Valentine’s Day

Exclusivity in Love

Despite all the talk against the sanctity of exclusive marriages between only one man and only one woman…St. Valentine continued to encourage this type of Christian behavior in the 200 A.D. amongst the Romans.

Imagine: how it must be or must have been when it really was having to buck the system if you love someone and actually want to be able to have only one another….and for it to be considered an act of rebellion, not religiously, but socially.

Wow, even will all of my own tendencies and issues and liberality, even I see the sense of one-man with one-woman marriages; the safety for child rearing etc…but also thanks to at least remembering pure loves….people who really don’t want “a bunch of lovers” but just a real love, a real spouse, just one.

Really Radical?!

Believe it or not, St. Valentine was a real person, a man who lived as a Priest of the Christian church in the 200s when the Roman Empire was still going.  In truth, all he did was perform marriage ceremonies for young soldiers, and he would marry people into exclusive couplings despite the Roman Imperial Government being against both at the time when he did it.

Take a breathe and enjoy how internationally common place: one man with one woman marriages really are nowadays in early 2019.

From this perspective it really almost seems crazy that St. Valentine ran into trouble for marrying people like that, but in fact he ran into such severe difficulty that he ended up being martyred: he was politically assassinated for marrying people that way.

Freaky, or what?!

I don’t know about you, but from my perspective that is freaky.  He should not have been killed for such a small gesture of religious freedom and sanctity.

Evolution of a Holiday

Well, like so much in the Protestant realms, the Catholics have ‘slipped us another Catholic Saint Day’ as a cultural holiday.  The holiday has evolved into a day to honor and revere love.

Many people focus on the romantic or sexual aspect of love at the Holy Day, but like so many millions of others, even though I just turned 51 years old I still also really like all the other kinds of love, and enjoy celebrating the holiday regardless of whether or not I get to celebrate with a hubby.

Personally

My personal height of heights for Valentine’s Day is that I received my first accepted wedding proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1991.  I said yes and we wed the first day of Spring, both of which are gloriously romantic.  What punctures this balloon of joy is that the man who I married has barely spoken to me in years and we were divorced just as our marriage was getting started in 1993 after some of the worst first 2 years imaginable but not because he was a deployed soldier in the American or ancient Roman military.  I strongly feel it would be way more romantic if we were looking forward to our 28th wedding anniversary this year.

Despite that, both my mother and my son often get Valentine’s from me, as have a number of others…Some profoundly sexual and romantic in nature, others as most definitely not as the pets or other same gendered children in an elementary school class.

Yours

Here’s to hoping that you have some kind of wondrous and blessed Valentine’s Day; may you all experience God’s love in both the distinctively personal and in the abstract today.

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The 21st Century Takes Shape

Here we are 2019

Now that we are this deep into the new century, I feel like it is beginning to take shape.  I must be middle aged or old because I was already an adult when we had the Millenial & Century change over.  I realize that those normally go together but most of the time only the century changes, so it feels double even if it is not.

During last Autumn someone I worked caring for part-time died at the age of 100.  In fact, today would be his 101st birthday.  Due to that, I thought a bit about his age and how that relates to this stuff about centuries.  He was born in 1918 when the century had recently changed, but not the Millenium.

When I thought about that, I realized that I believe that it takes a good 15 years for the vibe of the new century to sort of ‘kick in’, which might be true.  Is it the same for a Millenium or proportional?  Please post your comments about this beneath this blog post.

Main Changes in Technology

So far what we mainly have are: the Internet and laptops; revamped telecommunications with individuals now able to use satellite technology to send photos of pet cats to friends on the other side of the planet.  ‘Fiber optics’ may be closer to the truth.  The Information Age is here, as my son pointed out a few years ago.

Meanwhile, some of us are feeling a little puzzled that the Information Age followed the Space Age.

Hybrid and electrical cars are making another inroad into popular culture and street cars and mass transit using electric vehicles is also being reworked and tried some more.

Solar power is making steady gains in several applications and wind farming for electricity has grown dramatically during the last 20 years of the 20th century and the first 18 years of the new Millenium.

Civil Rights Progress?

Within my own nation and around the world:  during the past 50 years extreme poverty has been reduced by 50% and experts say there is a realistic chance of eliminating poverty without eliminating people during this century.

In my nation there are signs of significant progress ‘for women and minorities’ and yet there continue to be problems; some seem to be natural and others seem to just reveal how pernicious some of the social problems really are.

In numerous nations around the world civil rights and economic conditions have improved but in other countries, and sometimes other people in the same countries, are suffering like never before: rather than better it has grown worse.  For others, it seems the traps have new names but are still there and can’t be escaped.

Do you feel it to?

Please post into the comments section your own feelings about this century and millennium.

Administration: a spiritual gift

It may not seem like it, but

the power of administrative abilities is acknowledged and classified as a spiritual gift in Christianity.  Many of us have worked in administrative capacities, whether as humble assistants, or in leadership positions in offices.

One quality of the spiritual gifts is that they just show up in people naturally.  It might be only a change in your perspective to see some of what the people you know do, in terms of their spiritual gifts.  The same gifts can and do show up as spiritual gifts in a way that is much more obvious.  Sometimes, the only factor that makes them obvious is that people use them to do volunteer work through their church.

Administration is mainly planning and organizing, and to some degree also providing leadership to people.  Founding a new organization, or creating a congregation or small business or new informal club are all administrative actions.

If we are dealing with women, then it might well be the secretaries or the school Principals, but it is also that lady who organizes parties for her child/ren and may be viewed as a Godsend or as an intimidating power house at the PTO of your child/ren’s school.  The activity may be done informally or professional, and it can be a manifestation of the same power.

Whether it is that person in your family who actually organizes all of the documents of the family’s history covering generations or the one who makes a small business office go from chaotic madness to an efficient, organized place from which to manage several aspects of the business we are dealing with the power of administration.

What about you

Administration is just one of the spiritual gifts.  Like so many of you, I was somewhat aware of spiritual gifts in the past, but prior to the past 2 years I just thought of spiritual gifts as either being the miracles: spontaneous healings of disease, or else I thought it was the kind of faith that makes people become clerics or else monks and nuns.

For your sake, I realize that whether you have this gift or not, you might now be curious to know how to recognize your own.

you can learn more about spiritual gifts here.  These people have put together a wonderful free set of videos that explain the spiritual gifts in a way that can give anyone a great start.  I learned a lot from these people via video.

Helps: a spiritual gift 2019

Helping as a spiritual gift

There are a number of spiritual gifts taught in Christianity.  If you haven’t been taught them at church, you can look them up online.  There are different kinds; some are important but may appear to you as mundane or utterly natural.  Others are wild and involve Christian Magic, otherwise known as miracles.

Pretty much everyone has one or more spiritual gift.  Whether or not you are a very religious person, you and people you know may well have one or more of these gifts.  They may come across as natural and they may feel natural.  It could even be you.  I think it was at a website called nothingbutthetruth.com that I heard a wise man say: Often, when operating in your spiritual gifting it will feel effortless.  It may be one of your traits about which people might say “your God given gifts”.

One of these gifts is the gift of helps.

Helps

Yes, that’s really what it’s called.  It really is what it’s called.  You helped your Dad wash the car, or helped your relative take care of the children so they could go do something else.

There was a needy person, and someone helped that person in some way.  It may have been giving the person money, or a helping them to get a job.

Helps is really marvelous, but may be experienced as so humble it can be glossed over.

One of the ways that I have been a recipient of this gift is when I dropped one of my gloves, and a stranger picked it up, or even just pointed it out to me which effectively prevented me from losing something.

In truth, I have also had several jobs in which I really mostly just helped others or another to do something or to get something done.

Everyone can do this and it operates through degrees.

You mean

Yes, that’s just one example of how to spot spiritual gifts in operation on a daily basis.  This could have a distinctively spiritual or religious feeling: like praying for people or giving alms, or helping out at your church.  Other times, it just happens: someone helps you, or you help someone.

It is that simple.

Final Note

Good deeds are always good, but everything done for God is supernatural whether it looks that way or not.

Spiritual Tidbits 4

WTF?!

It’s true: one of my novels is about mercenaries in outer space and yet, I want to write a little something more about spiritual matters.  Hm, maybe how they tie in?

In truth, moral knowledge and methodologies are a theme throughout the novel The Children of Loki my male pen name Robert Fitzgerald Jr.  Two deities are mentioned in the novel: Loki and Jesus.  Obviously, prior to the Christianization of so many nations that wouldn’t have made any sense, but in Christian nations where children grow up reading Thor and Iron Man comics and are reintroduced to Loki as the Marvel Comic villain it is less whacky.

The novel is not a religious story per se, so those who believe themselves to not be interested don’t need to run away from it but if people are religious and search for signs or undertones, they are there.

Morality & Ethics

Ethics is what morality is called in a secular atmosphere.  Ethics is sometimes also what religion would look like to people who don’t believe in any personal, or real God but have figured out that when humans are compassionate and help each other out it can make the world a better place.

Morality is a motivational force for both of the main characters: Gezka FaucMerz and  Kiel Bronson.  Both are heavily enculturated and differently so for more reasons than just gender.  What they do to each other and how and why is integrated with the plot and character development.  The characters’ points of view are deeply affected by what they consider right and wrong.

Strangely enough

Like so many of you, between parents and religious education I developed to a point where I often felt that I knew right from wrong.  Perhaps like some of you, I also ran into times when I wasn’t so sure.  To my own astonishment, when I took an MBA course in 2009 called Business Ethics, I was shocked to discover that prior to the course, I honestly only “right from wrong in business” 50% of the time.

Freaky, I mean that is not very often for someone over 30 years old, let alone over 40.  Well, you know how they say that sometimes the best one can do is to realize that one lacks knowledge or awareness about something and seek out experts.

Given that I have done some business stuff as a self-employed person I found it frightening only because I wish to do business with high moral standards for my business operations.  I have endeavored to whenever I conduct business, but having learned about my own ignorance it made me feel I could use a mentor.

Back to religion

In reality, proper use of clergy includes being able to get moral insights and assistance.  For those of you who have strong ties with clerics, this may seem like a bland answer that you have heard a million times already.

In my own life, I have usually attended church very regularly.  Despite that, for more than 2 decades, I had very little direct contact with the cleric aside from listening to the sermon.

Since then, it has grown in my awareness that there are ‘right ways’ to make use of the clerics of one’s church over and above listening to their sermons.

That’s it

For today, I think that’s all I’m going to blog about it.

For You

the most concise work of applied philosophy ever known

What this is

This is a short booklet that introduces philosophy to readers in a practical way.  It is not the same as a critical thinking textbook, nor is it a ‘corporate philosophy’ lesson.  Each of the 5 major branches of philosophy are covered in one chapter.

The reader is not expected to know much about the subject.

What it has to do with being young or self centred

Personally, I started studying philosophy for a while when I was young, but adult.  I was always reading the philosophers to see what, if anything, they had to say might be of personal relevance or of personal use.

OK, I admit that Time and Cosmos are part of philosophy, but not all philosophy is the same and a lot of it involves the issues of ‘what is the best way to live’.  I won’t go into it much further; I just wanted to point out that I wrote this booklet assuming that you might be just as interested in philosophy you can put to use for yourself as I was.

Again, this one is not a critical thinking textbook, but there are some tips about logic in this book, which is also what at least 50% of critical thinking is rooted in.

Buy this now.

Spiritual Tidbits 3

Welcome to 2019

You may have heard the saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same….It isn’t always true, but sometimes it is.

There really hasn’t always been the Internet but there have always been stages of life.

Stages of life is something that I have always found interesting.  Like nearly everyone, I have tended to have preferences and person issues and development work commensurate with my age group.  I have always made some observations of and had some interest in other age groups.  It’s always different to really be each age group than it is to observe that group as older or younger than oneself.

Within the past 2 years I had a major surge of bothering to read The Bible (Protestant version) and finally made it so that 40 years after having started reading it in the 3rd grade, I have read the entire thing….aside from the 2 or 3 Catholic Bible books that aren’t in the Protestant versions of The Bible.  (reasons unknown by me, but I may redo the research so I can blog about it).

Age groups in The Bible

One of the tidbits I found to be awesome was when I was reading about how God used different age groups to deal with packing up the Temple in the wilderness.  I mean, WOW, maybe even WOWOWOWOWOWOOh hoo wow!

There were other events in at least 2 books of The Bible in which it became really noticeable that for some matters God said: use all the men between and 18 and 60 years old.

Other matters: Don’t let anyone under 30 years old touch that stuff!!!

In some cases: get someone who is at least 50 years old, if you want that dealt with properly.

I was honestly mildly stunned, but after a while sort of pleased.  None of us is useless for our stage in life and when each of us fulfills our divine destiny, there is a schedule to what needs to happen when, some of it is very detailed in terms of time of day and other stuff is really like: wow, don’t do that yet, or please do that.

Really?

In reality, it may have taken me so long to read the entire Bible because of laziness or spiritual attacks against me, but it’s also possible that it is actually better to leave most of it until over 30 years old.

Anyway, this time that’s the spiritual tidbit.