Bloody Footprints in the Snow

Honoring the unsung
heroes of
The American Revolution

 

            My son was reading “Magic Tree House… American Revolution” (by Mary Pope Osborne/Natalie Pope Boyce) to me, when he abruptly asked, “Why are you crying, dad?” “Because,” I replied, “I suddenly realize how much those American soldiers sacrificed for our freedom.” And then I thought to myself: “I’m grateful to the authors for keeping a children’s book authentic and not omitting disturbing images, like shoeless soldiers marching in the snow.”

The crossing of the Delaware, historians say, was a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary war. By the end of 1776, the war efforts hadn’t been as successful as the patriots had hoped. They’d lost two strategic forts, indispensable supplies, and their footing in New York was slipping. Furthermore, the enlistment terms of many were expiring soon, and it appeared doubtful that very many of those soldiers would re-enlist. Without a positive, significant turn of events, the war would surely fizzle out by spring; and this was Washington’s no-holds-bar attempt at changing the course of history.

Crossing the Delaware was a battle against a tumultuous storm. Heavy winds, snow, and freezing rain made it an insurmountable obstacle. I wouldn’t have wanted to drive in it, let alone cross an icy river with frozen hands in soaking wet clothes. By this time, desertions had become quite common; and if ever there was a time to tuck tail and run, it was that night. It’s Christmas and you’re spending it with gloomy soldiers instead of your loving family.

It wasn’t until after midnight when all the troops and equipment made their way across; and with no sleep, these soldiers – some of them shoeless – trudged through the snow for almost four hours. Try and imaging what might’ve gone through your head during that trek. “This isn’t going to work. We’ve lost so many other battles, what makes Washington think this one will be any different? It’s Christmas, I’m soaking wet, shoeless, and freezing my butt off. Why couldn’t this wait until after the holidays? Things weren’t so bad under King George, were they?”

Washington was leading a disheartened, ragtag army with little hope of success; but before they started this strenuous task, he showed true genius by reciting “The American Crisis” to them – A stirring piece by Thomas Paine, which arrived – hot off the presses – just in time to encourage the troops to stay the course. I’d like to reproduce the introduction from this brilliant classic:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

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Washington is primarily glorified for the Revolution – and I don’t mean to undermine his contributions in any way. But I believe he’d agree when I say, we should also commemorate those who sacrificed the most. It was a brilliant plan, but it would’ve come to nothing without bloody footprints in the snow. And I say, God bless those men who did what I couldn’t do by carrying on in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s wonderful that we take advantage of our liberties today; but we should never forget the hardships endured by our ancestors who secured these freedoms for us – many of whom died long before seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. So I encourage us to stop from time to time, and remember those soldiers who left bloody footprints in the snow.

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Now I’d like to explore the events set in motion by those bloody footprints. First of all: questioning a “divinely sanctioned” monarch was unheard of at the time and took great courage. To question the king back then meant certain death; and in an era today, when David Limbaugh can write a book entitled, “The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s war on the Republic”, and live to collect royalties, well I guess we really should honor those bloody footprints. They sacrificed everything to resist a tyrant who would’ve hanged Limbaugh for much less insolence than this title. Those footprints were distinguished by an air of defiance against despotism. People had had enough of it in Europe. Why do you suppose these daring souls left all familiarities, crossed an uncertain ocean, and braved an uncharted new world? They were sick and tired of the old ways established for millennia in Europe.

Furthermore, why did they call it a “New World?” Today if we talked about a new world, we’d assume a new planet had been discovered. But 500 years ago we found a new world right here on Earth, on the other side of the world from tyrants and religious superstition.

This novel insolence not only worried the king, but it also alarmed the clergy as well. They were still nursing the wounds of the Reformation. Since the king’s rule was sanctioned by the church, the church, of course, would say: To question the authority of the king is to question the sovereignty of the church, and to question the church is to question God Almighty. we the people

The next wrong in a long line of things to be righted was Slavery. It wasn’t long after the Revolution that people began wondering how we could call ourselves a free nation while millions of our fellow humans were in shackles. Several anti-slavery parties sprung up, and the conflict to abolish slavery commenced.

Two battles intertwined themselves with the Abolition movement: 1) not only were the slave-holders enraged against it, but the church of the south was united with them as well. They asserted that Jehovah endorsed slavery in his sacred scriptures. And 2) the second battle raging was primarily promoted by the church, regarding women speaking in public. In a time when women were the property of men and expected to keep their mouths shut, these brave women were publicly sharing their first hand knowledge of how their fathers had abused and raped their female slaves.

The newspapers and clergy vehemently attacked these women at every occasion, calling them infidels and atheists, with degrading statements like: “A woman preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all.” Ladies, next time you feel coerced into repressing your God given rights, try honoring those women who endured great hardships so you could be recognized as equals and not as property.

One of the most influential heroines of this epoch was Lucretia Mott. Her motto should be inscribed upon the altars of every church, mosque, and synagogue: “Truth for authority and not authority for truth.” I love her!

After a long, turbulent clash, including a violent Civil War, both dreams were eventually realized. Although it took about a century for the idea to sink in, these new concepts had rooted themselves in the American psyche. Even the church resisted both notions; But the direction mankind was headed in could not be restrained – women were eventually recognized as equally created by God.

The slaves were initially freed with the Emancipation Proclamation, but like women, it was another century before their Constitutional rights were completely established. And what was the position of most churches during the initial battles of the 1800’s, and the finalization of both repressions in the 1960’s and 70’s? Yes, Martin Luther King’s church, of course, was supporting the Civil Rights Movement, but what stance did the ‘whites only church’ take on the issue? I think the answer to this was made plain in 1995, when the Southern Baptist church formally apologized for their support of slavery and segregation.

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Can you appreciate that Lincoln held the second, if not the most difficult term in our presidential history? There was a tremendous amount of polar opposites clashing together with Lincoln at the center. I believe a most candid account of these epic battles can be found in the beginning of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Lincoln explains the precarious gray area he traversed in making the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’. It’s a riveting scene – within the first thirty minutes – where he reveals how, from one angle, it appeared proper, yet an argument could be made from another that he’d trampled the rights of each individual, southern state.

Lincoln frequently had good Christians expressing their concerns to him. One assuring him that God endorsed slavery, while the other asserting it sin. This is what Lincoln was referring to when he said, “I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will.” And at another time when he said, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”

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The last great movement of this spirit of Human Rights came along in the 1960’s. That’s when we saw a marvelous revolution against orthodoxy and conventional programming. Not only was this when African-Americans renewed their struggle for their God-given rights, but long-haired white people were rebelling against long held traditional values as well. We’re all familiar with the pandemonium of this era, but I’d like to focus on the crux of this revolution. It was nothing more than asserting the right to be different, and encouraging love and peace towards all mankind. What’s wrong with that?

At a time when America was in a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ construct, they wanted to break the shackles of conformity. People were pretty much cookie-cut and molded into culturally accepted positions of society. The daughter was conditioned to be the stay-at-home mom who got a wrap on the cheek if she didn’t comply with her husband’s demands. The son was groomed to be a hard-working man who never cried, who hated communism, and never questioned authority.leaveit_to_beaver1

Things were drifting back to pre-revolutionary conditions. If you don’t believe it, watch some of the shows and commercials from that era. Anything from vacuum cleaners to Mr. Clean helping out in the kitchen were always aimed at the stay-at-home mom for example. And examine any ad directed at a man today, and you’ll most likely see a half naked big-breasted woman. I know Fry’s is campaigning women when I see the attractive, but not extraordinary, lady in the common, red house dress. I know this primarily because there is no cleavage to be seen.

Some more recent rights to be considered before we close: Worker’s rights, Children’s rights, and animal rights organizations, to name a few.

And finally: Very soon we’ll see the long-awaited finalization of equal rights for the gay community as well. I’m perplexed that two hundred years after the Revolution, and we’re still finding human rights that need to be addressed. It’s kind of a great time in history to be alive. I honestly believe gay rights will be remembered as the final stage of established human rights. And gay people should, as much as the rest of us, show appreciation to those nameless soldiers who left bloody footprints in the snow.

Let us always honor those who paid the heaviest burden to secure our wonderful freedoms. And let us also keep in mind that, at nearly every step, over the last two-millennia, the church has piously stood in staunch opposition to the advancements of society – from the Abolition of slavery and Women’s Liberation to gay rights.

Michael Blakeslee

 

Did Jesus really say love your enemies?

Did He mean it, or was it just another cliché religious people spew out? He also said why do you call me lord, but do not the things I have commanded you? (Luke 6:46) I believe it’s indicative of His intent for us to practice what He preached.

If Jesus really said, “Love your enemies,” why do I find posts by people who call him Lord, Lord to the effect of “All Muslims must die!”? Or the loving signs the Westboro Baptists hold up in their pickets, depicting God as a hater of His creation.

Aside from the fact that we are offering ‘evil for evil’ and disobeying Jesus’ direct orders, we are also incorporating several innocent people into our hate, people whose only crime was being born into a particular belief structure which differs from our own. They know nothing beyond the narrow, bigoted beliefs programmed into their brains by parents, priests, and politicians.

I’d like to ask that you consider: What was Jesus referring to when he said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” It’s pretty simple; it’s the finale to ‘The Beatitudes’ – arguably one of the greatest discourses ever delivered. Although I quoted it from Luke, for our exploration of ‘The Beatitudes,’ I’d like to direct your attention to the more comprehensive version found in the gospel of Mathew.

So what did Jesus say before capping it off with, ‘Don’t bother calling me Lord unless you’re willing to do as I say’? Did He say, “You must believe I am the son of God?” Did He say, “You must be washed in my blood?” What He said, prior to this proclamation, can be studied in Matthew’s chapters 5-7; and I implore you to do so. I’m only going to hit a few important topics, which need careful consideration:

5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (The absence of ego, pride, and arrogance – attitudes not found in heaven)

5:5) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (I know as Christians, we’re not interested in inheriting the earth, but it is our inheritance if we are meek. Do you suppose being meek means hating and killing people who are different from us?)

5:7) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Would you like to obtain mercy for your mistakes? It’s simple: Be merciful to others. Many times you see Jesus using this ‘give and it shall be given to you’ concept.)

5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (How shall we be entitled to see God – by the work of Calvary’s cross? Jesus says if your heart is pure, you will see God.)

5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God. (Several people asked Jesus ‘what must I do to be saved?’ and His response was never ‘simple faith’ but to do something. What must we do to be called the children of God? Be a peacemaker. Are we promoting peace and acting like children of God, or are we perpetuating hate and violence?)

5:38-42) You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (There is no provision made for killing our enemies.) Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (‘Give to the one who asks’ makes no provision for “well, I know he’s only going to blow it on booze!”)

5:43-48) You have heard that it was said, (I love when Jesus says this. He may not have come to abolish the law, but He sure did a lot of upgrading.) ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (How can you become a Son of the Heavenly Father? By loving your enemies and praying for those who abuse you, that’s how. Again, neither a word about faith nor the blood atoning sacrifice.) If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Our righteousness must exceed the pagans as well as the Pharisees.)

In 7:9-14 Jesus teaches us how to pray, and I would like to focus on the last part of this prayer:

Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (So, how do we obtain God’s forgiveness, by being washed in the blood? By forgiving others! And why will God withhold His forgiveness, because we have rejected His Son? Because we have not forgiven others! Jesus goes into great detail regarding this concept in Matt 18:21-35; ending it with, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”)

7:1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Again this concept of what goes around comes around, or better yet; what you put out there you will receive back – ‘Give, and it shall be given to you’ works for the negative as well as the positive.)

5:21-23) Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (And He just spelled out the ‘will of God’ for us in ‘The Beatitudes.’)

Paul said, “We are saved by grace, and not by works,” yet it appears as though Jesus may be contradicting Paul. Everything in ‘The Beatitudes’ seems to indicate a need for our participation.

Yes, I know how difficult it is to love someone who hates you; however, it is commanded of us; and you cannot circumvent a flood by pouring more water on it. We cannot overcome the hate in this world by offering it more hate. We must strive to find ways of acting like the peacemakers Jesus expected the children of God to be.

So we can offer all the opposing views we like, but the bottom line is this: We must ask ourselves two fundamental questions. Do we, or do we not, believe Jesus said these things, and if we do, then how can we work these virtues into our lives? I recommend we pray God give us the strength to be truly Christ like.

If we are supposed to love our enemies, why have we killed so many Muslims, ‘heretics,’ atheists, various ‘dissenting believers,’ scientists, and ‘witches’?

I feel I must end with an attempt to describe the beauty and joy that come from forgiveness. As Jesus said, “As you give you will receive. Forgive and be forgiven.” Isn’t that all we really want? You may say all we want is love; however, without forgiveness, we are incapable of experiencing love. First, we must experience the forgiveness for the things which hold our mind in bondage to guilt. It is this guilt, which repels love as we cry out, “I’m not worthy!”

And all that is required to experience this forgiveness is to offer it. It’s as simple as that. As you learn to hold yourself in a state of constant forgiveness, you’ll discover a new world awaits you. One of the first things you’ll find is an easiness of mind; a lessening of the burden of anger, hate, and stress, which our souls pay a heavy tax to shoulder. You’ll also discover people respond in like manner. No, not always, but you’ll find more people willing to hold the door for you – agreeable people yielding out of politeness to you – and most importantly, a general willingness to forgive you.

As a professional driver, I can attest that as I forgive motorist for cutting me off and whatnot, I find when I make a mistake and cut someone else off, by misjudging their distance or speed, they simply go around me; I hear no honking of horns, nor do I see any fingers out the window. The world truly is as we create it.

It is not my intention to neither trample the Cross nor profane the blood of Jesus. By all means continue in your belief and worship of these things. However, I do intend to stress my conviction that we may engulf ourselves in as much of His blood as we desire, but we may find it to no avail, if we do not practice the art of forgiveness as Jesus taught in the first three Gospels. And we stand the chance of hearing “Depart from Me; I never knew you” if we stubbornly refuse.

I will end with a quote from ‘A Course in Miracles,’ lesson 122 Forgiveness offers everything I want:

“What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset? All this forgiveness offers you, and more.”

Michael Blakeslee

 

Why has Jesus delayed His return so long?

For those of you wondering why Jesus has delayed His coming for over 2,000 years, Pastor Ray Hagins has some insightful clues:

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These excerpts taken from his sermon, ‘There will be no rapture’ which can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FiLq5UWNIuA#

Pastor Hagins starts off by saying, The Bible says, “There will be no rapture, and Jesus is not coming back.” Our primary response would be, “Show me where it says that.” We shall get into that after we address 3 core questions.

Pastor Hagins then asks three key questions:

Is it possible that Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be established on Earth within His generation?

Is it possible that Jesus thought that the end of the world was eminent because of a fulfillment of prophecy? Not 2,000 years later but right then in His time.

Is it possible that what Christians teach about what is yet to come has already happened? This is important because if it’s already happened; then what are we waiting for?

On careful examination of the words of Jesus in the Gospels, it seems to me, Jesus sincerely held the belief and taught that He was the long looked for Messiah and He was going to usher in the Kingdom of God within His own generation.

Luke 21:31-32 “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is nigh.” What things? The things previously mentioned and we’ll get into that. What does nigh mean? It means near or now not 2,000 years from now.

“I tell you the truth, [or, rest assured] this generation [what generation? He is talking about his generation; not the generation of 2012. Don’t look at it from the perspective of the reader but from the perspective of the speaker.] this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Those people listening would not die until what he said happened.

Matt 24:34-35 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In other words, you can take this to the bank.

Matt 24:3 “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Then what does Jesus tell them? And keep in mind who was He talking to? The disciples, He wasn’t talking to us.

Matt 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [Who is ‘you’? the disciples, not us. He was saying, ‘James, Peter, Andrew, I don’t want you guys to be deceived.’ And what was He concerned about for His disciples?] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Many preachers like to say that in the end, people are going to come to you and say, they are the Christ. That is not what that scripture says! Have there been many people in history who have claimed to be the Christ?

It doesn’t say many will come in my name claiming to be Christ. What it says is many will come in my name, or as my representatives, saying that I am Christ and shall do what? Deceive many. It clearly states that people are going to come along teaching that Jesus is Christ and deceive a lot of people. Why would He have to be concerned about 12 men, who’ve followed Him 3 years, being deceived by somebody claiming to be Him? Why would I have to stand here and say to you, “Take heed because someone’s going to come along claiming to be Ray Hagins?” it’s ridiculous; Jesus was not saying someone is pretending to be me. Now the primary question here is: Are people teaching that Jesus is the Christ? Yes.

Matt 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” ‘Ever shall be’ negates the entire point; however, based on what Jesus is saying, we must assume He is talking about the great tribulation. Now this next section is talking about the rapture.

Matt 24:29-31 It says after the tribulation then the rapture comes; contrary to what most of us have been taught, that we will be taken up before the troubles begin. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

I Cor 15:51-52 “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This use of ‘we’ in this verse indicates that Paul also believed Jesus was coming back in his own time.

Matt 24:34 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” You people I am talking to right now, shall not die until all this happens. This means that if the Bible is in fact true, then it means everything you’re looking forward to happening in the future has already happened. It means that He has already come back in the clouds, the trumpet already blew, and the angels have already gathered up His elect from the four winds of the Earth.

Now let’s look at how John the Baptist fulfilled the end time’s prophecy:

Mark 1:14-15 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The time is now, everything we’ve been waiting for is now, it is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is eminent. Why are we waiting for it to happen later?

We need to understand who John the Baptist was. Jesus believed and taught that John the Baptist was Elijah. The Muslims believe that the prophet Elijah who was to come was Elijah Muhammad.

Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi prophesied the coming of Elijah as a sign that the end is here. Elijah had died 700 years earlier. Jesus told his disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah.

Matt 17: 10-13 “And his disciples asked him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they wished. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.”

Matt 11:11-15 “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now [this ‘now’ means the days of Jesus not our days.] the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, [if you will listen to what I’m saying] this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” So John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi of Elijah’s return and that is the sign that the end is here.

Mark 9:1 “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” Who was Jesus talking to? Not those of us 2,000 years later. There are some of you standing here right now who shall not die till you see Me coming in the clouds. I ask this question again: Is it possible Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be set up within His own generation? Yes, He did. There is nothing that would lead us to believe that He thought He was coming back some 2,000 years later.

Mark 13:32-37 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” This is a serious mind game; one which has stopped young people from going to college; one which has caused this industrial revolution to rape and poison our planet because it breeds a nonchalant attitude that it doesn’t matter what we do if Jesus is going to make a new Heaven and Earth soon anyway.

Matt 10:5-6 “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This was a message not meant for the Europeans.

And what did Jesus say later in verse 23, “When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.” You better hurry up and get going, because before you have gone over the cities of Israel, I will be back. Jesus has already come back or He is not coming back at all. Do you imagine that His disciples are still out there proselyting from one Israeli town to the next?

Mark 10:35- 37 He was so adamant about His impending eminent return that two of His disciples asked to be seated next to Him in His coming Kingdom. “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” This is also interesting because in another Gospel He already promised all 12 of them that they would sit upon thrones. Matt 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

And the final question is: What are you going to do with this information.

Tired of Dogmatic Intolerance

Recently, a friend sent me a link (at the bottom) to ‘Biblical Meditation’; and I thought, awesome, finally someone was talking about meditation from a scriptural perspective – especially since it’s mentioned so frequently therein. However, I was very disappointed to discover the author bashing Eastern traditions. Why couldn’t he just say what he had to say without attacking someone else’s beliefs?

But OK, now he’s said it, let’s get on with it; however, no, the author couldn’t stop blaspheming Eastern traditions – in fact, he attributes Eastern meditation to the work of the devil on four occasions. You already proved meditation is scriptural, so why the extra attack on Eastern philosophy? Evidently, you must still expect to find some members of your faith bucking your novel concept, so you go the extra mile to reassure your readers it’s not the devil’s meditation from those evil Eastern philosophies. What scripture is it again where Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and condemn every faith that differs from your own”?

If your simple-minded belief structure requires you to have an antagonist – which is no different from any Hollywood movie – in order for you to feel coerced into being good little boys and girls so Santa Claus brings you more presents, so be it; however, you needn’t project your primitive superstitions on a culture that was established over a millennium before your own.

Mr. J. Hampton Keathley, you obviously don’t know much about Eastern meditation. that’s OK, since you’ve probably never studied it; however, don’t you think it wise to do some research before you make such outlandish statements. I’m sure your answer would be, “It didn’t come from my faith, which is of the only true God; hence it must come from the devil!”

This is nothing less than the ignorant mentality of the Spanish Inquisition – which cost thousands of good people their lives – passed down as a legacy from your predecessors. I’m certain your response to this would be, “Oh; that’s the Catholic Church; I’m a narrow-minded bigot of another Christian faction!” Well, funny how much you all think alike my friend, but regardless of what you may think those are your religious ancestors.

I believe religious intolerance is just as potent today as it ever was, the only difference: The church is no longer more powerful than the government. In fact, I believe the Constitution and the principle of ‘separation of church and state’ is the core blockade preventing religious bigots from burning innocent victims at the stake again. I firmly believe there are still radical fanatics who would, if they could. It’s only been a decade since Christian Serbs established rape camps for Muslim women, and when they had Muslim men bite the testicles off of other Muslims in an attempt to commit religious genocide. Why, because I’m sure that’s what Jesus would’ve wanted, right?

When normal secure people are in possession of the best car – government – or what have you, they don’t feel the need to bad mouth someone else’s stuff just to make theirs appear superior – it simply just is. You don’t see Mathew McConaughey talking down other actors of lesser quality – there’s no need for it; it merely reveals one’s ignorance and insecurities. If you want to believe your unique branch of Christianity is the only real religion having God’s approval, then go right ahead; but please don’t do it at the expense of other’s beliefs and long standing traditions.

It’s been 2000 years since Jesus tried to teach us how to love and forgive one another, including our enemies, not withstanding, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.” How long before we start practicing these primary principles? If you want to proselyte other faiths, that’s fine; however, please do so without belittling them. Have you ever wondered why Christianity is on the decline? It’s time to put an end to religious intolerance once and for all.

Having been born again and having studied Eastern meditation, I feel compelled to end this with some constructive information: If you practice your Biblical meditation, and only that, you will do yourself a world of good – I promise you. However, know this: Among many of the several versions of meditation found in the East, they also teach, focusing on one good moral quality – like focusing your mind on peace.  It will teach you how to master the 10,000 screaming voices in your head, which is a major culprit hindering us from hearing the voice of God. Try it sometime.

If their meditation is from the devil then where does yours come from? Especially when you consider; Christianity traces its roots to the East. Jesus wasn’t born in Mississippi, you know.

As far as other meditations, which focus on ‘clearing your mind entirely’ being a dangerous practice, opening your mind to the wiles of the devil: First of all, it’s merely an advanced stage of the meditation we’ve already been discussing – you should try it also. And, most importantly, if you – who were created in the image of God – are in possession of such a weak mind that simply clearing it will create an open invitation for the devil to move in, may I suggest you toss it out! Because that kind of concept is as ludicrous as saying, “I have to keep my garage full of junk in order to prevent my neighbors from parking in it.”

Thank you for doing a much-needed  piece on Biblical meditation; it is an exceptional piece which is very informative. However, please remove the derogatory remarks on Eastern philosophies, such as:

“In Scripture it does not mean to sit and ponder infinity or to empty the mind so some force can fill it by repeating some chant or mantra. Such is dangerous and opens the mind to demonic attack. Just as meditating in a vacuum or to empty the mind as it is done in eastern religions is dangerous and may open the mind to demonic attack”

Michael Blakeslee “Never accept limitations in an unlimited Universe”

http://bible.org/article/biblical-meditation

Drew Gerald I think his criticism was very well articulated, open-minded, mature, non-dualistic, valid, and well-deserved. I think more people should voice such opinions in a peaceful and humane way.