The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Ark; a New Beginning

Say what you like about the new 'Noah' movie, choose to see it or not, love it or hate it, be indifferent, etc; one good point the author made was that the whole point of the cataclysm was not so much the end of the world as it was about a new beginning, not the death of what was truly evil, but the birth of what was truly good! This little bit of an article is not intended to be a critique of the movie, so nothing much more will be said in that regard. except that if you were expecting a truly scriptural story, perish the thought, because it departs from the story of The Great Flood even further than Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings'!

Most Christians will agree that the Story pointed to the Christ, or the Messiah; as only a Remnant of Israel was saved from the baptism by fire that the Roman armies rained down upon Jerusalem & the Temple, so, as the Story goes, only eight were saved from the Great Deluge! The salvation that Noah, his Family & a certain number of Beasts experienced through the Ark was significant of the True Salvation, the spiritual regeneration that would come only through Incorporation into the Body of the Christ! While both catastrophes spelled certain & irrevocable death for the wicked, they ensured a New Beginning, or Genesis, for those who had Faith!

Some are currently 'toying' with the notion that the Story of Noah & the Ark, in the words of a rather famous swordsman, did not 'mean what you think it means'! In other words, these few are of the opinion ( very strong, in some cases ) that all the various beasts that were brought inside the Ark for Salvation were not really beasts at all ( not as we're used to thinking of them ), but were actually people, which, in a way, is significant of the Universal Aspect of Salvation, or in more scriptural terms, Jew & Gentile!

Whether the Beasts in the Ark were actually people or simply dumb animals, the point of the Story, as orthodoxically accepted, is that whatever was in the Ark was saved & whatever was outside the Ark perished in the Cataclysm! As the Story goes, after Noah & his family, along with all the beasts, had come safely through the Flood, the Creator reestablished His Covenant with Noah ( A New Beginning ), upon which Noah immediately planted a Vineyard, significant in & of itself, was filled with those spirits & revealed himself as no better than his forefather, Adam!

Although this New Beginning had rather a rough start, with Noah being forced ( ? ) to curse one of his sons, this New Beginning was significant of the Truly New Beginning which the Christ would later Institute through the offering of His Blood & Body on the Cross at Calvary! Just as the Creator sent a Deluge of Water on the Land to destroy the wicked ones of Noah's world, so He sent a Baptism by Fire on the Land to destroy the Wicked Ones of Jesus' world! Those who were Chosen to ride the storm out would experience a New Birth, a New Beginning!

Through their Incorporation into the Body of Christ, although many endured the Baptism by Fire, those in the first century were saved through this Cataclysm, just as those of Noah's world were saved from the Flood through the vessel of the Ark! The New Birth, as Jesus explained it to Nicodemus ( John 4 ) was a necessary part of this New Beginning; now we dwell with the Creator of Heaven & Earth, now there is no more death ( separation from the Creator ), now we enjoy His Presence ( 'no more tears' ) forevermore, the Day of Salvation is past, now we simply enjoy the Fruits of that New Beginning, the True Vine!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, May 29, 2015

'Gimme Some Sugar, Baby!'

Ever hear someone talk about, 'too much of a good thing'? It IS possible to OD on certain things, sugar for one, although sugar, in & of itself, is not a bad thing! Moderation is key & also depending on one's circumstances, totally abstaining from certain things might become necessary! The act of sexual intercourse, popularly known as 'sex' is yet another thing that must be carefully & thoughtfully observed. To maintain its significance & intimacy, we must limit our sexual urges to certain times & places, not to mention with a certain person!

Here's another one; 'familiarity breeds contempt'! Now, this may not seem to have anything to do with our subject, but if you think real hard, you might get a headache! Here's a hint though, 'if you stick your head through a window, the pane will be gone'! Okay, enough of that! Speaking of 'sex', depending on the person, of course, it can become rather mundane if practiced too often! Same with something as simple as sugar, if all one consumes is sugar, or sugary ( sweet ) things, even this can become a 'drag' ( especially on ones body )!

'Sugar', besides being an actual substance, can also be a code word for something else; kissing, or even sex can be implemented or requested by asking for this sweet but potentially dangerous, even deadly substance! Again, depending on the person, sugar can be a detriment to their health & even, in certain circumstances, bring death! Much of this though, can attributed to the type of sugar, how it was processed, etc, etc. The processes we employ to make life simpler & easier are actually making our lives more complex & harder, killing us slowly in the process!

The sexual act, like sugar, can be good or evil, depending on the circumstances, or process used to refine & define it! If one goes about it the wrong way, it ( sex ) can bring nothing but pane & suffering. Practiced the right way & using totally natural processes, both of the subjects at hand can be sweeter than honey & the honeycomb! Both were made, by the Creator, to be utilized with certain abandon & for our enjoyment. It is when we lose all sense & simply engorge in either glorious creation that trouble comes knocking at our door!

Sugar, the substance, not the act, is wonderful ( well, okay, the act too ); there are certain people, myself included, that just have a 'sweet tooth'! Then, on the other hand, there are those that just don't really have a hankering for 'the sweeter things in life'! As well, we have those too who should NOT have any of this delectable substance because it is not only dangerous to them; it can be deadly!

Practiced without certain restraints, those instituted by the Creator, the blessing of sexual intercourse can become a curse, both physically & spiritually! Due to certain processes, the sex act has been shown to mete out all manner of death, not to mention much needless pain & suffering. Through right & natural process, it, like pure cane sugar, can prove quite a boon to both ones physical & spiritual health!

'Too much of a good thing'? Yes; it is painfully obvious, especially in this Age of Technology & Industry, that this can quickly & easily happen! The obvious question could be asked here as well, 'what is meant by 'a good thing'; good for you, tastes good? Not everything that tastes good is good for you & not everything that's good for you tastes good. 'To each his or her own', I guess ( to make use of another cliche' )!

The point is, both sugar & sex, in their natural ( original ) state, are good, but through certain processes, have become dangerous to our health! Sugar, like salt or any other flavouring or spice, serves to 'spice things up', to make things taste better. It depends on the user if or how much of it is necessary to 'spice things up'! Correctly processed, both can be a real blessing, but with the wrong process, both can turn out to be a real curse & detrimental to our physical, spiritual & emotional health!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, May 28, 2015

'Be Fruitful & Multiply'; the Purpose of Marriage

But did He not make  [ them ] one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Malachi 2:15

Undoubtedly, under that first ( covenant ) especially,  the Clear Purpose of our Creator in instituting the Covenant of Marriage was procreation! To 'be fruitful and multiply' was given as a command to the birds of the air & the fish of the sea ( though interestingly, not the 'beasts of the field' ) as well as Man on the Land. As we have have explored previously, Man & Woman were created with interlocking parts for which the primary utilization is the progression of the species. Most people understand how this works, so we don't need to get into the intricacies here!

Much is made in this day & age, not so much among Christians, maybe, as among those who make no claim on that Name, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience! The progression of the Covenant, from being more or less based in physicality to being manifest as spiritually discerned ( I Corinthians 15:46 ) seems to give us a clue that this statement is not far from the mark! This might engender many more questions, but is it possible that in the New Covenant ( age ) where there is no more marrying or giving in marriage ( Luke 20:35 ), we are meant to spiritually 'be fruitful and multiply'? the language of the apostle Paul concerning the Fruits of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9 ) seems to point in this direction as well!

Scripture tells us that 'children [ are ] a heritage from the Lord' ( Psalm 127:3 ); this, like the Creator who rewards His People thusly has not changed & will never change! It is not easy, especially in this day & age, to raise children, but the blessing of children cannot be denied! the apostle Paul does not give us a lot of insight into his relationship with Timothy ( or Timothy's mother ), but we are told that he was Paul's 'true son in the faith' ( I Timothy 1:2 ( I Corinthians 4:17 ); Titus was another who bore this Badge of Honor ( Titus 1:4 )! Clearly, it is not merely by physical procreation that we can 'be fruitful and multiply'!

In this Age of Technology there is much that exists, purportedly to make our lives easier, but which actually makes it more difficult! With greater technology usually comes greater cost & nowhere is this more evident than in the breakdown of the family unit! There are manifold ways in which greater technology has affected the family, but maybe the most obvious is the greater cost; many families, because of this greater cost, have done several things, one of which is that both husband & wife are almost forced to work outside the home, rather than one or the other staying home to take charge of raising their children & another is that the children themselves are seen as more of a burden, if there are children in the picture at all!

Someone once said that 'it takes a village to raise a child' & whether one agrees with the thought processes behind this particular statement & the one who made it, it is difficult to deny its veracity, at least in theory! 'Community' might be a better substitution for 'village', but this statement is itself not far off the mark! The Nuclear Family, with Father, Mother & Children, is traditionally how the order was set by our Creator, but they are not alone in their endeavor; ideally, everyone with whom they have blessed fellowship bears a part in the raising of these Heirs of the Earth! These Blessings were given especially to a certain set of parents to raise, but it is not on their shoulders alone that these Blessings rest, but on the greater, especially Covenant Community!

In this present Age, having been incorporated into the Body of Christ ( spiritually ), we understand that this ( incorporation ) is not physically, but spiritually manifested! We, as Timothy & Titus were not, are not so much Children of God by physical manifestation, though there is clearly that aspect, but by spiritual birth ( John 3 ), by spiritual multiplication! This is not to say that the family unit instituted by the Creator is no longer valid, just that our Covenant Horizons have witnessed a Great Expansion & Infinitely so!

Children ARE our heritage from our Creator, but it is not only those that have been especially entrusted to us that are a blessing to us! Neither is it to us alone that those with whom we have been especially blessed are a heritage; all those with whom we have blessed fellowship partake in this Communion! As we have witnessed, it is not by physical procreation alone that we are to 'be fruitful and multiply'; simply by partaking in the Blessed Communion that we have been given by our Creator, we are to establish His Seed in the Earth ( our world ), not simply by physical generation, but by spiritual procreation!

The Covenant of Marriage is a Sacred Institution; as the male & female anatomies have not changed with the Advent of the New Age, neither has this Eternal Institution! While there may be a question in certain people's minds as to whether we are in that New Age ( 'the age to come' ), the Conclusion is unavoidable; we are in the Resurrection ( Luke 20:34-36 ( John 11:26 )! Being in the Resurrection, having been awakened ( startled ) into our True Life, we understand that to fulfill our Creator's command is not simply to engage in the act of procreation ( it may not even involve that ), but to partake in Blessed Communion with the Fruits of the Spirit!

Charles Haddon Shank


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Perfect Republic

Many Christians today, while they would most likely oppose the evil of abortion, are, on the other hand, some of the most rabid supporters of empire-building, otherwise known as foreign wars! These same Christians voice their stance against abortion & yet throw their full support behind the warmongery this nation has been embroiled in for at least three quarters of her relatively short life! They justify their involvement with anything from, 'we must root out evil wherever it crops up', to 'we must support the nation of Israel at all costs'! Most of these Christians, as well, would likely tell you that we must blindly obey any governmental authority!

A republic, by its very definition, is a nation whose form of government is 'of the people, by the people, for the people'! According to this Rule of Law, elected representatives from the people govern by the statutes that the people, through their representatives, have ratified. This vision is fast fading in this great nation! Those representatives, for the most part, have become corrupt; rather than truly representing the people that they are meant to represent, they are representative instead of those who have themselves become corrupted through greed, maliciousness & terror!

'We the people' are not immune to this disease, either! Much of the problem lies with the general population; when it comes to decimating the Islamic Horde, most Americans, including many Christians, are almost as blood-thirsty & adept at warmongery as our corrupt leaders! The answer to the question, 'can we serve the Prince of Peace & bomb our neighbors' should be a simple one! The answer is a quick & definite NO! Then there is the nagging question of, 'who IS our neighbor'! Is 'our neighbor' limited to a certain geographical are? Is 'our neighbor simply one who needs our help, or is 'our neighbor' one who has done us no harm, yet stands between us & our target ( enemy ), through no fault of their own, but simply because they live there?!

Now, peace is not always the easiest option; there are times when it seems all you can do is bomb those who threaten our way of life, but we must remember too, our way of life, our Foreign Policy in particular, threatens their way of life! With our history of animosity towards them, even if we began to treat them all as our neighbors ( yes, even our enemies ), it is most likely that we would not experience an immediate reciprocation, but as Christians, are we not commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves & to treat others as we would like to be treated?

The problem is that we are on the receiving end now; having treated other nations like we have, we are now, as a nation, probably one of the most hated ( though feared ), probably on par with Ancient Rome! Much of what has made the evening news recently, including domestic violence, can be attributed almost directly to our involvement in foreign wars. Although Islam, as a religion, is in opposition to Christianity, groups like ISIS would probably not be lopping heads off if Christians had simply followed Jesus' command to love their neighbor! Again, this is not to say that Islamists would have never directly opposed Christianity, if Christians had not taken the violent tack they have, but at least the Christians would not be guilty of warmongery & idolatry!

If we are truly to have a republic, one governed by actual representatives of the people, then we must have a people who are Governed, not just by the Rule of Law, but by our Creator's Law, by the principle of loving our neighbor as ourselves & treating them like we would have them treat us! Until this change registers in the hearts & minds of Americans, Christians in particular, then all we can expect is more of the same & worse, for it can & will only get worse! This system of things, what can hardly be called a republic anymore, must be brought crashing to its knees before its citizens will realize that the Kingdom of God rules & until they understand & acknowledge this, there will be no lasting peace!

If Americans in general & Christians in particular opposed the killing of our neighbors across the seas as staunchly as they oppose the murder of the innocent, we would no doubt see a steep decline in the foreign conflicts that the U. S. Inc. involves this nation of fools in! Would God that we would see this day, the Day when Christians, even Americans in general, not only voice, but show a religious opposition to the senseless killing of our neighbors, whether they be next door or over the seas!

As things stand, though, all that we as Christians can do is to love God & our neighbor as ourselves! Treating others as we would have them treat us may seem a bit simple-minded & like closing the gate after the horse gets out, but at least we will have done our part! Though we as a nation have pretty much irreparably stuck our foot in it, maybe the best we can do as Christians is to secede ( politically ) from this Union & give up this idolatrous notion of empire-building! The only Empire a Christian should support & pledge his or her allegiance to is the Kingdom of our God & Father!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, May 25, 2015

To Those Who Have Bled

Although this is not meant to piss anyone off, especially those with friends or relatives who have given their all for this nation of fools, it probably will anyway! Those who have themselves served or are serving probably won't appreciate it either, but some things just need to be said, so here goes! While saying the things that need to be said, however, we must always remember to say them in love!

Untold Americans have lost their lives in defense of this country, or at least this country's ideals! Cold Comfort is pretty much all we can give to the families of those who have lost friends or loved ones ( or both ) in the conflicts, both foreign & domestic, of the god ole' US of A! It would be useless to say that these death were meaningless, for there is no doubt in the minds of most Americans that these conflicts were not only needful, but necessary to the preservation of our freedom & for the good of the world through the spread of their brand of democracy!

There are those, though ( thank God this number is growing ), who have questioned the necessity of these conflicts, in particular the foreign one! Defense of our own country, from invaders foreign & domestic are necessary; war is hell, yes, but there does come a time when we must throw down the gauntlet & fight or die! The Revolutionary War was one such; the so-called Civil War was another. The defense of our own soil & even coming to the aid of our allies is a noble endeavor; we are not advocating passivity!

From the first Barbary Wary until now, though the perpetrators & protagonists may argue till they're blue in the face that these actions were, not only necessary, but unavoidable, the unavoidable & devastating truth is, THEY WEREN'T! Would we, as a nation be where we are today if not for the courageous & selfless actions of those who fought & died in these foreign conflicts? Probably not, but then we must ask ourselves this very important question; ''would that really be such a bad thing??'

Much of what's wrong with the State of the Union is almost wholly & directly attributable to its involvement in foreign wars! Some may try to deny this troubling fact, but really, given any real thought, this sobering fact is undeniable! War is hell & though some sort of conflict is almost unavoidable, even on foreign soil, one might say, the damage that foreign wars especially have done to this nation, both by depriving her of her fathers & sons, mothers & daughters, then by depriving many of those who do make it out alive of their humanity, make them almost useless & even dangerous members of society! This, thanks to our Heavenly Father, is not true of all who have fought & bled!

Democracy is a funny thing; 'we the people', or at least the majority ( 'might makes right'? ) may, however loosely, hold the reigns, but even those reigns, many fear, have slipped irreparably out of our cold, dead hands! Not to mention the fact that most who have fought in defense of this nation of fools wouldn't even have gotten involved unless they were being paid ( okay, so I DID mention it ), the majority of those, of late, especially, who have fought, bled & died for the ideals they were taught, swallowed the line of propaganda they were fed, hook, line & sinker! Did they have to go overseas to fight the enemies of our nation? They were told they did! Some might say it was the real enemies of our nation that told them those lies!

We have only begun to piss people off; much more needs to be done & is currently underway ( has been for years ) that, Lord willing, will have the lasting effect of waking the American people out of their stupor! Only barely do we mention the fact here that much of our foreign policy is very against Scriptural principles ( no surprise there! ), even though our foreign policy regarding the Middle East & Israel in particular is nominally based on the Bible!

'So, what's the use', some may ask, 'of pissing people off; even if it's for the purpose of waking people up?' Are we even sure that's gonna work? It might just get us killed, or at least ostracized, right!? We can only tell the truth in love & hope that it's received in the same manner! We do not wish to denigrate or downplay the meaningful sacrifice of countless thousands, even millions who have given their all, but neither do we wish to see countless more, like them, lose their lives in these conflicts which are not as necessary as they might seem!

Working & Praying toward this End,
Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Journey

Life's a Journey, not a Destination'!

How true this statement is! This physical existence in Biology, whether one believes that 'Heaven' is our Final Destination or that we, as followers & hosts of the Son of our Heavenly Father currently make it our Resting Place, is definitely a trip; we are clearly meant to learn something along the way, as we journey through this biological experience. The Journey can be a reference to the actual steps we take as we make our way through this world, or it can refer, in a more metaphorical sense, to our maturation as we face new & different challenges along the way!

As most of you probably know, I recently took a rather long ( a day less than two months ) vacation! I first traveled to St. Thomas, one of the U. S. Virgin Islands where I spent three weeks enjoying the fairly relaxed pace of Island Life, on Island Time. After saying my farewells to my family there, I caught a plane up to Orlando where my baby sister lives in Winter Garden with her husband & children. When my two weeks there were up, I traveled to Virginia & spent several days with more family there & then rode out to Indiana where I spent two weeks with more family. Back to Montana was where I headed next, making it my final destination for that trip; but, my Journey was by no means over!

The experiences I endured on this part of my Personal Journey are ones that will doubtless stay in my mental passport for the rest of my existence! Not so much the experiences that I had, maybe, the things I did, but the things I learned, both about myself & others. I learned; experienced rather, that life is not so much about what a person believes, though that is important, but what a person does, whether that one claims a certain doctrine or not! Whether one has all his or her doctrinal ducks in a row or whether that one holds no particular doctrine sacred, when the rubber meets the road, what a person does with his or her belief or lack thereof is what really matters! We may quibble whether it's possible for a person to truly do what is right without acknowledging a blessed relationship with our Heavenly Father & the Body of His Son, His People, but when it comes down to it, doctrine doesn't do windows, to see clearly, one must actually use some full-strength elbow grease!

I enjoyed the time spent with family in each of my temporary destinations, but I also enjoyed the new acquaintances I made in each place as well! Some of the friends I made, in the Islands, in particular, are probably not ones that I would enjoy hanging out with on a daily basis, but then, I might say the same about certain members of my family! Difference in belief has a great effect, maybe too great, on how we experience this earthly life & so go our enjoyment, unfortunately! If only we could simply enjoy the company of a fellow creature, rather than basing our friendship, our fellowship, on what doctrine or creed a person holds to! Alas; as human beings, we tend to judge as worthy those who believe a certain set of doctrines, rather than seeing the worthiness of the creature in the actions they pursue!

Now that I'm back in Montana, I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. It sure was an experience, what with traveling through several different airports & then spending several weeks in the Islands! Never will I forget my time there; in fact, I'm still processing some of it! Florida, was almost an entirely different experience for me; I enjoyed every moment, as I did in the Islands, but I traveled around a bit more. I did not spend as long in Virginia as I had hoped, but I tried to make the most of my time there & in Indiana as well. My time in Indiana was a pleasant one, for the most part & I AM grateful for the time that I was able to spend there!

As I continue this Journey, along with my fellow creatures & members of the Family of God, the Body of Christ, I'm looking forward to further experiencing the Grace & Mercy of our Heavenly Father, enjoying each new learning experience as it comes, or as I come to it! We may look at this life as simply a journey which we must endure before we reach our Final Destination, or we may approach it with amazement, with wondering eyes & minds, enjoying each step of the Journey! Our choice may determine how we weather Life's Storms!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Love Without Restraint

One of the most misunderstood phrases in today's verbage is 'unconditional love'; it's also somewhat of a misnomer! Well, at the very least, one could object, 'isn't God's love unconditional?' Well, actually, no, it's not! The One who created us loves us because we are His! Does that sound unconditional to you? To be fair though, when most creatures speak of their Creator's 'unconditional love', they are referring to the 'fact' that, as any good earthly father, our Heavenly Father loves each of His children irregardless of their obedience or consummated love! Though this 'fact' may be a questionable one, can even this love be called unconditional? It is simply Love, for God is Love!

Love, before we even consider trying to define it unconditionally, must itself be defined! In today's day & age, 'love' most often is defined, as the apostle Peter seemed to be determined to do ( John 21:15-19 ), as more of a warm, fuzzy feeling, a brotherly love, or comradery, rather than as an action one chooses to perform or not to perform! Unconditional Love, as we have witnessed, is usually defined as this brotherly love, this warm fuzzy comradery that knows no limits. Is it possible for a human being, especially one with the Love of God in them, to love unconditionally? Sure; as all things are possible with God, it's conceivable that such a person could exhibit that Love, seemingly without condition, but even then, is it truly Unconditional Love; is there even such a thing?

Scripture, through the words of the apostle Paul ( I Corinthians 13 ) tells us much about what Love is & isn't. 'Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.' (‭ I Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭4-7‬ ) Love, according to the apostle Paul, rather than being a feeling, was something one does or does not do! Now, as we've explored previously, feelings are usually involved in our practice of Love & so, usually are why Unconditional Love is a misnomer, particularly for human beings!

It is evident that, especially in the past, Christians have shown an Unfailing Love, or Love Without Restraint! There is no doubt that, through the Love of God, many, even though Martyred for the Cause, have allowed the Love of God to shine through their actions & persevered in doing rightly, even though it cost them their biological life! Even though unrestrained, this was not an unconditional love, but was in fact conditioned on their being a fellow creature!

We have noted before, as well, that a love based on feelings is merely a brotherly love, a warm fuzzy feeling that can change like the weather! It is a well-established fact that feelings change & when they do, it's often like night & day! One day, this person would die for the other & the next moment they want to kill the other! One day one never wants to leave the side of the other & before you know it, that one can't get far enough away! Such is the 'love' most people practice today; based on feelings, it is blown by the wind!

Love Without Restraint, on the other hand, is more like what our Heavenly Father has shown us & what the apostle Paul described in his first letter to the Corinthians! True Love knows no bounds! Like its Creator, Who is indeeed the Embodiment of it, it is boundless, everlasting, eternal! As He shows Love Without Restraint for His Creation, so we, unrestrained by boundaries such as suffering, envy, pride & anger, may choose to love those that hate us & do rightly to those who wrong us?

Love, except as Embodied by the Creator Himself, cannot be unconditional! What we practice toward others, right or wrong, is conditional. Our choices are most often, like it or not ( even the 'best' of us ) based on our feelings; it's simply the human condition & the fact of the matter! We can, however, practice Love Without Restraint, for that is simply to do what is right to your neighbor, whether or not he or she is doing rightly. The question therefore is, 'are we commissioned to Love Without Restraint?' I leave you with this question!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Incorporation of the New Heavens & New Earth

Where do we go when our true self, our spirit, is separated from that which currently houses our true identity, the biological bodies in which we are experiencing this adventure/journey we call life? Is there a certain place somewhere out there, called 'heaven' ( whether it's a geographical location one can pinpoint, or a spiritual realm ) where we will dwell forevermore in endless bliss, floating around on clouds & playing harps? Does it really matter to our here & now?!

Truthfully, to many people, those with physical ailments & disabilities ( like myself ), the dream of a time when we will no longer be encumbered by these these physical ailments & disabilities is a very attractive one! The thought of running free of this physical body is so beguiling that many are so focused on what it will be like that they forget to live now! If 'Heaven' is a place ( ? ) where we go, only after the demise of our physical bodies, then what was the whole Purpose of our Heavenly Father in sending His Son to dwell with ( in ) us, if not to bring 'Heaven' to Earth?!

Again, truthfully, it is well-nigh impossible to look at the shape of our world, to say nothing of the State of the Union & say that we are in 'Heaven'! I mean, seriously, is the crap that threatens to suck us in on a daily basis really an accurate rendering of what the Scriptures said the New Heavens & New Earth would be like?! Well, actually, yes; we've been here before, but let's remember what the prophet Isaiah said about this 'place': 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My servants shall eat, But you shall be hungry; Behold, My servants shall drink, But you shall be thirsty; Behold, My servants shall rejoice, But you shall be ashamed; Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, But you shall cry for sorrow of heart, And wail for grief of spirit. (‭ Isaiah‬ ‭65‬:‭13 & 14 ). Speaking of the difference between those who served Him & His Kingdom & those who served themselves & the kingdom of man, our Heavenly Father even tells us, through Isaiah, that there would be sinners in these New Heavens & New Earth! The apostle Peter spoke of these New Heavens & New Earth as a 'place' where Righteousness would dwell ( II Peter 3:13 )!

Most people today, when faced with the assertion that this is 'Heaven', immediately beg to differ; 'how can this be 'Heaven' when there is so much pain & suffering still; would a good God allow things like pornography & all the manifold evils of society to exist?' 'If this is 'Heaven', some would say, ' I want no part of it; I can't/wont believe in a 'Heaven' where child-rape, hunger, disease & all manner of evil is allowed to persist!' Here's a question for those people, our brothers & sisters nonetheless, 'who is really allowing those evils to persist in our ( own ) world, God, or us?' Is there nothing we can do, however helpless & hopeless we feel when facing such demons? Don't we have the Strength of the Creator welling up within us, through Whom we can do all things?!

Much of the fault, as with so many other things, lies in semantics, the way we say things! Is THIS Heaven, or are WE, the Body Of Christ, IN Heaven ( just like we are IN Christ )? There has been much reference of late, on this blog, to the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, wherein the Creator has eternally invested Himself into His Creation. No, in the sense that we were used to thinking of 'Heaven' were everything is idyllic & nothing hurts anymore, this is NOT 'Heaven', but in the scriptural sense, as the Dwelling of our Heavenly Father & His Kingdom where Righteousness dwells, WE are IN 'Heaven'! 'Heaven' is IN us & in that sense, WE are 'Heaven'!

Much more could be written on this Subject of Subjects, in fact, has been & will be, but how are we living the Life we have been given? Are we living & loving freely, as if there is no tomorrow ( we don't know when our time, biologically speaking, is up ), or are we existing, doing our part, but doing time, waiting for some future 'Heaven' when we have Peace in our hearts now, when Righteousness dwells in US now!

The question has been asked, 'Where do we reside upon physical death? My answer, simple though it may be, is this; 'right where we are now, in the Presence of our Heavenly Father!' Is there another 'place' that our spirits will rest after they are separated from this biology? Scripture really tell us of no other place & as for me, I want nothing more than Peace & Rest in the Arms of the Creator of Heaven & Earth!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Locust Eater & the Plagues of Egypt

 But I say to you that Elijah has also come
And they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him.
Mark 9:13

In ancient times, especially over in the Middle-East & Asia, things that we as civilized Americans would hardly consider eating were on the daily menu! Survivalists have been known to eat some pretty crazy things & and even in the younger years of our nation, it might surprise you what some of our forefathers & mothers considered edible!

When John the Baptizer, cousin of Jesus the Christ, came eating locusts & honey ( Mark 1:6 ), this would not have seemed unusual to the general populace, as this is how many or most of his forbears lived & sustained themselves, especially in the wilderness! His forbear, the prophet Elijah, no doubt made much of his sustenance from this delicacy! How often, though, do we think about the significance of their consumption of these hording insects!

Looking through the Scriptural references to these amazing creatures, we find that 9.9 times out of 10, they are symbols of destruction, to whatever extent, usually utter! The eighth plague that was visited on Egypt by Yahweh involved hordes of locusts that 'ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees' ( Exodus 10:1-18 ). It is no coincidence that John came eating 'locusts and wild honey', for this signaled the coming Reversal of the Curse that was about to be inaugurated by the One for whom John paved the way, the Messiah of Israel & the Only Begotten Son of God!

Locusts were symbolically a part of the Curse, as is evident throughout Scripture, most famously, of course, beginning with the Plagues of Egypt & ending with the Plagues of Israel, or Babylon, which Israel had become like! In the famous Blessings & Cursings passage ( Deuteronomy 28 ), Yahweh promises those unfaithful to His Covenant, 'Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land' ( verse 42 ) . Speaking of the coming utter destruction of Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:14 ), He says 'Surely I will fill you with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a shout against you'. The first part of Yahweh's judgement against Judah & Jerusalem  ( Amos 7 ) involves 'locust swarms' that are intentionally formed by the LORD!!

At the 5th trumpet of the Revelation ( Revelation 9 ), we see the fulfillment ( symbolically of course ) of Yahweh's deadly promise in Deuteronomy 28! When the 5th trumpet ( judgment ) sounded, 'locusts' ascended from the bottomless pit; interestingly enough though, they were commanded not to harm that which naturally grows from the earth, 'but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads'. This curse, the fulfillment of the curse promised back in Deuteronomy 28 was not against the Land but was levied directly upon Man on the Land, he who disdained to acknowledge His Creator!

Throughout Scripture, as we have seen, 'locusts' symbolize an adverse judgment, a curse! How significant is it then that John the Baptizer appeared upon the scene, as no doubt all the prophets had, eating 'locusts and wild honey'? He who signaled the Coming of Messiah & the Reversal of the Curse was found eating ( consuming ) that which had symbolically been a part of the Curse!

While locusts are still a very destructive insect & are by no means a boon to any farmer worth his salt, they no longer symbolize Yahweh's judgment ( ? ), at least not Scripturally speaking! As any farmer will tell you, locusts are no friends of the farmer; when they descend upon the crops, the farmer knows that's pretty much all she wrote for that crop, unless he or she can get them away from the crop; it might surprise you, the lengths to which a farmer will go to keep the locusts at bay!

Although locusts still are a problem to the farmer especially, it is no longer a symbol of the Curse, as it was, though it no doubt is considered so by many! It is simply a part of our Heavenly Father's Good Creation that serves its purpose! It is destructive when swarming, but it can also stave of starvation! Personally, I have never eaten a locust, but I hear they can be quite tasty & no doubt are considered a delicacy, especially when covered in Dark Chocolate & wrapped in Bacon!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A New Look at the Wheat & the Tares

While the Church of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has accomplished much over the millenia since the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, the Institutional Church, or what is often called the Visible Church, has become less & less effective, more & more splintered & marginalized that Christians have been leaving her hallowed walls in droves! Much of the reason for this is a common focus on the future hope of heaven rather than following our Lord's commands. In the hope of gaining some future utopian dream, many Christians tend to focus more on believing a certain set of man-made doctrines about the Son of God, rather than, as He commanded, loving Him & each other as ourselves!

The theme of 'us versus them' has been a common one as well among the whole of the Institutional Church! The notion that Jesus' return in Judgment, which is a Scriptural one, is yet to come in the future, means to the majority of Christians that Jesus' parable of the wheat & the tares is yet to be fulfilled; the tares ( wicked ones ) are to be allowed to grow together with the wheat ( the good ones ) until the Time of Harvest! Since these tares will be thrown into the Fire at that time, according to this paradigm the mission of the Institutional Church has not so much been one of redeeming the culture as in pulling those out of the culture ( whosoever will ) & saving them from the fires of hell & delivering their eternal souls!

Even among those who believe that the parable was fulfilled ( to completion? ) during the ministry of Jesus & the apostles, one may note a tendency still to view the world in somewhat the same way, as in that some are meant to perish while others are not! The Ministry of Reconciliation stands in opposition to this world-view, however, since we are not here to redeem souls for some future hope of heaven, but rather to redeem every aspect of our culture for the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father! It stands to reason, yes, that not all will accept this reconciliation, it being abundantly clear that, although this redemption & reconciliation has been accomplished ( remember, Jesus cried out on the cross, 'it is finished'! ), not all have, in the past, accepted it, or reconciled themselves to this glorious fact!

Fulfilled Reconciliation & Redemption, while in the greatest sense meaning that these are accomplished, does not in the universalistic sense mean that everyone is automatically 'all good'; this Redemption must be realized, this Reconciliation accepted, in order for them to have the desired effect! In other words, we can no longer few the world through the lens of 'us versus them'; we must treat everyone in such a way a to open their eyes to this Reality; as Ministers ( Agents ) of Reconciliation, we must show, through our storied lives, what the Creator has done in investing Himself in ( to ) His Creation, by Instituting a Marriage Covenant with Her!

We, as the Body of Christ, must & do stand in opposition to what is wrong & wicked, but we must realize that, while the actions themselves are wrong & wicked, the perpetrators are not beyond hope! If we do not treat them in the way that the Institutional Church traditionally has, promising a future hope of heaven if only they will confine themselves to her hallowed walls, so to speak, we may, though redeeming the culture, illuminate the correct pathway for them! By employing Jesus' philosophy of treating others as we would like to be treated, we may encourage the fulfilled reconciliation of the world!

The Church, whose Head is the Very Son of God, has been commissioned with the Ministry of Reconciliation! As such The Gospel has spread, in its Glory over the entire Creation; however, the Institutional Church, with her man-made doctrines & orthodoxy, has attempted, for centuries, to rehang the veil that was torn by separating between the sheep & the goats, discerning for themselves who is in & who is out, who is headed for heaven & who is headed for hell!

When the veil was torn, the separating wall between God & His Creation fell flat; there is now nothing between except for the walls the Institutional Church has reassembled in its place! Glory be to God, those separating walls are crumbling as people realize that not only does the Institutional Church not have a lock on orthodoxy, they hold no sway over the Kingdom of Heaven & the Blessings of the Creator's Presence! Although some of those who are beating the doors down to leave the Institutional Church are going a bit overboard, for various reasons, the movement ( revolution, really ) is being led by a return to Scriptural principles such as treating others as you want to be treated!

Viva la revelucion!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Word & The Sacrament: the Age of Aquarius

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

It is through Him, through Communion with the Son of the Highest & our Creator that we have Life! Without Him, there IS only the life ( existence ) that is common to humanity; without the blessedness of Communion with the Body of Christ & our Heavenly Father, we should 'eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die'! If we partake in the Sacred Life of the Son of God, we have Eternal Life & will never die!

Of late, there has been much concern voiced over a growing trend of people leaving the Institutional Church in droves! This is of greater or lesser concern to many Christians, greater to those with a more traditional mindset, lesser to those more open to the notion that the Institutional Church & the Body of Christ are not One & the same! Of course, this is not to say that tradition is wrong, in & of itself, or even that those who cling to tradition are all wet, while on the other hand, it is not either to say that the members aren't interchangeable; one can belong to the Institutional Church & the Body of Christ at the same time! Again, just because One belongs to the Institution doesn't automatically mean that one belongs to the Body!

Jesus, we must keep in mind, though One with the Father & Almighty God Himself, confined Himself, in His humanity, to living in that 'present evil age', the age before the one we now live in, what He Himself called 'the age to come'! That was the age, particularly toward the end, in which Jesus & His disciples conducted their ministry, the ministry of which Jesus told His disciples , 'follow Me and I will make you fishers of men'! With the coming of the New Age, that 'age to come', in which we are 'sons of the resurrection', rather than being 'fishers of men', we now, as it were, are vessels ( pitchers ) of living water, that which Jesus promised would flow forth from the innermost parts of His disciples!

Although, in a sense, one might say that there are still plenty of fish in the sea ( more fish to fry ), according to Jesus Himself & the Fulfillment of His Revelation, there is no more Sea, therefore, by extension, one could say, there are no more fish! Jesus promised His disciples that 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'. We no longer must angle for fish; now, in this New Age, we are water bearers; simply through our faithfulness to The Covenant & our Joyful Living, we baptize the Creation ( our world ) with the Light of His Grace, through the Power of His Spirit!

One short article that has recently caught the attention of this blogger was authored by one of those with a lesser concern for the new trend of leaving the Institutional Church! His mindset was more along the lines of those that would discern between the Body of Christ & the Institutional Church. This blogger even went so far as to suggest that this movement is of God, or instigated by our Heavenly Father; it IS His Church, after all ( not the IC, but the BoC )! I would tend to agree with that statement, but maybe that's just me, rebel & heretic that I am!

'And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being'! Speaking of this physical existence, as the apostle was here, it is manifest that it is only through communion with Him & with His Creation that we have life at all, but through the blessedness of Communion with the Body of His Son, the Church, not the Organization but the Organism, we have Life without End!

We partake in the Sacred Life of the Word, not by eating a special meal every Sunday or by following a certain traditional ritual; we partake in the Life of Jesus by being His Water-bearers, vessels from which He pours forth His Abundant Life upon a dry & thirsty Land! As we minister this Sacred & Abundant Life which was poured graciously upon us, let us remember in turn to love as we were loved, not because we were worthy of that love, but because we simply were & because He is!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Institution of Illumination-for William Vincent

 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.
Matthew 4:16

In the beginning God......................................said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. The Light which was created in the beginning was significant of that Light that was to shine in the Darkness, those in 'the region and shadow of death'. The context, especially the greater ( original ) context, shows what area of the world the writer was referring to & that the reader should have understood. That this Light yet shines is not in question, but how & for what purpose is!

During the early & mid first century, the Light shined, as Scripture had foretold, upon those who sat in darkness. That Darkness was the Reign & Ministration of Sin & Death that the apostle Paul spoke of ( II Corinthians 3:7 ) as a characterization of pharisaic Judaism! It was upon that 'region and shadow of death' that the Light came to shine & was finally revealed as the Creator Himself in the destruction ( judgment ) of Jerusalem & the Jewish Temple, thus effectively ending their reign!

The purpose of evangelism, from Jesus to Peter & Paul, was to prepare the Church, the Body of Christ, to continue to shine that Light throughout the entire Creation, to baptize it with the Knowledge of the Creator! That Purpose, much like Eschatology, was fulfilled; as Jesus said, 'you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes': His disciples were to evangelize, or spread the Good News, throughout the cities of Israel & 'this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come'. Paul later wrote to the Church at Colosse, 'the gospel.........was preached to every creature under heaven'! Now, we understand that this 'every creature under heaven' did not refer to the entirety of Creation, as we are used to thinking of it, but to the known ( civilized ) world of the Jesus Generation!

To be sure, there are areas of the world ( the terrene globe ) yet to be evangelized, or told the Good News, but the Greater Need in this day & age is for Illumination, not for Evangelization, per se! We as the Body of Christ are now the Light that shines in the darkness; Jesus told His disciples, 'You are the light of the world'. His final instructions to them were, 'make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' ( Matthew 28:19 ) The Church was prepared, during the ministry of Jesus, for her ministry of reconciliation, for evangelization; through the ministries of Peter, Paul & the apostles, this ministry was fulfilled!

The ministry of reconciliation, or evangelization, was to the Jews & those who had sat in darkness all their life! The Coming, or Parousia of the Jewish Messiah shed that Light upon the World that had been waiting for Him! In the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, wherein the Creator was forever united with His Creation, the Good News of the Kingdom of God had been fully established; although not fully realized. The Realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is established call for a ministry of Illumination, not further Evangelization!

There is a need, to some extent, for further evangelization, but the greater need is for illumination; illumination, to help people, Christians inn particular, that when the Light came, He never left; He is in His People! We are the Ministry of Illumination, the Ministry, not so much of Reconciliation anymore, although there is that need yet, but to let our light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify our Father in heaven! Only as we shine that Light before the world they may begin to realize, most Christians included, that the Kingdom of Heaven is A Present Reality!

The Light has come; the Good News was spread, through evangelization to the known world! What is needed now is not further evangelization ( which nowadays seems to be, 'say this prayer so that you can go to heaven when you die ), but rather illumination. Although the god of that age was overthown in the Lake of Fire & forever destroyed, we, as the Body of Christ & the Light of the World in this day & age fight against similar demons ( idols ) which blind the eyes of even many Christians! 

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Fulfillment of the Journey

Well, I'm home at long last!

At just less than two months, my journey of discovery was a much-needed one, one that 'hit the spot', so to speak! I leaned a few things in the course of my travel, one of which was already swimming around in the back of my mind; people are people, no matter what they believe: for the most part, if you treat them like you would like them to treat you, you will usually receive a fair treatment! This is not always the case, unfortunately, sometimes we receive the treatment we deserve, while some people are just plain assholes!

Another thing I learned ( I may have already mentioned this ); I CAN do this! I flew to an island nation far away, walked more than I have for some time & did some things I had been wanting ( if only subconsciously) to do for awhile! One was taking a long trip to a foreign island nation. Another was meeting new friends in these foreign lands. Check & check!

In many ways, this journey, in my mind, was a journey of ( self ) discovery, whereas I tried to leave things as they lay, keeping an open mind & leaning on our Fathers's good provision! I'm certainly not perfect, there are probably things I could have done better & there are others that a certain wisdom would tell me ( & did ) that I should have left undone, but I have no regrets; I'm grateful for the opportunities I was given & the experiences that will stick with me for the rest of my life!

I hadn't thought about it, but as my one brother-in-law remarked, this was my 'sister trip'! I visited with my oldest sister & her family in the Virgin Islands, then my youngest sister & her family in Florida. While I missed seeing her twin & that twin's family in Virginia, I also didn't get to spend as much time in Virginia as I had hoped; maybe next time! After a couple much-needed days with my parents in Virginia, I was headed to Indiana to see yet another sister, one from whom I had distanced myself, as I had from most of my family! For me, this was also a journey of discovery, in the sense of seeking a sort of reconciliation from many of those I had distanced myself from! I trust that I accomplished this goal; although there are still hurdles to overcome & walls to bring crashing down, I have a better feeling about things now!

In many ways, one could say that this trip was simply the latest stage in the journey that our Father set before me long ago! The stage before this was the learning experience I received during my short marriage, the separation & my slow recovery from the devastation & desolation ( still not there )! The best way to look at, I guess, is that life is a journey: one of my favorite sayings is, ' if you're not learning, you're dead'! If you only think of the destination that you want to reach, you're not going to learn much on your journey!

Over the course of this stage of my journey, I AM confident that everything I learned along the way will prove to be useful in the fulfillment of this Jouney we call Life! One thing that we should all note is that, no matter what religion one adheres to, no matter what a person believes, they ARE worthy of our love! We may not like them, we may actually have an intense DIS-like for them, but we can still treat them with kindness & respect, for that is how we like to be treated!

Looking forward to the rest of the Journey,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

'There Outta Be a Law!'

How often have we heard, in one form or another, people, including many Christians, making such a statement? For Christians, of course, the answer is fairly simple: 'look at how the children of Israel did with law; it didn't work so well for them, huh?' The problem is not so much a lack of Law & Order, but a lack of righteousness! The problem is that most people, including many Christians, are slaves, just like the children of Israel were slaves to sin, whatever form that sin might take, whether it's the sin of idolatry to the Federal & State government, or disobedience to Natural Law & that of treating others like you want to be treated ( you reap what you sow )!

Whether one follows in the footsteps of Jesus or not, the principle of treating those around you as you would like to be treated is not only a Natural Law, it's just common sense! If one gives his or her neighbor the love & respect they deserve, more often than not, that one is going to receive that same love & respect. On the other hand, if one mistreats those around him or her, more than likely, they will themselves be mistreated!

As Christians, we believe that, rather than on tablets of stone, or reams of paper, as the case may be, this law is ( now ) written on our hearts! Our conscience has been renewed & we no longer need a law telling us to do this, do that, because the Spirit within us moves us to do these things, to practice righteousness! Although this is a universal truth, for whatever reason, many or most Christians still act as slaves, whether it's willing slavery, or the slavery of ignorance. Everyone agrees that it was for liberty that the Christ set us free, but yet most Christians are willing slaves to the laws of the Federal & State government!

Many who do not claim the name of Christ, who live outside the borders of what most Christians call the Kingdom of God, have noted the insidiousness of this slavery & squelched it in their own lives! Why can't Christians do the same & realize in their own lives the principles of freedom in Christ? Oh sure, they acknowledge it in their hearts & minds, but most Christians, for whatever reason, do not acknowledge it with their strength! There are several reasons that this is true of most Christians, but one of the problems is a misunderstanding & misinterpretation of Scripture. We were not set free from the law of sin & death so that we could return to the same sort of slavery, a law that says, 'if you do not follow our law, you will be punished, even to the point of death'! We were set free from the law of sin & death so that we could freely practice the righteousness that we have been given in Jesus!

Many of the 'laws' that the Federal & State government have instituted seem to be for the good of the people, & in many cases, in the same sense, are needful! The 'sheeple' of this nation have become so much like slaves that, without their masters telling them what & what not to do, they would soon go astray ( they do anyway )! Although this should not be, for whatever reason, this is the way it is!

Human beings, for the most part, are naturally lazy creatures & so are willing to give their responsibility! Most don't seem to realize that the more responsibility they give up, the less freedom they have! The Civil Government ( State & Federal ), while taking many of our responsibilities of our hands ( insurance, healthcare, our aged & disable, etc ), has, at the same time been eking away our liberties ( you must have a license & insurance in order to legally drive, you must have a license in order to legally marry, etc. )!

Truly free men & women do not need a law telling them to do this & not to do that; they by nature will do what is reasonable & right because of the Spirit Within! The apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome of these truly free people when he said ' for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves' ( Romans 2:14 ) Jesus gave two commands to His disciples; He said we are to love God & our neighbor as ourselves. This, He said, was the whole law, this was a perfect summation of the commandments He had given to His people, writing them on tablets of stone. They are now written on our hearts, seared into our conscience!

When people in general & Christians in particular treat others ( not just those with who they agree ) with the love & respect that they themselves would like to receive, then we will experience true freedom! We will not need laws saying to protect the unborn, for instance, we will naturally protect the most helpless members of our society! No longer will we need to ask permission, like slaves of old, to transport ourselves, to marry, to carry a gun, to protect what is ours, etc.!

We are free men & women; we are not slaves any longer, or at least we do not need to be! We are the master; if anything, the Federal & State governments are our servants, our slaves! We tell them what to do & what not to do; THEY are the ones who need OUR permission! Even here though, the same principle applies; treat others as you want them to treat you! Just as with the slaves of old, when mistreated & abused, they will at best slack on their work & try to escape your bonds; at worst, they will rise up & kill you, or at least take what is yours for their own!

The Righteousness of the Christ alone brings True Freedom; without it, people, most of whom are naturally 'sheeple' will only & quickly succumb to slavery again! Those whom the Christ set free are free indeed; free, not to fill their lust, but to act without the constraints of a written law that tells us, 'do this; don't do that!' We know what is right & what is wrong, what is good & what is evil:Truly Free men & women know by nature these things & practice them without restraint!

Charles Haddon Shank