Posts Tagged ‘dklevick’
Posted in AIDS, Christianity, DK's Journal, History, Inspirations, Life, Living, Things to Ponder, tagged an old man does technology, blogging, character, dklevick, life, Thanksgiving on November 27, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Christianity, DK's Journal, Life, Pastor Saeed, Persecution, Politics, Things to Ponder, Uncategorized, tagged dklevick, life, politics, prison, Saeed on November 25, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
I don’t write about politics – it’s not my thing and basically I don’t really like it or politicians.
But, this time I can’t sit back and bite my lip – my teeth are grinding on one another!
Last night, I watched on the news as the world “rejoiced” that a great “never before” – “first-time” negotiations had concluded with a “deal” with Iran.
Hmmmm- let’s see if I have this right:
Iran will “halt” “part” of its nuclear development program and in exchange we’ll lift our sanctions against it and provide humanitarian relief.
Now, the press can goggle and salivatate all they want over this, but does anyone honestly believe Iran is going to halt development of their nuclear program? They have continually and openly defied the world on this subject from day one – and lying about it is right out of their playbook. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows better. Iran has openly and blatently worked with North Korea on this and our own intelligence has reported what their true aim is. But we hide our heads in the sand and pretend.
But – that’s not my issue with this.
There is an innocent American citizen who has been held prisoner in the worse Iranian prison for over a year. They want to keep him there for another 7 years.
I said “AN AMERICAN CITIZEN”!!
He has been tortured, beat, deprived of medical help and medicine, and treated less than an animal – and for no other reason than that he refuses to denounce his faith – Christianity. That’s it! No – he wasn’t preaching on the street corners – he wasn’t out defying their government. In fact, he was there supporting their orphanages. You know – the children suffering from their abusive beliefs and hatreds!
Yes – the same people we know agreed to send “humanitarian” aid to!
Hundreds of thousands of people have written and requested Iran to release him. Their response? They moved him to a worse prison that has a legacy of death and coming out in a box.
I have two questions for both – the politicians who “negotiated” this earth-shattering deal and for the press that slobbers all over it and over those politicians:
First – WHY WASN’T THE RELEASE OF PASTOR SAEED ABEDINI EITHER A PRECONDITION TO SITTING DOWN WITH THEM OR AT LEAST A PART OF THE AGREEMENT?
Second – WHY IS THE UNITED STATES SITTING AT A TABLE TO NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS THAT ARE HOLDING AMERICAN CITIZENS IN A TORTUROUS PRISON?
It is unconsciousable that our government held these negotiations without demanding the release of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen! Why wasn’t his release a precondition for us to even sit down with them to negotiate?
Instead – we’re going to relax sanctions and providing humanitarian relief.
Are we living in Disneyland?
Have the politicians and the press forgotten that Iran has been in a state of armed conflict against the U.S. for decades? It is common knowledge – stated by these same politicians and reporters – that Iran has killed Americans directly and supported every terrorist group, country and cause against America and is the main supplier of arms to jihadist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They kill Americans.
They want all Americans dead. That’s not me saying that – they say it themselves – with a smile on their face.
They hold American citizens in hell-hole prisons for no reason other than they don’t agree with them. And we negotiate with them – give them aid – and “humanitarian relief”! Tell me – how do we make a deal with people who are torturing our citizens?
Yes Virginia – there is a Santa Claus.
He lives in the White House and he negotiates with terrorists, but he doesn’t give gifts of freedom to all equally.
One man – a husband – a father – a pastor – sits in prison – won’t see Christmas – or his family – or his country. He’s held captive by the Grinch who Stole his Christmas – while the world applauds the Grinch and takes pictures of the Grinch shaking Santa’s hand.
Strange – how this President can care so much about certain Americans and so little about other Americans. I’ve seen a number of presidents in my time and I don’t recall them being so selective about who they champion or not.
Stranger still – is how the American press can so totally work the country into a frenzy about some isolated criminal incident and so totally ignore Americans being killed, tortured and forsaken by the same people we honor and heap “humanitarian relief” on.
We all need to pray for Pastor Saeed – because our prayers are the only support he’s getting.
The war rages on and on…
…battle lines are drawn…blood is spilled…
On the one hand are the science followers who believe in theories of time-based creation and evolution, ignoring basic foundations and the lack of supporting evidence. (In fact, there are two separate schools of science ‘religion’. One requires billions of years for things to occur, while the other requires only thousands.) Science argues with science and both argue with faith.
On the other hand are the Bible fundalmentalists who insist upon a simple 7-day creation and ignore any legitimate evidence that challengenes their interpretation of it.
And both sides ignore the facts of history in front of them. For example, as the world was emerging from the stone age, the Great Pyramids were already thousands of years old, constructed with a curvature that exactly matches the earth and laid out to duplicate the Milky Way 10,500 years ago. How was this done? Who did this? Who knew the world was round? It wouldn’t be proven until thousands of years later. Who knew about a Milky Way and why duplicate it in the desert? How were they built by primitive people to stand for thousands of years, when they can’t be duplicated with today’s technology and engineering? Is there a connection between them and our existence?
They have no answers, but do these questions stop them? No. Both sides ignore these things, rationalize them away and continue to persist in their own dogmatic, preconceived beliefs, spending their energy on calling each other names.
The dogma that scientists follow in uncovering pre-history is as stated by J.V.N. Talmage, “The archaeological finds of pre-historic cultural objects must be so arranged that the cruder industries must always be dated earlier than those of a more advance type, regardless of where they are found.”
Uh -oh! Doesn’t it wrinkle the old parchment now when “very advanced” civilizations are discovered – beneath the layers of prehistoric civilizations! Whups – let’s just ignore that civilization.
The conventional theories of science are problematic in that they offer wild theories and guesses without proof or logic. A ‘spark’ caused a ‘big bang’ to occur, somehow and at some time that in someway started everything in motion. No one knows when, how or from where that initial ‘spark’ came from and theories come and go like idols in Hollywood.
Species evolved from nothing and then cross evolved somehow, although there is no evidence of this. There is no fossil evidence of evolution between species. Yet the world believes it without question. (Actually, new findings tend to disprove cross-species evolution.) The proof of ‘macro-evolution’ is not forthcoming. The proof of evolution is ‘micro-evolution’ – changes within a species – and that’s adaptation. As new discoveries are made and new facts come to light, the timelines get re-juggled and fossil histories are rearranged to fit into the already preconceived ideas and theories.
On one hand, there is much evidence of the universe being millions or even billions of years old, even given the flaws and distortions of carbon dating methods. But religious fundamentalists refuse to consider this and only generate discord, dissent with a spew of useless words defending their position and condemning the person presenting.
On the other hand there is no true evidence of life being that old, only of it being thousands of years old – a mere flicker in the hands of time.
There is massive amounts of evidence to show early forms of ‘humanoid’ type of beings on earth, that predate 7000 years and the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. How is this reconciled? Biblical accounts themselves, leave open the idea and possibilities of other ‘people’ existing at the time of Adam and Eve. For example, Who did Cain marry? And who was Cain ‘fearful’ of? Who were the people of ‘Nod’? Rather than take an open and honest look at these things, fundamentalists dig in and conjure up a web of fantasy.
Are the ‘experts’ on either side, willing to step out of their strongholds and look at evidence openly and objectively? Apparently, not. Bible ‘scholars’ and scientists alike, are too busy defending their paradigms and calling one another names, rather than attempting to piece the puzzle together. Both sides create their own puzzles and if a piece is in the wrong place – they’ll force it in and defend it to the death!
But, is science and the Bible really irreconcilable? Or could (should ?) there be agreement? If the Bible is the account of creation and God, and science is the understanding of creation – then shouldn’t science confirm and support the Biblical accounts?
When Bible scholars ignore science, they become entrenched in their stories they speculate and go to ridiculous extremes to rationalize their faith and claims. They make science the enemy and turn the Bible into mythology.
When science tries to answer the questions without including God, then it becomes derogatory and condescending and becomes a religion of its own worshipping its own theories. It generates speculation – turns the speculation into theory and then worships its own theories. It makes religion the enemy and speculation becomes faith.
There should be no “enemy”.
We must always keep two things in mind.
First: Science does not determine whether the Bible is true or not true.
The “latest” word in science has never been the “last” word in science.
The newest discovery or breakthrough, no matter how earth shattering will itself be refuted, revised or rejected when the next discovery or breakthrough comes out that “blows our mind”. The thing that science does the best is to correct, disprove, and replace existing misunderstanding and misconceptions while generating new speculations. It’s good for disproving things but not very good at proving things. Over time, theories build upon theories and gradually a picture begins to form, but the picture is always fuzzy, distorted with many portions missing. Science is an ongoing, work in progress – it is not an end product.
Theories change every year. Currently the “Big Bang”, the “Oscillating” and the “Steady State” theories are in vogue. Every few years someone new comes along and throws out some new idea. But they all have one thing in common – they don’t know what, how, when or where the original “spark” came from.
Science leaves a void – the big question of “Why?” No animals consider those questions – only humans. Why is that? There are four essential things that science cannot explain regardless of what theories it proposes:
1. It cannot bridge the gulf between ‘nothing’ to ‘something’.
2. It cannot bridge the gulf between something and life.
3. It cannot bridge the gulf between life and humanity – self-conscious life with free will.
4. It cannot answer “Why”. Why is there life? Why did life begin? What’s the purpose of life?
So, it takes the easy way out and states, “Well, that’s not the job of science, that’s religion’s job.” Then they attack religion.
I beg to differ. Science is discovering and understanding the world and universe around us. Why and how that universe is there is precisely the goal of science and of humans.
Second: The Bible is not a science book. It’s not written or designed to explain the how’s and when’s of everything. The Biblical account of creation is not a scientific thesis. It is not designed to explain creation to us – it’s designed to tell us the story of salvation.
The problem with understanding the Bible is that we read it from a modern perspective with modern language, modern interpretations, modern understandings and modern scientific principles. But, is that the way it was written? Were those the understandings of the writer? What was the writer’s perspective? How did his language express that perspective? What was the writer’s purpose? All scripture is given by God – but are all translations? Are all interpretations? Of course not – we’ve watched them change down through the centuries and now there are over 50 different translations and we watch as different groups clinging to different translations as being the only “perfect” one over all the others.
I believe to understand the creation account as given in Genesis – one must understand what it meant to the writer. To do that, one must research the original texts, how they were written, the language used, the time it was written and the purpose of the writings. I’m not sure we can do that, but Jewish scholars will be the most reliable sources.
In general, Biblical creation is based on faith.
In general, scientific theory is based on speculation.
With the inability of science to prove its theories, science speculation is becoming increasingly based on faith.
If we say that the initial “spark” of life or existence came from God, it’s ridiculed. But, is that any more mythical than the scientific theories of creation? Think that’s hard to believe and accept? Well then try believing and accepting that somehow, someway and at some time a live cell, a little amoeba (that no one knows where it came from or how it came to be in existence) crawled out of a sea (that no one knows where it came from or how it came to be) unto land (that no one knows where it came from or how it came to be) and transformed itself into a tadpole – into a bird – into a dinosaur – into a primate, into a human – all by the simple magic of ‘time‘, even though there is no proof or evidence of such changes ever occurring. And, of course, everything had to be just perfect for all this to happen, temperatures, air, water, nutrition, etc. and we don’t know where all that came from or how it’s controlled either; and of course they had to survive these changes, even though it’s impossible to exist without them; for all these things to have happened. But by saying the magic words “given enough time abbra cadabbra kazaam! anything can happen, let it be so!” And somehow it happened.
That’s kind of out there, wouldn’t you say? I predict that, if the world lasts, it won’t be long before the theory of evolution will go the way of the dinosaur and all the current “experts” will be touting a new theory – one that they’ll all cling to as ‘gospel’, and one which will not include God. After all, that’s what the war is all about, isn’t it? You see, if we accept a creator, then we must accept an authority. That’s the part that really troubles men.
…the universe came into existence billions of years ago.
…but life (as we know it) only came into existence within the last 10000 years?
…Genesis 1:1 is a true account of creation…
…but it’s not the whole story?
…Genesis 1:2 – 2:3 is a real 24 hour, seven-day account of creation…
…but it’s not about the same creation…
…but rather a second creation?
What if there were two separate creations, one a long time ago and the other only a few thousand years ago – separated by millions or billions of years?
The issue between science and Bible is not which story of creation is right – the issue is what did God want to tell us in the story of creation? What’s its purpose?
Well – Light the torches…and stoke up the fires – let the witch burnings commence.
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in clocks, DK's Journal, Inspirations, Life, Living, Things to Ponder, tagged an old man does technology, blogging, character, creation, dklevick, God, life, minute hand, peace, power failure, radio clocks on October 13, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
All my life I’ve had trouble with clocks…
…Trying to keep them running – wound up – on time – not stopping… seems like clocks and me… well…kinda like oil and water.
It’s been an ongoing battle. One I don’t think I’ve ever won for more than a few minutes (hmm… with out having a working clock I’m not sure how long actually…).
I tried the wind-up ones that I could never “wind-up” quite properly. They were always in need of winding or I was over-winding.
Electric? Every time I had one of them and set it right – there’d be a power failure.
Going digital didn’t help – I’d come home to a house full of flashing digits! Not only ‘clock – clocks’ – but television clocks – radio clocks – microwave oven clocks – dryer – washer clocks you know what I mean – you’ve been there.
Going battery-powered didn’t help – clocks either ran slow or stopped, and I never had the right battery on hand. When I did…well changing the battery was usually the end of the watch…
I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t like wristwatches – they always seemed confining and heavy (I know, I know – they only weigh a couple of ounces, but when you don’t want or like something – doesn’t it always get heavier and heavier?) They have those tiny little knurled knobs to pull out and spin around in your fingers making the hour and minute hands dance across the face (I always have trouble with those little knobs. They seem to get lost in my fat fingers all the time.) The digital ones weren’t any better – I don’t know about you but I need a pin to push those little buttons!) I use a watch that clips onto my pants. Yeah – same knurled knobs – but bigger. Have a hard time keeping them – I think my Dry Cleaner has a collection of them.
Anyway – trying to keep one working – and staying within +/- 24 hours of actual time – has been a losing battle for me.
Well the other day – I was given an…
ATOMIC CLOCK -
You ever see one of this things?
There is a battery – but it’s charged by solar power – and there are no adjustment knobs - only one switch (a big one too!) on the back, that says “ON” and “OFF”. Hey I like this already!
Well – getting it home, I flipped that switch to “ON” and hung it on the wall.
WOW! It was something to watch (pun intended).
At first it didn’t do anything. Then it moved around in a half circle – stopped – moved backwards a quarter circle – then stopped again. I shrugged my shoulders and began walking away thinking “yeah, just like all the rest”, when I heard a whirring sound and turned back. The minute hand was moving around the face of the clock – fast – then faster and faster. The hour hand followed trying to catch up.
The darn thing is demon possessed!
It traveled around covering every hour of the day, until it came to the hour it was and the hour hand stopped like it hit a brick wall. The minute hand began slowing down, slower and slower until it ticked its way to the actual minute it was! (How do I know, you ask? Well, I turned on my trusty cell phone and -Yup! Right on the money!)
The giant, solar-powered computer in the sky was keeping it on track!
I went around the house and set every clock to it.
“Okay, so what?” you say?
Well, I got to thinking – it’s kinda like me, isn’t it?
I try to keep myself powered up and adjusted to the place I think I should be, and I either ‘forget to wind’ myself, ‘overwind‘ myself, can’t manage those little knobs and buttons of my life and personality and end up broken. Inaccurate – stalled – or experiencing a power failure, ending out of control, flashing mindlessly and useless to anyone needing me!
I found that I’m not good at being my own power source – can’t really wind my own controls or set myself.
But, by allowing the ‘solar-power’ in the sky to power me and to adjust me – spinning my hands around – clearing out all the inaccuracies in my heart and mind – until I’m powered up, accurate and running “like a clock”.
The Master Clock is in control and I get the proper instruction and after spinning my gears round and round, I run precisely and perfectly.
I just needed the right power source and the right master clock and I’m running in sync with life.
Kinda feels cool to be in sync with the master clock – wouldn’t you think? Give it a try – you may like it.
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in Christianity, DK's Journal, Life, Living, Persecution, Things to Ponder, tagged character, christianity, dklevick, God, life, middle east, overcoming, peace, persecution on September 26, 2013 | 1 Comment »
“I want to welcome you all. Joining us today on our panel, we have…
…from our Nation’s Capital – Senator Puff N’ strut;
…from the National Mis-Media Association we have Anchor person “I Tell it my Way”
…and our returning champion, straight from the heart of America, Prosperity Pastor, ‘Ain’t I Righteous!”
“Okay, let’s get started then.
For our first category, the answer is:
“The one thing Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, Eritea, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and many other countries throughout Africa and the Middle East, have in common.”
“Senator Puff N’ Strut rang in first.”
“Receiving billions of American dollars to support and promote corrupt, deceptive terrorist governments?”
“No, while that may be true Senator, that’s not the answer.”
“Anchor woman ‘I Tell it my Way’.”
“Oppressive governments overturned by democratic patriots spreading freedom.”
“I’m sorry but that’s not the right answer.”
“Pastor ‘Ain’t I Righteous!’ did you want to ring in?”
“Would someone nudge Pastor Righteous please?”
“Huh? What? Oh, sorry, was counting my blessings. Would you repeat the answer please?”
“The one thing Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan, Eritrea, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya , Nigeria, and many other countries throughout Africa and the Middle East, have in common.”
“Oh yes! Hallaleulah! The question is: “Name countries we can gain funding for. Now you can donate on my website and I’ll send you a handkerchief dipped in the River Jordan and …”
Do you know what the question is? Here, I’ll tell you:
“Where are people, having a common belief, being systematically killed or driven out of their homes, while the world looks the other way?”
- A Catholic priest was killed outside a church in Egypt.
- In the town of Arusha last May an attack left one person dead and 40 injured.
- The body of a Christian merchant was found decapitated in a cemetery.
- A Coptic Christian priest was shot by gunmen in an outdoor market.
- Muslim extremists in southern Egypt burned dozens of Christian homes and stabbed four believers to death.
- A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 75 people.
- Eritrean authorities arrested 39 high school students because of their faith in Christ. Morning Star News reported that the students have been detained and suffer beatings. They face a long imprisonment unless they renounce Christ.
- An estimated 1,200 Christians, mostly Protestant, are currently incarcerated in Eritrea because of their faith.
- A brutal public murder of three Catholics in Syria, was attended by a cheering crowd.
- Muslims in southern Egypt killed two Christian men for failing to pay them money.
- A Christian Alawite girl was pulled off a public bus by armed jihadist and was beheaded in broad daylight.
- Muslim extremists in Somalia burned dozens of Christian homes, raping, stabbing and hacking to death those Christians who resisted fleeing.
- More than 130 churches have been burned and destroyed along with hundreds of people murdered by machetes in Egypt.
- In the Sinai, a young Coptic priest was shot dead, while the body of Magdy Lam‘i Habib, a Christian, was found mutilated and beheaded.
- In the town of Arusha an attack left one person dead and 40 injured.
- Al-Qaeda linked terrorists initiated one of the bloodiest church attacks in Baghdad with nearly 60 Christians hacked and slaughtered to death.
- In the recent mall attack in Kenya, Christians were signaled out and killed.
- Thousands of fathers, mothers, pastors and citizens are imprisoned, tortured and being brutally mistreated, because they won’t recant their faith.
The list goes on and on and on and…
…and the world – yawns.
The greatest persecution in history is occurring right this minute – right before the world’s eyes. Over 100 million Christians are being persecuted for their faith across the earth. Entire communities and villages are being erased off the map. Children are slaughtered in front of their parents or taken away to serve as ‘sex slaves’ for the very people doing the killing.
A global religious cleansing is underway, with the full support and blessings of religious and political leaders. It has become difficult in the last few months to keep up with the attacks—so many and nonstop are the reports emanating from around the world. Grizzly stories of murders, rapes, and beheadings are increasingly appearing in the news. It seems everywhere Christians and their churches are under attack. As a result, ancient Christian communities are collapsing before our very eyes and the Christian population in the Middle East has shrunk from 20% in 2007 to 5% in 2012 – that’s a 75% decrease in population!
In the face of this humanitarian mega-crisis, the world has been shockingly silent.
Don’t look to our panel for help.
Oh …Okay…if you insist…let’s look:
Let’s see, who was our first contestant? Right – Senator Puff N’Strut – government…right.
There was a time when our government – we the people – would stand up and say “That’s enough! No more!” But, that time is not today. Actually, our government is part of the problem. Consider:
- The president supported the take-over by the (now ousted) Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against the will of the majority of Egyptians. Morsi’s misrule of Egypt included the persecution and execution of Christians, the collapse of the tourism industry, a government on the verge of bankruptcy, and a crackdown on democracy-promoting organizations.
- None of these conditions existed before the President helped force former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of office. Instead of using the over $1 billion in foreign aid the U.S. gives the country as leverage for improving conditions in Egypt, the President handed the money (our money) over with no strings attached.
- Since then, not only have Egypt’s Christians and churches come under intense attack in ways unprecedented in modern history, but Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised on many of them.
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says the United States should stop funding the enemies of Christians across the Middle East. Paul said Christians in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt are on the run and are being persecuted, and America should stop helping “the people who are chasing them.”
“There’s a war on Christianity not just from the liberal elites here at home, but worldwide,” he said. “And your government, or more correctly you, are having to pay for it. You’re being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant to Christians but openly hostile,” he charged. “Christians are imprisoned or threatened with death for their beliefs.”
“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death for blasphemy against Islam, countries that put to death Muslims who convert to Christianity, and countries that imprison anyone who marries outside their religion. I say no more money to countries that are doing that to Christians,” Paul said.
Hey! Maybe there is hope from the government after all!
- Defense officials announced that U.S. aid to Egypt would continue, with a delivery of F-16 fighter jets.
- President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have been pushing Congress to allow the United States to help the Syrian rebel movement, which includes al Qaeda terrorists.
- Christians are killed and churches are burned in Egypt; Christians are either killed or systematically driven out of the country in Syria, Turkey, Nigeria, Iraq, etc. etc., and the President has decided the major humanitarian issue is homosexual rights in Russia.
- On NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno asked the President about the new Russian law. The president gave his sternest look —somewhere between the “al Qaeda is on the run” look and his “Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons” look — and he said he has “no patience and will not tolerate countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
Gee – I don’t recall any transgenders getting publicly beheaded. Wouldn’t it be neat if he was equally as impatient with countries that kill Christians?
- Next door in Syria, the President is planning to train and arm the rebels fighting Bashar Assad. These are the rebel known for the public beheading of a Catholic priest and the burning Christian churches and Christians.
- Libya is another war-torn state that had the dubious benefit of the President’s ”leading from behind.” You recall Libya right? There, our ambassador and three American heroes were murdered as part of the festivities in connection with a 9/11 anniversary celebration in Benghazi. Our leaders said it was because of a video. Not only was that not true – but who cares what the cause was – right? Well, a year later the murderers are still, not only free but unidentified and there’s been so many lies and distortions that the President’s pledge to bring them to justice is as hollow as his Secretary of State’s denial of wrongdoing .
Meanwhile the killing and displacement of Christians continues without constraint.
Whoops! I guess there’s no help there.
Our second contestant is National Mis-Media Association’s, anchor person ‘I tell it my way’.
Do we need to even say anything?
The average joe citizen on the street has no knowledge of the things mentioned above. You see, the press has already decided what’s important for the average joe to know, even before the news is made. Besides the average joe doesn’t want to know.
He’s too busy texting – playing Candy Crunch – getting high or watching his 401k.
What’s happening in America’s newsrooms is not a slippery slope – it’s an avalanche of misinformation. no information or useless information, while ignoring any and all the news of the world that is changing all around us and the average joe has his head buried in the sands of ‘self’. It’s a perpetual whirlpool, sucking the willing and unwilling alike down into an abyss of nothingness.
And that brings us to our third and final contestant – Prosperity Pastor, “Ain’t I righteous’.
Surely, he cares and will stand up for his ‘brothers and sisters’ across the world. After all, there are thousands of churches and millions of ‘Christians’ spread across the country.
They love Jesus and Jesus was all about love of our fellow men – and these are his brothers and sisters – who better to care – right?
Ah, at last, we find a champion for the world’s persecuted Christians. Let’s all stand up and shout with joy!!
Let’s demand our government – our corporations – our banks and organizations of mercy and humanitarian aid rise up and make their voices and muscles heard for justice.
Let’s march – protest – shout out our voices to the world!
Hello? Is anyone out there?
Oh, he left?
What’s that? He left us a message? Great! What is it? He said:
“Ain’t I blessed!”
I have a question for you: Tell me – will America wake up or is it too late?
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in DK's Journal, Grief, Inspirations, Life, Living, Things to Ponder, Uncategorized, tagged bible, character, dklevick, God, grief, life, mystery, overcoming, peace on September 17, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Overcoming Tragedy is never Easy – And sometimes – it doesn’t happen.
Everyone is familiar with the Biblical story of Terah – hearing the voice of God telling him to leave his home and find the Land of Promise (Canaan).
It’s a great story. Terah became Teraham and is called the “Father of Israel”. It’s a story that inspires each of us to persevere and keep our vision in sight.
Oh! I’m sorry – that was Abram – wasn’t it? Yes, that’s right – Abram, who became Abraham and is called the “Father of Israel”.
But, then who was Terah?
How many of us know the story of Terah?
Hmmm – would you like to hear it? Ok. I’ll be short.
There once was a man called Terah. He lived in the land of Ur or the Chaldeans (that’s an ancient land over by Mesopotamia – what we’d call the Middle East today). Here, you can read the story yourself - you’ll find it in the Book of Genesis (that’s the first book in the Bible).
“Now these are the records of the generations of Terah..Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves… Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there…and Terah died in Haran.” Genesis 11:27-32 NASB
Well that’s it. That’s the story. What do you think?
Oh – you didn’t get it? Missed it? Here – let me help.
You see, in the first verse of the next chapter Abram hears the voice telling him to leave and go to the land of Canaan.
Terah was Abram’s father and he heard the voice first! He took his family and left the land of Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan.
But he didn’t make it. He died in the land of Haran.
Look at what happened – Haran, “died in the presence of his father…” Something happened that caused Terah’s son – Haran – to die right in front of him. We don’t know what it was, but, knowing the times it was then, there’s a good chance it was something violent – something bad – that gave Terah enough grief and pain, that when the ‘voice’ came telling him to go to Canaan – he left.
But, whether bad luck – or an evil presence – or whatever you may think it was, he journeyed through the land of Haran!
Did you get that? A land having the same name as his dead son had! And, it was too much for him to get over! It brought back all the pain and grief and he couldn’t leave. He settled in the land of Haran – he settled in his grief – in the memories of his dead son – and he died there.
He couldn’t get over the grief inside and because of that he never reached the land of Canaan. He never became the “Father of Israel”. The “call” went to his son, Abram, and he became the “Father of Israel”.
And tragedy and grief will find each of us at some time in our journey through life – and it’s a guarantee that somewhere – somehow – sometime – we’ll find ourselves in the land of Haran and forced to face it again.
Will we give up and die there?
Or will we gather ourselves together, face it and move on – and reach our vision – our land of Canaan?
Just remember – when you’re in the land of Haran – there is a land of Canaan. It’s waiting for you. You can reach it.
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in DK's Journal, Inspirations, Land, Life, Things to Ponder, Uncategorized, tagged character, community, creation, dklevick, life, mystery, nature, peace, Redwoods, trees on September 10, 2013 | 7 Comments »
The glory and splendor of a tree is an awesome sight.
You know what I’m saying. We’ve all been there, standing in awe, gazing up, marveling upon a tall, straight, full tree as it sways in the breeze, gently singing its soothing song of peace and goodness to the land. The creatures of the earth and birds of all sizes, designs and colors finding refuge in its thick, life-sustaining foliage.
We look upon the Maple – the Beech – the Sycamore and the mighty Oak as they rise upwards – 60 – 80 – even a hundred feet towards the light, and we marvel at their strength and beauty. They stand firm and steady against the winds, rains and hails that batter them. Their roots go down deep into the ground, 20 -40 even 80 feet to anchor them securely to the earth, holding them tight against the storms of life.
They stand alone – firmly and confidently.
But, even with such strength and depth, sometimes, under the power of the assault, they bend and give – their roots slowly breaking apart from the earth and when the storm blows hard, even those deep roots cannot bear the strain and they pull up from the earth and a mighty tree falls, crashing to the ground in a loud, agonizing roar of despair. And the world groans.
Towering above all other trees, straight and majestic, rise the Sequoia Redwoods. They stretch upwards, reaching high into the heavens. Not 80, not a 100, not even 200 feet, but over 300 feet they rise! Greater than the length of a football field! Imagine laying a single tree across the entire length of the Super Bowl and then raising it up to reach into the sky.
Some reach into the heavens taller than the Statue of Liberty, exceeding heights of 375 feet. They obtain massive circumferences with diameters in excess of twenty feet; laden with heavy, coarse bark 20 inches thick that defies modern engineering by miraculously pumping over 250 gallons of water a day upwards into the heights to feed its rich foliage in the heavens.
Not only are they the tallest trees in the world – they are the largest living things in the world, and they live for hundreds – even thousands of years.
When the storms come, they are the first and the last to be battered. Rising above all those below, they receive the strongest attack – feel the harshest assault as the winds and gales toss and rip at their crowning heads, bending them to the power of their might. Smaller trees, far below, bend, crack, snap and break, pulling out from the earth, not able to withstand the rage and fury of the storm.
When the storm subsides – the Redwood stands firm and proud, rejoicing in its glory.
Why does this giant of the earth not succumb to the storm?
How does it remain standing two – three – even four times taller than those that could not bear the storm’s fury?
The answer can only lie in its roots – which must go deeper into the earth than all the other trees. Ah! There is a lesson for us here! In order to become strong we must reach deep into the earth, clinging hard to withstand the storms of this world.
But – upon examination – we are in awe – we are dumbfounded – we are aghast!
The roots only go into the earth four – five – six feet. They are shallow – This massive monster of nature, towering over 300 feet and weighting over 3,000,000 pounds – is anchored to the earth by a mere five feet! How can this be? It defies logic – physics - engineering – and life as we understand it.
What is its secret to survival and majesty?
So we look closer and we find the secret – it was there all along.
The roots, although not deep, spread out hundreds of feet around the tree. They intertwine, tangle, knot and lock with the roots of the other trees around it, that are doing the same thing, until for miles it’s a single woven mat of thick, living roots. They support and hold one another firmly in place. If one weakens, the others grab and lock themselves around it to hold it and keep it upright.
But there’s more. The roots actually begin fusing together, forming common roots that share, feed and give life to one another.
Once established – the Redwood tree is not solitary – stand-alone but is part of a community – united – bound together – supporting and sustaining one another. Only internal decay within a tree can destroy it.
I wonder – what would our world be like – if we were Redwoods?
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in DK's Journal, Hiking, Historical Trails, Land, Life, Living, Things to Ponder, Uncategorized, tagged adventure, creation, dklevick, gorge, hermit of niagara, Journeys Across Niagara, life, nature, niagara, niagara falls, outdoors, rapids, river, waterfalls on May 17, 2012 | 6 Comments »
Is there anyone in the world – who hasn’t heard of Niagara Falls?
Well – I’m sure there is, in the deepest jungles of Africa and Brazil, and on the remote steppes of Mongolia and the grassy plains of the Yellow River – and on various desert islands across the oceans – there can be found lonely people wandering about who have never heard of Niagara Falls.
But, everyone else walking on the face of the planet, has heard that somewhere, within North America, there exists a magnificent waterfall, called Niagara. In fact, millions upon millions have seen it, standing in awe at its immense power and majesty.
No – they’re not the tallest or even the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, (actually, there are about 500 waterfalls in the world that are taller than Niagara (Angel Falls in Venezuela is the tallest, at 3,212 feet), but most have little water flowing over them)…
…but they are the most known and visited. The combination of height and volume separates Niagara from all the others and makes them the spectacular wonder that they are.
Over 28 million people visit Niagara’s waterfalls each year. Since 1825, the world’s leading statesmen, monarchs, authors, painters, scientists, politicians, celebrities, business leaders and people from all walks, colors and languages have journeyed to stand in awe of the majestic falls and hear them roar their song of glory.
The Niagara River and Niagara Falls have been known outside of North America since the late 17th century, when Father Louis Hennepin, a French priest, at the request of King Louis XIV, accompanied the explorer La Salle, and first witnessed them in 1679. He wrote about his travels in ‘A New Discovery’ of a Vast Country in America (1688). While his painting of the Falls contained some exaggerations and distortions, it was widely circulated in Europe and became the icon of the “new world”.
But, what are the Falls and from where do they draw their strength?
Let’s take a journey down the Niagara River.
Posted in Book Reviews, DK's Journal, Historical Trails, History, Original Fiction, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing, Young Adult, tagged adventure, book review, bridges, Colonial america, dklevick, gorge, hermit of niagara, historical fiction, Indians, Iroquois, Journeys Across Niagara, niagara, niagara falls, outdoors, Pontiac's war, river, slavery, Underground railroad, writing, Young Adult on May 9, 2012 | 4 Comments »
When a faded picture from a by-gone era sets in motion a perilous quest…
…five young men not only encounter harrowing danger in the forbidden Niagara Gorge, but must confront the swirling illusions of the world they knew – changing their lives forever.
The day we decided to go down into the gorge of Niagara Falls—to walk on the ice bridge—had started out normal enough but quickly showed itself as anything but normal …
Living in the City of Niagara Falls in the early 1960s, winters were simple for teenagers – like snowball fights and warm-ups at “Ol’ Gordy’s” general store, and arguing over his “wall of pictures.” It’s a ritual—sipping Cokes while studying the old photographs … listening to Ol’ Gordy’s tales..and dreaming about the daredevils of old.
Then, on a frigid February morning, all that changed. An ice ball to Kevin’s face, and a funny looking picture, snatched from Ol’ Gordy’s wall, sets in motion a journey from which they will never recover. Despite Ol’ Gordy’s warnings (or perhaps because of them) that, not only is it extremely dangerous, but against the law, they secretly vow to venture forth and walk on – the ice-bridge of Niagara Falls.
The ice-bridge of Niagara Falls – an aberration of nature—steeped in history – fraught with tragedy – challenged through the ages, by daredevils, bootleggers and tourists alike – lures them from the world they know into the depths of the mysterious Niagara Gorge. As in a time machine, they enter an exhilarating bygone world of impassable rapids, massive frozen sculptors and unassailable walls of ice.
Coming face-to-face with the mighty Falls itself, from the bottom looking up, as it proclaims its dominion over them, they find themselves in a struggle of life and death with a Niagara they never knew existed.
Peeling back time, along the way we encounter others, who had made their own journeys across Niagara in eras gone by. We’re there when the ‘Hermit of Niagara’, living on top of the mighty Falls itself, finds his destiny in becoming one with the water. Years later, we stand in awe on the day Niagara stood still and explore a riverbed never before walked on by man – until the water returns – sealing the mystery of the flute.
We follow the journey of the feather, and witness slavery through the eyes of a runaway slave girl, as she rides the ‘Underground Railroad’ - seeking to find the bridge to freedom and paying the fare to ride that train.
We march to the beat of the drum and the chant of the the tom-tom, as nations clash and cultures collide when the journey of a British drummer boy converges with that of a young Iroquois brave at the brutal and bloody “Devil’s Hole” massacre.
‘Journeys across Niagara’ (previously titled: ‘Bridges -a Tale of Niagara’ and recipiant of the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver medal for General Fiction YA), is much more than a simple tale of camaraderie and adventure shared by young men. It a tale that is rich in both historical fact and fiction, weaving a series of unique historical events, in a twist of mystery and revelation, with a group of 1962 teens, caught up in the complexities of a changing world around them. While each struggles with his own inner demons and angels – together they face the demons and angels of the Niagara Gorge.
It is my hope that you enjoy the journeys, and that you hear the crack of the ice, while feeling the tremor beneath your feet travel up your loins, knowing the mighty Niagara is reaching to claim you as well. ‘Journeys’ is a kaleidoscope of adventure and history, exploring the questions confronting people of all ages and from all times.
The earth is forever, and we’re just visitors—and only for a short time at that. By the time we begin to understand enough about the world to ask the right questions, our visit is over, and someone else is asking the same questions.
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are
Posted in DK's Journal, Historical Trails, Original Fiction, Writing, Writing Reflections, tagged blogging, character, dklevick, historical fiction, internet, investigation study, library, literature, On-Writing, research, technology, writing on May 2, 2012 | 9 Comments »
As the saying goes “the devil’s in the details”.
When, writers of historical fiction, put words to paper, they bear the responsibility to transpose their readers to the time period their story relates to. This doesn’t mean telling them it’s 1776 – it means transporting them to 1776, making them feel it, live it, and be a part of it – having them jump up and march along with the fyfe and drum.
If only done on the macro level, the characters are superficial and transparent. The reader doesn’t feel authenticity and sees through the ruse. To lift the characters off the pages and bring them into the minds and hearts of the reader, the writer must work on the micro level—down in the trenches – with the details. And, here he must tread carefully, for it can easily be overdone. Too many details are overpowering and will bog a story down quicker than a hippo wallowing in molasses. Inserting a few carefully selected details, in a natural way, so as not recognizable as being inserted, will unconsciously, allow the reader to live them. This is where the writer’s art comes in to play, weaving the facts and substance of the era into the spirit and essence of the story, putting the reader into the story’s setting as witness to the action.
For every word of detail the writer puts to paper, a hundred words were researched, reviewed and revised. Each sentence represents hours of background investigation, study and learning about the times, people, environment and cultures of the era.
If a writer’s passion is the blood flowing through his veins – then research is the muscle that forms his flesh.
During the writing of ‘Journeys across Niagara’ (formerly ‘Bridges – a Tale of Niagara’), I traveled down many roads of research. Not so much for the main story line of Kevin and his friends living in Niagara Falls during the ‘60s, (having lived that era myself – I was my own research), but for the historical stories embedded in the novel. Encompassing four actual events, covering over 200 years of history in the Niagara Region, and crossing lines of culture, nations and habitat, each story required separate journeys of research and investigation. The stories are separated by many decades, in a rapidly developing part of the New World, undergoing major political, societal and cultural change. The world of the English drummer boy and the Iroquois brave in 1763 was a different world from the world of slavery and abolition found in Lizzie’s story of 1859. Conversely, The Hermit of Niagara lived on top of Niagara Falls in 1831, while the only instance of Niagara Falls stopping was in 1848, a mere 17 years apart, yet significant changes had occurred in the Niagara Frontier, due to the advent of the Erie Canal and the introduction of the railroads along with a spreading population, radically affecting the culture of the people. (See “Was there a Hermit of Niagara?” post on the right hand side.)
Research is the mantra of the historical fiction writer. It is hard work and takes considerable time but it’s as crucial to success as the reentry heat shields are to the space shuttle. I often wonder how earlier writers researched their subjects and eras. (hmm, could be a story there in the making.)
“To where do we go?” the writers asked. They went to the libraries and to building personal acquisitions of books and writings. Yes, long, hard, tedious work, not to mention, costly but worth the effort and cost.
Today, all that’s changed, writers have the advantage of the internet. Call up any subject or key word and information is immediately at your fingertips. Images, words, histories, background, essays and opinions—lots of opinions. This is a huge advantage for the modern writer, but I also see a snare lying in wait for us. As wide and as deep as the internet is, it only coughs up what someone has put in it. And those things are repeated – over and over. The internet fools us into thinking we can click on any subject and then, magically and instantly, we are ‘well informed’ and ‘all knowing’ about that subject. It has the potential to ‘Wikipedia’ an entire population, on a global scale, with a ‘one-click’ mentality, regarding any particular subject.
That’s one scary thought! The same, singular knowledge and information is put out and repeated to all who punch in a keyword or subject and most inquiries stop at that level. Much of this information has already been filtered and is steeped in ‘opinions’, before we ‘surf’ through it, filtering and discarding along the way. We, too easily, fail to genuinely dive into the heart of the matter, as true research demands. With enough repetitions and enough people reading the same things without rebuttal and opposing views and insights, we begin forming a global community of keyboard punchers who think along the same lines. And we then put our faith in it – “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.” There is a great risk of an unconscious ‘dumbing down’ of the entire world concerning any given subject of history – like-minded regurgitating with like-minded. Understandings about people and events can easily become condensed down to a singular ‘common’ or ‘general’ opinion, and we all know, there is nothing ‘common’ or ‘general’ concerning people. People are unique, diverse and always at emotional states with one another, whether loving or hating one another. And history is nothing more than a reflection of those people and those emotions. And make no mistake about it, we must fully understand and know all the details of history or the past will overtake the future.
Think for a second, what power true censorship would have over this medium. The world’s understanding of history would be revised and reshaped to conform to the political or social designs of those doing the censoring. This isn’t fantasy or paranoia talk, for we know all too well that such things have happened down through history by governments, religions and organizations burning, rewriting and revising history for their own purposes and agendas. It’s not inconceivable or preposterous to think it could happen with the internet and we mustn’t be complacent– for there are governments, around the globe, imposing censorship and monitoring the internet as I write.
True research goes beyond the internet and dives into the heart, fiber and cellular DNA of the matter. We, as writers, owe it to our readers and to those who went before us, to embrace research with both arms wide open, welcoming the joy of bringing history to life.
“To where do we go?” the writers ask. We go to the libraries and to building personal acquisitions of books and writings. Yes, long, hard, tedious work, not to mention costly but worth the effort and cost.
Gee – I guess not all that much has changed after all.
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are