A FRESH START…

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

2014-06-16 @ 06:10 CDT

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 on this blog. (Wikipedia’s article on the Japanese aesthetic philosophy itself is well worth reading.) – (יוחנן רכב)

[EDIT @ 2015-11-16: Blogs written by true Christians, like true Christians themselves, have this principle apply to them:]

(Joh 15:1 ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
(Joh 15:2 ESV) Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Categories: Daily Life | Tags: | 3 Comments

PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS: INFJ PARANOIA

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Yes, the INFJ I’m courting – who is a huge Grumpy Cat fan – agrees this is true. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Grumpy Cat, Humor, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“DRAMA” IN THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

2016-01-22 @ 11:00 CST

My apologies for the length of this post—I hope it will make the content more useful to the reader, not less.

The online Urban Dictionary is one of my “resources of last resort” in searching out information on our popular culture. I don’t recommend using that resource except as such a “last resort”. Its content reflects the increasingly vulgar, antisocial, and unspiritual nature of modern American society. That said: the fact that people “on the street”—sometimes, as it appears, with rather impressive credentials and/or positive life experiences—contribute anonymously to its definitions can make the resource unexpectedly useful at times.

At this writing, what “drama” means in our society, and how one should respond to it, has been the focus of conversation in some corners of Facebook. Ironically, Facebook is one of the best tools there is for breeding and transmitting “drama” such as the Urban Dictionary defines it. Not for nothing does a pastor I know, citing direct experience, call Facebook “Two-Facebook”. Users of Facebook acting one way In Real Life and another on Facebook, or two different ways on different parts of Facebook, pose one of Facebook’s most common problems.

At any rate, in hopes of lending clarity to the discussion of “drama”, I give the Urban Dictionary’s best “take” on the word. Now please understand: the following definition, useful as it is for understanding “drama” and related words in popular culture, is not to be applied to anyone who has genuine, deep problems—either by the person with such problems or by any onlookers.

DRAMA
A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events.
Typically “drama” is used [that is, applied by or engaged in] by people who are chronically bored or those who seek attention.
People who engage in “drama” will usually attempt to drag other people into their dramatic state, as a way of gaining attention or making their own lives more exciting.
Common warning signs/risk factors of drama or a dramatic person are:

1. Having one supposedly serious problem after another.
2. Constantly telling other people about one’s problems.
3. Extreme emotionality or frequently shifting, intense emotions.
4. Claiming to have experienced negative events that are highly implausible.
5. A boring job or mundane life.
6. Making claims without sufficient evidence or a lack of detail about supposedly serious events.
7. A pattern of irrational behavior and reactions to everyday problems.

[Examples of use of the word “drama”, or of what that word represents, as given by the contributor:]

Sarah had a slight fever and mild cough. She decided to use drama, in order to receive sympathy and attention, so she told everyone she was deathly ill.
Debra lost her keys then spent four hours crying and yelling at her husband.
Mary did not answer her cell phone for an hour, so John feared that she had died in a horrible car accident.
Someone stole Steve’s can of Coke from the break room fridge, now he believes that someone at work is trying to destroy him.

by AgActual December 23, 2009

Others on Urban Dictionary, trying to explain what “drama” means in popular culture, note that 1) backstabbing, gossip, blackmail, and related negative social actions are very frequently involved with what our society calls “drama”; 2) women and teenage girls in our society increasingly thrive on that kind of “drama”; 3) there is a strong element in such severe “drama” of trying to get someone else involved in whatever argument is going on, and to get that other person to take one’s side against the other person in the argument, with partiality; 4) some contributors say sarcastically that one should “seek professional help” for an addiction to causing such “drama”, or “if all else fails”, one should “grow up”. (Radical immaturity certainly is associated with “drama” as our popular culture defines it—hence both the pieces of advice in point 4).)

There is a strong bias in the contributions as nobody singles out men as being “dramatic” in this way. But far too many men are. (Some of them are running for President this year.)

Nobody giving input to the Urban Dictionary calls trying to help others in a legitimate way, dealing with real crises in one’s life or the lives of others, telling others about a long chain of legitimate problems, or anything else which a Christian should do with or to other people, “drama”. Such edifying actions are not part of the popular definition of the word—that much needs to be made crystal clear! And while there are warnings in the Bible against getting involved—at least improperly—with that kind of “drama” in others, there are also examples and forms of encouragement for those who can make peace in such situations. I want to study those various passages to get a fuller picture before saying anything more about the biblical teaching and example.

But going beyond what the Urban Dictionary talks about, there is such a thing as denigrating the real problems of others—as if the problems were “all in their head”, being exaggerated for the sake of attention, and so on. Unfortunately, these days I hear plenty about that sort of denigration, especially by people who don’t understand anything about those who suffer from depression, PTSD, or other psychological problems. Such people often mistake the symptoms of some or all of these problems for the symptoms of immature, self-serving “drama”.

But let’s stop and think, using both “head sense” and with “heart sense”. People who are “dramatic”, in the way the Urban Dictionary would describe the problem, are so because they want to be—but nobody wants to struggle all their lives against the effects of a trauma. But to struggle against the effects of trauma is not immaturity—it is courage of the first rank. It is the human mind using its God-given capacity to seek internal balance against all opposition.

In particular, speaking of those who are traumatized through bad family relationships, the way they understand and interpret parent-child relationships especially is compromised. (I speak as a student of personality type models—this is the consistent observation I’ve made to date, about people who suffer from PTSD of this sort.) Frequently this compromises how such people deal with God on the one hand and legitimate human authority on the other, unless God intervenes. This is not immaturity—it is normal reaction to abnormal conditions.

I think that one of the ongoing crises among the faithful will be telling the difference between people with deep, legitimate problems and people who are addicted to immature, self-serving “drama”—and knowing what to do with each class of people.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Google, Internet, Urban Dictionary | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH ISN’T “SAFE”

From THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, Vol. 1 (c/o Google Images)

From THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, Vol. 1 (c/o Google Images)

2015-01-08 @ 13:22 CST

C.S. Lewis, the famous Protestant apologist, sought to teach people about the God of “traditional” Christianity in various ways, including allegorical fiction. His most famous series of books in that category is the collection THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, which I once read from front to back. (I have also seen the first two films inspired by the books.) An important character, Aslan the Lion, is a thinly veiled symbol of Jesus Christ – and at the very end of the series, Lewis made crystal clear he meant it to be that way.

I’m rethinking my whole relationship to speculative fiction, but I do remember many quotes from many spec-fic works. I liked this quote, which I found on Google Images today. Three children who visit Narnia – in the first volume – learn about Aslan from two talking beavers. One of them asks if Aslan – who, of course, also talks – is “safe” to be around. No, He isn’t “safe” – but He is good, and that’s the point. And woe be to those who stand against Him – even the Ice Queen, who is so obviously a minion of the Devil.

By the way, Aslan is a Persian word – I recall it means “lion” in and of itself.

I recall also that the biblical apostle Paul knew the Greek literature – even the mythology – written by then-famous Greek authors. He quoted two poems – originally meant to praise Zeus – in praise of the true God (Theos), when Paul stood before the council at Athens. He quoted two other authors elsewhere. All are quoted verbatim in their own Classical Greek, which was more formal than the Common Greek Paul spoke every day.

(Acts 17:28 RSV) “…for ‘In him we live and move and have our being‘; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.'” (two quotes)
(1 Corinthians 15:33 RSV) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
(Titus 1:12 RSV) One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

Paul had a curiosity about the world around him, and about its literature. But he knew how to sift the wheat from the chaff, so he could be “all things to all men”. He didn’t indulge in that kind of thing merely for its entertainment value, or merely to nurture his ENFP-style gift of imagination. This is an example which I, as a fellow ENFP and prone to making certain mistakes accordingly, am trying to learn from now.

I hope it’s understood that I’m doing the same here with Lewis’ fictional work: sifting the wheat from the chaff. Lewis’ fantasy has many things wrong with it, not least the blend of classical mythology with “traditional” Christianity which is so characteristic of so much art and literature over so many centuries in the European world. But Lewis had a valid point about Jesus Christ’s sovereignty. He is King because He is good, both in what He is and in what He does. And no, He isn’t even remotely “safe” to be around – not at least if you do evil by breaking His Father’s commandments. His eventual judgment of the world will be neither evaded nor mocked.

Now let’s go in closing from speculative fiction to prophetic revelation, this time through John:

(Revelation 5:1 RSV) And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals;
(Revelation 5:2 RSV) and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
(Revelation 5:3 RSV) And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
(Revelation 5:4 RSV) and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
(Revelation 5:5 RSV) Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
(Revelation 5:6 RSV) And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth;
(Revelation 5:7 RSV) and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
(Revelation 5:8 RSV) And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;
(Revelation 5:9 RSV) and they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
(Revelation 5:10 RSV) and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.”
(Revelation 5:11 RSV) Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands [hundreds of millions!],
(Revelation 5:12 RSV) saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
(Revelation 5:13 RSV) And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”
(Revelation 5:14 RSV) And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Creative Writing, Culture, Google, Internet | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS: GUNG-HO ESTPS

Quite possibly a young ESTP...

Quite possibly a young ESTP…

Categories: Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Humor, Internet | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS: INTP RELATIONSHIPS

INTP Relationships (Author of original graphic unknown)

INTP Relationships (Author of original graphic unknown)

Created by me last night, just for the fun of it… (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Humor, Internet | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A SLEW OF PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go

Parody Motivational Poster: Garfield and Mr. Chainsaw

Parody Motivational Poster: Garfield and Mr. Chainsaw

ENFP: Compassion and Purity of Heart

ENFP: Imagining Kepler-452b

ENFP: Imagining Kepler-452b

INFJ: Chaotic World

INFJ: Chaotic World

ENFP Qui-Gon Jinn (STAR WARS)

ENFP Qui-Gon Jinn (STAR WARS)

We Are the Abominable... Borg? ;)

We Are the Abominable… Borg? ;)

ENFP-INFJ Love (c/o NASA, DIY.Despair.com and Johanan Rakkav)

ENFP-INFJ Love (c/o NASA, DIY.Despair.com and Johanan Rakkav)

ENFP: NARF (Pinky from PINKY AND THE BRAIN)

ENFP: NARF (Pinky from PINKY AND THE BRAIN)

INFJ: Balancing Act

INFJ: Balancing Act

INFJ: Microscopic Scrutiny ;)

INFJ: Microscopic Scrutiny ;)

ENFP: Cosmic Naivete ;)

ENFP: Cosmic Naivete ;)

INFJ: Cat Thinking

INFJ: Cat Thinking

ENFP/INFJ: Hiccup and Toothless (c/o Dreamworks

ENFP/INFJ: Hiccup and Toothless (c/o Dreamworks

ENFP: Emperor Kuzco (c/o Walt Disney)

ENFP: Emperor Kuzco (c/o Walt Disney)

ENFP: Roo (from Disney Pooh)

ENFP: Roo (from Disney Pooh)

Original Photo c/o The Original Grumpy Cat

Original Photo c/o The Original Grumpy Cat

Love, Anime Style - Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

Love, Anime Style – Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

Overconfidence (c/o Despair.com)

ENFP: Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H (Alan Alda)

ENFP: Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H (Alan Alda)

2015-12-18 @ 06:50 CST

“He must be bored,” you’re saying. “What an eyeball-busting combination of schlock,” you’re saying. Well, in starting over on this blog I took out a lot of posts which contained parody motivational posters of various kinds, most of which had to do with personality type patterns (especially ENFP and INFJ). As I’d like to keep my original work available to the general public via Google Images and other search engines, I put all of the posters back up in one fell swoop. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Garfield, Google, Grumpy Cat, Humor, Internet | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

HOLY QUOTES: GENESIS 1:1 (HEBREW-ENGLISH)

Genesis 1:1 (Hebrew-English)

Genesis 1:1 (Hebrew-English)

2015-12-18 @ 06:30 CST

This is my first experiment in making Biblical Hebrew-English graphics based on particular verses of the Bible (meaning both the original Hebrew Scriptures and the Hebrew New Testament version of Franz Delitzsch, translated from the Greek Received Text). The Hebrew texts are “fully pointed” – that is, they have the musical accents, the vowel-points, and the other signs required for a full understanding of the pronunciation and melodic rendition.

For that matter, if I wanted to I could do citations from the Greek Received Text, or perhaps even better, one of the critical editions of the Greek New Testament which seek to restore the original text (in its wording) as accurately as possible. It’s just that 1) I don’t know Greek all that well but do know Hebrew pretty well and 2) for me, Biblical Hebrew is a “personal cultural value”, in my Bible study at the very least. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Hebrew, Holy Quotes, Language | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

“WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD”

2015-11-26 @ 12:30 PM CST

(This was written on 2015-11-17 and sent as a proposed LCG Commentary to my supervisors. As it has not been accepted there for publication, I will put forward the text here as my personal thoughts about Thanksgiving. The hymn-melody given above is not what I’m used to in connection with the lyrics – but it certainly is inspirational!)

Almost immediately after Halloween was over, the local grocery store—part of a major chain in the United States—took down its Halloween decorations and put up decorations for Christmas. Where pumpkins, witches and skeletons once stood, Santa Claus now towers over grocery shoppers. One sees the same in local shopping malls and on private property outdoors: Christmas decorations are already up—and it’s not even Thanksgiving Day yet.

The motive is obvious: to encourage shopping for the Christmas holiday season. “Black Friday”—the start of the Christmas retail drive—used to be the day after Thanksgiving Thursday. Now, it’s essentially whatever day in November on which a retailer can post a “pre-Black Friday sale”. And Thanksgiving Day? For many, it seems to have become “Turkey Day”—if not even less: “Football Day”.

What has happened to Thanksgiving Day in the American consciousness?

Our American Thanksgiving Day has deep roots, but we need go back no farther than the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, made on October 3, 1863, called upon the American people to give thanks for God’s manifest blessings, given even in the midst of such a terrible conflict. Lincoln set the last Thursday of the following November for a national day of thanksgiving, and in time this day was made a national holiday.

But how many today remember an earlier proclamation by President Lincoln? His Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day, made on March 30, 1863, called on the nation to fast and pray, seeking repentance before God and God’s deliverance in response. Who now in high political office would dare say the following words to the American people, even in the name of what Thomas Jefferson called “Nature’s God”—let alone of the God of the Bible?

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

God heard the sincere prayers of the American people. President Lincoln acknowledged this when he proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving, six months later. The American people were grateful for God’s deliverance and blessings. Are we?

What was true for ancient Israel and Judah was true for the United States in Lincoln’s day, and is just as true for the United States and all the descendants of Israel and Judah now. It is just as true for any other nation which seeks to serve God in truth (Proverbs 14:34). As God said to King Solomon: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Our free booklets, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, Who Controls the Weather?, and Twelve Keys to Answered Prayer, are just three we could recommend on this topic. Wherever you are in the world, be thankful at all times for God’s blessings and deliverance as you obey Him! – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, World News | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

I CAN SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING…

2015-11-12 @ 08:15 CST

And if he falls in love tonight
It can be assumed
His carefree days with us are history
In short, our pal is doomed

…well, everybody should be so doomed <3

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Internet, YouTube | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

MY LCG COMMENTARIES TO DATE

The Puzzle of Europe

The Puzzle of Europe

2015-11-18 @ 11:30 CST

Here is a list of all the Living Church of God (LCG) Commentaries, published under my byline, which I can find. More will be added as they are published. (The above graphic was published as the header of one of my Commentaries, “Watch Europe!” Its original source is unknown to me.)

Why the World Needs the Lamb of God

Has Science Made God Obsolete?

Our Values, God’s Values

Character and Personality

Tracking Cultural Trends

Religion and Society

Prediction Addiction

The World Next Door

Watch Europe!

Who Crucified Jesus?

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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