Saturday, February 3, 2018

Greetings--Permanent Payment Explanation

Welcome to the blog, 'zine, and bookstore of Priscilla King. Effective February 2, 2017, this web site has gone to a pay-per-view mode. Old posts, and keywords for new posts not yet visible here, continue to show up here. They can be found by using the site-specific search bar on your right. New posts can be seen for $1 and will become visible free of charge, in a graphics-friendly format here and a graphics-free format at Live Journal, when they've earned $5.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Review with Double-Wide Rant: How to Handle Adversity

(By "Double Sundae" I mean a double-size review/rant. Short summary: I'm willing to sell and recommend this popular book...very cautiously. It's a Christian book that may help some people and harm others.)


Title: How to Handle Adversity

Author: Charles F. Stanley

Date: 1989

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ISBN: 978-1-4002-8050-6

Length: 181 pages

Quote: “I know of several people who are mad at God because of the adversity that has come their way.”

This is a book I'm willing to resell very, very cautiously. This book is a well written modern restatement of some ideas that have traditionally been accepted by religious people, including Christians. In some situations these ideas are relevant, and true. The trouble is that, when the ideas in this book are not balanced by the other side of the traditional religious response to adversity, they do harm. 

I read, resell, and recommend (to middle-aged people) some books that, because of the amount of attention they give to sexual feelings, I can’t recommend to young people. Some people really need to spend an hour or two letting their attention be drawn to sexual thoughts and memories, for their wives’ or husbands’ sake, and perhaps less directly their children’s and their communities’ sake. A book these readers find erotic is a good book, for them. Others need to focus on anything but their sexuality while they are dealing with sexual temptation—most people under age 25 are in that category. A book they find erotic is a book they should avoid.

As a Christian who loves and sells books, though, I worry less about the book that might aggravate someone’s temptation to violate marriage vows, than I worry about the book that might aggravate someone’s temptation to express the kind of laziness and self-righteousness that breed Christian-phobic reactions and turn so many ex-churchgoers, not merely against spiritually dead churches (which would be a good thing), but against the Holy One Whom they blame for the sins of spiritually dead churchgoers.

What Christians have traditionally classified as “adversity” is a general term for anything that makes anyone’s life more difficult. How Christians are supposed to handle “adversity” varies depending on the kind of “adversity” it is. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul discusses one specific “adversity” in his life, which he describes as “a thorn in the flesh,” which he came to believe was something God wanted him to have to endure for his own spiritual good. We don’t know exactly what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was; from his references to the “large letters written with his own hand” at the end of some of his letters, and an acquaintance’s description of his “squinting” eyes, many suspect it was deteriorating eyesight. We do know, however, that it was (1) something that only a miracle from God could have changed (Paul was not shy about demanding support from his audience), (2) about which Paul prayed for that sort of miracle, three times, probably in prayer meetings with other Christians, until (3) Paul himself reported the insight that it was, in some way, doing him good.

From Paul’s testimony, Christians may conclude that some of us may eventually encounter some form of “adversity” that we may eventually conclude has been sent by God to do us some sort of spiritual good.

It is, however, far too easy for far too many Christians to conclude that any and all bad things that happen to other people are sent to them by God to do them good—that none of the “adversity” other people report to us was ever meant to test our willingness to behave as Christ did.

Jesus never once told anybody to dispense any lofty “spiritual” counsel that suggested that His Father is a Cosmic Sadist who wants good people to suffer . Jesus, in fact, told Christians to focus on the forms of human suffering that they individually are able to alleviate, and pour out their gifts to alleviate those. The idea that Paul’s suffering may have been sent to Paul by God for Paul’s “spiritual growth”  came from Paul, after his friends had tried very very hard to help; Paul reported his own insight to his supportive friends so that they could stop worrying about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Paul described many other forms of “adversity” he encountered in his long adventurous life—some with which other Christians could help him, and did, and Paul never hesitated to tell them how they could help, nor did they cavil at the mention of money; others with which other Christians wanted to help him, but couldn’t, and there is no suggestion of any misplaced blame about that.

What would Jesus do if he could watch some of today’s so-called Christians, with that hideous ghoulish grin they affect in such situations, telling a sincere young believer, “Yes, of course you need another job after a backbiter in the church has caused you to lose the job you were doing to the satisfaction of your employer and customers. Maybe some sort of welfare program can help you with that. Now the important thing is for you to accept this adversity as something God needed you to be happy about for the sake of your spiritual growth!”

I suspect that, if a rope happened to be available, He would lay it across their mouths in such a way that they’d think twice about smiling or speaking for the rest of their lives.

In order to recommend this book to Christians I feel obligated to tell them:

1. No economic or social problem, which human beings can resolve “in our own strength” without being Christians, simply by acting as decent human beings, should ever be compared to Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” What the person who lost his job, or the person(s) considering abortion because she(they) might not be able to afford a baby, or the person whose house burned down, or several of the other people whose situations Stanley mentions in this book, need is practical, material “comfort” from fellow believers. Any words that may be blurted out to or about those people, before the reality problem has been fully resolved, are BLASPHEMY and should be soundly condemned by anyone representing self to be a Christian teacher.

Yes, it’s possible that the words with which someone describes the loss of his home or the fear that she wouldn’t be able to feed a child may not be theologically correct. What can real Christians do about that? Can we rush ahead and try to fix the feelings? We cannot. We dare not. That would be blasphemy; it would amount to a demand that God send us the kind of “personal growth experience” we in our insanity dared to recommend to someone who was merely going through a natural grief process, sevenfold. We must

FIX FACTS FIRST. FEELINGS FOLLOW.

Jesus didn’t scold the people who were feeling ambivalent about whether to keep listening to Him or to go home for dinner; He fed them. Once the fact of their natural appetite for food had been fixed, those feelings of ambivalence just faded away. So do the “spiritually incorrect” feelings people have about the material needs and the personal relationships Christians are called, not to preach about, but to fix.

2. Obviously, some of the things of which people complain don’t even qualify as spiritual “adversity.” They are just the natural consequences of the mistakes those people have made. However, one of the most conspicuous differences between Jesus and His apostles, and the spiritually dead modern church, is that Jesus and the apostles do not seem to have spent a lot of time looking for ways to make every hardship seem like a direct consequence of some hypothetical sin. (Job’s friends did that, and were soundly rebuked for doing it—by Job and by God.)

To be fair, partly this was because Jesus’ audience consisted almost entirely of devout Jews who had spent their lives listening to rabbis who never hesitated to call a sin a sin. What the New Testament rabbis and Old Testament prophets actually said about sin, and the consequences of sin, consisted mostly of the same sort of thing we now expect to hear or read from psychologists. The prophets and rabbis told people “If you do these things God will withhold blessings from you.” The psychologists tell people “If you do these things you will be unhappy.” To a considerable extent it’s the same thing, and similarly unnecessary. 

Most of the women who’ve ever considered a deliberately induced abortion knew, before they started considering it, that abortion is a source of physical and emotional pain. Most of the family members who’ve abused each other and become estranged from each other knew they were going to feel miserable about it; they felt miserable while they were doing it. Even addicts, these days, had some idea that forming that addiction was going to be a source of pain for them; what I’ve seen far too many of are people who became addicts while they were too young to imagine how much worse that pain could be than the pain they were already feeling...in any case, then as now, most of the people who are suffering the consequences of sin, if they are Christians, do have some idea that they’re dealing with something very different from Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.”

There is one exception to this rule of which Christians need to be aware. That is the way some people honestly don’t know how to communicate with one another...especially the very young. Not everyone knows what a friendly conversation in your social circle is supposed to sound like. It is possible for sincere Christians sincerely to feel that someone’s unpopularity is the consequence of communication patterns that they suspect of expressing sinful, or at least obnoxious, social attitudes, while that person just as sincerely feels that what s/he said was either (a) perfectly appropriate, at least for conversation with other people the person knows well, or (b) probably not the right thing to say but certainly more appropriate than anything else the person could have thought of saying in that situation. In that case the church people are the ones who need to be challenged by their pastors to detach their emotions and engage in a bit of practical linguistics to analyze, without becoming judgmental, what all of them can learn from the situation.

3. The problem with telling people, across the board, that “adversity” is something God wants them to suffer, is that according to the Bible wanting people to suffer is what Satan does. God permits us to suffer, not only the consequences of what we do, but also the consequences of what other living things do. God made a world in which it’s possible that Tracy Smith is a paraplegic because Lee Jones chose to be a drunk driver—but God is not pleased by that. What God wants us to do in this kind of world is reduce the extent of the suffering in any way we can. That is what Jesus told us to do, and what Jesus did.

The apostolic church did face persecution. Although Jesus not only relieved physical suffering but, according to the Gospels, taught that His own martyrdom was necessary to spare us eternal spiritual suffering (and His martyrdom was so heinous that it must have accomplished something)...His teaching produced cognitive dissonance, which is a kind of mental suffering, in both Roman officials and the more conservative Jewish teachers. This cognitive dissonance then led to a very specific form of social, material, and sometimes physical suffering known as the persecution of the church. With regard to this specific form of suffering—not to negate all that Jesus had taught them—the apostles did encourage one another to “consider it joy” when they suffered from “the testing of their faith,” to feel that they had “been counted worthy to share in the suffering of Christ” and look forward to “great rewards in Heaven.” (And in some cases their rewards must have been in Heaven, because some of them were actually murdered.)

But we need to be clear about the difference between the paradox of being unjustly punished for doing kind things, due to other people’s mental confusion, and the kind of devil worship Abraham and Moses and Jesus were sent to lead us away from. Fawning on a Cosmic Sadist is devil worship. Using the idea of martyrdom or the idea of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” as a default reaction to all suffering, including the suffering we are very clearly being called to get up and do something about, is the supreme blasphemy of preaching devil worship in the name of Christ. And if there is one specific Unpardonable Sin, one sin for which—by its nature—it is at least very difficult and very unlikely that anyone could ever fully repent, this sin must be the one.  

Did God, in fact, need for Paul to live with a permanent (though not unbearable) “thorn in the flesh” like cataracts or arthritis to keep Paul from “exalting himself”—or did God merely allow Paul to suggest that thought to people whose concern about Paul’s health was becoming a spiritual stumblingblock for them? We may never know; even in Heaven there’s no guarantee that we’ll be told. What we can understand, with our ordinary human understanding, is that whatever benefit Paul got from his “thorn in the flesh” was something peculiar to Paul’s individual psyche, not something to be invoked whenever it would be inconvenient for us to emulate Jesus with a little sacrifice of labor or money.  

Do you, in fact, need to adjust to a permanent “thorn in the flesh” for your own spiritual benefit? If Paul was led to think that, once, much less to believe it, permanently, then so may you and I be. But Paul was not led to present that as a conclusion to which everyone should leap. Paul was not a typical man of his time, and his time was a long time ago. In Paul’s time, if you had cataracts as a result of looking at the Mediterranean sun on the sea and the sand for fifty years, you prayed; you asked others to pray for you; possibly you tried applying soothing salve to your eyes. Then, unless you were the one documented person from whose eyes Jesus caused “scales to fall,” you knew you had done all that could be done and adjusted to life with blindness. Now we have sunglasses, and we even have laser surgery, and the Bible in no way suggests that there is any spiritual benefit in failing to use either of those things. If sunglasses failed to protect you from developing cataracts, laser surgery failed to preserve any of your vision, and prayer didn’t seem to help either, then it might be possible for you to choose to regard your impending blindness as a “thorn in the flesh” or, no doubt more usefully, as an opportunity to learn something about blindness from which you might be able to do something to help other blind people.

4. Even then, there is another possibility, also identified in the Bible. Adversity tries people. It does not try, exclusively, the individual most obviously suffering the adversity. When Lot thought he needed to protect two strangers from the men of Sodom, it was not the two “young men” who were being tried and found guilty.

I write this as a Christian whose peculiar form of “adversity,” for more than ten years now, has consisted of lack of money—entirely and alone—and lack of opportunities to earn money, even after doing work in the expectation that that work would be paid for with that money. “Well, that has to mean that you’re doing something wrong.” Does it? Does it really? Then why, when I’ve prayed for guidance about what I needed to do, have I only ever been shown the image of a sick patient trying and failing to move his hands—of God not helping me to recover from financial hardship because the way God does that is through the living Body of believers, and that Body has “gone dead” like the hands of the sick patient?

I’ve never denied that I made mistakes during the year my husband died, although I’ve not published enough of the details to identify the living people involved. I will affirm that they were honest mistakes, and that the worst ones came from loving my husband and stepson and from expecting the law to protect them—more even than from expecting the law to protect me—from evildoers.

But in the ordinary course of events there was no logical reason why I should have needed anything from my husband’s estate. To the extent that we’d planned that, we’d agreed that the six-figure bank account was most likely to be needed by my stepson. I had never stopped working, nor had I become unable to work. I should have been able to earn a good living, at least after the daily weeping stage of widowhood, all by myself, just as I’d done while single. I wasn’t. I’m not yet. Things have just kept happening ever since my husband died.

God has not used these things to bring out any pattern of honest mistakes I’ve been making in my business; I’ve looked for those, and that would be much too easy. God has been using them to teach me, and to teach you, some things about the way the (howling majority) of churchians who know nothing about Jesus, and the (pathetic little minority, if any) actual Christians who are alive these days, treat penniless widows.

Regular readers may feel more comfortable with some other interpretation, something about everything God taught me all through my years as a Christian bachelor and a Christian wife having been wrong—some “lesson” like “Low-investment, debt-free businesses can’t work in today’s economy” or “Introverts aren’t meant to accept and capitalize on the gift of introversion” or even (God save the mark) “Women aren’t meant to own businesses.” Those things have been suggested to me by other people, but what my faith tradition identifies as God’s leading has consistently shown that those people are mistaken, and their day will come.

One thing I have observed, when people have offered halfhearted support but not sincere, wholehearted support, has been that their day may be that very day of the calendar. One client who wanted to skimp on payments falsely referred to himself as “old and blind and crippled.” (He was about sixty, just beginning to need glasses, stronger and more active than many people are at thirty.) On that day he broke his right arm, and his business has yet to pull out of the downward spiral that started there. The human conscience does seem to have a well documented tendency to steer people into the precise forms of adversity they’ve feared, or falsely claimed, when making excuses. The excuse exaggerates some fear in the person’s mind, and then  what was feared becomes real and it’s even worse.

From the tone in which Paul wrote about his “thorn in the flesh” and from the history of his time, we know that Paul was writing to a church in what some scholars might call its “Philadelphia stage,” the first-love stage in which new groups formed by sincere, enthusiastic people document miracles. Whatever Paul’s friends in Corinth understood his “thorn in the flesh” to be, they were not callous or halfhearted about it. They had done all that flesh and blood could do; they had at least tried all that prayer could do, also. His adversity probably had functioned partly to try them, and had found them to be genuine Christians.

In the modern church I'm not seeing this happen. We are in a “Laodicea stage” where the callousness, or “lukewarm love,” of church people makes God sick (enough to “spew,” in King James’ English). The most charitable thing we can possibly say, about this kind of secondhand effect of adversity, is that the people who are tried by a friend’s adversity and found guilty of callousness may have needed their suffering.

5. Oh, but isn’t it so-o-o spiritual to believe that God wants us to embrace suffering for its own sake as a means to spiritual growth? It is not. God does not want us to suffer. For people whom God has allowed to suffer according to the laws of nature, “embracing the pain” may be a delusion induced by their diseases; for people like Therese of Lisieux it probably was that. For people who have sought out suffering in an effort to “be spiritual” or feel that they’ve done penance for their sins, it is the sin of spiritual pride. For people who have urged others to embrace suffering rather than expect church people to do what they ought to have done to relieve that suffering, it is the (Probably) Unpardonable Sin of blasphemy.  

So,should anyone read How to Handle Adversity? Perhaps. Some forms of “adversity” are strictly spiritual—fears, temptation, guilt, “spiritual covetousness,” dark nights of the soul—and if you, yourself, have a sort of “thorn in the spirit” that does admit only strictly spiritual relief, something that is entirely between you and God-as-you-understand-God, then you can begin with prayer rather than practical work. If you are in fact convinced that God wants you to work through some sort of adversity, as Stanley says (on page 180) that he was when some human adversaries wanted him to quit a job but he was convinced that God wanted him to stay, then you are in the rather small intended audience for the kind of counsel Stanley here offers. There is a kind of rarefied spiritual “suffering” for which trying to convince yourself that God is responsible may be helpful; at least that approach seems to have brought relief to many people who have documented that kind of suffering (while the rest of Christendom has quietly wondered whether those people might not some day be cured by medication).

Stanley’s chapter 13, “Not I, b ut Christ,” pages 141 through 152, is not merely wrong but satanic if it’s generalized into an approach to all suffering. It is, however, the precisely right approach to the kind of spiritual suffering that revolves around questions like...

* “How do I know I’m ‘saved’?”

* “Why haven’t I received a dramatic new spiritual gift?”

* “Has God really forgiven me for doing...”

* “Can even Love Itself love me when I still have thoughts and feelings like...”

* “When I recognize how much I ‘get’ out of ‘giving’ or how ‘proud’ I can become of behaving ‘humbly’...”

* “Where, oh, where is the middle ground in between denying that God cares what I do with my sexuality and fearing that I’ll be condemned, by others or even by God, if anyone even finds out what my sexuality is really like?”

* “The more I try to forget myself and practice love toward people I don’t really like, the more I feel how much I dislike them...”

* “If I dreamed about Hell, not the town but the spiritual concept, does that mean that that’s where I am or someone else is going? If the dream had been just a warning, wouldn’t I have dreamed about Heaven too?”

* “Some people say I’m doing the right thing, but I want to do more...”

Sometimes these thoughts vex young people who are, in fact, in a spiritual process of growing. It is now possible (though expensive and dangerous) to observe the literal, physical growth of the “spirituality centers” in their brains. Sometimes spirituality develops late. And then, since the brain is an organ like any other, and the brain has to process “spiritual experiences” in a physical way not unlike the way it has to process light for us to see anything, there is a possibility that spiritual confusion and agitation might be produced by physical problems within the brain. In any case, for this kind of situation, Stanley’s advice may be right; at least it seems to be what works. “We can...be totally controlled by ‘self’ and yet be busy about the ‘Lord’s work’...Think about your prayers. Whom do they center on? Oftentimes it is ‘self.’ God wants the ‘self’ life crucified...God is not satisfied with well-mannered, respectable ‘self’ on the throne... God...will not let up until ‘self’ is dethroned and crucified.”

Anyone reading these words needs to know that they are not, ever, under any circumstances to be applied to any reality problem. They are strictly for the spiritual-emotional vortexes down which some people’s moods occasionally drift. When you have a strictly spiritual problem, the solution really is to affirm that your “self” is dead, your “life is hid with Christ in God,” and you should just trust God to resolve the problem for you.

So in conclusion...I received a copy of How to Handle Adversity as a nearly new book. Perhaps that’s not the way I ought to sell it. Perhaps every page ought to be outlined with warnings: “THIS IS NOT A ‘FIRST AID’ BOOK. IT IS A ‘LAST RESORT’ BOOK. NEVER OPEN THIS BOOK AS LONG AS ANY REALITY PROBLEM IN THE PHYSICAL REALM CAN BE IDENTIFIED.” Perhaps pages 141 through 152 ought to be sealed off behind a piece of stiff cardboard marked, “OPEN ONLY IN RESPONSE TO THE KIND OF ‘SPIRITUAL PROBLEM’ THAT, WHEN EXPLAINED TO ANYONE BUT AN OLD-SCHOOL CHRISTIAN MINISTER, GETS A REFERRAL TO A PSYCHIATRIST.”

A prayer of self-surrender may do more for that kind of problem than a course of tranquillizers can. But do not open this book when anyone is concerned about any aspect of physical reality. All of it is intended to begin where practical solutions to life’s “adversity” leave off; toward the end, any attempt to apply this book to the concerns of the majority of humankind would amount to blasphemy.

Charles Stanley is still alive at the time of writing, so How to Handle Adversity is a Fair Trade Book. If you buy it here for $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, we'll send $1 to Stanley or a charity of his choice.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Morgan Griffith on Memorial Day

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Remembering Fallen Heroes
On the last Monday in May, our nation honors Memorial Day. We use this day to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of the Republic.
What we know as Memorial Day began in the years immediately following the War Between the States. Citizens in both the North and the South would decorate the graves of the war’s dead with flowers in springtime. Towns across the country claim to be the birthplace of this practice, perhaps an illustration of the widespread human desire to honor those who sacrificed everything for others.
In 1868, General John Logan, the commander of the Union veterans association Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30 as Decoration Day. The whole country gradually adopted this day to remember all the war’s dead, although Congress moved it to the last Monday of May in 1971. After World War I, Memorial Day observances began to include the fallen from all of America’s wars.*
The veterans of the War Between the States and World War I are all gone now, but we still have with us veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They served along with those fallen heroes whom we honor on Memorial Day, and they still feel those losses deeply.
On this day, I remember from my years practicing law a particular client who had served in Vietnam. One day as I headed to court in Montgomery County, I called him using my old “brick” cell phone. As fate would have it, I lost the call. I called him back but he didn’t answer.
Later in the day, when I was back in the office, I was at last able to contact him on my desk phone. He told me that when the phone disconnected, it made the same noise as the radio he used in Vietnam made when a unit went dead.
Because of the assignment he had in Vietnam, he was often in communication with people on helicopters transporting troops. Usually, the helicopters were getting soldiers out of harm’s way. When his radio went dead, it usually meant a helicopter with his comrades in arms had gone down. When I lost the call, it reminded him of lost friends.
Needless to say, I never called him using a cell phone again because it gave him flashbacks and memories of the friends he had lost in Vietnam. He was so dedicated to these fellow soldiers that he would later go back to Vietnam with the permission of that country’s government to search for some of those friends he had lost whose remains had not been recovered.
The lesson I learned is to try not to be judgmental and to recognize that many have a story in their lives we cannot fully appreciate.
You just never know how someone was affected by their service or how who they lost or what they saw during combat affected them. Some are lucky enough not to carry these hidden scars. Others are not so lucky. You just never know who might be carrying with them what was in the War Between the States called soldier’s heart, in the era of the World Wars shell shock, and in our era, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So on this Memorial Day let’s honor those who died, and let’s honor those who may have lost a little piece of their well-being, whether it’s visible or not.
In General Logan’s order to proclaim Decoration Day, he noted that you could find the graves of the war’s fallen soldiers “in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Aside from graves, there are also memorials across the country and throughout the Ninth Congressional District, whether statues in town squares or plaques with names in auditoriums.
It is worth taking time to visit one of these sites or to attend a ceremony marking this day. In Washington, I attended a brief ceremony in Statuary Hall of the Capitol with other Members of Congress. A prayer was offered, wreaths laid, and Taps played.
Even if you are not able to visit a memorial or attend a ceremony, reflect on the sacrifices made by some for our liberty, not only by men and women willing to give their lives, but by the families and friends who see them go off to war and never return.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
*U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.cem.va.gov/history/memdayorder.asp
"

Keywords: Gashly ABC Rhymes

I just wrote a whole new piece of Bad Poetry in honor of the Washington Post Style Invitational verse contest. To read it, click here and follow instructions:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

Keywords:

Washington Post 
Edward Gorey
ABC rhymes
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/style-invitational-gorey-bits-from-a-to-z--give-us-edgy-alphabet-rhymes/2017/05/25/5243edbc-3f6f-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html
number of entries that will include "T is for Trump." There might be a bonus prize for guessing how many of those entries feature either "dump" or "rump" as end rhymes and/or "tacky" inside a line. Can this web site do better than that? We hope.
news links
Animals
Bill (in legislature)
Craigslist
Dinosaur
E-mail
Flamewars
Greed
Horses
Insects
Judgment
Killing
Lefties
Microsoft Windows 10
Nosy Nerds
Officious Overlords
Protection rackets
Quality standards
'Rithmetic
Common Core
Stingingworms
http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/06/phenology-buck-moth-caterpillar.html
http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/06/heres-summary-of-whats-known-about-buck.html
Taxes
Urbanski, U.M.C.P. stabber.
Vile anti-conservative innuendos
World War III
eXtinction
Yuppies
Zambia

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peace to All People of Good Will: Official Statement to Foreign Readers

Recently I posted about the hateful myth that "conservatives" are haters. The post mentioned a Christian church (which no longer exists) some of whose publications did contain lines that seem hateful when read, but, in context, what those lines actually expressed was Cold War-generated fear. The computer shows a drop in Russian readership...I hope that's not because readers thought I was trying to revive fear.

Is it time for this web site to display an Official Statement about Russians and Other Foreigners, Generally?

Official Statement: This web site denounces hate against any large group simply as a group. The position of this web site is that human beings can generally be trusted to act in what they believe to be their own best interest. In healthy social, business, or even international situations, intelligent humans will generally recognize that their own best interest is seldom completely incompatible with yours, and mutually satisfactory results can be negotiated. In times of war, intelligent humans are likely to believe that their own best interest is opposed to yours, and negotiation may become impossible. Russian, Chinese, Muslim, and other demographic types of humans, are about the same as other humans. This web site has no loyalty to any foreign government that would affect this web site's behavior in the event of war. (This web site generally deplores war.) This web site has no ill will toward individual readers in any foreign country. Actually, this web site likes having them (even though for local sponsors' purposes they don't count) and wishes more of them were able to post comments.

When I was growing up, people living in the U.S. were really being encouraged to distrust, dislike, ridicule, even fear, if not hate at least be in a position from which we could be led to hate, people in the U.S.S.R. I've mentioned being given a church history book that was all about Catholics and Protestants and completely ignored the Orthodox church; I've mentioned being told that even biblical or saints' names that are more common in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe were "weird" names to give to dolls or animals, as a child. This changed--earlier this spring this web site received reports of "conservatives" chanting, at rallies, their belief that "Russians are our friends"--and the people I know seem to be very glad it changed. Most U.S. citizens my age still know very little about anything "Russian" or Slavic or Eastern European...but many are delighted that we're now free to like them if we ever get to know any of them. This web site has no foreign policy; it does have correspondents who've expressed pro-Russian sentiments as vigorously as they've expressed pro-British, pro-French, or pro-Israeli sentiments.

I got into that rant about how, even when L.C.C. Christians were circulating lists of actors and movie producers who were to be distrusted because of their Eastern European Jewish identity, the message they were sharing was not "Hate all Jews" but "Distrust people from Soviet-bloc countries who identify as Jews while promoting socialist ideas"...and took it for granted that readers were aware that, while continuing to oppose socialist ideas, North Americans have much, much warmer and fuzzier feelings about the former Soviet-bloc countries in 2017 than we had in 1977. Well, if they're Russians using automatic translation software to read this web site, they might not have access to that information. For that, I apologize.

Russian readers, if you're still out there: Your parents, maybe the older ones among you, participated in an experiment that showed the rest of the world just how wrong ideas that sound good can be. That was brave of them; in the long run it should prove to have been a service to humankind. This web site in no way blames anybody for the mistakes his or her parents made. You are responsible for correcting the damage socialism did to you. That's likely to be a heavy burden; this web site can't do much to help you with it, but we wish you success. And, as should go without saying, we wish peace...to all the private people in all countries.

That includes even the ISIS-infested countries, in some of which we do know a few people. I'm not even going to try to communicate the dismay I feel when a "conservative" correspondent I generally respect is circulating a petition to Congress to "declare war on ISIS." Duh--the list of ISIS-infested countries includes our own. When you've worked, travelled, eaten, and even prayed with Muslims you can certainly feel disgusted that evildoers identify as Muslims even in their most evil acts, but the idea of war, destroying their homes, their tiny struggling village schools--reversing such progress as some of these people have been making to recover from abuses that originated from times of poverty...One thing the L.C.C. used to proclaim that was not a reaction to then-current news, but an understanding of the Bible that I still believe was accurate, is that Christians should never call for an offensive war.

Prosecute crimes, yes. ISIS is a big, overfunded criminal gang. If we can go after them as such, I'm in favor of that. Find the scum who attacked the concert-goers in Manchester, the way we found the scum who attacked the Boston Marathon, and let the victims' families decide whether they should be hanged or drowned or poisoned or just worked to death. Meanwhile, not as a foreign policy but as a general policy, this web site always likes diplomatic strategies better than war.

*****

An Official Statement shouldn't have to include a book link...but a correspondent shared one that seems apropos. Adam Brandon wants us to remind all readers, once again, that Senator Mike Lee recently published a positive statement about "conservative" demographic diversity that should be available at your local bookstores. Note the diversity of the people in whose biographies Senator Lee highlights "conservative" values:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morgan Griffith on the Middle East

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Israeli Palestinian Peace
President Trump is currently on his first overseas trip as President, starting in the Middle East. He is the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Western Wall1, a sacred Jewish site to pray. He is also meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, top Israeli officials, and the Palestinian leader, President Abbas.

President Trump has made it clear that he wants to bring peace and stability to this region. He is on the right track. He has expressed his willingness to listen to both sides and keep all options on the table. He is not making demands, but instead, making it clear that the U.S. role is to provide support and facilitation for the opposing sides to find common ground.

It is difficult for us to understand their complex situation; because we are so fortunate that here most disagreement is generally more tolerant and civil.

In his remarks in Israel, President Trump stated that, “Young Israeli and Palestinian children deserve to grow up in safety, and to follow their dreams free from the violence that has destroyed so many lives."

One visit by the President is not going to solve the issues that have plagued the Middle East for thousands of years. But, I am encouraged President Trump is there and has made it clear that they need to work through their conflict and we stand ready to help them bring about peace.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"

Book Links: Correspondents' Choice (Week 2)

(This post should have appeared on Friday. Sorry. I was expecting some input from readers who, so far as I can tell, are all on vacation--not reading my blog, not posting to theirs; that fouled up my schedule for my limited online time.)

Someone (was it at the Huffington Post?) shared a link to a collection of books children voted the best for reading aloud with adults. None of The Nephews has been at the target age for this book for years, but when they were, they would've voted for it; they enjoyed learning to read along with it.



Children who up-voted the Narnia books are likely to be children who know how to read, but bond with adults (or teenagers) by sharing the older readers' delight in these books. Seven full-length children's novels guarantee lots of storytime, and Lewis's impeccably educated voice is a good way to practice BBC English if you-the-adult want to learn it...though I once found a rare LP record of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien reading their own short work, and although they sounded as British and educated as they (rather definitively) were, they did not speak the pure BBC you learn from radio and TV. (No one does. That's why, the better you learn BBC, the better idea it is to sit on it when talking to friends from Britain.) Anyway, while learning BBC-as-a-second-language I read all of the Narnia books aloud to my sister. She would have voted for them, too.



The year I was in grade four, the school I attended sorted students into three "reading groups" based on ability and let each group work with a different teacher for one-third of the year. There was a nice older lady teacher whose bad luck was to guide us through the reader with the boring stories in it, a hateful older man teacher whose good luck was to guide us through the reader with the better stories in it, and then in spring I got into the fantastically decorated classroom of the young innovative teacher who had organized her whole class around reading this book. Cardboard mock-ups of scenes and characters from Phantom Tollbooth land filled the room where this teacher read the book aloud and we read along. I could have read the book faster--and did--but I still enjoyed the book-discussion-group atmosphere; I adored that teacher. So I'd agree that this is an excellent book to read to school-age children.



This one was recommended by Penguin (the new release, naturally) but it's a classic, anyway, so why not...If The Handmaid's Tale piqued your interest in Margaret Atwood's work, and you've just discovered Alias Grace, you might wonder about Susanna Moodie. She was a real person, and this is the best known of her books:



I have most of Madeleine L'Engle's books, but unfortunately I missed the two later volumes in this trilogy. I'd like this omnibus edition for myself:



I've signed onto something called Goodreads.com, apparently separate from Amazon. I'm still figuring out how that site works. Here's my less than original, but at least very short, review....

Homes and Other Black HolesHomes and Other Black Holes by Dave Barry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with all books by Dave Barry...for best results, read in a place where it's safe to laugh out loud.


View all my reviews

...of a book I still own, at home.

The classic gift book for graduates (with a sense of humor)...



...has generated a new parody:



Cheers...

Morgan Griffith on Cap and Trade

(New readers: "cap and trade" here refers to a way of writing regulations on pollution that is basically designed to criminalize private people's burning leaves or driving across town, especially in the U.S., in order to allow big corporations to burn soft coal in unfiltered furnaces, especially in China. This web site thinks U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9) could have denounced it more vigorously than he does below. If we want to reduce pollution, we should crack down on the biggest polluters first.)

"
Cap and Trade
Recently, I was able to attend the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance (VCEA) and Southern States Energy Board 38th Annual Conference and Exposition. The event was much more upbeat than last year.

Although energy prices are volatile, there has been an uptick in the coal industry with both an improved market and with the regulatory relief and support from the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has made clear its intention of abandoning ineffective and job killing regulations. This has given companies more confidence in investing and using coal.

However, this newfound confidence seems to have motivated Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe to attempt to implement a cap and trade scheme here in Virginia. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to begin the process of creating carbon emission limits from power plants in Virginia.

I touched on this at the VCEA event. A cap and trade scheme involving Virginia alone, or Virginia and a few other states, is not going to work. The idea is to clean up the air, but unless you have a worldwide agreement in which every nation follows the same rules, there will be job losses here for minimal gains around the world.

The developing world, particularly those countries with large populations demanding jobs which will provide them with increasing wealth and modern amenities, has no intention of cutting back on their emissions. This was discussed last week, where I explained the Paris Treaty is not the answer.

American communities cannot afford to lose jobs, and families, businesses, schools, and hospitals cannot afford to pay higher electricity rates. Instead of symbolic caps on emissions, we need to invest in cleaner coal technology and making all energy more affordable.
"

Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: Thundering Sneakers

A Fair Trade Book



Title: Thundering Sneakers

Author: Prudence Mackintosh

Date: 1981

Publisher: Doubleday

ISBN: 0-385-12879-7

Length: 188 pages

Quote: “It never occurred to me to make anything up—especially my third male child. The real material at hand always came faster and fresher than any I could have created.”

Before the Mommy Blog genre, there was the Mommy Comedy Book genre, open to any parent (daddies as well as mommies) willing to document the emotional-chaos-remembered-in-tranquility of living with children. Betty Macdonald in the 1950s, Jean Kerr in the 1960s, and Erma Bombeck in the 1970s, sold literally millions of books in this genre and thereby created a market for slower-selling, though not necessarily less funny, Mom-Com. Writers like Prudence Mackintosh and Teresa Bloomingdale remained “mid-list” writers, published mainly in special-interest magazines; publishers bought their books, and even promoted them a little bit, but they maintained these writers as a sort of second string, never meant to become national celebrities who might have competed with Erma Bombeck or Delia Ephron.

If you enjoy gentle family-type comedy, it’s worth the trouble to dig up the second-string Mom-Com writers’ books when you find copies. Bombeck softened up, after a series of laugh-out-loud funny books, and started writing things that weren’t funny. Sometimes other families’ emotional chaos was funnier than that of the superstar Mom-Com writers.

Prudence Mackintosh was typical of the second string. Her local-market tags were (1) living in Texas, (2) with an otherwise-all-male family of husband, three sons, and a tomcat. Her family were as funny as any family documented in Mom-Com:

“I polished my fingernails, something I’m sure I haven’t done in at least five years. My older son was irate. ‘Mama,’ he yelled, ‘you’ll have to get that stuff off...you’re...supposed to help us dig those holes this afternoon.’”

“At the counter, I look up from my check writing to see that Jack is climbing on top of the gum machine. ‘You’ll fall,’ I say. ‘But I won’t hurt myself,’ he replies, and he’s right. He falls squarely on his soft brother.”

“I still believe the basketball that landed in the stir-fried squash was deliberately thrown.”

She tried to involve the children in more active self-entertainment instead of watching television. “Legos are extremely absorbing toys...[M]y son determined that he had to have some ‘slopy pieces,’ which are contained only in the set that retails for $25.95. When I explained that we couldn’t afford the desired pieces, he responded thoughtfully, ‘Mom, I guess we just don’t have enough money to do without TV.’”

“[O]n hearing a Raggedy Ann story on the radio, they had asked, ‘Mom, if that doll really has a candy heart, why doesn’t somebody just rip it out and eat it?’”

I chortled.If you like Mom-Com, you’ll chortle too. If Bombeck and Ephron and Judith Viorst hadn’t been famous first, if Jean Kerr’s and Art Linkletter’s books hadn’t remained in print, if bachelor comedy writers hadn’t been occupying a huge share of the funny book market, Thundering Sneakers might have been another bestseller. As things were, it sold mostly to readers of Texas Monthly magazine. If you were not in Texas during the Carter and first Reagan Administrations, you missed a good Mom-Com book and may want to turn back to Thundering Sneakers.

Bad news? Online purchasers may not get the first edition, which is what I physically own and which has become somewhat rare. Good news? The University of Texas has put forth a second edition, so a clean secondhand copy is still available for $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, from which we'll send $1 to Mackintosh or a charity of her choice. At least two and probably all four of the author's Texas Monthly collections (Retreads, Sneaking Out, Just as We Were) will fit into one package; four books in one package would cost you $25 by U.S. postal order or $26 online, from which Mackintosh or her charity would receive $4.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review with Sweepstakes: Surrounded by Idiots

A Fair Trade Book


Title: Surrounded by Idiots

Author: Mike Gallagher

Author's web page: http://www.mikeonline.com/

Date: 2005

Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-973798-0
Length: 222 pages

Quote: “Liberal lunatics have surrounded us with their agenda-driven ideology. It’s time to fight back.”

Thus spake the Fox and Newsmax super-moderate-Republican pundit…who may have wished before now that he could retract this book.

Why? “Not every Democrat is a lost cause,” he wrote, introducing Barack Obama as “the kind of Democrat who represents the best in his party’s future.”

Of course, that was on the basis of that one great speech the future President made in 2004, when he was still saying that “the people I meet…don’t expect government to solve all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead…They know that parents have to teach…and eradicate the slander that says a Black youth with a book is acting White.” Gallagher, and others of us who appreciated President Obama’s clean lifestyle and gentlemanly manners, can still say that, well, that was 2004, and President Obama’s awareness of those “people he met” in 2004 made his failure to represent them in the White House all the worse.

But where does that leave Surrounded by Idiots, now? It’s a collection of news magazine editorials and talk show pieces. It’s not tear-inducing inspirational. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny. Do you still want or need to read this book? To whom can I honestly recommend it, and why? 

Or: to whom is Amazon still actively marketing this as a new book, especially in its "Audible (trademark) audio edition"? 

I say: to all overweight people. Y’see, Gallagher was one of those Big Losers. The healthy-looking body you see on the front cover had been seventy pounds heavier a year before that photo was taken. Although “Fighting Fat—Another War Worth Winning” is only chapter 14 and takes up only 13 pages, it’s still a solid, sensible, reliable story a lot of people still need to read.

Gallagher’s weight loss story helps point up the difference between Wide Loads and those of us who may put on a few unwanted pounds, but, when we are fatter than we want to be, we shed a few pounds quickly and continue wearing the same size clothes… “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” Gallagher lists as one of his “unbreakable guidelines” on page 179.

Yes, Wide Loads of America. What he said. If it's physically possible for fat people to become thin people, regular exercise is the key.

If you want to hear it from the other side…regular readers may remember that my mother and I share a genetic quirk that actually produces contradictory effects under the influence of other genes and conditions. If we ingest wheat (or glyphosate residues, or products from plants that were genetically modified to be glyphosate-resistant) our thyroid glands falter at a certain point in the metabolic cycle. This same faltering can produce fat hypothyroid celiacs who can actually gain weight while fasting, who need capsules if not injections of some other creature’s thyroid hormones in order to be able to exercise, and also skinny hyperthyroid celiacs who can eat like hogs and remain skinny, sickly, and nutrient-deficient. Mother was a fat celiac; I was a skinny celiac, able to gain unwanted pounds only after going gluten-free. Exercise, even if it takes thyroid supplements for patients to be able to do the exercise, is what keeps fat celiacs within the “noticeably overweight, slow-moving, slow-thinking, ditzy but competent” range rather than the “Wide Load, sluggish, incompetent” range. Exercise is also what makes it possible for skinny celiacs to sleep at night. I miss exercise at least as much as I miss food, if I have to get through a day without one or the other; if anything, I miss exercise more.

I read that line, “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” and my immediate reaction was “Only thirty minutes?!” Oh Gallagher, Gallagher…I don’t monitor my pulse or do repetitious gym exercise daily, or yearly if I can avoid it, but my ideal day starts with a brisk five-mile walk before breakfast. (I can skip the walk if it’s raining and spend an hour or two puttering around the house instead, but I prefer the walk.) And that’s why, enjoying food as much as I do, and having acquired the ability to gain weight when I went gluten-free, I’ve never been medically obese. I’ve never thrown away a good pair of fat pants, but neither have I had to buy bigger shirts, since grade nine.

If you’re overweight, this web site has a dare bet for you. Buy Surrounded by Idiots (as a Fair Trade Book, with a percentage going to Gallagher or a charity of his choice). Follow the guidelines on page 179.  Post, to this web site and to any web site you may maintain on your own, notes and photos about how and where you’re exercising and about how much weight you’re losing. That’s the dare. The bet is that within a year you’ll find that you, too, actually enjoy exercise…but just to make it interesting, let’s throw in a sweepstakes: Those who succeed in losing 50 pounds or more will be eligible to win a free hiking, camping, and boating weekend in scenic Natural Tunnel, Virginia. (Available to legal residents of the United States and Canada only, this offer can include as many slimmed-down family members as fit into your camper and/or tent.)

Secondhand copies of Surrounded by Idiots are available cheaper from other sources, but if you buy it as a Fair Trade Book, $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, we'll send $1 to Gallagher or a charity of his choice. You can throw in 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate, too, for a total of $15 (via postal order to P.O. Box 322) or $16 (via Paypal to the address Salolianigodagewi will send you), from which we'll send Gallagher or his charity $2.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Is Hate and How Do We Oppose It?

Posted to a forum where people have been discussing whether social media sites should censor hatespeech, earlier...

There is a horrible, hateful, hypocritical meme the left wing have been circulating for many years, to the effect that all conservatives are haters (presumably of the White male variety). Since most of us here are mature enough to have become at least somewhat conservative about some things, and we're not haters, what are we doing about this Big Lie...in the sense of showing active good will, or in the sense of refuting specific fallacies within the Big Lie, or (preferably) both? 

Opposing a policy that might or might not benefit even the group supposedly demanding it (at everyone else's expense), or might be mere quarrel bait to distract attention from other issues, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. Opposing same-sex marriage, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating homosexuals. Opposing aid to Israel, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating Israelis or Jews or "Semites" (which means Arabs and Jews impartially, as a "race" some people claimed to hate back before the settlement of modern Israel). 

Laughing at the "snowflakes" who want to censor anything that might make anybody other than themselves feel bad, specifically including all conservative political ideas, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that the whole idea of "hatecrimes" is specious, because it's so hard to tell to what extent a crime was motivated by hate of a group of people as such versus hate of an individual as such versus ordinary greed and/or rage and/or a desire to force society to feed and shelter the criminal in prison, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that censorship is worse, in several ways, than hatespeech is (one reason being that tolerating hatespeech makes it easier to identify those seriously planning crimes, and stop them!) has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Even distrusting a group of people identified with the Old Left, which I vividly remember some right-wingers used to do during the Cold War, is not the same thing as hating or persecuting those people. 

My suggestion to Twitter would be that tolerating *and monitoring* anything reported as threats of violence, against either individuals or groups, could be a very helpful way to prevent that violence happening. Let the individuals block whatever they don't want to read, whether because it's threatening or because it's annoying or just because it's in the way of the updates they're watching for...and let Twitter staff reroute threats toward local law enforcement and watch them. 

(Alternatively...Facebook tries to monitor individual users all by itself, collecting and publishing information about who they are, where they live, where their children go to school. Nice way to hand that information directly to the violent haters...Facebook can ban them, and they can then stand behind other people whom Facebook hasn't banned and collect all the information they want to use to harm the Facebook users they hate. Another alternative for Facebook might be to store the information without publishing it; that would give the information resale value for hackers! No, thanks. We're all safer when web sites do monitor activity from specific IP Addresses, if necessary, but do not collect or store information about anyone's real-world identity. Leave that for the police to collect when they arrest those using computers to commit crimes.)

Now, what's going on? No, the computer I've been using was not taken into police custody because it had been used to commit a crime! I gave someone headed in a different direction the key ring that has the key to the building where that computer is, for today, and had to drag out the good old Sickly Snail this morning. I actually thought it'd be interesting to find out what the Sickly Snail, which may well be the oldest privately owned laptop computer in North America, could still do online. 

What it can do is of course frustrate the livin' daylights out of me, by making things that ought to take ten minutes take an hour--that's why it's been named the Sickly Snail. It can open the e-mail inbox and, at its standard snail-like pace, delete the spam, file the bacon, and determine that you've not been sending payments and don't deserve a live blog post today. It can view, but not post to, Live Journal; it can open some of the news-and-opinion-'zine sites for long enough for me to copy and paste an article, but not longer; it can open a new Blogspot post from the Blogspot page you readers are seeing, but not from the "inside" page that's supposed to open when I log into Blogspot. I was surprised that it could open any of the forum sites. I'll be even more surprised if it can open Amazon or Twitter, although those fancy graphics-heavy sites do have "mobile" versions the Sickly Snail was able to use a few years ago... Fascinating, anyway.

Meanwhile, since the Sickly Snail will absolutely not do the other things I'd planned to do online with the other laptop,  here's a me-me-me story for those who care. I seriously think our Russian readers, who the computer reports have been fascinated by the keywords, need to see this one...

As they probably remember, my parents were whole-Bible Christians and were affiliated at various times with three whole-Bible Protestant churches, including one that's been (quite easily, I must admit) misidentified as a hate group...the Lord's Covenant Church. What was it like, being a "tween" and early teen in the L.C.C.? Was I being taught to hate? I was not.

I was picking up some older people's fear--loudly and clearly--although my parents tended to debunk those older people's fear. I was being taught wariness...specifically about Eastern Europeans, about Russians, and about Ashkenazic Jewish Americans, but really about everybody. Wariness is a different thing from hate. My parents didn't have to say much about hate during our L.C.C. years, except that they wouldn't have stayed around if they'd smelled it, and back when Dad (who'd volunteered to go over and kill Nazis) was still a strong young man with HSP "super" long-distance vision, if there'd been any Nazis lurking around, you pitied the fools. There were not, noticeably, any Nazis in my childhood world. Conservative Christian communities in the U.S. were not healthy places to be a Nazi.

What my brother and I learned from the version of Anglo-Israelite theory to which the L.C.C. subscribed was...well, first of all, that it's a feeble theory, based on the oral traditions of feuding European tribes. It can't be disproved but neither can it be proved. It rests heavily on words that sound alike, and may or may not have meanings that were once related to each other, in different languages. 

Anyway, each of the three churches to which we were exposed had a different view of the Anglo-Israelite theory. Seventh-Day Adventists ignore it; they say nobody really knows who their ancestors were, that far back, and if you feel called to be a whole-Bible Christian you may consider yourself an adoptive or spiritual child of Abraham. The Worldwide Church of God accept the theory that different European tribes were physically descended from the different tribes of Israel, with Jews representing, specifically, the tribe of Judah. The Lord's Covenant Church (which no longer really exists) went further and accepted a version of that theory that...appealed to haters, but the L.C.C. actually got it from Jewish sources, so if you're Jewish please bear with me. 

According to this speculative version of history, Bible prophecies that foretold an attack on Israel by the Edomites, which never happened in Bible days, actually foretold an attack on the United States and Canada (the gathering place of the modern descendants of the various tribes of Israel) by the descendants of Edom. Who were they? Well..."Edom" means "red," as discussed in the Bible, and which European people (1) had names for themselves and for their ruling political party that meant "red," and (2) were threatening North America in the mid-twentieth century? Yes, those big bad ugly anti-Christian "Asiatic" Soviets. 

And also...in European history there's a lost tribe of Northern Eurasians whose name for themselves was Khazars. They faded out of such records as were kept, back when they existed, right around the time the Jewish population of Northern Europe and Asia expanded, and Ashkenazic Jews came to be recognized as culturally different from Sephardic Jews. With a higher incidence of blond hair, even. And although "Khazar" was that tribe's name for themselves before they were noted as having reached relatively harmonious terms with the local Jewish community, and probably meant something like "men" in their language, it happens to resemble a Hebrew word for "impure"...

Hence Arthur Koestler's Thirteenth Tribe, which isn't exactly science fiction, although some people prefer to regard it as such...and hence the L.C.C.'s somewhat ironic recognition of Koestler, who identified himself with those hypothetical Khazar converts to Judaism, as "an honest Jewish scholar." 

For the L.C.C. "Jewish" had two distinct meanings, sort of like the word "that" in "that person"...or, apparently, like the word "Irish" in North America in the 1840s and 1850s, when there were prosperous, well established Irish-Protestant-Americans who participated in the prejudice against desperate, destitute Irish-Catholic immigrants. Sephardic Jews had been in the United States for a long time, often respected and influential, before the mass immigration of Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the late nineteenth century, and some Sephardic Jews behaved very much like some Irish Protestants toward their less fortunate fellow tribesmen. Some of the ugliest words and stereotypes can be traced to them. 

So there were, for L.C.C.'ers, ordinary Jewish people who were sincerely religious but, for whatever reasons, unable to accept Christianity. This was sad, because in the L.C.C. interpretation of more remote Bible prophecies those people weren't going to be resurrected at all. You could pray for them, if you knew them personally and were fond of them, but you might as well know it was probably going to be a wasted effort. The majority of humankind, including some Anglo-Americans and almost all foreigners of all kinds, were in this category actually. 

And then there were those anti-Christian, anti-American, pseudo-Jewish Khazar types, who were "of the synagogue of Satan," who were actively working to suppress Christian religion and conservative politics in order to help their fellow tribesmen in the Soviet Union cause the United States to drop like rotten fruit into their nasty hands. They could be recognized by their work not merely by their ethnic origin, but they were going to be resurrected and dumped into a lake of fire. 

According to the L.C.C. there was no call for hate or violence at the time when that church was active. One popular L.C.C. book had the title The Bible Says Russia Will Invade America and Be Defeated but only when the enemy was actually on our shores were we supposed to start fighting. In the meantime we were supposed to prepare ourselves by studying the whole Bible, practicing its teachings as best we could, educating anyone willing to be educated--and, yes, accepting any individual foreigners who sincerely wanted to be whole-Bible Christians as adoptive Israelites, too. 

The L.C.C. taught that, after the rout of the invading Soviet army, then foreigners would start to appreciate the benefit whole-Bible Christianity would have for North Americans who practiced it, and would become enlightened enough to embrace whole-Bible Christianity for themselves. Before that time, missionary activity would be a waste of time and money, but sincere conversion was possible and not to be discouraged. Sincere converts would not be put off by the unfavorable observations L.C.C.ers had published about the rest of their nations, as groups...the L.C.C. did in fact admit and baptize Black converts, although it never attracted many of them.

I say this to anyone who may be thinking, "As a conservative Christian, the writer known as Priscilla King must be aware of, and tolerant of, a lot of anti-Jewish hate." I am not. 

I'm aware that some things reported as expressions of hate, by snowflakey types, are not expressions of hate at all--that even being pro-Palestinian in no way presupposes that you wish the Israelis anything worse than the blessing of being able to live peacefully in places the Palestinians aren't fighting for. (How realistic that wish may or may not be, I wouldn't know.) 

I'm also aware that real hate and violence, targeting Jews-as-such, here in these United States, as reported by a fellow respondent on one of those forums...have been rare, thank goodness. Because they make me as a Christian pretty dam' mad

Scared? Maybe...to the kind of people who think you can recognize Jews by looking at them, I've often been told, I look Jewish. I've received some social "benefits," to which I hastily explained I was not entitled, for possibly-being-Jewish even when I've been making active Christian noises. I've not been a target of hate, ever, nor have friends or e-friends who really are Jewish. I've known that, like the violent rape of women over age 25, violent hate may pop up here and there but it's not really high on any list of things to worry about.

Mostly, I pity the fools! For one thing, hundreds of thousands of people joined the best army on Earth just for the purpose of beating that kind of stupidity to death in 1940. They may be dying out, but their children and grandchildren are still around, and well represented in conservative Christian circles. Don't mess with us, haters (though I seriously believe the L.C.C. got away with some of the things some of them published, without being claimed as allies by haters, because relatively few haters know how to read).

For another thing...some S.D.A. types are still calling me a heretic, which is fine by me, but I believe there are going to be a lot of Jews in Heaven. And a few Muslims. And the Jewish neighborhood in Heaven is not going to be occupied exclusively by the great saints of the apostolic church, either, although they didn't stop being Jewish when they became Christians.

In the book of Matthew (the Sickly Snail won't give me a direct link) Jesus shared His vision of the Last Judgment. Whether everybody on Earth is resurrected, or only a minority of people who deserve either eternal life or special punishment, is not specified. In any case, He said, every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. Only those who confess that He is Lord will be saved, but not all of those who recognize that fact, on the Judgment Day, will be saved.

Some of them, He says, are trembling in fear and shame. "Forgive me, Lord, I never realized..."

"Well done, you good and faithful servants! You did various nice things for Me. Enter in to the joys of Heaven." (I'm paraphrasing--in a bit of a hurry to type this thought.)

"What did I do for You? I mean, I would have..."

"What you did for the poorest, sickest, most miserable or pathetic people on Earth, you did for Me, not knowing it. You are saved. You go to Heaven." And that's where the sincere Jewish, Muslim, and other types of people get into Heaven.

Then, turning to a lot of Christian churchgoers and preachers...they're saying, "Oh, Lord, I did this and that for you," but somehow they're not going in the doorway...

He says, "When you refused to do what you could have done for those who were poorer or more disabled or in any way more wretched than you were, on Earth, you refused to do it for me. You never fed me, you never visited me in the hospital, you didn't even share your water with me in the desert. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire!"

And that is why,

"To dwell above with saints we love,
Indeed that will be glory.
To dwell below with 'saints' we know,
Oh, that's another story!"

And if anybody out there is claiming to be a Christian and hating on the people Jesus chose to claim as His blood relatives...what's there to say? Pity the fools. Pity the damned fools!