My Soul Is Disturbed

Saturday 13 February 2016 2 comments

You can ignore this if you don’t have time, but I simply must write something and lighten this massive load on my soul. Yeah, I’ve posted a bunch of stuff for any day of the week, much less a Saturday when readership is typically low, so I realize many of my regulars won’t see this until later, if at all.

For those who’ve read this much: I pray that God Almighty make a fool of me and that I’m completely mistaken. Otherwise, another wave of tribulation is on top of us. That much is in my heart, never mind what my head might know. I’m not depressed, but this is almost like a physical discomfort and tears are brimming in my eyes as my fingers fumble over this fancy keyboard.

But this time my brain imagines it has supporting evidence that makes it all sensible, too. Maybe you are aware that Deutsche Bank is facing a loss of investor confidence. The bank’s managers complain that this is unjustified and are taking steps to prove they have enough cash on hand to handle normal debt operations. What no one in the mainstream press wants to tell you is that broad investor confidence is more valuable to them than actual cash. What do you suppose would happen if folks simply stopped trusting banks with their money? It’s just a short step from admitting that the entire banking system is just rigged up nonsense resting entirely on common consent of folks like you and me. Lose that and all that money we are told we owe them for things like mortgages and credit cards suddenly becomes a groundless claim that we might refuse to honor. The one thing that makes bankers tremble and lose sleep at night is that folks might one day decide they don’t owe the banks anything.

It’s the same thing that terrifies government officials. What happens when this vast mass of humanity they govern simply stops paying attention to their grave pronouncements? What happens when those governed withdraw their consent to be governed? There aren’t enough cops and troops together to overwhelm the rest of us. They know that, but to make sure we don’t think about it, they shoot up some crazy folks in Oregon and arrest Cliven Bundy in Nevada.

Just a reminder here: I’m not cheering for any side in this mess. It’s all wrong and God is taking it apart in His own way, pouring out His wrath pretty much as depicted in the Book of Revelation. So I’m not thrilled with where this is all going, but I’m hardly thrilled with any part of how we got here, either. I advocate you hunker down and try to stay off the radar of any side. We have some serious work on our hands seeking to exploit this mess for God’s glory. I want you to have a clear mind and brave commitment to carry you through. We can’t afford to exclude anyone when it comes to showing God’s mercy, so don’t get caught up in popular enthusiasm and equally popular hatreds.

But this business of people slowly noticing that it all stands on mass hypnosis of confidence in the system makes the folks who benefit from the system worried. So they need to distract us. Now I am hardly the only idiot to realize most of the noise in the news is aimed at distracting everyone. You may also recall that Turkey has been desperately trying to provoke Russia. Erdogan appears completely wacko. Having already seen that shooting down that Russian bomber didn’t work, he’s now firing artillery, missiles and mortars into Syrian territory. Mostly he’s hitting Kurdish forces who are allied with Syrian government forces. His excuse is that all Kurds are his enemy, but I find it quite odd that he’s bombing a particular batch of Kurdish forces supported by the US. Still, nobody is blind to his ambition to prevent Syria from regaining control of Aleppo. Everyone, including ISIS and the rebel forces being threatened in Aleppo, has been saying all along that if Assad recovers his control over Aleppo, the war is pretty much over in Syria. And Erdogan and friends have already lost a lot of money from Russian assistance to Assad, so they are desperate to keep control over Aleppo through their rebel proxies. At this point, Erdogan is almost ready to officially invade to save his proxy army. And the Saudis have sent warplanes to support this Turkish invasion.

That’s just a bare outline sketch; the deeper you go into the details, the crazier it gets. Again, I’m not cheering anyone on this. I’m not in favor of the Ruskies, NATO, Syrians, ISIS, Turks or anyone else. I will suggest the sanest course is to leave folks alone and stop provoking wars, but you and I both know that ain’t gonna happen. No one in this mess is holy; God is steering events to suit His divine whims. We shall see where He takes things in due course. But God has no team on the field in the sense that any of them are paying attention to what He wants. They all claim He is on their side, but are worshiping gods that don’t exist.

What causes me so much sorrow is knowing what this means for us back here at home. The plutocrats who imagine that they are steering these things have some truly nasty plans that will mean unspeakable sorrow. And they don’t want you making plans to face that sorrow. This shit could come down on us by Monday morning, with bank holidays and who-knows-what kind of idiocy. I’m not predicting that, but asking you to see it as possible. You and I will see other folks go through such horror and sorrow that it runs the risk of shocking us into inaction. Weep and pray for the millions who will face tribulation without a clue. But at the same time, be ready when it comes, whether Monday or March or next year. This system is breaking down and some parts of it will collapse suddenly. There’s no doubt we will get hurt by some of this stuff, but we should already know that God is taking care us. Whatever we lose we don’t really need, and whatever we keep is just tools for His glory. As long as we identify our interests with His, we will be okay. But how many folks do you know with that kind of faith?

Oh, God has all kinds of tricks up His sleeve and we will see some awesome surprises. Can you imagine? Just this afternoon Supreme Court Justice Scalia died; take a moment to imagine the political mess this makes for the US. He’s one of the stickiest of the five Conservatives against the four Liberals on the Supreme Court. Both sides are misguided and obnoxious as far as I am concerned, but just think of the political instability this creates. It’s just one more major battlefield opened up in our political wars, and it will almost certainly wait for the new President to appoint Scalia’s successor. It now becomes a campaign issue — yeah, we need more of that.

So there’s a part of me that worries about you, my dear flock. I worry that some of you aren’t ready for this. I’ll run myself ragged helping you if you need it, but your suffering and sorrow is the big thing on my shoulders right now. God help us.

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Kiln blog: Psalm 88

Saturday 13 February 2016 Leave a comment

The psalm is addressed to the Sons of Korah, but attributed to Heman, son of Zerah, son of Judah by Tamar his daughter-in-law (1 Chronicles 2:3-6). That’s a mouthful and it requires you remember the sad stories of Judah’s sin regarding Tamar (Genesis 38). As such, this represents truly ancient wisdom, as Solomon is compared against the legendary wisdom of this psalmist (1 Kings 4:31) among others.

The Ancient Near Eastern wise men were not witch doctors, but their brand of deep wisdom is surely different from anything commonly found in Western society. Genuine Hebrew mystical awareness recognizes multiple levels of moral consideration in our human existence. This psalm is a contemplation; it is not meant to assert answers but to ask wise questions. It serves to indicate territory for exploration. What you find is between you and God. The contemplation covers only one of the many levels for moral consideration. If you take the language literally, you would conclude these are ignorant savages who don’t really know God. You would also miss the point completely, because from such is the source of our knowledge of God. To these Hebrew wise men He revealed Himself most clearly, so we best guard against the folly of literalism when reading Hebrew mystical poetry.

Read the rest at Kiln of the Soul.

Kiln blog: Rant Mode on Injustice

Saturday 13 February 2016 Leave a comment

Just because I don’t talk much about my battles and wounds, it doesn’t mean I have no scars.

It’s the height of arrogance to assume that someone who hasn’t lived with your limitations is unable to sense your sorrows. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated me first” (John 15:18). Let’s talk about the injustice He faced — we weren’t there with Him, except to help nail Him to the Cross. Our particular sorrows don’t justify crucifying anyone else. He rose and still lives today at the right hand of the Father, and His appreciation for doing good to those who hate you is all the reward we need. Walking justly is its own reward.

If you get close enough to me, I will surely do something stupid and hurt you. Don’t fall into a pity party and assume I delight in causing you pain. Don’t assume that I am somehow refusing some duty to improve simply because my sins are different from yours. “Remove the log in your own eye first” (Matthew 7:1-6). The point here is not that you might actually remove that log, but that you must acknowledge it’s there before anything can change. You have to embrace the enormity of your own sin. Yes, you nailed Jesus to the Cross, and so did I. Let’s stop hammering each other and try to find a path to repentance.

Read the rest at Kiln of the Soul.

Tech Updates Mid-February 2016

Friday 12 February 2016 1 comment

I think I got DNSMasq working as intended. All I really wanted was an internal name caching server to speed DNS queries. I could have gone the route of Bind9 but that’s just a little heavyweight for mere name-caching. So now stuff is loading in my browsers a little quicker than before.

Speaking of browsers, I’m pleased with what I see in the Vivaldi browser project. I don’t care for the hype on their website, but I do like the strong effort to bring back some of the better features in the old Opera browser and it runs on 32-bit, unlike the new Opera browser. But Vivaldi is in Beta, so it’s a little rough around the edges. Still, all the extensions from Chrome install and work just fine.

The Mozilla Project itself and their Firefox browser is compromising too much with advertisers. They’ve decided to take money from the floundering Yahoo and made some anti-user choices because of it. Defaults are going to annoy anyone privacy conscious and will be increasingly difficult to change. Good features are being outright removed. So your best bet is Seamonkey or Pale Moon because they do not depend on advertiser dollars. Seamonkey is currently a little easier to update when the time comes, but Pale Moon has a nice set of features that includes removing Firefox junk that nobody wants. Most of the add-ons work, too. If you run Debian, Iceweasel is still safe.

I find it almost funny that the older Opera series (12.16) is a much smarter mail client than anything else I’ve used recently. For example, it pulls IMAP from Gmail faster than Thunderbird, Seamonkey, Evolution, etc. For Windows you can download a current version of Opera Mail that is essentially the free standing version of the same client. There are some limitations (still no support for in-line encryption) but it works for my needs. The older browser functions okay, but chokes on some of the heavy JScript sites.

I messed up something on the FTP server, as I found when someone actually tried to use the guest account. You have to understand that once you enable that service on a Linksys router, the guest account is almost wide open; the default password is “guest.” You can’t delete the account, but you can assign a more secure password. However, I forgot to assign a folder on the external hard drive as the properly designated shared files folder. That seems to work now (thanks for your patience, Benjamin).

Here’s a frightening thought: I may actually figure out what I’m doing one of these days.

Kiln blog: Apocalypse Now

Thursday 11 February 2016 2 comments

John’s Apocalypse is still relevant because it always was.

I’m working over the text of my Bible study book on John’s Revelation. Instead of merely reformatting it as with some of the other books, I’m rereading my text against that of the Bible to ensure it more closely tracks where I am now, not where I was then.

Read the rest at Kiln of the Soul.

Meta: Two Pieces Up

Thursday 11 February 2016 1 comment

I’ve updated one booklet to the newer HTML format: Biblical Law: Divine Justice is now one single webpage. I’ve also folded together a couple of previous articles on logic into one: Two Logic Games. I’ll try to work on some more today, so this post may be updated.

Cycling: Hard Ride to Edmond

Wednesday 10 February 2016 Leave a comment

3400S-I35SvcRdEdomondIt wasn’t my intent, but turning this into a hard training ride was about all that was left. We had a south wind and rising temperatures today. I took advantage of it and rode north to Lake Arcadia on Midwest Boulevard. I got to Memorial Road in really good time, turned left and hit it almost head-on because it was actually more like a SSW wind. So I crossed the bridge-dam and turned right along I-35 Service Road. Low and behold was this little gem sitting near the road (image upper left). It’s an ancient water tower in front of an equally ancient cabin and barn.

BoysRanchTownEdmondUp and around the corner to the right is the Boys Ranch Town. That’s a Southern Baptist thing; it’s been moved once or twice over the decades. When I was in college it was still north of Downtown OKC around NW63rd and Pennsylvania Avenue. That location is now a billion-dollar business park called “Waterford.” The current facility is huge, with at least a half-dozen very large homes. They fit right in out here with the mansions; I assure you the palatial samples of conspicuous consumption got downright tiresome.

ParkClosed1And while the terrain was hilly and a good workout, the experience itself kind of went downhill, so to speak.ParkClosed2 The first park was new and still under construction. I straightened up the banner on the gate so it was readable. The second one said I had to pay cash just to come in the gate and look around. I’ve never thought highly of Edmond’s City government, so this offers no real surprise.

ColtraneNnrNE122ndOKCSo I simply reversed course westward on Edmond’s SE 15th (same as OKC’s NE 164th) and rode to Coltrane. That’s the same as Sunnylane Road farther south, but it changes around the point where it crosses the North Canadian. Anyway, the perspective on this little camera disguises what a monster hill that was looking back down toward the turnpike. Most of this was familiar terrain from previous rides and I just kept my head down and my legs cranking. By now the headwind from the south was stiff and I had to shed some clothing, but I made it back in decent time. It was about 35 miles.


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