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No Room in the Inn

File:Pierre-Louis Cretey - The Nativity - 89.15 - Detroit Institute of Arts.jpg

“The Nativity” by Pierre-Louis Cretey (17th Century), Detroit Institute of Arts (Accession No. 89.15), Source https://www.dia.org/art/collection/object/nativity-33585 (PD-Art, PD-Old)

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered…So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 1, 3-7 NKJV).

Wishing You All a Merry Christmas!

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://www.avoicereclaimed.com

All That Glitters

File:Christmas Sales 2016 Starbucks Grosvenor House London United Kingdom.jpg

Christmas items for sale at Starbucks, Grosvenor House, London,
Author Simeon87 (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

The holiday season has officially begun.  Indeed, for anxious merchants it began well before Halloween.

Banal romance movies set against a Christmas backdrop now fill the airwaves.  Secular carols blare from store loudspeakers.  Products ranging from belt sanders to toenail clippers are described as perfect gifts.  Displays of every kind glitter and shine.

But all that glitters is not gold.  The reason for the season must not be lost.  We are, first and foremost, celebrating Christ’s birth — not materialism, not romance, not even family.

Admittedly, the means at our disposal for celebrating such a miraculous event are limited.  How can human beings adequately express their wonder at a God so merciful He would take on flesh for our sake?

So we fall back on tinsel and Christmas lights.  We give one another gifts, though it is His birthday.

We must not, however, confuse those trappings for the real gift.  We must not forget the true source of our joy…the source of all blessings.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1: 17).

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://www.avoicereclaimed.com

Rikers Island Deaths – The Dark Heart of a Broken System

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Aerial view of Rikers Island prison complex, Source National Map Seamless Server, Author US Geological Survey (PD)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Rikers Island in the East River hosts New York City’s primary prison complex [1].  Eighteen prisoners have died there this year [2].  Most deaths were those of black and Hispanic men, reflecting the prison population at large.

Questionable Death

These questionable deaths principally resulted from drug overdoses, complications of pre-existing medical conditions, and suicide.  What else could or should have been done to prevent them has not been fully determined.

Population Size

Given a budget of $860 million, Rikers handles an average daily population of 10,000 inmates from approximately 100,000 admissions annually.

The majority of prisoners are pretrial defendants not yet convicted of a crime, and those remanded to custody, i.e. held without bail.  The rest are serving short sentences.

Violence and Disorder

Violence and disorder at the facility are common.  There have been numerous assaults by inmates on staff.  In 2015 alone there were over 9000 such assaults.

Inmate Abuse and Neglect

Rikers Island is notorious for the abuse and neglect of inmates. Prisoners are known to have been beaten and raped.  They have at times done without food or medical care. Read more…

Mayflower Compact

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Patterson Thanksgiving, Source Flickr, Author Christopher P. Michel (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

With divisiveness now endemic in the nation, and anti-Semitism on the rise in the United States and across the globe, the following post seems all the more timely [1][2]. 

The first Jews, it should be noted, reached America within 30 years of the Pilgrims [3].  They, too, fought in all the nation’s wars.  Of course, Columbus, himself, may have been Jewish [4].

A foundation stone for democracy on this continent, the Mayflower Compact was the first document under which the Plymouth Colony was governed.  The agreement, which established an elected authority all would obey, was signed in 1620 as the Mayflower rode at anchor in Cape Cod Harbor.

For the Sake of Freedom and Equality

The Pilgrims were actually comprised of two groups:  Separatists and non-Separatists.

The Separatists sought religious liberty, specifically the right to separate from the Church of England.  They had initially emigrated to the tolerant Netherlands, but found the Dutch culture at odds with their own.

The non-Separatists – like many to follow them – sought economic and social opportunity, and the chance for a better life in America.

In the broadest terms, all risked their lives for the sake of freedom and equality. Read more…

Inheritance

St Peter Painting | Pompeo Girolamo Batoni Oil Paintings

St. Peter (1740-1743) by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, National Trust (Accession No. NT266905), Iliffe Collection, Basildon Park © National Trust Images/John Hammond, Source https://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk (PD-Art, PD-Old)

Archaeologists led by Prof. Mordechai Aviam of the Kinneret Institute on the Sea of Galilee and Prof. Steven Notley of New York’s Nyack College have uncovered what they believe to be the home of the Apostle Peter and his brother, Andrew, in Bethsaida [1].

An inscription at the excavation indicates there was a church dedicated to St. Peter on the site.

Byzantine Christian tradition identified the home of St. Peter as located in Bethsaida.  The discovery, also, coincides with a description provided by Willibald, the 8th Century bishop of Eichstadt in Bavaria, who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 724 AD [2].

A Pagan World

St. Peter worked to spread the “good news” of the Gospel in a pagan world not so different from our own.

There were yawning disparities between the rich and poor in the Roman world.  Slavery was widespread, and considered vital to the empire [3A].  There were a vast number of gods worshipped.  Christianity though was viewed as a dangerous cult – hostile to the culture at large.

Against this backdrop, St. Peter did not lose heart.  Rather, he emphasized that the Christian inheritance is a heavenly one, and the trials of this world but temporary. Read more…

Abandoned Duty of Care to Transgender Youth

“Mental health professionals have abandoned their duty of care when it comes to treating trans-identifying youth, and the long-term effects could be disastrous, a family therapist said.

‘We’ve allowed our role to be changed in the public eye,’ Stephanie Winn, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Portland, Oregon, told Fox News.  Therapists’ new role is ‘essentially green lighting or rubber-stamping people along into these medical procedures when that’s never been our role in the treatment of any other issue.’

Youth access to gender transition medical therapy such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery have been widely debated in recent years with critics saying minors are too young to be altering their bodies, sometimes permanently.  Advocates, however, argue that such care is life-saving since untreated trans youth face higher rates of depression and suicide.

Winn argued that a narrative has been established that encourages mental health professionals to accept a child’s trans identity without scrutiny, leaving potential mental illnesses untreated.  Youth experiencing suicidal ideation and other distress, consequently, aren’t always getting proper care, and in some instances, may receive life-altering treatment that could cause additional issues later on, she said.

The number of transgender teens under 18 doubled between 2017 and 2020, from .7% to 1.4%, according to UCLA research.  The June report, based on government health surveys, also found that just under 43% of the 1.6 million people who identify as transgender in the U.S. are between 13 and 25.

Winn said she’s becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ about the trend of youth identifying as transgender or non-binary and ‘the lifelong, irreversible medical experiments that are happening to children as a result of this ideology.’  She added that in 10-15 years, ‘we’re going to see a transition regret crisis, and unfortunately, we are going to have to worry about some of the most frightening mental health outcomes as part of that .'” Read more…

On the Waterfront

On The Waterfront (1954) -- (Movie Clip) It's A Crucifixion - Turner Classic Movies
Actor Karl Malden as Fr. Barry in “On the Waterfront”

“On the Waterfront” is one of several seminal films that came out of the McCarthy Era of the 1940s and 1950s [1].  On the surface a story of mob control of the waterfront, it examines on a deeper level when we should stand up against evil.

The McCarthy Era and the “blacklisting” that followed grew out of the ego of a single man, Sen. Joseph McCarthy [2][3].  In the naked pursuit of power, McCarthy made a spectacle of challenging supposed “red sympathizers” and former Communists to betray their companions.

A great many promising careers were ruined, in the process.  Often, these were simply idealistic individuals who had once misguidedly joined the Communist Party, in an effort to alleviate the plight of the poor.

Those were dark times.  No darker, however, than our own.   The spirit of the anti-Christ walks among us (1 John 4: 3). Authoritarianism, Christian Nationalism, wokeism, and the Transgender Movement are among the evil forces rising.

Confronting influential leaders, false teachers, and other adversaries who believe they are doing good by opposing Christianity is an enormous challenge.  The very prospect can be daunting.

In a moving scene from “On the Waterfront”, Fr. Barry (played by Karl Malden) addresses dock workers after one of their fellows is murdered by the mob for testifying before the Waterfront Crime Commission [4].

The dialog is remarkably relevant for today’s Christians.

“I came down here to keep a promise.  I gave KO my word that if he stood up to the mob, I’d stand up with him…all the way.  And now KO Dugan is dead.  He was one of those fellas who had the gift for standing up.  But this time they fixed him.  Oh, they fixed him for good this time – unless it was an accident like Big Mac says.

Some people think that crucifixion only took place on Calvary.  They better wise up.  Taking Joey Doyle’s life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion.  And dropping a sling on KO Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow that’s a crucifixion.

And every time the mob puts the pressure on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, it’s a crucifixion.

And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows has happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our Lord to see if He was dead.”

Read more…

Risen – Challenges to the Resurrection Refuted

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://www.avoicereclaimed.com

Corruption

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Brett Favre, Author US Navy Mass Commun. Spc. (1st Class) Jennifer Villalovos (PD as work product of federal govt.)

NFL great, Brett Favre, is embroiled in a massive Welfare scandal which diverted millions intended for the poor of Mississippi [1].   At least $77 million in public money was misspent [2].  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) effectively became a slush fund.

Volleyball Stadium

Incriminating texts reflect that former governor, Phil Bryant, aided Favre in securing the $5 million used to build a volleyball stadium at Favre’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi.

But Favre – who earned over $140 million during his professional career – was not alone among the wealthy to benefit from the fraud here [3].  Friends and political appointees of the governor, businessmen, and other sports figures all stand accused.

Neither Favre nor Bryant has been criminally charged, as of this writing.  Favre does though face a civil suit by the state [4]. Read more…

Sweet Child O’ Mine

Each day 12 children die of gun violence in the United States [1].

There have been over 2000 school shootings since 1970.  It has become all too easy for us to offer “thoughts and prayers” after yet another such shooting.

As our children return once again to schools that are understaffed and under-resourced, we who claim to care about our children’s welfare must do more than pray for their security [2][3].

We must use the hearts and minds God gave us to effectuate change.  We must use the voices He gave us to engage our elected officials on our children’s behalf.

We must commit our time and our capital to assure that our children – whatever their race, creed, or color – are provided a safe learning environment, at least some semblance of a level playing field, and the basic tools needed to craft a future for themselves.

Where do we go now?  That is up to us.

Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father…” (Matt. 18: 10).

[1]  Sandy Hook Promise, “16 Facts About Gun Violence and School Shootings”, https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/blog/gun-violence/16-facts-about-gun-violence-and-school-shootings/.

[2]  The Century Foundation, “TCF Study Finds US Schools Underfunded by Nearly $150 Billion Annually”, 7/22/20, https://tcf.org/content/about-tcf/tcf-study-finds-u-s-schools-underfunded-nearly-150-billion-annually/?session=1.

[3]  Washington Post, “Public education is facing a crisis of epic proportions” by Laura Meckler, 1/30/22, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/01/30/public-education-crisis-enrollment-violence/.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://www.avoicereclaimed.com