Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

2014-06-16 @ 06:10 CDT

What you see here is the result of some very private decisions with some very public results. Not only have I deleted all of the posts I’ve made here (whether directly or by reposting from somewhere else), along with most of the photographs in my media library, but I’ve also deleted three of my subordinate blogs. Besides this blog, The Music of the Bible Revealed is the only blog I have left. In particular, my creative writing blog Tales of the Undying Singer is gone, as my speculative fiction (such as it has been, at least) has finally outlived its usefulness. I still need a creative outlet to replace it, but what that will be remains to be seen.

This blog will continue to feature the same degree, and mostly the same kind, of eclectic content it always has – including what was formerly on the now-deleted blogs. With any grace, the above photograph and caption – which I found on Facebook – will be the perfect summary of my life as I portray it here. (Wikipedia’s article on the Japanese aesthetic philosophy itself is well worth reading.)

(יוחנן רכב הסופר)

Categories: Daily Life | Tags: | 1 Comment

THEME FROM “EXODUS” – 2014-08-30

2014-09-01 @ 00:38 CDT

[N.B.: This is the text I put up with this video on YouTube.]

I performed this for “Special Music” at the Living Church of God Houston’s Sabbath services. The piano is my de facto chief instrument, and a good thing too as I was left with little time during the prior week to prepare any Special Music at all! This was essentially an impromptu performance and I thanked God that I didn’t simply self-destruct during the D minor section! :D

My thanks to Ray R. for filming this and for his daughter Regina R. for posting this first and independently. Praise to God for letting my share my joy, and may that joy inspire others to praise Him.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Church of God, Culture, Internet, Music, YouTube | 2 Comments


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

The more I see such visions of the future, the less I like them. Visiting the megalopolis that is Mexico City was enough cityscape for one lifetime (and I thought living in the Los Angeles Basin was bad).

Originally posted on Tales of the Undying Singer:

The City of Broken Souls

The City of Broken Souls

2014-08-26 @ 12:25 CDT

If one types in “science fiction cityscapes” on Google Search, one finds a wide variety of artwork illustrating different people’s visions of cities in the future, from the quasi-utopian to the frankly dsytopic, and virtually all of them environmentalists’ nightmares. The one I found above I nicknamed “The City of Broken Souls” because that was my first impression of it.

Here is a slideshow on Photobucket of the cityscapes I found most interesting. To keep the file names manageable, I had to change all of them, and that probably means authorial information was removed too (unless it was embedded deeper in the files). So I don’t know who came up with all these images, but quite likely you’ll find them in their contexts on Google Images readily enough.

I put these photos up for several reasons: 1) to contrast how…

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Ariel the White Lion 02

Ariel the White Lion 02

2014-08-26 @ 08:42 CDT

Every so often I write and contribute short essays for consideration by the editors of the Living Church of God Commentary page. With everything going on in the world and with so many authors available, it’s a wonder I’ve had as many essays published as I have. Here is the complete list to date, so far as I’ve been able to track it down.

2010-03-27: Why the World Needs the Lamb of God
2010-08-28: Our Values, God’s Values
2010-12-21: Has Science Made God Obsolete?
2010-12-30: Tracking Cultural Trends
2011-03-05: Prediction Addiction
2012-01-28: Religion and Society
2013-11-26: The World Next Door
2014-08-26: Where’s Your Sense of Humor?

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, Daily Life, Humor, Internet | 1 Comment


John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

It’s always fascinating and a little disconcerting to hear myself on recording… ;) Especially when I try to “sing”… :P pbbt

Originally posted on The Music of the Bible Revealed:

2014-08-25 @ 19:38 CDT

Here is the text which accompanies the above video on YouTube:

This is a rough draft of an interview I had over Skype with Roy Alan Manchee, who lives and works in Spain. According to my calendar, this is the result of two attempts to have interviews with me on February 5 and 26, 2014 – this set likely was recorded on the 26th.

Roy took me through a wide range of questions regarding Suzanne Haik-Vantoura’s work and related issues in ancient and early music. Only one thing is rather out of order: he introduces Psalm 148 but fails to insert it afterward, saving a live recording by Chanticleer for the very end. I’m sorry my attempts to play harp and lyre turned out so hard to hear – and of course my singing voice is little better than the proverbial braying of an ass…

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Beach 004 - Pink Beach

Beach 004 – Pink Beach

2014-08-25 @ 08:30 CDT

Sometime last week, a friend sent me this link featuring 36 photos, with accompanying descriptions, of some of the world’s most colorful beaches: white, pink, green, black, and purple. There are other beaches which have their own special features: beaches of stone pillars, beaches of glass…

I made all the original photos the same width (690 pixels) and put them on a Photobucket slideshow. Enjoy!

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Photography, Travel | 1 Comment


The "Converted" ENFP Psyche (after Haas)

The “Converted” ENFP Psyche (after Haas)

2014-08-21 @ 08:00 CDT

As I’ve learned more and more about how my particular ENFP-preferenced psyche has adapted to its environment – like one live oak tree out of millions of live oak trees growing in a way radically different from all other live oak trees – I’ve sought a place in my mind where I may keep my thoughts both monitored and balanced most effectively. As a Christian I do have marked advantages over the Jungians and their allies who come up with the personality type models I use:

(Romans 12:1 NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
(Romans 12:2 NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

So I do have the illumination of God’s Spirit shining where once my Ego reigned supreme in its conceit (see above). At least most of the time, I can keep my Ego – in behavior, what the Bible calls the spirit in man – in check and in submission to God and His law and in touch with what Carl Jung called the (allegedly “true”) Self. (Biblically, this seems to be the “heart”, which in fact is deceitful above all things – cf. Jeremiah 17:9.) But how best to monitor both my inward thoughts – the eight cognitive processes shown on either side of the Isle of Selfdom above – and what is going on around me?

Last week – which seems a terribly long time ago, so much has happened in my life since then – a metaphor came to my mind while counseling with Vicky Jo Varner: that of the Infinite Chessboard. Vicky Jo remarked that this seemed a characteristic use – by an ENFP – of the Ti or Introverted Thinking function. In the ENFP psyche this process is in the 7th position and thus is sometimes called “Trickster Ti”. In that functional position, that “archetype”, it has a rather “Cartoon Physics” was of looking at systematic logic – such as one finds in a game of chess, for example.

In real life, that is, literally, I am a most unorthodox chess player. Figuratively, I seem to do best when I consider all the pieces on the Infinite Chessboard (people, things, whatever) in their logical relationship to and relative distance from me (or my “king”, whatever that symbolizes in my mind exactly). Sometimes the board looks very crowded to me, filled as it is with a host of both friends and foes:

Infinite Chessboard 01 (c/o Dreamstime)

Infinite Chessboard 01 (c/o Dreamstime)

But as it is an Infinite Chessboard, much of what I perceive on it is either presently empty space or else are pieces which are very far off and irrelevant for the moment:

Infinite Chessboard 02 (c/o Dreamstime)

Infinite Chessboard 02 (c/o Dreamstime)

As Ti in the 7th position is normally a mostly-unconscious process, to bring it forward to consciousness in a sustained way is mentally exhausting and I can’t maintain that form of consciousness forever. But doing so is a way of turning a potential weakness into an actual strength, in ways I can’t explore in any depth here.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Daily Life, Personality Type, Psychology | 1 Comment

Good insight (methinks) into this president’s current state of mind from Peggy Noonan

John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

From the blogger, Wallace Smith: “Want to fix the country? Address the sin. All other efforts are little more than band-aids on a severed limb.” Yea verily. Or should that be Band-Aids(TM) on a chicken running around with its head cut off?

Originally posted on Thoughts En Route:

Camp season is over! Well, sort of over — there are always loose ends here and there to tie up, and my wife and I were already discussing plans for next year yesterday and this morning. But the intense part of the work is done, and life can get back to normal for a while.

After some catching up, that is.

A lot has built up over the last month or so, and if you are among those who have tried to get a hold of me and wondered if I dropped off of the face of the earth, please forgive me. I think I did better than normal this year in keeping up with other things during the whirlwind of camp days, but, to be sure, there are things I am only now getting to. I am not the most organized person in many areas of my life (“Duh,” rings…

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7 Steps to be an Overcomer

John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav):

Sound advice! Thanks, Conscript!

Originally posted on Conscript's Registry:

The following information is from notes I wrote down whilst listening to a sermon by John Ogwyn. These are practical steps that can be applied in every day life; steps that will foster genuine spiritual growth if practiced.

The steps are given in the third chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Church at Colosse.

  1. Set your affection on the things which are above (Colossians 3:2). Our focus must be on developing spiritual maturity, God’s holy and righteous character, that we may be counted worthy to enter His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).  We cannot let go of things we love. If we love this world we will not be able to let go of it, and God says this world is passing away (1 John 2:15-17). Therefore, we must learn to love the right things, and learn to stop loving the wrong things and come out of this world (Revelation…

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Portrait of the Author as a Young Man (1980 @ 19)

Portrait of the Author as a Young Man (1980 @ 19)

2014-08-06 @ 22:15 CDT

Every so often, I come up with a quip off the top of my head. Some may well be original. Some no doubt are reworkings of things said many, many times before. Some are stolen lock, stock and barrel and then reworked as parodies. Some make absolutely no sense at all, at least on the surface, until I rework them. I’ve been calling the lot of them “Rakkav’s Ruminations”. Here are all I can remember at present; some have been reworked for clarity. They follow in no particular order of creation, except that the first on the list is the one which was first created.

Great minds think alike—unfortunately, so do small minds!

Some people seem to believe, “We’re going to have peace even if it kills you…”

That which does not kill you gives you pleasure. (Too often, unfortunately.)

Anything that can make the INFJ-preferenced person and the ENFP-preferenced person look like they have their priorities backward at the same time definitely points to a lost opportunity. (Example: both of them sitting on a patio at a tropical resort, typing on their laptops.)

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom not to strangle certain of my friends who think they know the difference.

Intelligence lies not in how much you know, but in how well you learn.

The problem with being a know-it-all is that eventually, everybody expects you to know it all.

From a certain point of view, a tank is as much a work of art as the Mona Lisa. The difference is it’s a lot easier to kill a lot of people with a tank. [NOT meant to be a good thing!]

Whether in religion, politics or fashion, a movement starts when someone takes one good idea and makes it a panacea.

To speakers of British English: if you get rid of those useless French-inspired “our” word endings, I’ll see what I can do to persuade my fellow Americans to use “aluminium” like the rest of the world. Oh, the way you use quotation marks is pretty cool, too.

He who cannot laugh at his own foibles is in fetters of his own forging.

Overheard at Starfleet Academy: If it’s ugly, it’s Ferengi. If it’s weird, it’s Romulan. If it’s ugly and weird, it’s Klingon.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Humor, Rakkav's Ruminations | 3 Comments


Original cartoon by Jeff MacNelly (1977)

Original cartoon by Jeff MacNelly (1977)

2014-08-05 @ 20:00 CDT

I have been trying to track this cartoon down for decades. The late cartoonist Jeff MacNelly – arguably the greatest, or at least the most irreverently yet decently funny, editorial cartoonist ever – did (so I have heard) a yearly review of the United Nations and in 1977 the UN’s blatant hypocrisy about South Africa and its neighbors made for an easy target. It’s not that South Africa didn’t have its own problems, far from it – it’s that the UN was encouraging destructive agendas which were making matters in the whole region far worse.

What I remembered about the cartoon especially was the names for the fictional countries in the assembly – above all the “(Other Adjectives Plus) Nice People’s Republic of Dungeon”! :D LOL Well, here is the cartoon in all its dubious glory, copied from the reprint found in THE PLAIN TRUTH, March 1977, p. 6. The article in which this cartoon is found, when compared to what is going on today, shows that with the UN, plus ça change, plus ça c’est la même chose.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Humor, World News | 4 Comments

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