Culture of Distrusting Government

New York City, like too many places in our country, has seen division created by racial tension. This division has erupted in violence that has destroyed trust, common sense and in the worst cases entire neighborhoods. All this destruction has a real cost on society, but especially on the people and neighborhoods affected.

The destruction stems from people making decisions about events they have no first-hand knowledge of. They assume a suspect was treated a certain way because of racism. Second-hand or third-hand reports of the situation are mixed with basic assumptions about the shape of society to make an explosive mix.

Many of the protestors, bloggers and commentators have painted the police as the villains. I believe the majority of law enforcement officers are honest, fair people attempting to do an extremely difficult job well. I don’t doubt that some will make horrible mistakes. Painting an entire group by the actions of a few is exactly what we are all against. Failing to see the police as people worthy of respect and assuming them to be villains has resulted in many needless confrontations and at least two deaths.

In a sense it all comes down to which group a person chooses to make negative assumptions about. And if you look at it that way, the central point becomes why do we make the assumptions we do about any group? I believe the way news is presented is a part of it. I believe history is a part of it, too. Unfortunately, I also believe, in recent times, presidential politics is a part of it. The president has waded into a number of situations in such a way as to exasperate the situation. It is sad when the highest elected official in the land contributes to the cultural distrust of government.

Visiting the King

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution, Tried for Treason and Necessary Failure.

The third battlefield is The Battle for the Heart, The previous episodes were Living Under Curse and Into the Shadows.

Today we get the third episode.

They attempted to formulate a plan, but were uncertain what to do. After about an hour of uncertainty, they again approached the king. The call for help seemed to fall flat and when they were done they had no impression of what to do next. They didn’t see any hint from the station that it knew they were there. But it was likely just a matter of time before someone figured it out.

They were both relieved when they felt a familiar presence. Colopher and Colophen had joined them on the ship, they felt them before they saw them. Turning back to the main cabin they saw the purple mist form into shapes and then welcomed their friends and helpers.

“Greetings from the king.” Colopher said.

“Welcome, friends.”

“Your ship will be here for a couple of days. Judasson had become annoyed at your testimony about the king. This was all he needed to justify turning you over to bounty hunters. They will kill him when he reveals that you got away. But you will still not be able to leave, until you sneak out underneath the next freighter to depart.”

“How long will that be? There are not any in port right now and they don’t come in regular schedules.”

“It will be in 9 days. During this time the king would like to prepare you for what is going to happen in the future.”

“So we will go through a period of training with you guys?”

“No. This time you will go and see the king.”

“What? How?”

“We will take you there in a moment.”

They were both surprised—excited and scared. What would they do in front of the king? What should they wear and so on.

“How?” Jamison started to ask but realizing the Kilkians had abilities beyond his he let the question fall.

“What should we wear?” Chambers asked. She was aware they had not packed formal attire.

“We will take care of the details.”

A moment later they were transported out of their ship. Jamison wondered what kind of a ship they would be transported on. To his surprise he didn’t land on a ship at all, but a moment later felt himself hurling through space. It was a pleasant experience, and after another moment he realized the other three were traveling with him. After another couple of moments of getting used to the mode of travel they were breathing normally, even though there was no air, and regained the ability to talk.

“This is amazing.”

“Yes, you are the first humans to travel like Kilkians.”

Jamison remembered that despite people having seen Kilkians, no one had seen a Kilkian ship. Everyone assumed it was because they were stealthy, now Jamison realized it was because they didn’t need ships. Nothing was visible around them, but a short few more moments and they heard Colopher announcing their approach to the Kilkian city. A voice answered booming through the open space.

“Welcome to eternity, Jamison and Chambers.”

Jamison answered aloud, hesitantly and uncertain whether he would be heard. “Thank you.”

“You are very welcome Colopher will serve as your host. He will allow you to get oriented before our first audience.”

Jamison wondered what was meant by our first audience. He thought it might be the case that the speaker would be a part of the meeting. This didn’t seem right though. Instead he suspected the voice somehow was the voice of the king.

“The city is called eternity?”

“No the city has another name. Eternity is a description of the region where the city exists.”

Colopher’s answer made their heads spin for a minute. But they didn’t have time to sort it out before the next surprise hit them. Despite the sensation of flying through space together at impossible speeds, they did not approach the city through space but rather just materialized in it.

They were surrounded by Kilkians and when they landed the crowd broke out in cheers and applause. Jamison gave a little embarrassed wave, which was responded to with ripples of laughter. This caused him to glance down toward his feet and for a second he was overwhelmed with the realization they were not standing on anything. They were about 100 feet above a courtyard, full of wonderful vegetation. The leaves of trees were in all different colors and the manicured lawn was similar. Each blade was a different hue and seemingly glowed with light. The overall effect of every color glowing together was of a warm white light.

The next thing that caught Jamison’s attention was his own clothing. His piloting outfit that he habitually wore was gone. It was replaced with a simple white seamless robe. The material was perfectly comfortable. Looking at Chambers he realized how beautiful she was, in her own robe of similar material.

Colopher interrupted his discoveries. “Let me teach you how you will move around here. I am putting a map of the city in your mind.”

Suddenly he was aware of the layout of many places and their exact location. We will go to your quarters next. Simply think of that location with determination and you will go there. Jamison waited to go, but nothing happened.

“I will not take you. You must take yourself by an intentional act of volition.”

This time Jamison put his mind on the spot, thinking I want to be there. Then suddenly he was with Colopher by his side. Only a moment later, Chambers and Colopher joined them. The room was smallish, but left the impression of being large. He thought to himself that it was odd. Just a square box, with no place to sit. But the moment he thought that four chairs and a table appeared.

He walked up to them and touched the table. The material was solid, cool to the touch and beautiful. The chairs were of a similar material but soft instead of solid. He wondered how the same material could be both, then he realized the walls were similar material. He walked over and touched one. It was very comfortable. He thought to himself it was odd that there were no windows or doors. And as he thought it a window appeared in front of him. Looking out on a number of similar domiciles.

He couldn’t see into any of these since none of them had windows, but he knew what they were from the map in his mind. Turning around to point it out to Chambers, he noticed the whole room was surrounded by windows. Chambers had thought of food and immediately a meal for the four of them appeared on the table.

They sat down together and shared the meal. The Kilkian city was going to be very different, but it was also easy to get used to.

Chambers asked about the section of the city they were in with so many vacant apartments.

Colophen responded, “This portion of the city has been built for human habitation. You will learn more as you spend time with the king. Until then just know this, one day every apartment here will be filled with humans aligned with the king.”

Christmas

I believe in Christmas:

The virgin birth,

The Christ child,

Angels singing,

Magi traveling from afar

Peace on earth,

And good will toward men.

I believe in Christmas:

God’s personal outreach to humanity,

God’s Son as the first and greatest gift,

The Word becoming flesh to dwell among us,

The eternal king taking the manger when He deserved the throne

And the same king that will come again.

I believe in Christmas.

 

Into the Shadows

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.

The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind.  Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment

The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution, Tried for Treason and Necessary Failure.

The third battlefield is The Battle for the Heart, The first episode was Living Under Curse.

Today we get the second episode.

Into the Shadows

He returned to his quarters confused by their response. He discussed it with Chambers and together they reasoned that this denial was spreading. They could see it not just on the station but also on the news coming in from the outside. That night he spoke with the king asking how he should respond to the situation.

At first he had no inclination of a response, but a couple of days later they received a visit from Colopher and Colophen. They were somber and spoke of a new tactic being used by the Dibolocos. They were now employing a strategy of hiding themselves from humanity. This did not prevent them from interfering with individual choices, and thereby human history. The open recruitment of humans to align with Dibolocos was not really necessary since unaligned individuals were as useful to their malevolent purposes as aligned.

This strategy allowed them to persuade humanity that all speaking about either Dibolocos or Kilkians was foolishness. Soon it would be dismissed as the rantings of religious fanatics, and modern, educated people would reject all such ideas.

“What does the king want us to do then?” Chambers asked.

“Continue to tell the truth,” Colophen answered, “Even though people will not accept it. Continue speaking of the king and the benefits of knowing him. Fewer and fewer people will respond at this time, but this too is a part of the king’s plan.”

“Our assignment is to press ahead, even knowing it will do no good?” Jamison asked.

“Yes, your faithfulness will honor the king. But there is more we have to tell you. The king has ordered us to also blend into the background. We will always be with you, and may still speak to you on the king’s behalf, but we will increasingly limit appearing to you.”

“We are on our own?”

“You will never be on your own. We will always be the king’s messengers, specifically assigned to watch over you. But it has always been the king’s plan to create a relationship with his people that allows for a more direct interaction. You are not on your own, most importantly, because you will have the king himself as your guide.”

They reviewed the point several times until it sunk in. They would see Colopher and Colophen less often, but that this would be replaced by a better communication and understanding with the king. When they were done, it was with a truly heavy heart that Jamison and Chambers said goodbye to their friends.

After they were gone, Jamison and Chambers began asking questions of the king. They asked for assurance that this new plan was survivable, and specifically what they should do next. When they were done with speaking to the king, Chambers suggested they make a presentation for the entertainment system speaking the truth of the king. Maybe some of the people who experienced the turmoil of the past few years would remember and give credit to the king.

Both of them felt convinced it was the right action and that the king had sent the idea as a response to their questions. They slept well that night and started on the task the next morning. First they had to acquire some basic equipment, cameras and similar materials were purchased from a shop on the main deck. Chambers did the editing and used her experience with the CDF in order to produce the show. They used their friend the steward as a narrator and was careful to avoid revealing their identities. The process took several weeks and when it was done they aired it on the station.

The response was immediate and harsh. Their neighbors who had recently hailed him as a hero now became indignant. Whenever they tried to talk about the king, people would get upset and shout them down in the manner of someone who was unreasonably upset and didn’t know why.

Only a couple of days later, Jamison startled awake in the middle of the night. He looked around wondering what had gotten him up. He checked all the monitors giving information from the communication array, and found nothing out of the ordinary. Still, he had a strong impression of danger.

He woke up Chambers who immediately had the same dark feeling. She asked him what he thought they should do. After another time of talking to the king they decided they should leave the station. In order to accomplish this, they packed the most essential possessions and loaded it on their ship. But before leaving Jamison went to the station control center and spoke with the gunner. It happened to be the one given the credit for destroying the pirates a few weeks earlier.

He explained to the man about the portions of the system which he had previously kept secret. The man was astonished but also somewhat relieved. He knew he had not fired the weapon and had begun to doubt his own sanity under the pressure of public opinion and evidence to the contrary. He also let the man know how to handle the communication array for every other purpose. The man was grateful and promised to play the program about the Kilkian king regularly.

Jamison headed out of the command center toward his ship, but as he was leaving he passed Judasson on his way in. The man looked startled and it left Jamison with an uncomfortable feeling. He felt compelled to get to Chambers and his ship as quickly as possible. Running through the corridors he turned toward the ship, which was away from his quarters. Behind him he heard a crowd of people.

“There he is, catch him!”

Jamison was already running, and he became aware of running steps behind him.

“Don’t let him reach his ship. Have Judasson lock the bay doors.”

He ran into the bay with the crowd seconds behind, securing his ship’s door, locking out the mob. Chambers had seen enough of the situation to know they were in trouble. She raised the ship up to launch, but realized a normal thrust pattern would injure or kill a number of the group. She gently turned the ship, but when facing the exit she discovered the bay doors were closing.

It was now or never so she gunned the throttle and dropped down to inches off the floor. They made it out of the door. And Jamison yelled at her to stop. He jumped to the side seat and took control. Instead of zipping away, he pulled back and held steady just underneath the bay and he hoped out of sight. He knew the sensors would mistake the ship as part of the station this close. The closing door hopefully had blocked the view of the mob to his maneuver.

Chambers began to understand. The communication array would allow the station to target their ship. If they dashed straight away. Instead they would hide here, and form some other plan. A few feet above them there were scores of injured and dying men. Decks above that they were likely looking for revenge. If Jamison and Chambers wanted to survive, they needed a better plan than just, run away.

Jamison blamed himself for giving the targeting information to the gunner. At the time it had seemed like a responsible thing to do. But Judasson’s surprise at seeing him, and the pursuit by the mob convinced him that he had planned on either killing them or turning them over to bounty hunters.

 

The Virgin Birth and Tight Theology

Good theology should form a tight logical system. Different doctrines fit together, and partially explain one another, to make a cohesive picture. Bad theology often has holes left in it where different doctrines do not dove tail in logical ways with other doctrines.

Just because a doctrinal system is tight doesn’t mean it is correct. Human creativity and demonic false religion are both capable of forming tight systems of theology. Nevertheless, if your theology has gaps you should study to either close the gaps or adopt a more correct system.

One of my favorite places to demonstrate two doctrines that fit together well is the virgin birth and original sin. Paul teaches us that sin is passed down from the father’s side. The virgin birth described by Luke teaches us Jesus had no father other than the heavenly Father. Therefore putting the two ideas together, Jesus had no earthly father passing down original sin to Him. This is necessary since He was God’s perfect Lamb. If He had original sin, He would not be sinless or able to be our perfect, once for all, sacrifice.

Cyber Monday

Congratulations! You have survived Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and most of Cyber Monday. This year I even heard one news station, refer to Thanksgiving afternoon and evening as Gray Thursday. All of this day naming stems from our desire to see economic recovery. We can expect that in the next few days people will be looking at the sales numbers, and thereby deciding whether our economy has gotten healthier.

While I agree the sales figures reflect the confidence of consumers, I don’t believe this is the best way to analyze our economy. Spending is not necessarily good economically speaking. The economy grows when some product is designed, manufactured, and marketed at a profit. If only one of the steps is done in the United States, then purchasing it on Black Friday is not a boost to the economy.

On Friday, I went shopping. At the checkout line, the cashier mentioned the crowd was smaller than she expected, at both her jobs. She has two different jobs, at two different department stores. Both are part time. Neither provide her with benefits. Both jobs pay barely above minimum-wage. She is a child of our economic age; selling goods produced in other countries, getting her benefits from the government, and having no prospects for a career.

We don’t produce goods in this country because it’s too expensive. Manufacturers have laws requiring they provide livable wages and benefits. Consumers will buy goods manufactured in other countries not thus constrained. So the economy should not just be measured by spending but rather by spending balanced with production. I don’t think I’m smart enough to know how to bring manufacturing back to our country. But I don’t think I’m gullible enough to believe we can heal our economy without it.