A matter of equality?

We have reached a point in history where the concept of equal opportunity has gradually become fused, blurred and even manipulated into becoming a synonym to equal results… and to add to the gravity of the situation, the intrusion of political correctness has produced a grotesque inversion of all standards with the ultimate result of social disarray and seemingly irreparable damage, not only to many major companies but also to whole countries, including but not limited to western so called advanced nations.

If you are a parent of two children, one of them is hard working, brilliant kid  and the other is a dopy slow witted and lazy  kid, would you buy each of them the car of his choice just to be fair ? what kind of results would you expect in such case? You shall always find those who shall point fingers at you saying that it would not be fair to deprive the slow lazy kid from having a car. The child himself will certainly feel – and claim – he has been treated unfairly because he felt entitled to have the same privileges as his brother . But as a parent you realize it would be better to be accused of all this than to contribute to your child’s demise or even worse if he kills somebody – and, or himself – while driving. Mind you, not all parents are willing to take in that much pressure and blame… some others will let their emotions make their decisions for them notwithstanding the subsequent resulting catastrophe…

However, an objection may arise that the circumstances are not always that clear cut. After all a parent is expected to be even handed in dealing with his or her children who grew up in the same environment and have the same privileges as well as disadvantages. Therefore the situation becomes much more complicated for persons of different backgrounds, ethnicity, gender or religion… as all these factors become involved in the decision making process… not to mention the economic and social environment. What happens when an employer – or country – is faced with a choice between a black woman and a white man… a moslem man and a Christian woman… a gay woman or a straight man… etc. it becomes even worse, when the hiring – or immigration officer – is pressured by a superior or a relative or a friend to make a specific choice.

It is amazing how the most ardent defenders of equal opportunity, are themselves asking for preferential treatment once they get the equal opportunity they called for originally !! when fifty students apply for thirty spots in a certain course, equal opportunity means that you choose the thirty most qualified among the 50 students… period. Yet, the equal opportunity defenders – skewered by political correctness – will come back to inject certain caveats … exception for women, another for certain ethnic group, and yet another for the poor and so on and on. The end result will be excluding some of the brightest and most talented students in favor of less qualified ones… if this is an engineering class or medical class etc. you shall get mediocre graduates who shall forever be a burden on whatever profession in whatever establishment they join while you could have achieved a lot better results if the brilliant and the brightest were chosen from the beginning… actually half of those lesser graduates are bound to fail most of the time in producing, or contributing to society as a whole. That is usually the difference between a mediocre graduate and a successful one. Let me give you a practical  illustration from real life. It is a well known common practice in a country like Egypt to find blatant and out in the open discrimination against Christians – a minority – in Education as well as the job market. In a flagrant example a position was advertised as required by law to fill a spot for a staff member in one of the universities. The best qualified applicant happened to be a Christian graduate. The chairman of the department rejected the applicant and after six months with no hope of finding a qualified Muslim applicant, he cancelled the position altogether vowing, “no Christian will take this spot in my department.” In another example, during the practical exam of the final year at one university, the visiting professor before grading a certain student asked about his name – usual practice to reveal the religion of the student – and finding that the full name of the student was so ambiguous and could not reveal the religion of the student, he went to ask the local professor bluntly whether the student was Christian or Muslim … it so happened that the student in question overheard the enquiry, and answered loudly himself, “I am Christian Doc.” Only recently in this 21st century, a major scandal erupted in Egypt, when it was discovered that the answer-sheets in the most important exam for graduating high school,  of a brilliant Christian girl – which are supposed to be graded by unmarked secret ballots – were taken out and given to another failing student  – a relative of a high official – while the Christian girl was given blank answer sheets to justify giving her zeros in all subjects. It even turned out to be a common practice in the Egyptian education system when the media were allowed to investigate the matter. Because of such practices, most Egyptian Christians seek education  – and eventual immigration – outside Egypt. So the country is left with mediocre half educated graduates who cannot lift the country up into the echelons of 21st century technology.. it is well known that a Christian graduate in any Egyptian college with a passing grade, is highly endeared over any muslim graduate, because the first one had to study and work ten times harder in order to graduate, while the second had to merely show up at the exam.

Now let us take this piece of information to the level of an industrial company or commercial organization, when you have ten applicants for two spots in your roster. Five of them were educated outside the US while the other five were educated in the US. The first question you shall ask me… where outside the US? And certainly you understand the implications of that one question. You and I know why… but the law of equal opportunity is being challenged here… and for good reason… a graduate educated in Japan or South Korea is expected to have better grasp of his subjects even if he or she is schizophrenic… a graduate from New Delhi school is expected to work twice as hard for half the salary.. regardless whether he can write a report in English or communicate perfectly on the phone.

The rise or fall of nations is completely dependent on the competency of their education systems, because this is what guarantees for these nations producing competent leaders, entrepreneurs, and a highly skilled work force. In a recent report by a British official to her government regarding the education system in Egypt, she wrote, that the top tier graduates usually go into Engineering and medicine while the second tier ones go into social studies and economics. Which makes the second tier group become the arbiters and controllers of the future of the first group. The third tier graduates are usually directed into manual professional skills while at the end the fourth group which is at the bottom of the skill range go into politics and local government activism which makes them finally in control of all the other groups. It is a system that breeds problems and inefficiency. She is right, as I myself have witnessed this system at work when I graduated from the top university and all along my future was hounded by illiterate and half educated mayors, police chiefs and managers who never stopped asking for bribes, pushing illicit products or at least demanding favors.

It is true that corruption exists in every society, it exists in Chicago, New York city, London and many other cities… may be even worse than it is in Cairo, Egypt. yet when it becomes so prevalent, it certainly undercuts the chances of society as a whole to become prosperous and free… check the meteoric rise of crime in London and Chicago in the past few years.. check the homeless explosion in San Francisco and the shameless explosion of violence on “respectable” American  university campus, not to mention the latest scandal of admission to elite top Universities in the USA.  The only guardian of any society is the media, however, the media itself is the product of the education system. That is how the end… begins… fundamental  sweeping solutions are needed.. it may be painful and cause some social contortions, but it may be the only way to return to basics, to the original principles which made these same societies great at a certain point in time.             

Strangers at the door..

The Parable of “The Richman and Lazarus” is famous among Christians and non Christians alike. Most people understand the significance of this parable and the many essential principles it reveals. We can spend many hours going through the various elements of this one story, however, there is a minor observation which seems to escape the notice of almost everybody, and that is the expected kind of help the rich man was supposed to afford Lazarus. The Parable does not tell us that Lazarus was a “stranger” or that he travelled many miles to sit at the door of the rich man. It is an implicit fact in the story that the rich man already “knew” Lazarus and “chose” to ignore him and lend no help to him. He was expected to provide him with some food, clothes and may be some medical treatment for his wounds, but there was no expectation to take him into his house and let him share in his belongings, or the inheritance of his children… (Luke 16:19)

It is also clear from the other parable – usually mentioned by the libtards – “the good Samaritan” that the good man took the stranger to an “INN” and not to his own house… a fact always absent from any discussion about charity.. as usually “religious pretenders” tend to push ideals, of which they have very little understanding. (Luke 10:33)

This is also further emphasized, in the parable of the “Wedding Robe” – Mathew 22:12. Where everybody was “invited” to come into the wedding, yet the person who was found without the “Wedding garment” was kicked out and punished severely. It was asserted that “Many” are invited, yet “A few” were “chosen” … i.e. those who would be wearing the proper attire.

It is amazing how libtards – those dimwitted liberals – suddenly discover religion when it is expedient for their purposes, without the remotest understanding of the original intent or purpose of the text. Now when it comes to the issue of immigration, they try to talk to us about compassion and charity when in fact all their basic dogmas are decidedly against these same principles since they have kicked religion out of the schools and out of every public establishment they can control. Of course they will consider it “compassionate” when they destroy people’s cars, businesses and homes in the process of promoting their causes.. they will also call it “charitable” when they chase families and public figures out of restaurants, inside elevators and even inside their offices ..

After all these compassionate and charitable acts they demand of us… that we accept and allow “any” and “all” strangers who try to rush through our borders, into the country with open arms ..!! it is like asking you and me to let into our houses a homeless stranger just because he or she chose to travel from the next town and camp outside our door? you know what happens after that.. the same person will demand to take up your son’s room.. afterwards, the same will demand to use the kitchen and the pantry.. and the garage.. and the car… and even your bank account. There shall be no end to what they want to “take” and call it “sharing”.. ??!!

Just keep in mind that those libtards demand you and me to do that, while they erect high walls and security systems with armed guards around their own places to stop the same “sharing” from happening to themselves.

So, before you rush to agree with their “Gospel” preaching to us about charity and compassion, let us demand of them to allow “The gospel” into our schools and public institutions .. and after that.. the teachings of the same “Gospel” will guide everyone to the real CHARITY AND COMPASSION.

Roy Rockabilly ..

Sunday August 21, 2005

Today is the 50th birthday of Roy Rockabilly..

He lifted up the dusty lid of his piano which was sitting like a ghastly apparition in the living room for a long time, and started to touch the white and black keys with his trembling fingers. He was not crying, because the tears had already dried up since his wife Martha departed, several years ago.. he was not trying to play any particular melody, instead, he just yearned to hear how the keys used to sound… soon he abandoned the futile attempt and shuffled his way to the back yard porch .. as he was about to reach his rocking chair, he just remembered that he left his coffee in the kitchen.. so he pulled himself back to the kitchen, got his half full coffee mug and looked again to see that he had cleaned the mess he created on the floor and the kitchen table while making his coffee with his shaky hands. On his way a second time to the back yard, he looked again at the piano.. leaned on it for a while to rest… and closed his eyes trying to remember how it was when he was in his prime, playing those keys like a wizard.. “today is Sunday, I would be leading the choir in church in those glorious melodies” He thought. A fleeting smile crossed his face and he mumbled, “they all but forgot about me now… nothing lasts forever, and I guess, nobody is indispensable.. they must have found a much better person.”

He finally reached his rocking chair and sat there sipping his coffee and watching the few birds landing on the grass near the pool.

It was a bright sunny morning, though rain was in the forecast… he thought, “well, I have already lived on this earth for half a century. It is a landmark which I should celebrate.. should I get a cake? Alone? Nah…. I once heard someone say a banquet for one is the most miserable thing that can happen to that person… or.. oh, it was I who wrote that in my notebook.”

The phone rang, his heart sank into an ocean of pain. He was almost sure that the caller was not anyone he wanted to talk to… it turned out to be a person from his old school collecting donations for the “Alumni reunion party.” After he hang up, he thought of some of those friends from school… especially that one who made it big … big investment banker, big house and big family… and oh, how the big friend tried everything to avoid him because he thought that “poor” old Roy would envy his success.

“enough of that already,” he thought, “ever since Martha died four years ago, or was it five ? anyway, everybody started disappearing one by one for one reason or another. As if they were all coming to see my wife and not me.”

He noticed his notebook sitting on the table nearby, where he left it the day before.. He reached out and picked it up.. he had recorded most of his notes for the presentations and compositions for the church service in that notebook. Ah, chucks, he realized that he left his glasses in the bedroom upstairs… yet he thumped through the papers and opened it at one of the pages … bringing the paper close to his face, he read the words before him with a heavy heart… “Many of us deal with our friends and even with God Himself, like we deal with the plumber. We only call upon them when we badly need them in an emergency.. once the emergency is over we totally forget they even existed… you do not call upon your plumber to ask about his health, watch a sports game together or go out to dinner… that is unless that plumber happens to be a dear and beloved true friend”

A sad smile lingered on his face for a while when he remembered that Martha’s brother is still suing him for some inheritance which he never asked for or even wanted. He was advised to pursue the matter for the sake of his daughter. Oh, where is Rosie now? She had left to join her band of musicians who were trekking around the country, playing in different venues and dreaming of stardom, riches and fame. “She only calls when she needs some money..” he recalled.

A couple of squirrels came close and stared at him for a moment and then ran away. This time he uttered the words out loud “OH, I wish I could see them better … darn, I forgot my glasses on the nightstand upstairs”

After a while, a mild breeze stirred the leaves of the only tree in the yard, and a slight spray of rain shower began to wet his face and clothes although the sun was still stubbornly sending his golden rays through the gathering clouds. He kind of enjoyed the freshness surrounding him, so he started rocking his chair gently… and slowly noticed a beautiful lady dressed up in the old-fashioned white and blue silk garments with her shimmering cloak flowing around her and gracefully catching the golden rays of the sun … she was approaching him and stopped at a distance with an outstretched arm inviting him to join her… he was amazed, and completely taken aback by the magnificence surrounding her, so he hesitated.. then he tried to pull himself out of the rocking chair, and again was surprised how easily he could move… he was pleased to see everything clearly now… a feeling of euphoria and elation slowly replaced the heaviness and gloom…

The squirrels were much closer and stood there mesmerized looking at him… oh.. what? looking at him..? he … was looking at himself .. he was asleep.. ? is he dreaming? Now one of the audacious squirrels jumped on his knee and caused the rocking chair to tilt forward… whoa… his body leaned forward and gradually slipped out of the chair and onto the ground.. he did not wake up, and did not feel any pain… !!!

Sunday, September 26th, 2005

Rosemary Rockabilly got out of her car and walked gingerly towards the grave of her father. She was carrying a single red rose, and she was not crying.. she just stood there and her thoughts were racing in her head, “you dumb old man.. you just left and .. you just left all these problems for me…the house, the car..” Then she noticed the stranger standing on her right side crying bitterly over another person’s grave. She was astonished. It seemed like her stare was noticed, and the weeping lady turned to her saying, “I am sorry… I brought all these flowers and just realized I never brought him any flowers when he was alive… when he would really enjoy them and see how much I loved him. I was cruel and self-centered while he tried very hard to reach out to me… now it is too late … too late.. I am sorry” she kept sobbing and crying.

Rosie was still carrying her red rose in her hand.. she was completely stunned.. she let the rose drop to the ground and backtracked her way slowly towards her car.

What good is the rose on the grave…!!!?

Retreat is not an option

In a recent article, a news commentator wrote, “Christians must get ready for a fierce wave of persecution.” He was not far off the mark. But, he was not merely referring to the ferocious violent persecution occurring against Christians all over the world in the form of Crucifixion, beheadings etc., for he was trying to alert us to the fact that the war against Christianity is now waged on all fronts, especially – and most dangerously – in the area of ideas and intellectual morality.  As we approach the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, Christians are still, largely unaware of the pernicious growth of what can be labeled the liberal far left. These are far more devastating than the previous challenges of idolatry, Atheism and communism, which have never been completely eradicated, but instead are flourishing in the convoluted environment created by this new craze of extreme liberalism. Needless to say that there are several faithful Christians who are trying hard to ring the alarm bells to the danger threatening the very underpinning of modern civilization which was admittedly established on the solid foundation of Christian principles.  The irony though, is that any time a Christian activist tries to alert people about this impending danger threatening to undermine the very core of the sound classic social structure of society, he is immediately attacked savagely by the watch dogs of this new demonic ideology. Indeed, the media at large – news papers, TV, Movies …etc – are advocating, supporting and promoting this new wave and any one who would not fall in line, would be branded anti progressive and ignorant or even worse…. It is sad to say that they have become very clever in this strategy and achieved a great deal of success in brainwashing a large segment of society, especially in academia, as I have explained in my article about “bastardization of nations”

The present battle lines are drawn. It is no longer a fight between good and evil, where each side used to be clearly identifiable (because we used to have points of reference). Instead, on the one side you find those who are advocates of the pure Christian principles, maintained and preserved by the sacrifices and martyrdom of thousands of believers in the course of the past two millennia. On the other hand, you find stealth extremely liberal, newly revived Gnostic teachings, (with science representing the higher god in some cases) wrapped up in what looks like a modernistic version of the same principles (compassion, freedom etc) though completely devoid of its soul and power… thereby, confusing the majority of people between what is authentic (good) and what is counterfeit (also claimed and promoted as good). The ultimate goal is to undermine, and finally eradicate any traces of the true original Christian faith, i.e. Christian Orthodoxy.

The new teachings – blatantly promoted by many scientific and educational institutions – hail the heretics, both old and new, like Marcion of the second Century AD, all the way to the contemporary Jesus seminary, as reformers and free thinkers, while calling the faithful fathers of the church – old and contemporary – tyrannical and closed-minded bigots. They try to tinker with the Holy Bible itself, claiming that the heretical writings excluded from it were unfairly thrown out by a powerful authoritarian church. They are trying to force their views of ordaining women and gays into the priesthood on all churches, as they reinterpret the scriptures to match their twisted ideology. They shamelessly try to tell us that the “Lord’s Prayer” should read, “Our parent who is in heaven…” or “Our father/mother who is in heaven…” in other words, the long-held standards of what is normal are being gradually and surely replaced with new norms which defy reason and stand against nature itself. ***

And then comes the role of the media. A challenge which our early fathers did not have to deal with at the current scale before the introduction of printing. While we can use the same tools to defend and refute the claims of these same media, unfortunately, for one reason or another, we have not yet perfected the use of these tools to be nearly on an equal footing with the venom of Hollywood, TV, news papers, and worst of all, social media like facebook, and the internet. Only recently facebook – after getting under some scrutiny – have adopted a system of censorship, which claims to clean up the postings of users, while in fact it started a campaign to brand any conservative Christian page or posting as violent, spam, or any other manufactured excuse, while allowing the real offensive and dangerous postings, like those of the holocaust deniers, to be published with no restrictions !!

If you are religious, and especially if you are a religious Christian, opposing their agenda, you are called an extremist, a fundamentalist, a racist, a sexist or even a terrorist. Thereby, they make no distinction between a person lobbing bombs on innocent people in a market place and another who would pray for the salvation of those who persecute him. In other words, they shall accuse you of every vile thing they themselves practice freely without the slightest hint of shame. They demand tolerance for their ideas and behavior but never acknowledge it for any opposing views.

Modern liberalism and Gnosticism which are now spreading, unchecked and unopposed like wild-fire always preach equality and open-mindedness as long as you agree with them, yet they will vehemently and violently jump to attack those who disagree with their new creed of lawlessness and depravity. The question is, how those Christians confront those attacks?

Make no mistake, retreat is not an option. Because the slightest hint of weakness, recoil, or fear will further embolden the anti Christian hordes of godless institutions who are not bound by shame or any sense of true morality. If we hope to defeat this plague, we have to be prepared for it. We need to educate ourselves to be ready to respond appropriately to their endless waves of attacks. And follow the advice of that ancient Chinese general who wrote the art of war, to learn everything we can about those adversaries and their wicked devices. Complacency or retreat will only mean you are conceding your faith and the faith of future generations to the hordes of evil.

*** 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ( For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.)

“Inspired by the book “Spirit Wars” by Peter Jones”

*** originally written and published 2010

Think…. About Providence …

The only survivor of a shipwrecked luxury yacht, is frightened on an uncharted island in the middle of the ocean. She is praying for a miracle to bring any ship this way to take her home.

Nobody sees her…But God does.

A little child is crying in the middle of a jungle after his screaming father has been taken away by wild animals. He does not know what to do or where to go.

Nobody hears him…but God does.

An Old man was beaten and mugged in a dark alley in the big city and then left for dead. He is moaning in pain on the ground.

Nobody cares…but God does.

A hiker is trapped in a wilderness by a snow storm ..

A climber is half way up the cliff when his gear is breaking up…

A skier is racing down the slope ahead of a deadly avalanche…

And…

After a five course dinner with family and friends, I go to my room and kneel to pray…“Please God, help me get this new car…and that promotion. I am worried about that person who seems to hate me…Oh, God you are very slow to respond to my endless prayer. Please hurry for I cannot wait any longer.”

To me, my needs are always more pressing, more important and more urgent than the needs of anyone else.

God knows…God sees…God hears…God does take care of ALL who call upon him in his own unbound kindness, infinite wisdom and unimaginable power. That is Divine Providence…

How The Story Ends ..

I was sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch, when Linda came and sat across from me..

“I am very angry with you.” She said jokingly and grabbed some of my salad.

“Angry ? with me ? why? I am a very peaceful guy and never grabbed any of your salad.” I said trying to stop her invasion.

“No.. seriously. I read your last short story and I was so excited to see how it ends, but you .. as usual, you ended it leaving me hanging.” She said offering me some of her cookies.

“Oh, that .. ” I said shaking my head.

“what do you have to say for yourself?” she cracked up laughing.

“you are referring to ‘life as a candle’ .. right?” I asked

“Yes, that is the last one .. right ?” she answered emphatically

“how do you imagine the ideal ending should have been?” I asked

“well.. at least you should have elaborated on the life of the main characters after their marriage .. to .. to compare that with the first failed romance encounter.” She said.

“well.. another person might have wanted to elaborate on the life of the crippled doctor after his grandson got married… some people hated the way his part ended.. some others hated the fact that it ended at all ..”

“and your point?” she challenged me.

“The point is simple dear Linda.. no matter how the story ended .. it is bound to annoy somebody.. like real life.. real life does not go the way we plan or wish.. it always takes its twists and turns totally unexpected and more often than not heartbreaking”

“well .. I mean.. when I read a story I like to find a comforting conclusion.. real life is full of its own hardships and tragedies .. I am actually running from real life for a short while into that fantasy world you create for me so I can relax and … and dream a little” she replied shaking her beautiful head.

“No..” I smiled and said, “No.. that is not my goal or my intention when I write..”

“really? So what is your goal and your intention? Drive me crazy? ” she stared at me.

“if you want to travel to fantasy land and then wake up to face unrelated reality, you shall better close your eyes and listen to some Mozart music.” I said laughing.

“I am serious.. “she prodded me.

“Dear Linda, I want my reader to engage in the thought process I placed into my story .. I respect my readers to the extent that I give them the choice to expand the events, the dialogue and even the characters in their own minds .. in their imagination.. the way they feel .. if I were this person, would I behave this way? Did I see someone handle himself in this way and criticized him..? I try to stimulate the reader to reflect on his or her own behavior.. how does this particular story resonate in your own life.. this is the basis for contemplation.. I am just giving you some material to think about” I explained. She was listening attentively. Then she said,

“But this is .. this a little deep for some people. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is not for everyone.. some people will like to read a lengthy steamy novel of romance, some others will prefer a crime drama.. but I am talking to intellectual, contemplative readers .. the kind of readers .. who like the beauty of the rose and enjoy its aroma, but do not stop there.. they like to think about its delicate fascinating petals, its perishability and the prickliness of its thorns.. and end up looking at life .. as a rose.. that.. is the kind.. that is the person who will enjoy reading what I write..” I was sipping my drink now watching her reaction.

“Wow..” she murmured to herself.. “that is why..”

“I am sorry I couldn’t hear you.” I asked.

“I said, that is why usually when I read one of your stories, it kind of .. haunts me.. It makes me mad sometimes, I cannot shake it off my head” her voice was still very low.

“I tell you a little secret .. one time a publisher asked me to write some articles for him.. I kind of expected trouble.. but I wrote a few lines .. very small article and sent it to him.. ” I said raising my brow.

“what happened?” she asked tilting her head.

“as expected” I cracked up laughing. “he wrote back to me.. he thought it was all gibberish ..he did not understand what it was about.”

“you are wicked” she asked laughing, “you lost a chance to publish”

“I explained the piece to him.. and withdrew it.. I published it myself.” I answered quietly

“which piece is this?” she asked.

“Pebbles in the stream.”

“I remember this.. it was a while ago.. I liked it a lot.. indeed I sometimes feel I am swimming in the great abyss” she laughed merrily.

“another one of my readers, just like you, chastised me last year after reading ‘Dr. Parker’s dilemma’ and for the same reason..” I said.

“I cried .. I actually cried after I finished reading it for the third time.. I fell in love with Mtmba .. I wanted him to be a real person so I could hug and kiss him.” Linda answered emotionally.

“there are a lot of Mtmbas in our world dear Linda.. all around us .. badly in need for a hug and kiss” I said somberly and continued, “Let me tell you.. I myself have cried .. really cried blinding tears while I wrote “the dragon and the turtle-dove” I confessed

“where is this published?” she demanded.

“it is not published yet. It is a play.. it was intended to be produced in New Jersey, but it was cancelled in the last-minute for logistic and cost reasons.” I lamented.

“So you shall publish it now ?” she asked again.

“right now I have another project, but I may publish it in the future.. I promise” I smiled reassuringly.

“what is that new project?” she asked picking up her lunch tray getting ready to leave.

“Dear Linda.. I cannot tell you that.. but I can tell you this much.. I shall make sure, to keep your concerns in mind..” I said with a wink.

“really ? so you must be writing part two of “life as a candle”” she challenged me.

“I did not say that.. I said it shall be .. as intriguing as ___” she did not let me finish, as she splashed some water at my face.. and went away laughing.

The Problem of Self Esteem .. !!

His problem, as he described it, was that the girl he wanted to marry was rich and her family thought very little of him. After we discussed the matter, I told him, “Sir, the real problem is that you think too little of yourself. You are not less in value – and not more for that matter – than anybody else. If they understand this concept, they shall welcome you for what you stand for.. if they reject you, it should be for that same reason and nothing else.. in which case you may be all the better for it.

Low self esteem – which is completely different from humility – is a very debilitating disease ..

On the other hand, Pride is a malignancy impossible to detect or cure except by Grace… !!

Do you know why?

In the case of pride, Grace – and only Grace – can identify those hearts and souls which may be ready to accept the enormously powerful shock therapy required for such cure. That is why we see Grace touching the hearts of such a notorious gangster like Moses of Egypt, or self righteous  Saul of Tarsus  while the likes of Caiaphas were left staring Grace at the face and yet unable to realize the enormity of the opportunity given to him, and thereby condemning himself to eternal damnation.

It is an undisputed fact that all humanity had fallen, and all humans are under the yoke of sin. Some people try hard to approach God and repent realizing that there is nothing they can do to atone for their sins, and therefore the only way to reconcile with the divine is through the grace of God which can only be available through the sacrifice of the cross. Some others do not – or cannot – accept that simple fact, consequently, they either waste their lives trying some other futile means, or give up completely.

Most of the time, the gravity of our sins itself contribute to our failure to seek the power of Grace. Despair kills any chance of salvation and the enemy erases from our memories the words of God promising that even if our sins are as dark as crimson, He would wipe it clean and turn our life to become as pure as snow. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

From the time of Golgotha to the time of the Resurrection, we see these realities exhibited so clearly through two glaring examples:

The first is the man called Caiaphas, who thought himself to be pure and mighty, when in fact he was so proud as the devil itself, While we see Mary of Magdala, who was a sinner and demon possessed low esteemed woman, turn into a saint and a preacher with unmatched honor in all history.

Caiaphas was a High priest, a man of high esteem and knowledge .. in his own mind, he seemed to think that he was serving God and serving the people. He was feared and opposing him was a very dangerous task, which might lead to serious consequences .. Before he met with Jesus, he had to deal with kings, rulers and soldiers … and above all he had the exalted power to corral the unwieldy members of the Sanhedrin. Even Pilate was wary of him and had to manage to appease him in order to keep the peace, to the extent that he would release Barabbas, a killer and a bandit, against his own judgment to avoid a confrontation. Now, people with such weighty power tend to be unscrupulous, and mindless about whatever others think of them or whatever the consequences of their behavior might be. Caiaphas was the ultimate example of pride unchecked.. looking and pretending to be righteous and upstanding, while in fact the malignancy of pride was corrupting him to the core. Even though he probably memorized David’s psalms and learned everything about Abraham and Moses … sadly, he could not comprehend the real source of greatness of these stalwart and righteous men.

At that same time, while women were generally looked upon as weaklings second class, and were not accepted as arbiters, or even equal to men, a particular disgraceful status of disdain and disgust was kept for any sinful demon possessed adulteress. Mary of Magdala was just such woman before she met with Jesus. Her transformation is an example for the ages. This is the ultimate transformation of human kind, because this woman exemplifies the status of degenerate and fallen humanity before the cross at Golgotha.. and the conversion that happened Sunday Morning of the Resurrection.. into a new Holy and pure “Sainthood”

Once God cast all the demons “sins” out of her, she became free. The kind of freedom which liberates you from fear, or desire or greed. While most of the disciples ran away and denied … she stood next to the Holy Mother at the cross .. she even had the initiative to wake up early Sunday morning to go the sepulcher only worried about “who would move the stone for us.” She did not know that Christ has risen.. she expected to find the Holy body laid down where it was left in the tomb. Keep in mind that what she did that morning was purely driven by love .. fearless and devoted to the master who freed her.. she did not expect to be rewarded or immortalized by a gift beyond any human comprehension. Anybody else – human, that is – would wallow in sorrow and despair, and stay home sleeping until Sunday afternoon.. which almost all other people actually did. Up to the moment she actually saw Jesus, she was crying, unable to perceive the unimaginable glory she was witnessing .. for all humanity.

 

Now notice how she was later ridiculed, though she was right, while Caiaphas was praised, though he was wrong. This is how the world deals with us every day.  Most people do not think that even after Caiaphas had condemned Jesus to death, and after the Resurrection of Jesus, Caiaphas had the opportunity to reverse course and save himself.. he could have acknowledged the glorious resurrection and believe .. but, his pride – not stupidity, because reaching his position in society could not be achieved by stupidity – blinded him and thereby condemned himself for all eternity.

The question is, why didn’t grace touch this man’s heart in order to believe? The answer is simple, this haughty heart was not prepared to accept the price of that grace… marching to Golgotha, carrying the cross – with all its tribulations, shame and temptations – and kill the megalomania of selfishness and self adoration. The prophetic words of the song of Saint Mary comes to mind, “

” … He (GOD) hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away…” (Luke1 :51-53)

A natural question presents itself to us in order to avoid these confusing misconceptions. Does that mean a person should have no self esteem at all ? if pride is so wicked, and low self esteem is frequently confused with humility, is there a point of balance or a third choice?

The answer is no. Pride is a malignant disease, nevertheless, it should not be confused with proper self esteem, same like humility should not be taken for dishonor, which drives some people to feel like they have to be mindful of their reputation and dignity everywhere they go and with everybody they meet.. such people carry themselves around with an air of self awareness that is usually unpleasant and in some cases even repulsive. These people are not really proud, but merely scared of being belittled and dismissed as inconsequential by others. The actual virus of pride stems from the self .. that is why when a person understands the real value of himself / herself.. the attitude and behavior is completely changed. My value as a person does not come from my bank account, my degree of education or my heritage .. but in fact it comes from being a prince .. a son of a King. Because if Christ is the King of Kings, It follows that I am his son, a prince. This connection puts everything in the proper place. I can afford to be humble, even if people humiliate me, I am not offended because I already know my own worth. And if people respect me, it never goes to my head to feel superior to anybody, because this was never the source of my esteem. This is why observing a “religious person”,  wearing his pride around like another layer of skin, is really sad … because his/ her strict religious practice, or any other material advantage cannot camouflage the underlying malignant disease… case and point Caiaphas. On the other hand notice how Saul, after falling off his horse “of pride” had exemplified the transformation explained here as he maintained that proper self-esteem to defend himself when he was accused of “not being an apostle” but he remained the humble man even though he had witnessed “things beyond the imagination of human mind.. what no man had ever seen or heard”

So, you see the danger of pride is real and very bad, yet those who realize the true source of dignity and honor, shall be willing to go looking for it on the way to Golgotha and certainly end up witnessing the empty tomb with all its glory..

It is never too late .. even a proud and haughty heart, may find a way back to sanity and grace, if only he/or she would put away their self adoration and vanity

Are you ready to pay the price … and fall off the horse of pride (like Saul did) in order to receive unexpected and unimaginable bounty of grace…

Denominations

Don’t be naïve ..

Non-denominational … is in itself “A Denomination”

The question you need to answer is, do you have faith? Do you know the principles of your own faith? If you have doubts about your own faith, how do you go about resolving these doubts and dealing with them?

Each Christian denomination, especially the major ones, had a specific origin and reasons for its  inception. Yes, being born into a certain denomination may not be reason enough to continue holding onto the principles of faith of that denomination. Based on new acquired knowledge and research you may want to tweak your own principles, which automatically moves you into a different denomination that fits your new-found faith.. but, by no means it would imply that suddenly you denounced your faith altogether … it simply moves you from one column to another.. if your new found faith does not agree with any known denomination, you think you can call yourself non-denominational !! and that my friend is complete hogwash .. you have just created for yourself a new denomination .. call it whatever you like, and if two or three or even three hundred agree with you, then your denomination – whatever you like to call it – is your new denomination.

This is true … Unless you lose your faith in Christ and your acceptance of the Bible altogether, in which case you are joining – or even creating – a new religion.. like what happened in the seventh century A.D. when a priest, previously adherent to a heretic form of Christianity (Arianism and in other sources Nestorian) called Waraka ibn Nawfal created the new religion we now know as islam. **

This leads us to the more sensitive issue who goes to heaven, and who goes to hell ?!

Some Christians – from several denominations – like to think that they alone have an exclusive right to go to heaven … everybody else shall surely go to hell !!

So, let me ask you a simple question… who gave you – or me – the audacity to usurp the authority of God to make this eternal decision ?

Is it not better for you – and me – to focus our efforts to keep the principles of our own faith and preserve our own heritage to the best of our ability as long as we believe that this is our way to heaven? If you think that others, who do not belong with you in the same denomination, are lost and need to change their ways.. the only thing you can do, is ask God to help them (as well as you) to find the way of the truth .. you can in a spirit of caring and love – not antagonism and condescending – try to present your case and generate a dialogue where both of you can reach the appropriate end, based on facts and any newly acquired knowledge which conforms to the teachings of the Bible and lessons of history.

Christians – of all denominations – have too many enemies already, spiritual and other otherwise, so we need not create more enemies for ourselves among ourselves .. after all, this is the oldest trick of our enemy to lead us all out of favor with our God.

** check Wikipedia and other historic sources

An army of one

Do you realize that you are an army of one..?

If you have a strong conviction of a certain principle, you can go out there and convince another person of your ideas… and when you have convinced that person, he too can go out and convince a third person and so on and so forth.. eventually you may end up spreading your idea to the whole world…

Unfortunately, this same concept also applies to evil ideas.. another person with a wicked plan can go out and do the same.. thereby, spreading his wickedness far and wide..

What is more disturbing, is that wicked ideas are much more easily disseminated and spread than good principles. That is why those of us with good ideas and beliefs have to work twice as hard to convince others of our principles.. and more often than not we are going to meet with discouragement and failure.. But that should not lead to despair.. we cannot afford to lose faith and stop trying. Sooner or later, we are going to catch a break and find the right person who will respond positively and listen. And when we have delivered the good message, convincingly, we shall be on our way to eventual success.

We have to remember as well that even though each of us is an army of one, we also have a secret advocate who is constantly directing and supporting us in a manner the other side does not enjoy.. we have The Holy Spirit on our side. With perseverance and patience, you can reach goals previously thought to be unreachable .. in the mean time, it all depends on the original basic factor .. that you firmly believe in the idea you are promoting.. because any wavering, doubt, or hesitation on your part, will uproot the whole project from the start..

So, let me ask you… Do you have a good idea? something to benefit other people or improve their lives ?

What are you waiting for ???