Wednesday, May 27, 2015

and begat a son in his own likeness,

Genesis 5:3
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,
and begat a son in his own likeness,
after his image; and called his name Seth:

Yesterday my grandson was over. He brought a stack of books for us to look at together. I ignored the Star Wars books, and instead chose a large rather comprehensive nature book with him. It really was quite advanced, going into depth about the different taxonomic ranks: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

I always like to ask my grandchildren questions which make them think. Mikah likes facts. . . facts are comfortable. . . there is security in facts, but facts in of themselves are useless.

If thoughts are sentences, then facts might be seen as the nouns. Nouns alone without verbs, adverbs, adjectives, articles, and prepositions do not convey much information. A toddler begins with nouns. . . mama. . . papa. . .cookie. . .dog. . . water. . .

A young learner loves facts and he is proud when asked to demonstrate his mastery of learning by reciting facts. . . Papa likes to derail that train by asking questions that don’t have easy answers, and therefore often aren’t in the book.

I asked Mikah, what does it mean to say that something is alive? Is a rock alive?. . . a cloud? A river? How do you tell the difference between something alive and something not alive.

The dictionary I consulted said of ‘living’: having life; being alive; not dead:

But that is a tautology. . . a circular argument or definition. . . using the word to define itself. It really does not help us to determine what is alive, and what is not.

It’s a question I asked my grandson, but to which, I had no ready answer. It was a spontaneous discussion. We thought of examples of things which were alive, and things which were not. . . We recited facts as symptoms or maybe clues to the finding of the underlying truth. . . tried to flush out the sentence of this thought and connect the nouns of facts with a verb and article or two of our simple composition.

It came to me, as an inspiration in our discussion, that the one thing which universally differentiates the animate, from the inanimate is that the living always reproduce, and the nonliving never do.

Genesis 1:11-12. . .21-25
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. (12) And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. . . (21) And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. (23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (24) And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

. . . and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind. . .and herb yielding seed after his kind. . .the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind. . . And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind. . .

God created the universe. . . He created life, and He defined it by its bringing forth after its own kind. Life begets life. . . Non-life begets nothing. . .

So many levels to think on about this. . .This is cause for lengthy meditation, well beyond this small article. . .for all of the wonder and majesty of the observed universe, nothing we know of. . . nothing we can see reproduces. . . but that which God spoke into existence and defined on the first page of the book of Genesis.

A rock may break into two, but it cannot yield fruit after its own kind. . . after its own kind. . . after its own kind. . .

Are you alive or are you dead? Are you reproducing or are you sterile?. . . Are you sharing your faith?. . . are you witnessing?. . . are you testifying of the greatness of God? Or are you merely occupying a pew?

To reproduce is all about sacrifice. The tree forms buds and then blooms. . . It is pollinated, finally at great expense to the tree, it sets fruit. Great amounts of energy go into the creation of the seed, and the setting of the fruit. . . none of which does the tree itself any good. The fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, is not about the tree, but about the next generation of trees. Bearing fruit is about seeds finding new ground, to begin new life. . . . Bearing fruit is not about the bearer of the fruit. . .

The same applies to bearing children. . . whether we speak of physical or spiritual children. Good parenting is about sacrifice for your children. . . sacrifice of time. . .sacrifice of labor. . . sacrifice of love. . . and tears. . . emotional energy. . . physical energy. . . in the end. . . sacrifice of self. . .

Galatians 4:4-7
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (7) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Jesus had no children in the physical, but He invested heavily in the teaching of His disciples, casting fruit for the next spiritual generation. He sacrificed. . .gave the ultimate sacrifice for His children The Bible tells us that God is a Spirit, and Jesus yielded Spiritual fruit after His own kind. . .

A life without reproduction, is a wasted life. . . a selfish, hedonistic, corruption of life’s purpose. All life is dependent on the energy of light to survive. The dead are entombed in the darkness. . . The light is invisible to the dead for the dead are blind. The living require warmth. . . the dead require nothing. . .

Romans 8:14-17
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

I am a child of God. Therefore being created in His image, and having His Spirit within me, I am alive. It therefore must be my passion. . . my life. . . the sacrificial mission of my life, to bear a heavy crop of fruit, and bring to life. . . pass the Pneuma. . .the breath. . .the Spirit of God, and the Kingdom of God to a new generation. . .

I thank you my God for those who Lived before me. . .
I thank you for those who bore fruit that I might find sustenance, and Life of my own. . .
I thank you for my wife. . . for Butch, and Helen. . . Brother Studt. . . Pastor Carroll. . . my 4th grade teacher, Mr. King. . .my Grandpa Stokely. . . and others equally significant, but unknown, or unremembered who prayed for me. . . who planted seeds within me which eventually sprouted and gave me Life. . .

I thank you my God. . .
I love you my God. . .


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Little Nuthatch. . . Mating for Life.


This little fellow was at my bird feeder a few days ago. I love watching the little chorus of nuthatches, titmice, and chickadees which frequent my feeder every season of the year.

I wanted to know more about nuthatches, especially about their breeding and nesting habits so I researched them on the Internet. The following is from the Audubon Field Guide:

Pairs remain together on nesting territory all year, may mate for life. Courtship behavior begins by late winter. In courtship display, male raises head, spreads tail, droops wings, sways back and forth, and bows deeply. Male also performs much courtship feeding of female.

I don’t know exactly why, but this deeply touched my heart. I have come to expect larger birds. . . swans, geese, raptors, etc. to mate for life, but for this to be found in a small songbird greatly effected me. . .

I have come to greatly value, 'mating for life.'  In my own life I have experienced first hand the awful effects of divorce. . . once as a victim, and again some twenty years later as the perpetrator.

I was foolish. I didn’t understand my actions. I was unhappy, and I saw only one path to happiness. . . to abandon my family. In my selfishness, my happiness out weighed all else.

There surely are reasons for which relationships, in which there are children, must not continue, but I am certain that is a very very small minority of reasons for which those relationships end. The vast majority of them end for what, at the heart of it is a combination of foolishness, and/or selfishness.

The function of sex and our powerful sex drive is procreation. . . continuance of the species, and the side-effect of that is pleasure. Today we have turned this upside down, to where we have come to see the purpose of sex as pleasure, and the side-effect is babies.

By virtually every metric. . . I know of no exceptions. . . by every yardstick, children are better off when raised by a mother and a father. I do not say that single mothers or fathers cannot successfully raise a child or children, but that children raised in a two parent home, lead happier, and more successful lives measured in many different ways.

Time and again in my classes in the jail, I have asked the men in front of me, how many had fathers in the home when they were growing up, and number of hands raised is virtually always less than 10%, and of those who did have a father in the home and yet still ended up in jail, usually the father was present physically, but there was something wrong. . .he was not emotionally present. . . He was dealing with an addiction or other psychological issues.

A mother can successfully raise a child, but she cannot be a father. The same a father can raise a child, but he cannot be a mother. He can perform mother functions, but he cannot be a role model to a little girl, as to how to be a mother herself. . . .He cannot be a role model to a little boy, on how to treat a wife, and how to interact with the mother.

On so many levels there is incompleteness without both a mother and a father in the home. Our society is being torn apart, by the anti-social behavior of fatherless boys. Our girls, not having fathers themselves, don’t understand the importance of a father and importantly needing, but often not having the love of a father causes them to unwisely substitute sex for love, thereby repeating the cycle. . . Our boys are bombarded with messages that they are not required in the raising of children, and therefore undervalue themselves in the role of fathers. . . on and on. . . on so many different levels the message our young people receive is confusing and very misleading.

Important cultural role models migrate from relationship to relationship, with no permanency. No importance is recognized anymore of the significance of entering into sexual relations with someone. . . and therefore there is a complete unpreparedness if a pregnancy does result from these all too casual encounters.

The morality of the Bible, is not to have sex outside of the structure of marriage. . .no premarital sex, and divorce limited to extreme circumstances. . . Great value is placed on the inviolate sanctity of marriage. You can snicker and laugh at this old fashioned morality, but what are the results? It works far better at producing happy, and well adjusted people than what we see as the obvious consequences of our present selfish and totally hedonistic social experiment.

Children are so fragile, and precious. They fool us by their apparent hardiness. . . they can tolerate great hardship and abuse and deficiencies, but survival and thriving are not synonymous. They only truly flourish within the structure of a healthy and complete family. . .

We are in the midst of a great experiment. . . The thesis seems to be that as a society we will be improved by the destruction of the traditional family. . . It is presented as fact. . . an entirely logical conclusion of well established fact, but it is only an unproven theory. . . without antecedents. There are no past examples on which to base the expectation that this theory will be validated. . .

Genesis 2:23-24

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Talk to your children. . . talk honestly and openly to your grandchildren about the dangers of promiscuity, and the realities of single parenthood. It is not some else's job. It is not politically correct to speak of such things in public school. . . without thorough instruction and preparation our children cannot be blamed for being led astray. . .

I once was blind, but now I see. . .

I love you my God. . .

Thank you my God. . .


My Way. . .

From Social Security, I recently received the summary of my wages since I began working. I keep looking at it. Jackie has noticed and commented on my picking it up several times over the past week, and perusing it. . . I takes me back. . . mile stones in my life. . . 45 years of work. . .all on one sheet of paper. . . but each of those years have treasured memories of faces, friends, and travels. . .

My first job was as a bag boy at Kelly's grocery store. I made $1.60/hour. For that first year, working after school, I made $1,237. My first year of full time wage after graduating high school in 1972, I made $6,465. I took a considerable pay cut when I went in the army. My first full year there, 1976, I made $4,885. My last full year in the U.S. army, after 3 promotions, I made $6,030. After the Army, my first full year at Speedgrip I made almost 3 times as much, $17,944.

I took a big pay cut to go into engineering a couple of years later. 2009 was a trying year with the economic troubles and my wages were some 20% less than the year before.

It's interesting looking back on your life in this way. Recalling milestones and life changes. I can truly say that I have loved every job I've had. My first job at Kelly's , a little neighborhood grocery store was great. I still treasure the memories of the people, and the experiences there.

From there I went to Dometic Corporation, repairing RV refrigerators. By almost any measure this was a horrible position. . . the air full of heavy ammonia fumes burning the eyes, lungs, and skin, no air conditioning. . . poor ventilation, rock wool insulation particles sticking to the skin. . . but in spite of that I greatly enjoyed my position there of filling the units with a mixture of hydrogen gas, ammonia, water, and a corrosion preventative.

From there I went to a fascinating job of managing Elkhart General Hospital's stock room. That was an amazing experience. I was in charge of stocking and distributing all non-drug items required to run a hospital. . . everything from IV solutions, to sutures and needles, to nitrous oxide, pharmaceutical alcohol, to gloves to mops and cleaning solutions to toilet paper. I was also responsible for printing many of the hospital’s forms. It was a really interesting and challenging position, but my word. . . the politics and intrigue at the hospital were unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and that wasn’t for me, so I went back to Dometic.
They took me back in spite of my being one of the leading participants of an unsuccessful unionizing attempt. In general I am not in favor of unions, but if a company does not treat their employees fairly, and provide a safe work environment, etc., then there is really no other recourse and that was the way of Dometic. The working conditions, as I mentioned above were bad, and even moving from an old plant into an new plant designed and built by Dometic in their present location, the conditions did not improve. . . in any respect they took me back and I worked there until the fall of 1975.

I had only been there a few months, when my wife Kristine was laid off from her job on Monday, and I was laid off on Wednesday (or vice versa) of the same week. Neither of us had been at our positions long enough to qualify for unemployment, and there were very few openings available, so as a matter of necessity, I joined the U.S. Army. I tested well enough, that I had my choice of any job the army had to offer. . . I had selected as my MOS (military occupational specialty) a missile repairman, but there weren’t any openings for that school for six months, and I could not wait that long. . . I needed a job now, being in a quandary, as I had to make an on the spot decision, I was approached by a recruiter for the Army Security Agency. This was the Army’s military intelligence unit. I looked over the various jobs they had. There were no in depth descriptions of the positions, just names as everything about them was classified. I selected 05K, the Army called it a non-morse intercept operator, as my MOS. The Navy name for the job was a cryptologic technical technician. . . The Air Force informally called us ‘spooks’. The FBI sent agents to talk to family members, neighbors, and co-works as part of my background investigation, and I was interviewed. . . interrogated might be a better word, a couple of times by Army CID agents, during basic training. . . as an aside while in basic, I was offered a chance at job working for the White House Communication Agency. . . handling phone calls, and message traffic in the White House, and traveling with the president wherever he went. It was flattering to be asked, but I declined that. It would have meant being gone for extended lengths of time, especially during election years. It just didn’t feel right to me, so I turned it down. Everything went well with my background investigation, and I received my Top Secret - Special Intelligence access.

I went to an Navy base, Corry Field, for my AIT (advanced individual training) school in Pensacola, Florida. I loved it there. We were there for six months. I loved the ocean. . . I really enjoyed myself. From there I was stationed at an Air Force base, Kelly Field, in San Antonio, Texas. . . again those memories were grand. I loved my job. . . I loved Texas. . . everything and again from there I was levied to my first Army base, an old WWII Luftwafe (German Air Force) base, Sheridan Kaserne, in Augsburg, Germany. . . I loved Germany. Colin, my son, was born while we were in Germany. . . I loved everything about it. . . the food, the people. . . I loved my job. I arrived to work early, and I stayed late. It was fun doing what I did. I probably would have made the Army a career, but Kristine was miserable. She missed her family terribly, and was very depressed in Germany, so we came home when my tour of duty was up.

I worked as a machinist for a few months at Excello Corporation, in Goshen, before they closed the plant down, and from there I began work with my present employer, Speedgrip Chuck, Inc. I began as a machinist, working nights, while going to college during the day.

I was primarily a grinder. This is a finishing operation, holding very close tolerances of less than .0002 of an inch. I enjoyed grinding much, but after working in the shop for several years, I went to the shop management, and told them that I enjoyed working there, but that I wasn’t taking college courses just for the fun of it, and that I wished to move into engineering.

Within a few months, I was brought into engineering as a detailer, and my career as a designer of chucks began. I love my job today. I don’t ever plan on retiring. It’s fun. I enjoy my days at work. . . I love what I do. . . but then. . . I have greatly enjoyed every job that I have had. I have found ways to make every job enjoyable. . . a game. . . a challenge. . . a puzzle to solve.

Not to be maudlin, but in reflection I can strongly relate to of Frank Sinatra’s swan song,

My Way

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain

I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes it was my way. . .

I in no way regret where I am today. I would not go back 1 day, 1 month, or any number of years. I am 60 years old, and I only want to move forward. I have absolutely no desire to be 20 or 30 or 40 years old again. I love this stage of my live, and I greatly look forward to what the future brings. . . I have God. . . I have peace in my heart. . . the changes. . . in my life. The beginning as a troubled youth. . . not at all successful in high school. . . from completely godless. . to where I am today . . .my life has had its ups and downs, but as Frank crooned. . . regrets. . . I’ve had a few. . . but then again too few to mention.
I love you my God. . .
Thank you for watching over me, even when my back was turned to You. . .
I love you my God. . .
I thank you my God. . .