A Plan for Future Blogging

I’ve started roaming YouTube for videos of anything I want to do but don’t quite know how to do.  I’ve found that there are videos how to do just about anything!  I love that people document how they do stuff and upload it for me to learn from.

So, I’ve decided to find not only videos on how to fix my daily driver, but how to clean up my garage so I can have a real workshop to work on models, woodcarving, and auto repair.

This has been a real hurtle, getting my spaces cleaned up.  I’m also coming out here so that a public forum can weigh in and help make it possible.

Things that I am thinking about making from years past:

  • I had an idea about displaying my models on a Christmas tree; I’ll think more about that, but it’s a way to light and display little trinkets I enjoy having around but which clutter up my space.
  • I’ve always wanted to make a model of the Le Mans race track to play the Avalon Hill game with Hot Wheels miniatures.
  • I’ve also wanted to build a miniature replica of Cienega Crossing in Arizona, my favorite childhood spot for trainwatching.  That would be using normal model railroad supplies.
  • I want to learn woodcarving to help make a new totem pole for Camp Herms, and to model some of my favorite cars.  I got bit by the woodcarving bug when I helped my son with his first pinewood derby car.  Pinewood wheels are a great base for a car model.
  • I also went to The Lord’s Land in Mendocino and I loved all the scripture that was carved in wood plaques around the property.  I want some of that in my house.
  • While I’m at it, I would love to have a project car, a classic car I can work on and fix up.

So in general, the things I’ve always wanted to do I will publish blog posts to show my goals, progress, fails, and successes.  I’m excited!

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Fourth Grade Mission Project

Two years ago the kids were off school for President’s Week.  We took vacation and drove from Sonoma to San Diego in eight days, and visited all 21 Spanish Missions founded in California.  My son was in fourth grade and all 4th graders in California study the missions.  So this trip evolved and it turned out to be a really cool experience.

The missions locations were chosen so that each were a day’s journey by horseback.  That translated to about an hour drive between each location.

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When we made up the itinerary we decided to spend the first two nights at home while we were still within the Bay Area.  Because most of the missions have standard 10AM – 4PM visiting hours, we would visit three per day: the first when the mission opened, drive to the second mission, eat lunch, and then visit it.  Then we would drive to the third mission hopefully within an hour before they closed in the afternoon.  Then we would drive to the city where the first mission to see the next day and get a hotel room.  That way we could pack up in the morning and already be close to our first stop.

Here’s how the trip actually played out:

Day 1: San Rafael, California Missions Museum, San Francisco Solano.
Day 2: San Francisco Dolores, Santa Clara (+museum), San Jose.
Day 3: (Got a late start…) Santa Cruz (was closed), San Carlos Borromeo.
Day 4: San Juan Bautista, Soledad, San Antonio de Padua, San Miguel.
Day 5: San Luis Obispo, La Purisima, Santa Ines.
Day 6: Santa Barbara, San Buenaventura, San Fernando Rey.
Day 7: San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, San Luis Rey.
Day 8: San Diego de Alcala, drive home.

Here’s the pictures we took of my son in front of all 21 missions.  It was probably the best trip we’ve ever taken as a family, and we all still talk about it today.

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As part of my son’s missions study, he needed to make a model.  Always the ambitious one, he said “I want to make San Luis Rey, because it is the largest mission.”  He told me it is the “King of Missions”.

I downloaded the architectural plans for the mission he selected from the Library of Congress website, and we started building it out of foam core board.


This was clearly going to be a huge undertaking, and since we went on our trip during the week they had off of school, we only had 6 days to complete it.  It did help to actually go there, so we could get a feel for the place and decide what details we wanted to include in the model.

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We experimented with some 3D printing of the domes and cupola, and the results were pretty good considering.

Now, two years later, my daughter is in fourth grade, and unfortunately because the mission project was due before President’s week, we had to turn it in without getting a chance to visit the mission she chose to model.  Because she had been to all the missions, she could choose her favorite based on personal experience.  We had saved brochures from every mission we visited, and after perusing and reminiscing, she settled on La Purisima in Lompoc.  My mom grew up in Lompoc and I think that mission made an impression on my daughter because they had authentic livestock, living history, and a pink bell tower.

Here’s some photos from our visit two years ago.

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Part of her assignment was creating a brochure for her mission and include specific items on each section of the trifold.  A MS Word template made it super easy.

la purisima brochure001la purisima brochure002

In this case, she did much of the project, at least that which did not involve the use of the Xacto knife.  We went shopping for paint, foam core, and a few supplies at Michael’s craft/hobby store, but otherwise I am proud of the fact that we largely used found materials.  On my daily commute, I pass through a regional park that is heavily wooded.  Stopping at a turnout, I collected Redwood twigs, oak brambles, some lichen, and spanish moss.

She first worked on making roofing material from Girl Scout Cookie boxes (’tis the season!).  We chose the scale of 1/8″ = 1′ (1:96).  I happen to own an architect’s scale, so we used the dimensions in the illustration to create paper templates.  Lots of math and measuring.  She was bored.

After cutting the pieces and gluing them together, the church sat on its roof overnight to dry.  We shortened the building a bit to make it easier to display.

The basic building is complete.  The assembled bell tower looks pretty good.  We let the tower’s awning and cross dry.
Here’s step by step of making the cemetery walls.  We measured the wall topper based on the template, then marking and cutting.

The “tiles” are sliced down the middle to make a peaked roof.  Then the scored cardboard is folded and ready to glue onto the wall.  The walls are double-wide, so we’re gluing the black side of identical pieces together.  A triangular piece of foam is glued on top and banded to dry.  We checked the length of the back wall against the church width.  The roof is glued on and banded to set.

The walls are coming together!  This was our progress so far when we went to bed Wednesday night.  Due Friday!

We prepared the model base by sponging on green and tan poster paints.  Spray glue was applied and then both sand and crushed green foam “grass” sprinkled in the appropriate areas.  The structure, tower, and walls were then attached with wood glue.  Trying to get the structures to stick down, we set weights on the structures.  This helped collapse the roof a bit, which was soft from being recently painted.  Overnight the board warped as the paint dried, so in morning I had to mist with a spray bottle and weight down the corners.  It mostly flattened out within an hour.

20160212_000603I printed out a picture of the bell tower and we cut out the pictures of the bells in the arched openings, and I carefully inserted them into the model’s openings.  I freehand cut a staircase from black construction paper.  It’s late, after midnight.  I continue tinkering with the staircase after she goes to bed.  The tower looks like it has a Pepto Bismol wash.

20160212_013140The next morning, the morning it’s due, we wake up at 6:30 and finish everything.  To make the corral, we cut small lengths of 1/8″ square basswood for fence posts, and stuck them with rails made of toothpicks.  The barnyard animals were tacked down with museum putty (a much better method than the hot glue we used two years ago), and a small green sprig from a dried floral arrangement made a small tree near the corral.  Maybe animals back in 1820 had gigantism left over from the Ice Age?

20160212_080837A redwood twig, once stripped of bark, was decorated with an 1820 Spanish flag (same as was flying at the actual mission).  The flag was made by printing out two copies of the flag, gluing a piece of aluminum foil into the middle, and sandwiching it around the flagstaff.  The foil allowed her to make standing waves before the white glue dried it into that form permanently.

20160212_080849Shot showing the paper bells and tower pin-striping.

20160212_080857The Peruvian Pepper Trees (nearly all 21 missions feature these trees, which for over 150 years have produced annual crops of black peppercorns) were made from oak twigs and spanish moss.  Lichen was used for a bush in the back,   A last minute decision was made to put toothpick supports under the sagging roof overhang.  We didn’t model the stinky tallow vats.

 

Then it was off to school we went.  It barely fit in my passenger seat, but we had a successful transport to her classroom.  What a relief!

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Strike a pose
Strike a pose
All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for (that’s what it’s for)
Go inside, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door (open up the door)

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UPDATE: If you’re interested in the 3D CAD files used to make these missions, try the following links:
San Luis Rey Espadaña
San Luis Rey Mission Domes and Cupola
El Camino Real Bell
La Purisima Mission

Here’s a 3D rendering of La Purisima I made in preparation for this project:
https://tinkercad.com/embed/1xUUbxCjHd5?editbtn=1

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Researching Dreadnoughts for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Last year, my wife gave me a plastic model of the super-dreadnought USS Arizona (BB-39).

111885-10571-70For those of you who were educated in public school, the USS Arizona was attacked and sunk at battleship row in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 at a great loss of lives.  1,177 servicemen of her crew of 1,400 were killed.  The attack on Pearl Harbor led to the United States actively joining the Allies in the Second World War.

Her demise came in form of an aerial bomb dropped from a Japanese “Kate” bomber.  The bomb struck her between the two forward turrets and reached the forward magazine.  The bomb ignited those cylindrical bags of black powder and set off a huge secondary explosion. The fiery inferno that followed ultimately sank and destroyed her.

Her wreckage is today a national tomb and memorial to the crew that lost their lives in the attack.  There is no doubt her dramatic and tragic destruction is the reason for the vast number of model kits made of that fateful battleship.

As I wrote back in January, the USS New York (BB-34) was featured on a $2 bank note from 1918.  It is safe to say that the “battleship” is on the top ten list of the most iconic United States paper money designs.

The 2 ships of this class carried ten 14″ guns in five twin turrets as their main armament, and New York and her sister ship, the USS Texas were veterans of both World Wars. One of the ships of this class (USS Texas) can be visited since she survives as a memorial ship just outside of Houston.

During my research for building the USS Arizona, I finally found the image of the USS New York that was used to create the large “horse-blanket” bank note.

Notice that this finally accounts for the discrepancy in anchor placement and other details.  They wanted to show the battleship steaming toward the East, so they reversed the original image.  In one description of this large-size note, they state:

it shows the battleship USS New York steaming from west to east (left to right) and gave a clear warning: The U.S. is ready, willing and able to defend Europe.

The engravers could have found a starboard view of the ship, but at least the mystery is solved.
Now, on to the USS Arizona.  While the New York was launched in 1912 with five double turrets, BB-39 was launched in 1915 and had twelve 14″ guns in four triple turrets.bb-34-uss-new-york-1918
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The USS Arizona was refitted from 1929-1931 with new superstructure and tripod masts, and featured in a 1935 movie called “Here Comes the Navy” starring James Cagney.

Here_Comes_the_Navy6

Here he is hauling those incredibly volatile bags of black powder.  It is from this movie that we get the configuration of the Revell model, with biplanes on the catapults and no machine gun platform on the main mast.

I dug up many photos on the internet from the period.  Here are some of the most useful:

I spent many hours alone in the garage, trying to complete it in time for Dec. 7th.  I think it turned out pretty good.  You know, working on a model really gets you acquainted with the details of something.  I really feel like I know the ship now and it makes it much more personal to see the History channel documentary about BB-39 that I watched this week.

I give a special shout out to YouTuber Guido Hopp whose videos of building a German gunboat gave me many good tips and techniques.  Here are some pictures.

I just noticed upon comparison of the pictures that the antennae on the main mast and fore mast are switched.  When I checked the instructions, it says to put them on wrong.  Hmmm…not the best set of directions.

85-0302_Page_11It was a fun project and I enjoyed getting to know better both this ship and the sacrifice of her men.

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I Love the Commandments of God

This is a statement I struggle saying freely, because my heart and mind wants to rebel almost as soon as I think to say it!  To think that I was an atheist 20 years ago, yet I still struggle with God’s greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might!
(Deut. 6:5)

On Monday Rick Wiles talked about the ultimate prepper’s survival stockpile.  His second item in that stockpile was that you must have a love and a devotion to keeping the commandments of God.  This is a transcript of what he said on that radio program:


I would advise you to read all of Psalm 119.  It is a beautiful Psalm about the loveliness of God’s commandments; His ways, His laws:

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
(Ps. 119:1-8)

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
(Ps. 119:9-16)

Verse 20: “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.”
Verse 24: “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.”
Verse 27: “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.”
Verse 32:

I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
(Ps. 119:32-35)

The promises of God in Psalm 119 are just too many to mention.  It says in Verse 97:

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Ps. 119:97-103)

So I would say to you, are the commandments of God sweet to you?  Are they precious to you?  Do you think about them day and night?  Is the desire of your heart to keep the commandments of God, and to please your heavenly father by keeping his commandments?  You will keep his commandments when you store his word in your heart.  When we love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and when we love our neighbor as ourselves, we will keep the commandments!  We will have to walk in love.


So these words from Rick Wiles been stewing in my heart this week, and I am convinced that it is completely God’s doing to have my Book-at-a-time Bible Reading Plan fall upon Psalm 119 this week.  This is the longest chapter in the bible, and it’s pretty close to the middle of the book.  I listen to the Reader’s Bible on CD during my weekday commute, and as I listen its synonymous thoughts wash over me like a Bach motet.

The 176 verses erect a grand cathedral of lovely thoughts, of devotion to God and of peace with God.  The longest and most ambitious of all the Psalms, Chapter 119 is a work of flawless artistic integrity.  Its twenty-two stanzas (of eight verses each) are in the order of the Hebrew alphabet.  Each of the eight verses within a stanza begins with the same letter, and each verse contains one word for “instruction.”  The author glorifies and thanks God for the Pentateuch (the first five books known as “the law”), prays for protection from sinners enraged by others’ fidelity to the law, laments the cost of obedience, delights in the law’s consolations, begs for wisdom to understand the precepts, and asks for the rewards of keeping them.

The author’s depth of piety, intensity of execution, grandeur of architecture, and pervasive loftiness of expression have earned Psalm 119 a place among the most admired works of the entire bible.  You probably recognize verse 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  It’s a simple but profound metaphor that sums up the message of Psalm 119: God’s word directs and guides human life.

Just for poops and giggles, I looked for the middle verse of Psalm 119.  There are 176 verses in the 22 stanzas.  The 1st verse of the 12th stanza is 119:89: Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.  This speaks directly to my personal testimony.  He revealed to me that the bible is absolutely true, whether I believe in it or not.

My atheism was always punctuated with absolute statements to support my lack of belief in Jesus:

  • “There is no God.”
  • “There is no evidence to support the claims of any religion; none whatsoever.”
  • “Religion is a con, used to dupe the masses out of their free will and money.  It’s a fraud, nothing more.”
  • “I have no reason to give any credibility to a single religion out there.  If such evidence existed, churches wouldn’t need to ask their people to have faith.”
  • “The bible is an unreliable book of myths and legends.”

Historical evidence meant nothing to me; eyewitness testimony meant nothing.  The word “coincidence” was my blindfold, and other avoidance tactics kept my heart in enmity with God.  Given my sensitivity about being lied to and deceived, I know that it was an act of God that caused my heart to stir and awaken to His call.

And though this is my first time analyzing verse 89, it has stood in stark contrast to all my human artifices for thousands of years: God’s Word is firmly fixed in the heavens forever.  The evidence is overwhelming to support the claims of the authors of the bible that Jesus of Nazareth came to earth 2,000 years ago, died, and rose again.

Verses 118-120 describe the punishment I would have received for my unbelief, had I died in my atheism: “You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.   All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.  My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.”

My heart often feels far from the Lord, and especially when I see God’s judgment meted out on us, my flesh trembles for fear of Him.  In those moments I can’t testify that I love His commandments.  However when I pray and consider my own heart and my limited reasoning, I remember how Jesus revealed himself to me, and how He paid for my sin on the cross.  Only then do I know that God is just and holy, He is good and His steadfast love endures forever!  Then my heart is healed, and I can truly say that I love God’s commandments and that I love my neighbor as myself.

It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.
(Ps. 199:26-28)

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MLM, Poker, and other violently emotional reactions

I admit that I have certain hot-button topics that make me squeamish and filled with dread and fear.  These topics fill me with turbulent emotions that make my stomach crawl.  A short list:

  • Gory movies, esp. dismemberment, rape, or execution
  • Hissing cockroaches, giant centipedes, earwigs, and other fast-moving insects
  • Playing a game of poker
  • Mid-level Marketing Business Opportunities
  • Presentations to join a time-share or other vacation club

There are movies and television shows that have rape and murder as part of their graphic content.  I don’t see these as merely disgusting; it is repugnant to me and I have a violently physical reaction to this.  There was a television show I saw recently called Whispering Pines where a teenage boy committed mass murder by executing thirteen people for suspected conspiracy.  I was trembling and sickened as a commercial break came on.

I’m apparently still worked up about it; that a television show would depict that level of evil for entertainment purposes.  I knew that the amount TV-MA content is growing, but I was innocent to the amount of depravity they show.  I usually don’t watch R-rated movies, especially horror movies, and now my reasons are more justified.

But, tell me that I have to go to a presentation to get free stuff in exchange for a marketing pitch, and I get exactly the same kind of emotional reaction.  Just writing about it is giving me vertigo.  I think even the mention of a cruise gives me the aversion instinct.

Being invited to play poker is exactly the same!  The idea of someone being able to read my body language in order to extract money out of me is repugnant.  Gambling in general creeps me out, but the thought of playing poker makes me sweat.  The irreducible, core element of poker is the ability to bluff because you possess information that your opponents do not, and that this element is even more important than the use of playing cards.  I quote an article by Robert Woolley, found on the interwebs called “What Can You Learn from an Old-School Poker Player? Plenty” that illustrates the way a person should approach a poker game:

Wrong attitude: Entering a poker game hoping to get lucky and win your opponents’ money.

Right attitude: Entering a poker game and realizing that your opponents are holding your money, and they will need to be very lucky to keep it…. All those chips and all that cash, all the money hidden in purses and wallets is yours. You want it. You deserve it. It is a crime against nature that those people are fondling your money. They have no right to it. It is yours, and you intend to play the best poker possible in an effort to bring justice to your bankroll.

Gambling glosses over the act of extracting money through trickery by building an atmosphere of lightness and fun.  The old-school poker player gives examples of things to say to prevent hurt feelings:

Question: Don’t players get upset if you make them feel foolish by tricking them?
Answer: Yes. You should never deliberately upset opponents…. So, immediately after you’ve tricked an opponent and won a pot, utter something friendly that indicates you were just having fun. I like to say things that suggest I played the hand badly and simultaneously enhance my loose image, such as, ‘I was hoping you’d call, because I’ve been out of line so many times.  You’re way ahead of me overall, but I’m still trying the same stupid tricks.’  Just giggle and move on.  Your opponent isn’t likely to be offended, because you’re talking about your bad plays, not how superior you were with this one.

It underscores the fact that manipulating people is goal of poker.

Why do I get this type of repulsion?  More importantly, how can I use this reaction to my advantage?  As I think about it, my reaction mimics the symptoms of a phobic reaction.  But am I really overreacting to gambling and other financial scams?  My alarms go way up when I am presented with a situation that might be a swindle. Is that bad?  Looking up “phobia” on the interwebs

Phobias
“Fear” is the normal response to a genuine danger. With phobias, the fear is either irrational or excessive. It is an abnormally fearful response to a danger that is imagined or is irrationally exaggerated.  People can develop phobic reactions to animals (e.g., spiders), activities (e.g., flying), or social situations (e.g., eating in public or simply being in a public environment).  Phobias affect people of all ages, from all walks of life, and in every part of the world.

Symptoms
Phobias are emotional and physical reactions to feared objects or situations. Symptoms of a phobia include the following:

  • Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror
  • Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of danger
  • Reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable, practically taking over the person’s thoughts
  • Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and an overwhelming desire to flee the situation—all the physical reactions associated with extreme fear
  • Extreme measures taken to avoid the feared object or situation

It is immediately apparent that in order to be a phobia, the fear must outstrip the danger presented.  I know I am downright afraid of pickpockets, but sometimes I’m even afraid of common magicians.  I feel acutely aware that they know how to distract me with slight of hand to gain an advantage.  A magician might only be using their skills for entertainment, but I’m afraid that they could just as easily lift my wallet.

So, given this knowledge about phobias and the other things that repulse me, I looked up how to conquer a phobia.  The process is called desensitization:

Through desensitization, you “unlearn” the association between fear and your phobic object or activity. By handling the object or activity in a relaxed, comfortable state, you begin to unravel its connection with anxiety.

Desensitization relies on a phobia hierarchy, or ranking. The phobia must first be broken down into a hierarchy of separate scenes of increasing intensity.  For example, if you are phobic of spiders, you can create the following hierarchy:

  1. Looking at a picture of a spider
  2. Touching a picture of a spider
  3. Looking at a toy spider
  4. Touching a toy spider
  5. Looking at a live spider
  6. Touching a live spider
  7. Holding a live spider

Desensitization is exactly the same process that television uses to depict more graphically violent and more sexually explicit content.  Language seems to be a part of this desensitization.  Don’t call it rape, call it strong sexual content.  Don’t call it mass murder, call it violent graphic content.  Don’t call it stealing, call it a unique business opportunity.

I’ve been making a less-than deliberate attempt to re-sensitize myself to things that God calls sin.  I shouldn’t want find sin entertaining, but that describes most of what I fill my mind with in the evening.  I am desensitized to this stuff.  So what should I do?

One thing I know I can do is use God’s terminology; call something what God calls it.  Adultery, murder, stealing, blasphemy, fornication, coveting, idolatry.  That will align my thinking with God’s thinking.  If I see or hear something that the bible calls sin, I will close my eyes or leave the room.  I think I’m ready to stop watching R-rated movies and TV-MA rated shows, because I don’t have phobic reactions toward things that I know are harming me spiritually.

Maybe I could think of centipedes crawling on me when I’m going to see nudity on the screen.  Maybe I’ll think of a Mid-Level Marketing scheme presentation when I have the desire to watch TV in the evening.  I will think about this more, and come up with some experiments to try on myself.  Sometimes I feel like my whole life is a setup to swindle me, and I want to change that.

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Father And Me: An Excerpt from my grandmother’s biography of her father

Father And Me

I often sat at my father’s side in our little black buggy tugging at my stringy white hair, which mother always tucked behind my ears. Looking at my dirty, calloused feet, I wondered why they couldn’t be pretty like Mama always said her hands used to be.

Sometimes when Papa clicked at the white mare, Fanny, and the buggy lunged forward, my feet would fly up and my head hit the back of the seat.  Pa made nothing of this; for he was often preoccupied and saying soft words to himself. The old mare, our favorite horse through the years, was the mother of later horses which we prized. She kicked up dust and the buggy wheels dug into the soft sand. I rubbed my eyes and wondered about Papa’s thoughtful mumblings that were beyond my childish comprehension.

We came to the dry river bottom where Pa pointed out some chickadees and road runners. Shortly he pulled the reins, and with a whoa to the mare, we were both down from the buggy out in the deep white sand looking for doodle bugs together.

Then, in the most gentle meekness, we paused there. Papa spoke a few words of adoration and recognition to the heavenly Father who seemed so very present with us. He prayed softly there in the wonderful heavenly stillness. I repeated the little German prayer which he and Mama had taught all of us at an early age, “Dear Lord, make me good that I may get to heaven. ”

While kneeling there in the sand I looked up at the twinkly blue eyes and red mouth almost hidden in the massive blonde beard and mustache.  There I sensed love and a wealth of ability and understanding.

Here was the provider of our large two story house with a long stairs on which I loved to patter up and down. He kept a small purse filled with nice little moneys. He filled our barn with hay and with teams of greys and bays, mules and ponies. There were cows in the pasture or staked in the corn, wagons and farm machinery in the yard. Trees were planted, and a big castor bean vine stood near the barn where I often ran to shade and cool my bare feet on a hot blistery summer day.

Now I watched my father cut a willow branch, and with his knife he cleaned off its leaves and bark to make a slick buggy whip. Then a whistle and a snap of the whip, and my Pa and I were off again. The buggy wheels ground a little deeper into the sand as our faithful mare trudged heavily along.

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Rebuttal: AoM Podcast #126: Christianity, Masculinity, and Manly Maxims With Stephen Mansfield

This podcast started out hopeful, but as it progressed I felt that this discussion, while having a form of godliness, denied the power of Jesus Christ to save men’s souls. Like french fries without salt, we taste bland to the men around us who are perishing.

Today’s religion for men is not Christianity but Islam, as illustrated by the author’s Damascus story of men taking the time to validate his masculinity and role as a father.  It is tragic that this story served to be a greater recruitment for Islam than for Christ.  The allure of a religion that offers the earthly power of wielding a sword or an uzi, and which encourages men to subjugate women, is deceiving millions of men’s minds and souls.

The gravitas of sin is what’s missing from today’s western churches. Men don’t fear God today because American Churchianity, in particular, has been deceived into a false gospel of only love, which is no gospel at all! We Christian men have been lulled into believing that there are no consequences to sinning while under the covering of grace. We look no different than the world because our secret sins keep grieving the Holy Spirit, so that we have no power in His Name nor in our prayers.

If a man doesn’t understand the problem of his sin, then he has no reason to be interested in the mercy of Jesus.  Jonathan Edwards knew this all too well, and called men to action to save their very souls:

“O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: ’tis a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell; you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.”

I recommend all Christian men to read his sermon “sinners in the hands of an angry God” and then repent!

Western civilization has always needed the security of a man who fears nothing but the wrath of the infinite God. The man whose soul is at rest with the peace of eternal security is motivated with a unique courage to defend women and children against the wrath of man. As Jesus said in Luke 12: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”

If you want to your Christian life to be significant, manly, brave and meaningful then clean your own soul first. Then take your band of brothers out to go tell people that they need deliverance from the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God! Think of your responsibility as a Christian, your direct order by your God, to save men’s souls. Be strong and courageous, and be prepared to suffer for the cause of the gospel. Shew yourself a man and run the race such as to win the prize. Build up for yourself treasures in heaven, and you will have a fulfilled life.

Western civilization itself hangs by a thread today, and as God used the Babylonians to judge Israel for their infidelity, the Church is currently under God’s divine judgment.  God chastens those He loves, and the LORD’s discipline is now quickening the hearts of faithful men and is sifting us like wheat.  God’s wrath is already at our doorstep!  The Western Church has become Mystery Babylon, and God is pleading with you to come out of her spiritually so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not share in her plagues.

Repent now and stop dabbling in sin!  Turn 180 degrees away from those slothful distractions for which millions of men this very day chant “Death to America!” in the streets of Tehran.  The men deceived by Islam mock your sloth.  They mock your weakness.  They mock your fear of other men’s opinions.  They mock your false gods of ease and comfort.  They mock the Most High God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

In John’s Revelation he saw an angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.  And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

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