthshattering episode in my young life:

“When I get to be 41 years old, like Willie is now,” I promised myself, ” I am going to commit suicide, rather than be such a sorry specimen of humanity”.

Every birthday since, with increasing trepidation I remember that moment, and what I had vowed. Of course as I matured the wistful recollections took on a more tragicomic tone, rather than the sanguine horror felt at the time. I can assert here and now that it has been forty two years since then; I have not acted upon that solemn promise of so long ago: nor do I intend to. Thus the monolithic touchstone of Age within my existential realm. I am washed up and a functional shadow of my past. Yet somehow life is just as precious as ever before with substantive differences and yardsticks. I cant bend a horseshoe with my bare hands any more, but I can pray with more concentration and fervency. There is more hair in my ears than on my head; yet I know what true love is. I cant snap a waspy bronc an longer; but I am getting to be a real hand at riding mercy and compassion almost to a standstill. I have shed the costume of a boy, and am in the process of putting on the working clothes of a man.


What a Piece of Work is Man (or Cow)

Evening

 It is late February in Eastern Montana; Thirty degrees Fahrenheit, with no wind. Thus far the weather has been perfect for a high plains stockman; open as we like to say. Though there has been about 20 inches of snowfall so far, several chinooks have come. Their warm summer-like winds bared off the range letting the cattle graze almost every day through the cold. It’s not like most of the world; fall cured native grasses are as good as excellent hay due to the semi-arid climate. The summer was good, pasture saved for winter with natural windbreaks and cover is well sodded over and the grass is as strong as alfalfa hay. All that is needed now is fair weather so the livestock can move out and graze. These are the types of winters that made Montana famous. The haystacks lay silent and still, great snow covered prickly beasts slumbering out the winter on wind scoured flats.

A big dark soggy line in the western sky portends the next move in this cyclical struggle:  wits and courage versus the random unfeeling foe: Old Man Winter. Soon the winds pick up; thin storm streamers sail past like javelins hurled by an advancing skirmish line. And that it just what it is;  the periodic northern invader pours through Judith gap- another Alberta Clipper sends broadsides of blizzard into the unsuspecting Musselshell country.

 All evening and night the snow falls; fast and thin at first, rasping winds blast across the prairie. Cattle reel eastward with the squall till their drifting trek is interrupted by obstacles. Here and there they bunch up like the seventh cavalry surrounded by a shrieking, pelting foe. Outnumbered and outgunned they circle up, tails towards the outside, a big knot of hair. Heads to the ground and tails to the weather they stand numbly and patiently; either the storm blows out, or they freeze where they stand – odds are they will outlast this one as they have all the others:  just another day in the life of range cattle.

 Morning

Twenty below zero; the sun creeps over the horizon as if she has a bayonet at her back. The view in every direction is panoramic; a new white-beyond-white quilt has buried everything in all directions. A dark blue dome has covered the sky with the odd star not snuffed out by the storm vainly twinkling in the through the oncoming dawn. With the sky paling to a glittering light blue and the wind laid to rest, all seems like a Leanin’ Tree postcard from someone who has never experienced such a morning. But you have and you know better- the conditions are ripe for the perfect storm every cowman fears; not a storm of waves and gale force winds but even worse an approaching abortion storm.

The cattle are ravenous, fighting the winter night with all tenacity; stomachs  cry for feed; yet the grass is under ten inches of new subzero snow. When they reach for the grass the snow ascends up to their eyes… this will not do, but they know where they can get some quick energy, even if marginal. Energy that comes with a deadly price this time of year, one month before they are to give birth: Ponderosa Pine branches laden with fresh crunchy green needles. Now the race begins: you send your wife out with the dogs to haze the cattle away from the trees as you race to the haystack cracking it open, quickly taking a load so the cows can eat something else besides needles.

 Afternoon

No one is exactly sure why- there has been little scientific inquiry into such an arcane aspect of animal agriculture, but in the last trimester of pregnancy, ingesting pine needles causes abortion within twenty four hours. Ranchers know this very well but their charges do not; nor do they seem to care. They are cold and hungry and cannot see or think beyond the end of their noses. Most of us groan in frustration when this occur; especially when we did not prepare by moving the cows away from the trees to another pasture, or feeding them before the sun began to rise. Lack of planning on our part and a cow’s propensity to do what feels right at the moment (instinct) can create a biological and business disaster.

 It is very easy to rage on about the stupidity and ignorance of a hairy leather bag with horns; certainly during the heat of the moment one wonders why he has saddled himself with the blistering font of seeming stupidity that is a cow. However at quiet times afterwards stockmen always reflect upon one Great Truth: how similar cattle are to man.


A+B=2A

IF A+A=2A;

THEN B+B=2B

Just recently I was explaining the importance of basic algebra to my students in one of my classes. Algebra is a critical set of concepts that we all take for granted in our daily lives; it involves a goodly dose of reason, combined with facts, integrating them with a set of doctrinal principles. These are all combined to approach certain truths that can be expressed over a wide spectrum of both mathematics and daily living. For instance, if we consider the above thesis, we can a safely assume that it is a consistent solution which can be applied across all reality, A and B being two distinct individual entities, such as; A=apples and B = alligators.

Consistent, Reasonable, Applicable, Rational; The very foundations of the scientific philosophies that undergird our civilization–Until now.

 Thanks to the abandonment of these foundations by political pressures, and the technically insane sociopathic ideals and behavior of current Western thought, we have a new paradigm to incorporate into this age old set of ideas.

IF A+A=2A, and B+B=2B;

THEN A+B=2A

 The consequences of this altered state of thought, while certainly destructive in the narrow application when it comes to homosexual “marriage”, is sure to complete the dissolution of the  foundations of present civilization- not just the keystone of the arch, which it is directed against.

 In closing, some paraphrased quotes from antiquity:

 “So, Mr. Franklin, what kind of government are we to have?”

 “A Republic, Madame- if you can keep it.”

  Thomas Jefferson; “Indeed I tremble for my country when I recognize that God is Just.”

 Lastly an ancient Chinese curse;

“May you live in interesting times.”