’19 A To Z Challenge – H

AtoZ2019Letter H

What a difference a day makes (click to hear Dinah Washington, if you don’t believe me)– or a single letter. The English language has so many words, that you sometimes need to look very carefully, to be sure that you’ve read the correct one.

That was the position that I found myself in while trying to find a word-theme for the letter H. At first I thought I’d had an old-timers’ moment, and duplicated a word on my list. Closer inspection though, revealed the fraternal twins I’d like to introduce you to.

Hominy and Homily

Hominy [Hom-uh-nee]

whole or ground hulled corn from which the bran and germ have been removed by bleaching the whole kernels in a lye bath (lye hominy) or by crushing and sifting (pearl hominy).

mainly US – coarsely ground maize prepared as a food by boiling in milk or water

RELATED WORDS

porridge, cereal, samp

Origin of hominy

1620–30, Americanism; <Virginia Algonquian

South of the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s often served like mashed potatoes at almost every meal, and the coarser variety is known as grits. Or an egg is mixed into it, to hold it together, formed and baked like a bread loaf, and called corn-pone. Formed into balls and deep-fried, it’s known as hush-puppies. Its look-alike brother-from-another-mother is

Homily [Hom-uh-lee]

a sermon, usually on a Biblical topic and usually of a non-doctrinal nature.
an admonitory or moralizing discourse.
an inspirational saying or cliché.

RELATED WORDS

lecture, lesson, doctrine

Origin of homily

1545–55; < Late Latin homīlia < Greek homīlía assembly, sermon

The similarities go beyond nearly-identical spelling. Again, mostly in the American South, any precept which is not Evangelical Christian ideology or theology has its strong, supporting cover and any germ of an idea removed, ground down, and served constantly as boring, tasteless, mental-conditioning pap.

Dear Lord; You created me with a fully functional, highly capable brain. Please allow me to use it to the best advantage of myself and others. Amen!

 

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Christian Humor – No Joke

Drivers Licence

A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.”

After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!”

The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair….”

To which his father replied….”Yes, and they WALKED everywhere they went!”

***

What’s the difference between a cult, and a religion??
In a cult, there’s a guy at the top who knows it’s a scam. In a religion, that guy is dead.

***

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block 100 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.”

When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note. “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”

***

Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle’s picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent.

“The flight to Egypt,” said Kyle.

“I see … And that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus,” Ms. Terri said. “But who’s the fourth person?”

“Oh, that’s Pontius-the Pilot.”

***

Our pastor, an avid golfer, was once taking part in a local tournament. As he was preparing to tee off, the organizer of the tournament approached him and pointed to the dark, threatening storm clouds which were gathering.

“Preacher,” the organizer said, “I trust you’ll see to it that the weather won’t turn bad on us.”

Our pastor shook his head. “Sorry,” he replied. “I’m sales, not management!

***

Did Jesus pay for our sins with cash or credit card?
He used praypal.

***

A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree, that had been pressed in between the pages.

“Momma, look what I found,” the boy called out.

“What have you got there, dear?” his mother asked.

With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered: “I think it’s Adam’s suit!”

***

The Letter

A minister was opening his mail one morning. Drawing a single sheet of paper from one envelope, he found written on it only one word: “FOOL.”

The Sunday he announced, “I have known many people who have written letters and forgotten to sign their name. But this week I received a letter that someone signed but forgot to write the letter.”

 

Church Whisper

A mother took her little boy to church.

While in church the little boy said, “Mommy, I have to pee.”

The mother said to the little boy, “It’s not appropriate to say the word ‘pee’ in church. So, from now on whenever you have to ‘pee’ just tell me that you have to ‘whisper’.”

The following Sunday, the little boy went to church with his father and during the service said to his father, “Daddy, I have to whisper.“

The father looked at him and said, “Okay, just whisper in my ear.”

….This is why moms and dads need to make sure they’re on the same page!  😆

 

Is Atheism A Bad Idea?

Atheism

He was an Atheist for 40 years, then one day, he became Catholic. (Or so he claims. I suspect a troll.) Not A Catholic – merely Catholic. He and I had some words. They grew too numerous for a comments column…. so here we are again.

And how miserable does atheism make you? Choosing it is a bit like choosing to be fatherless in the world. Left to your own devices.

For someone claiming to be Atheist for forty years, his assumptions and questions are bewildering. He seems to imply that morality must be applied from outside. A moral framework must be accepted internally, even if it is supplied from the outside. I know “Good Catholics” who believe in divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, and priests being married – all ‘sins’ to the church. Atheism does not make people miserable. It frees them to enjoy the natural beauty of the world and the Universe, revel in the companionship of friends and family, and be proud of how much better they’ve made and left it all.

He seems to feel that he needs some kind of social and moral crutch. Most Atheists want to be left to their own devices. They have the strength of will and character to deal with life and reality on their own. Is he too stupid or lazy to formulate and apply his own moral code??

True Atheists simply do not see convincing evidence of the existence of God, or gods. They do not “choose” to be Atheist. Anyone who claims they do, or that someone else did, is mistaken and often an intentional liar.

Do you have children? Do you have a set of values? How do you pass them on? Do you even want to pass them on or do you want to just let the thousands of ancestors of yours who struggled to survive only for you to say, “eff it, my line is OUT”? (He wants me to continue to be Christian – and fruitful – simply to please my dead predecessors??!)

I have a set of values – Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. – which is neither original, nor exclusive, to the Bible. Do the greatest good for the greatest number. I passed them on to my children, and now to our grandson – who received a small award in college for his assistance to others. I not only told them to aid and be kind to others. I showed them how, by doing it myself. From empirical observation, our practiced moral values are better than many ‘Good Christians.’

I certainly feel my/our moral values should be passed on. Some of my ancestors were deeply religious. Others were completely not, but I’m sure that all of them would agree and be proud of me and the good I do.

I hear you and agree with most of what you say, however, I don’t condemn all of Christianity because some people abuse it or make it look bad. But let me ask you this question, beyond those phrases like “do unto others” how do you guide someone to resolve complicated moral issues? Do you ever talk with your children about morals? Is that enough to lead a person through every moral quagmire he or she might face? Not in my view.

He doesn’t say why he feels that’s not enough. Perhaps I’m simplistic, but I do. Adultery is wrong – not necessarily a sin – but wrong. Her husband may beat her, or ignore her. That makes it more complicated, but that’s social, not moral. It’s still wrong. You wouldn’t want to be her husband, nor her to be your wife. You’re not doing unto others, nor the greatest good for the greatest number.

I grew up in an atheist household, and we had some discussion of morals but it was very infrequent. Until atheism offers me the discipline of continually working to be a good person, I decided I’m done with it. And given that atheists or secularists tend to not marry or have kids at nearly the rates of religious people, how do you expect your values to live on beyond a generation or two?

I don’t view life – or religion – as a contest to be won. I hope to influence my descendants, and society in general, by my example. I would not dare to attempt to impose my code on others. People who do that are called ISIS. I believe my opinion to be the best, but if it dies out after I do, that’s not my problem.

Unlike Religion, Atheism has no real structure. There is no Pope, no hierarchy, no Bible, no tenets, no dogma, no sin, and no handy rule-book with a ready-made list of acceptable actions. People have to work that out on their own. He makes no mention of belief in God, Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven, or everlasting life. He just wants someone to hold his moral hand and lead him down the Holy Garden path. It’s like someone wanting to save the Earth from Global Warming, but buying a Hummer because it has cool wheels.

Hummer

Jim says

“The reason you returned to religion is self interest. That’s how it always is. Just because you failed to find a meaningful life outside of faith, you have joined the herd to find solace. I, and many like me, find complete satisfaction finding our own way in the world. You on the other hand, profess belief in something you don’t believe, to have community. That is hypocrisy and lacks integrity.

There is no meaning but what you make it. Searching for it inside of prearranged dogma is cheating yourself of possibilities. Spirituality comes in billions of options that are quite fulfilling outside the plug-and-play religions. It’s even true inside religion. Everyone just picks the parts they want to believe anyway. Your mind has now been hijacked by the herd.”

 

Ego And Insecurity – Episode 2

Bible

Trying to debate the existence of God, with someone who has renounced critical, rational, logical thinking, is like trying to administer medication to a dead body.

A Fundamentalist Christian recently declared that, if he found a passage in the Bible which stated that two plus two equaled five, he would unquestioningly believe it. Another was quoted as saying that, if it was proved to him that the entire Bible had been written by forgers, he would still believe that they were Divinely-inspired forgers. Who could have a meaningful debate, or even an intelligent conversation, with someone with such desperately hidebound assumptions?

A recent Christian response to anyone presenting Biblical mistakes or contradictions, has been to defensively ask (demand), “Do you think that you are smarter than me?” That question is as vague, insecure, irrelevant and meaningless as all their unproven beliefs and claims. Smartness is almost impossible to define or measure. I’ve written of a woman so clueless that she didn’t realize that she had Polish ancestry. Yet she owned three homes, while my MENSA-grade IQ was still paying rent.

“Smart” is not the matter at hand. Instead, it is the gullible, sheep-like, unthinking, dogmatic rejection of any portion of evidence of reality that conflicts with their (and their church/religion’s) unthinking hope/wish that their existence was exactly the way they needed it to be, to make them feel good about their life choices.

I realize that ‘salvation’, and ‘eternal life’, are very important concepts. It’s just that far too many people put far too much belief and energy into things that have no real connection to God. In a legal sense, I’ll stipulate to the existence of God. That means that I may, or may not, accept the concept, but I’ll allow it for the purposes of discussion. I’ll also, grudgingly, agree to ‘Christ as Savior.’

ALL the rest, is bullshit! Petty rules and orders, dreamed up by men, for the benefit of men. God doesn’t need you to kneel. Even if He did, he’d want you down on BOTH knees, not just the right one, with the left foot forward. He doesn’t care if you accept Him, dabbed with ashes, or oil, with a little water sprinkled on you, or dunked whole-hog in a creek or pond.

I can manage to get born, married and die without some guy in a funny hat and dress being there to demand his 10% – not for GOD, but for him, and his church. Ritual actions can be important, not in terms of God, Jesus, and salvation, but for ‘the group – the congregation,’ as well as those performing them, so that the group will accept them.

They are an external indication of an internal decision of belief, but no specific rites or actions are any more “right”, (or wrong) than any others. Lutherans will not go to Hell, just because they don’t genuflect, no matter what your priest/preacher tells you. In the Old West, preachers were often not available. Many couples were ‘married’ by gathering friends and family, and performing some overt, ritual act, like ‘jumping over a broom,’ with a Bible present.

“Church” becomes a place where we go once a week, to pass judgement on others. A lot of folks would do well to dispense with the irrelevant details, dreamed up and enforced by men, having nothing to do with God, Christ, or salvation, and concentrate more on ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto others….’

Episode 1 is here, if you’re interested.

I Know That I Promised

Island

I know that I promised, and I know that most of you have read about it, but this story was just too precious, not to comment on.

American Is Killed by Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island

John Allen Chau had to know that what he was about to do was extremely dangerous.

Mr. Chau, thought to be in his 20s, was floating in a kayak off a remote island in the Andaman Sea. He was about to set foot on one of the most sealed-off parts of India, an island inhabited by a small, highly enigmatic tribe whose members have killed outsiders for simply stepping on their shore.

Fishermen warned him not to go. Few outsiders had ever been there. Indian government regulations clearly prohibited any interaction with people on the island, called North Sentinel.

While I was reading this story, I wondered what this guy was – some sort of super-jock survivalist, out to prove that he had was the biggest dick??! Then came the punch line.

But Mr. Chau pushed ahead in his kayak, which he had packed with a Bible. After that, it is a bit of a mystery what happened. On Wednesday, the Indian authorities said that Mr. Chau had been shot with bows and arrows by tribesmen when he got on shore. It was a “misplaced adventure,’’ said Dependra Pathak, the police chief.

No, it wasn’t!! There is no mystery. This was not “an adventure.” This self-made martyr was an unwelcome Christian missionary, too arrogant and stupid to stay out of harm’s way. The article doesn’t say if he was a Jehovah’s Witness, but apparently there are even some Indian people who don’t like telemarketers. 😯

He violated the laws of India, which clearly forbid him from interfering with the natives. He violated the rules of his own missionary group, who urged him not to go, and he disobeyed Christ’s own Biblical directives. Jesus said to go by twos, to spread the word. Christ obviously knew the need for backup, but Chau insisted on going alone – probably because he couldn’t find anyone else crazy enough to go with him.

Christ said, “If you offer the word to a people, and they refuse it, depart from that place and leave them.” Chau swam ashore one day, and the natives shot arrows at him, obviously not willing to accept him (or Him) and The Word. The only arrow to hit, struck his Bible. He believed that God had spared him. Instead of departing from that place, he swam back out to the fish boat, but returned the next day.

He is apparently unmarried and childless, so he qualifies for the Darwin Award. He’s not your usual, testosterone-infused gym-jock. He is was something even worse – A faith-infused Jesus-Jock. At least he managed to kill only himself.

I repeat from my post, “What’s wrong with a comfortable delusion?” Because, not every time, but ultimately, and inevitably, it leads to the likes of:

Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre – 918 good Christians dead.
Uganda, Nov. 2018 – more than 918 black Christian sect suicide deaths
David Koresh and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco – 75 faithful and 4 FBI agents dead
Heaven’s Gate cult mutilation and suicides – 39 dead
Solar Temple Order – 74 dead in Quebec, France, and Switzerland
South Korean ‘Benevolent Mother’ sect – 32 poisoned and strangled

And these are just the recent, penny-ante examples. How about the Inquisition, where thousands were horribly tortured and executed, or the Crusades, where hundreds of thousands died on faraway battlefields, or through disease or starvation, including excess population children?

And these are still penny-ante! How about the delusionally manipulated European peasants of the Dark Ages?? The Church convinced them that cats were the minions of Satan, so they killed them all off – which allowed rats to proliferate – which promoted the growth of fleas infected with bubonic plague – which killed off over 1/3 of the total population of Europe…. Millions and Millions!

Anyone who doesn’t see, or denies the relationship, is more than comfortably deluded. Not to seem harsh, but, aside from the FBI agents in Waco, I don’t really give a damn. It’s a self-solving problem. It’s about as important as being unfriended on FaceBitch: it’s like the garbage taking itself out. 😈

Delusion does nothing but hold us back. Truth is far more important than all of the soothing lies and should be sought in all instances. I know that sometimes the lies can give you temporary peace, but in the end, somebody always gets hurt.

Flash Fiction #171

Adam and Eve

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

What kind of tree did you say that one is??  A fig tree??  Nah, that can’t be right.  A fig tree should have leaves as big as palm fronds.

Well, in the Bible, it says that Adam and Eve were naked and ashamed, so they made clothing from fig leaves, and covered themselves.

I don’t know how well…. endowed Adam was, but those leaves wouldn’t cover a beauty spot.  Make concealing clothing from those tiny leaves?  I don’t really think so.  They’re more like the sequins on a high school girl’s prom dress and they’d cover just about as much.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Friday Fictioneers

WOW #35

Polar Bear

Oh, the things I learn, when I’m trying not to learn something else.  So, there I was, blithely gambolling through the dictionary, when I tripped over

Arctophile

noun

a person who loves, likes or appreciates bears.

a person who is very fond of and is usually a collector of teddy bears.

Everything has a name, and usually, the name means something, if we only stop and think.  😛  Ow, ow, ow.

The ATLANTIC Ocean is so-called, because it is supposed to contain the lost continent of Atlantis.  Once Ferdinand Magellan fought his way through the rough seas, and around Cape Horn, it was on the one day that the rest of the ocean that he could see was calm and peaceful, so he called it the PACIFIC ocean.  I wonder what the residents of Hawaii are thinking about that title these days.

BTW – I have a clear memory of my Grade 6 teacher telling the story of Rocky Balboa’s grandfather, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, hacking his way across the Isthmus of Panama to reach the western ocean – and being the one who found a calm, serene body of water, and dubbing it Pacific.  She obviously mixed the two explorers up.  😳

The ARCTIC Ocean got its name from the presence of polar bears.  ARCTURUS (guardian bear) is the brightest star in the Great Bear (Big Dipper) constellation.

In trying to free my foot brain from arctophile, I stumbled into the word NUBILOUS.  At first I wondered if it was related to the word, nubile.  Regarding a woman, that simply means, “suitable for marriage.”  Crosswords often give clues like ‘beautiful, attractive, or good looking.’  She could be as ugly as a junk yard dog, but if she’s physically developed and single, she’s nubile.

NUBILOUS is actually a reference to the ancient land of Nubia, and it means, cloudy or foggy; obscure or vague; indefinite.  Nubia was a region in S. Egypt and the Sudan, N. of Khartoum, extending from the Nile to the Red Sea.  Despite being mostly desert, apparently there was a section of it which was cloudy or foggy, probably by the Red Sea shores.

Because of pronunciation and spelling drift, Nubia is also The Land of NOD mentioned in the Bible where Cain went to get a wife.  I’ll pronounce you man (or woman) and blog-post if you’ll stop back soon.  😀