Kingfisher

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About Kingfisher

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    Cherished Friend
  • Birthday 10/15/1970

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    Male
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    Blue Ridge Mountains
  1. The darkness is where a candle is needed the most. I'm okay with that, I'm just a little homesick. "Dying ain't hard for men like you and me. It's living that's hard when all you've ever cared about has been butchered or raped." - Josey Wales
  2. Yeah, it's strange that we consider this a merry holiday when Solomon teaches us that the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning. Seems to me that being born was the worst thing that ever happened to that poor kid. I think if folks really understood the sacrifice they wouldn't be so cheerful about receiving the gift of life. Ignorance truly is bliss. Sometimes I wonder if I should have picked a different line of work myself. They say those who are called to Christ are called to suffer but I didn't think He was going to take those scorpion-tailed locusts quite so literally. That apple looked delicious, but man, what a tummyache. Oh well, at least I know where the exit is. Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ. "This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes." - Ecclesiastes 7:1 [NIV]
  3. I disagree. Your logic presumes that death is a curse rather than a blessing. To avoid introducing bias I didn't scan the conversation, but here's my two cents on the topic: I spent the better part of this past week in the hospital struggling with the double whammy of a rather obstinate kidney stone and acute pancreatitis (idiopathic). The pain ranks up there with being eaten alive, and much of that time was spent without drugs because my heart rate was too low. Eventually I was so exhausted and cramped it was threatening to collapse my lungs (further contraindicating respiratory depressants). I'd nod off every few minutes, but I couldn't rest because I'd almost immediately be startled awake by another spear in the side. It was an unendurable and inescapable torment. I can break a bone without breaking stride, but that ride had me begging for compassionate release. I must confess, it is rather demoralizing to be suffering in the halls of mercy and be told that you're too sick to treat. I asked for water and they gave me vinegar. On this holy night I am reminded of Jesus' words on the cross... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? In my humble opinion, the horror of the grave is merely an illusion of perspective. For those in hell, life is nothing but a prison. My own sister withdrew treatment and surrendered to leukemia a couple weeks ago, and after a year's battle death was certainly a blessing for her. To be quite honest, it was a relief for all of us. I have not yet been granted such a reprieve from the sorrows of the world. Were the doctors evil for refusing to intervene in my agony? Is God? Why does He inflict/allow suffering? That is indeed a mystery of faith. Perhaps it is a greater gift than we can know. My time on earth has been very enlightening, but I don't pretend to have unlocked all the secrets of the universe and I can't explain why things are ordered thus and not otherwise. All I can tell you is that I will bear this forsaken cross until the end, because I have found salvation in the Lord and a bodhi doesn't leave anyone behind. As others have done for me, so I will do for others. That is my golden rule. Merry Christmas, y'all. ☮ "For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven" - Ecclesiastes 3:1 [NHEB]
  4. My "church" is Nature. The environments of civilization and human society are merely reflections of concepts we hold in our minds. We manifest those beliefs upon our surroundings and declare them to be reality, and they in turn influence our perception and further bind us to the illusions we have created. As I sit and play my flutes I learn to harmonize with the natural world and lose the desire to impose my will upon it. This sort of meditation can be accomplished anywhere, I just find it simpler and more efficient to distance myself from the the temporal distractions in which we tend to place our hopes and fears. Walking out into the forest is a symbolic gesture of relinquishing those attachments and abandoning expectations of what life "should" be. It cultivates a spirit that asks for nothing and allows itself to simply exist in peace, come rain or shine. It is in that place where I stop seeking for God that the boundaries of self dissolve and I become aware that God was with me all along. For myself, worshipping in the untamed wilds isn't so much about trying to contact some mystical spirit that resides in the universe, but in sweeping away the artificial constructs and internal dialogues which obscure the luminous mind. “All philosophies are mental fabrications. There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.” ~ Nāgārjuna
  5. Of course. Instilling hyper-nationalistic zealotry in our children was the whole point of implementing the pledge in the first place. Our entire public education system is built around the Prussian model, and this is just another facet of that collectivist program of indoctrination. Personally I don't care which deity TPTB call upon to legitimize their authority. The whole thing is an insult to the principles of liberty which the flag purports to represent. It's goal is only to produce compliant workers and soldiers who are completely subservient to the State. The salute may have changed, but the totalitarian obedience training is still the same. And we all know how well that worked out for the Prussians.
  6. It's not so different today. Folks still think marriage is "fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race". How can gay marriage be considered a civil right if the entire purpose is about procreation? The concept has become inextricably tied to sex, and I don't think the Bible really supports that position. The "traditional" view seems rather too worldly, especially taken in the light of Isaiah and Revelation. How can God possibly marry His people if the nature and purpose of marriage is about biological reproduction? Whatever the reason for establishing the institution, it is the unifying spirit which is being glorified. I would argue that sexual immorality is not about the inherent wrongness of specific acts, but about disrespecting that spirit. When we get bogged down in the details we start to lose sight of the Lord. I'm writing a dissertation on this subject (the Biblical definition of marriage) and I really don't feel a brief explanation would do justice to the questions you have asked. It's still a long way from completion but if you don't mind taking a rain check I'll look forward to your critique when it's ready for presentation.
  7. Thanks for the kind words, but they're just a few questions I was asking myself during the study of this topic. Any wisdom contained therein is merely a reflection of the Word I was reviewing. In order to understand what these words mean I first had to consider how they were used in Hebrew and Greek, how those words were used where they were translated into other English words, the context in which they all appeared, how they related to one another, and what deeper truth they were trying to illuminate. I found that the answers were not nearly as simple as the questions. Indeed, a picture began to emerge. I thought perhaps sharing my musings for reflection would be more beneficial to the conversation than attempting to tell you all what the Bible can say for itself, and much more eloquently than I. Since it's been a topic of public debate recently, the "fundamental right" of marriage (as legally defined in the US) was on my mind, and I did consider what the Catholic catechism teaches us about marriage, chastity and sexual behavior. It can be difficult to distinguish dogma from doctrine. While I believe Dan's views are supported by the Church, the validity of her stance is an entirely different debate. I could not be so certain about the foundation of those teachings in scripture. It seems to me that a proscription against homosexuality makes a lot more sense when your people and culture are threatened with extinction than when the planet itself is threatened by the overpopulation of ravenous apes. Maybe the Hebrews had no time for gay marriage as they wandered the desert, and maybe the Greeks were getting a little too licentious with their pederasty, but is the question of marriage really about condoning or abhorring specific couplings, or do these contexts show us that there a greater Spirit of loving-kindness that the sacrament is meant to serve? Does the Bible really say that marriage is only between one man and one woman, or is it trying to teach me about the sacred nature of relationships (between man and woman, between man and God, between man and creation) and the duty I have to respect those covenants? Who defines marriage - the Bible, or God? Who am I to boastfully put asunder that which He chooses to join together?
  8. Why does the Bible define 'marriage' as it does? What truth is being illuminated? Are we getting bogged down in the details by insisting it must be a certain way? Are we really meant to be concerned with examining the sexual organs of a 'husband' and 'wife' or do these terms point us to something else? Can we remain true to the spirit of scripture by changing the law to fit a modern context? Are disciples of the faith required to do so? Does such a change invalidate the wisdom it reveals, or merely the truth as we have understood it? Does the book tell us what is right, or does it point us toward what is right? Does adhering blindly to literal interpretation serve the Lord or does it only obscure Him? Are we to follow the Bible, or are we to follow the Holy Spirit?
  9. It may be possible to prevent certain people from doing certain things, but we can't stop them from doing wrong, or force them to do right. You can walk into any prison and observe this truth. It's like a game of whack-a-mole. You stop one wrong behavior and another pops up somewhere else. The more you try to restrain someone's liberty the more they yearn to breath free. Most of these things you mention are just forms of coercion used to change someone's mind by convincing them that disobedience is going to cost more than liberty will gain them. If you whip someone hard enough they'll pick that cotton for you; promise them enough gold and they'll fire up the ovens. I suppose removing a person's ability to make decisions can stop them from doing anything, but I'd put that in the same philosophical category as killing them. It's more of a gray area but I'm inclined to say the same thing about coercion... it stifles a person's nature and robs them of the right and responsibility of developing their own character. The person they may have become is destroyed just as surely as if they had died. If a person cannot freely choose for themselves they are no longer doing right or wrong, they're just following orders. If we threw a grenade into a crowd, would we accuse it of murder? I suppose that's one reason why people like to be governed. They know they're being pushed to do things they don't believe are right, but it's comforting to convince themselves that the blame is not on their shoulders.
  10. The right to be wrong, or to do wrong, is unalienable. We may convince others to behave as we desire, but in truth nothing is done without their consent. Indeed, except by taking their life, we cannot prevent anyone from exercising their authority to believe and to act as they will. This fact is illustrated by the impotence of those who would presume to declare what is right and what is wrong. One may declare "thou shalt not murder", but these are mere words. The command has no power to prevent murder no matter how many others agree that it is just. This is one of the reasons why I do not favor providing people the yokes by which they may more easily subjugate others to their own philosophy. Inevitably, and inxeorably, some will seize the reins and choose to do wrong. A man with a gun can kill dozens. A man with an army can kill millions. It is true that this also removes tools by which people may do a greater good, but I still believe in the principle of primum non nocere. If you want to see more good done in the world, do it yourself. You have no power to rule others anyway. “No one can take away your Natural Rights, but they can do great damage making you think they can.” ~ J.S.B. Morse “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.” ~ Edward Abbey
  11. “The right of dissent, or, if you prefer, the right to be wrong, is surely fundamental to the existence of a democratic society. That’s the right that went first in every nation that stumbled down the trail toward totalitarianism.” ~ Edward R. Murrow
  12. What would Jesus do? I would hypothesize that He'd do the same thing He did (as the story goes) when His disciples turned away the hungry multitudes... He fed them Himself. He didn't put the disciples in a headlock and force them to start baking cakes. He led by example, not with Caesar's whip. Demanding that the law step in to provide for the oppressed is a convenient way to avoid doing anything yourself. It's takes a lot of effort and personal sacrifice to create a better society. If it's wrong to discriminate and denying services to some individuals hurts society, why should any minister be allowed to refuse to solemnize a marriage of which they do not approve? If we judge that it is acceptable (nay, an obligation) to coerce others to behave the way the majority thinks is right, where does that authority end? "Law does not and cannot cover all the ground of morality. To turn all moral obligations into legal obligations would be to destroy morality. Happily it is impossible. No code of law can envisage the myriad changing situations that determine moral obligations. Moreover, there must be one legal code for all, but moral codes vary as much as the individual characters of which they are the expression. To legislate against the moral codes of one’s fellows is a very grave act, requiring for its justification the most indubitable and universally admitted of social gains, for it is to steal their moral codes, to suppress their characters." ~ Robert MacIver
  13. Unless I'm in a protected class, apparently. I chose to be here, didn't I? My deeply held religious belief is that the government should leave me alone. I'm still trying to win that case, but I recognize the futility in appealing to the law and thereby empowering those who would chain me with it. Aye, that I have, and it does explain the rest of my questions. I think that was Plato. Thanks for the insight.
  14. That's what I mean about unequal protection. If I told a little person that they couldn't work for me because it would make the customers uncomfortable and I don't want "their kind" around my store, that's just too bad for them. The underlying arguments supporting these laws only apply to special interest groups, and that seems to be a constitutional problem. If the government can't apply a law fairly they shouldn't be applying it at all, but utilitarianism has usurped liberty. The majority opinion is still trampling the minorities', and I still don't understand why judging someone for what they can't change is different than judging someone for what they don't want to change. Ultimately it's saying the same thing: "I don't like who you are." Does it hurt any less to be ostracised simply for exercising your freedom? Is it government's job to coddle our feelings? I also don't understand why religious convictions are the only firmly held beliefs which merit special consideration. Are a person's values and opinions any less important when they're based on reason instead of faith? It doesn't seem like the problems of discrimination have been solved at all, it only seems like a different chauvinist is sitting on the throne.
  15. No, I don't understand why my choices are any less an expression of who I am than my gender or the color of my skin (which, incidentally, can be changed.) I've never shot anyone and I've jumped through all the hoops proving my responsibility to the standards of society, and yet I'm still judged unfairly. They are objecting to me, because the gun isn't going to jump out of it's holster and attack someone all by itself. And this isn't just any choice, I have a constitutionally protected right to bear arms. What harm is being done by rejecting someone for being who they are that is not being done for rejecting someone for another reason? Why is it reasonable to protect someone because they can't help who they love, but not to protect someone who can't help who they hate? We're all prejudiced in some way, why is discrimination "wrong"? Why can we decide that bigots are undesirable to society and force them to suppress their behavior, but we cannot do the same for gays? Why are other natural characteristics, like being born a carnivore, or being born too short for a carnival ride, or being born an anti-social curmudgeon, not protected? Why is religion considered a protected class? Clearly choice is not the distinguishing factor here. I don't understand why the arguments supporting these laws are not applied equally. No, if we're fighting discrimination I don't see why we can still discriminate against some people. Precisely the reason for tight constraints. Folks are screaming about the abuses of power, and they keep demanding we grant the abusers even more power to fix the problem. It's madness. We've undermined the bedrock of our nation to build a Tower of Babel, and it's not going to end well.