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Picasso's Guernica as Parable

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  (Note: There’s a painting following this text. Please give it a look before going on.) Were Jesus to be listening in on the current conversation in Western politics, and if he were to be asked what he made of it all, given that many who count themselves as his followers are loudly involved, what would his reply be? I, of course, can’t claim to know. I expect he would have replied with a parable like “The Good Samaritan,” or “The Prodigal Son,” and like the scribes, the pharisees and the teachers of the law (and his disciples, frequently) in his time, each would interpret what they’d heard as support for what they’d already embraced as truth. Maybe he’d shrug and say, “It appears subtlety won’t work … again, so here’s a thought: whatever you do or say, I judge on its conforming--or not--to one very simple standard, and that is that your words and actions respond to your love of God and that which he’s created for your benefit, and that it wishes for your neighbour everything you

A Two-edged Sword

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  I occasionally listen to Bill Maher monologues on one of the American Network’s late-night shows (also on YouTube). He’s one of those anti-woke, “stop being so sensitive” public figures who in a recent episode invoked that old “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” shibboleth plus the “get over it already; they’re just words” sentiment. The attitude seems to be an accompaniment to a larger “free speech” theme where taking exception to what people are saying or writing is interpreted as an attempt to force them to shut up, to rob them of the right to say what they’re thinking. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an American house representative—who’s gained notoriety for her outspoken, arbitrary pronouncements on just about everything—publicly decried the judgment against Alex Jones for lying repeatedly that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax: “He was just speaking words,” she said. I think thoughts and write words. More than that, I publish them occasion

A Eulogy for Uncle Henry J. Epp

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  Henry J. Epp (1883-1965 )   (GRanDMA #433980) A Eulogy : Translated from the German and annotated by George G. Epp, nephew of Henry J. Epp. The document appears to have been written to be read at Uncle Henry’s funeral but I personally don’t know who wrote it or read it there. Henry J. Epp was born on October 3, 1883 in Gnadental, Baratow-Schlachtin, i Southern Russia. His parents were Jacob and Helena (Janzen) Epp. In 1893, he emigrated with his parents and siblings to Canada, spending an initial year in Manitoba. In 1894, they moved to what would become their homestead in the Rosthern area where Henry experienced with them a new beginning and the hard work that pioneer life required. Because his three older brothers (Jacob, David, Peter) were able to manage the work on the home farm, his father would often send Henry to help out at neigbbours’ farms; this resulted in his being able to relate how he had once ploughed with oxen for an uncle. His education was obtained p

THEREWITH TO BE CONTENT

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  When a maturing offspring makes a decisive but unwise choice and we get into a quarrel about it, what do we mean when we say, “... but I just want you to be happy!” I’m wondering about that this morning because I just read an interview with an author who contends in her new book that we overload ourselves with romantic fantasies when we expect a relationship will bring lasting happiness. I agree that many of us may grow up with expectations of romance that are unrealistic; we only need to listen to a few country/pop songs to verify that observation. Fairy tales of our childhood sometimes ended with the line, “... and they lived happily ever after.” Our childish imaginations had to fill in what the rest of their lives were like... compared to ours, possibly. Defining happiness as relief from suffering, boredom, pain, fear, abandonment, etcetera might have some merit if such relief should bring on a feeling of euphoria. We might also talk about happiness brought on by conquest... winn

What's your belief on believing, huh?

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  Our balcony fig-leaf; just in case. In an essay I wrote once upon a time, I used an illustration meant to focus on the nature of believing as an act of choice … or as gift.                Two seven-year-olds are walking home from school when one, Devon, says to the other, Earl, “What is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?”                “I don’t believe in Santa Clause,” Earl says.                “Why not?”                “I can’t. We don’t have a chimney,” Earl replies, and leaves poor Devon to contemplate an existential question that lies well beyond his reach.                An adult equivalent might take place in a palaeontologists’ laboratory where one Christian scientist, Devon, says to his fellow scientist, Earl, while working on reconstructing a dinosaur spinal cord, “I wonder if this specimen lived in the Garden of Eden?”                And an adult Earl says, “Impossible. I just carbon dated those vertebrae over there and this guy is somewhere between two

'Scuse me. What time is it?

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  A sixtieth wedding anniversary is occasion for talk of time . “Seems like yesterday” and “Where have the years gone” and “My you look young in your wedding photos” all point to an awakened consciousness about how time past, present and yet-to- come is experienced. Time drags in the dentist’s chair, seems to speed by while clinging to just a little more of it, please Lord.                 I read some websites on Physics research, but I can’t claim to know how time and space are related and can be mathematically shown to be the same thing. It belongs in the same bin with the theory that space is curved, that time is relative, and that time slows or accelerates slightly depending on gravity. I can take the scientists’ words on these, but don’t ask me to explain what they mean.                What I think I get is that accurate time measurement has become more and more important to economies, political systems, and daily commerce. Our measurement of time, however, is completely earth

On Hitching One’s Wagon to a Star

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  I frequently listen to John Oliver on This Week Tonight . He  primarily  tackles hypocrisies in American life … with an Englishman’s flair for language but with a bit more vulgarity than seems necessary. Nevertheless, he’s a personality under whose influence I voluntarily place myself occasionally. And given that, I am aware that I’m opening myself to having my values subtly shaped by the choices made by the writers of This Week Tonight. I think we all (except for Jordan Peterson who is smarter than everyone else on all subjects) tend to “hitch our wagons to stars” whose modeling takes the place of independent, painful thinking. So tightly can people harness themselves to a human idol that no amount of evidence, no information can shake loose the traces. Donald Trump: need I say more? Well, OK, Tommy Douglas, Muhammed Ali, John Wayne, Martin Luther King, Lady Gaga, Menno Simons, Jordan Peterson , Billy Graham … I will be forever wary of a speaker on a dais shouting out his/her/the