From the Editor

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Why Do We Object to Perfect?

“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

The Living Bible

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

King James

 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The New International Version

~ Matthew 5: 48 ~

Have you ever read the Sermon on the Mount?  Chapter’s five through seven, in the Gospel of Matthew, record Christ’s teachings and the tenants of Christianity, almost in its entirety.  It covers everything from how we are supposed to conduct ourselves, as Christians, to how we are to pray,  how God feels about various sins, and what we can expect from God.

Much of this portion, of the Bible, is oft quoted, or at least in Christian circles and sermons.  I would venture to say that most Christians can recite portions of this sermon, from memory, and not just the Lord’s Prayers.

We are comfortable with these familiar words and at least try to live by most of them.  Lately, portions of this scripture have been a topic of conversation in my world.  Initially, I went back to read the entire sermon, because of the discussions we were engaged in; but it did not take long for the words to penetrate my soul, and provide me with the comfort that I am accustomed to finding when I read the Bible.

After privately consuming these words, a portion of the text became a part of our nightly devotional, focusing on: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” I do not remember ever having heard a sermon based on this verse; have you?

I have to say that as a pre-teen, I do remember reading and finding great purpose and peace, in a portion of John that seems to tie in with the above: “In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask him for anything, using my name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you.  ~John 14:12-13 ~

To me, I felt like the mandate of power, as a Christian, was set down by Christ, for me; and I am a person who so loves clarity and I must admit, power. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ~ Philippians 4:13 ~

I like the idea of serving a God who has empowered me to not only do His will, but to do it perfectly.

As I contemplated those words in Matthew and married them to words in John and Philippians, I started to think about why it seems to me, that today the Christian church shy’s away from these mandates?

Mind you, I am in no way suggesting that I have personally come close to perfect with anything in my life, but if my efforts are to be viewed as being done, “unto the Lord” (Ephesians 6:7), should I not at least be trying for perfect?

How often do we really give anything or anyone our best and how often are we told to settle and neither expect nor demand anyone else’s best?  Is anyone else tired of the mediocrity that has permeated our society?  I am.

I do not have any solutions, for the many people with whom we interact, expecting to do a job they are paid to perform well, and instead operate on the wrong person, or report an erroneous story as true, or serve the wrong order to their customer.  But I do have a suggestion for those of us who claim to adhere to Christ teaching: Why not try to set an example of perfect!  If as Christians we believe we have found the answer, then why not apply His teaching to our everyday life and our interactions with others?  Can you imagine the impact we could make, in the world, if we really did strive to do all things perfectly?  That is all for now.

In case you would like to read the sermon for yourself:

 

The Sermon on the Mount

~Matthew 5-7 ~

New International Version

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[m] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

As always, thank you to Biblegateway.

Connected

DNA, Data, and Dollars

Tech-016-300x225

I am adopted and thus I have often thought of doing a DNA test.  I really do not know much about my ethnicity, but every time the commercial is on television or the radio, this thought passes through my head; should I buy a DNA kit?  If so, which one should I choose?

I should thank my job in cybersecurity which has shown me the lack of security controls around data and has kept me from the actual purchase.  But the commercials are tempting, especially because I watch them.

However, it is not only the lack of security controls around the data, but the data itself which has prevented me from seriously considering DNA testing.  Your genetic code, including mutation patterns which make the unique you, become available with just a swab of your cheek and some spit.  The full sequence of your DNA, which connects you to generations that have come before you, become available to you, and the genetic testing company.    We are not just talking about email addresses, first and last names and your social security number, but real personal and sensitive identifying information.

What do these companies do with your data?

First, many companies well run and single nucleotide polymorphism known as SNP on your DNA.  Companies will run thousands of markers, although only hundreds of markers are actually needed for your genealogy.  So what about the other markers that were not given to you?  Well, if you only requested genealogy, then all you will receive is a genealogy report.  Health markers, for example, will not be shared.  If your genetic code shows a serious disease that you have the potential to develop later in life, the company is under no obligation to reveal it to you.

While it seems as if the data is yours, it actually is not and here is why.  The terms and conditions that people click agree to, allows consent for storing and processing your personal information.  Consent to store and process your personal information will allow a company to take the thousand markers that they ran against your DNA, anonymize the data and sell it for “scientific research”.

Scientific research may be a pharmaceutical company looking to cure a disease and they have found that people from a certain population have a genetic marker which predisposes them to a disease.  Being able to buy the data from genetic testing companies easily allows them a large pool of information of people who have the disease and people who do not.  The pharmaceutical company now has information in weeks as opposed to years.

There is a saying today that data is the new oil.  While some have disputed data being the new oil, your data is certainly being mined, producing revenue and it is very valuable.  Yet, we are paying companies to gather data on us and then turn around and sell our data.  Many of these companies gather additional information, which we willing give them about health and lifestyle to help create a better digital you.  What the genetic companies are actually doing, is gathering more information about you and selling a better set of data tracks based not only on genetic information, but with a psychological profile.

As digital consumers, we often click right through the terms and agreement, but this is one area that we need to stop before we click and truly understand what we are consenting to before we give our DNA away.  I find it ironic that in a day that data is so valuable, we pay a company that gathers our most sensitive data, that then will go and sell your information over and over again.  It is not just double dipping; these genetic testing companies have the ability to digitize your genetic code while throwing your sample away.

I believe we are just at the beginning of a whole new social experiment.  We are not on a defined path and we do not know yet where this path will take us.  But what we do know, is that recently there was an arrest of the Golden State Killer based on an open-source genetic database.  A family profile was created which led the investigators to the suspect.  The traditional methods of police work took over thirty years, and yet a discarded DNA sample took only four months.  It is difficult to argue the benefits of DNA, but I fear the price tag will be very high in the end.

If companies have not been able to protect our data including personal identifying information.  Can you imagine what they will do with the data that makes the digital genetic you?  Wow, talk about being safely Connected.

 

A View from the Road

D. H. Lawrence Gravesite

“After Lawrence died, Frieda returned to the ranch accompanied by Angelo Ravagli, her Italian lover and later third husband. In 1934, she had this memorial built for Lawrence. The following year Frieda had his body exhumed, cremated and the ashes brought to Taos. Her plan was to have the ashes housed in an urn in the memorial but Brett and Mabel Dodge Luhan wanted to scatter the ashes over the ranch (while Lawrence was alive the three women often competed for his attention). In response, Frieda dumped the ashes into a wheelbarrow containing wet cement and exclaimed, “now let’s see them steal this!” The cement was used to make the memorial’s altar. There are other stories concerning the whereabouts of Lawrence’s ashes but this one is the most widely accepted.”1

Once upon a time, long before I ever imagined a .com in my life, I loved the road’s surprises and chasing down places that either meant something to me or to someone else that I had some interest in.

The back of this photograph is stamped October of 1989, though I would have to retrieve my journal, from that year, to know exactly when we took this trip. In those days, taking and printing photographs, was quite a luxury, so I can well imagine the trip was months before, and I simply had to wait to develop the film. I so appreciate the photograph being dated.

What I do remember is that we had gone to Taos, New Mexico, looking for Georgia O’Keefe’s’ home, not D. H. Lawrence’s gravesite. Though I had read his work, I did not know he was buried in New Mexico and as Kate admitted tonight, she had did not know who he was, at the time. Thus, if you look closely, the hand sticking out irreverently is Kate’s as this was not a particularly meaningful stop for her, but I was quite excited to find a connection to this English writer in the West.

He and his wife, Frieda, owned a ranch, Kiowa Ranch, Taos, New Mexico, in the 1920’s, which today is under the care of the University of New Mexico, the custodian of his memorial.

We had a wonderful time in Taos, and returned several years later, when an opportunity presented itself; we did find Georgia O’Keefe’s home as well!

1https://dhlawrenceranch.unm.edu/d.h.-lawrence-ranch/index.html

Film’s Recommended by Marcial

 
 
This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.
 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~
 

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Public Square

Public Square

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~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~

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