Friday, December 26, 2014

Loneliness or Being alone

There is often a thought I have anywhere around the holidays, and that is of people that are alone.  Our society is one in which we value the individual: individual rights and the person more than the collective society.  Although most of our roots stem from European lineage here in America, we are considered an individualistic society.  Allow me to explain.  Anthropologists (generally) classify society in two groups:

  1. Collectivist

  2. Individualistic

A collective society is one in which the group is more important than the individual.  We see this in Asian cultures where Family and clan affiliation are all so important.  This is also seen in Latin and Northern European countries as well.

This is one reason why there is such a political and ideological gap in some arguments in our country.  Collectivist ideas are introduced into an individualistic society.  Hence the problems with government programs and over taxation, healthcare, welfare etc.  (hint ... hint)

Individualistic societies, like ours value individual freedom and work as the supreme.  This is mostly who we are as a people, but herein lies a conundrum:

The individuals path, work and choices are above all else and sometimes, with all the "getting" in life, if there is no one to give it to or share it with it becomes empty.  The emptiness I speak of is the worth of a person to his or her society.  Man kind is a social creature and not meant to be alone, but to share his/her experiences with another.  Sometimes it more important to be part of something greater than you are in just being self. 

This is one reason why people are desperate to be part of a group or club.  And as we can see from society, if people cannot get wholesome attention and friendship, then infamy and evil associations will work for them as well.  Being alone can be good, provided you know who you are; but loneliness is unbearable. 

I notice than in a healthy Dojo there are people who love the art and want to be part of something greater than them.  The program is important and gives you a sense of being something greater than you are on your own.
conversely, isn't that one of the great things about the Church?  We are individuals, but we are the Family of God, and greater as the Body of Christ that what we would be as an individual.

Sometimes we may be alone, but neither is really in loneliness.

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas 2015

We are creatures of habit.  That is the way that God made us.  With this thought in mind, have we ever considered how much of tradition is just a habit that we have?

This time of year we are faced with much that is in the way of "Tradition" and have seemed to loose sight of it in 21st century America.  The spirit of Christmas is not Santa Claus, gift giving or partying it up, although our modern Christmas has many roots in this.

Any student of the Bible can surmise that Jesus was not born on December 25th because St Luke tells us that "Sheppherds were in the field watching their flocks by night"  he was probably born in Spring or Fall.  Many hundreds of years ago, it was thought to be a good idea that the Feast of Christmas should be celebrated around the Winter solstice. 

Why this date?

Because on the shortest day of the year, the greatest light that humankind has ever known came into the world!

Before this time, many activities happened in pagan cultures to denote the shortening of winter days, and although many people still miss the meaning, let us not forget this!

As an interesting parallel, I find that in the Martial Arts, many styles focus on "traditions" that are more cultural than factual or useful.  bowing to a picture of a dead master becomes an act of worship or mindless habit rather than respect and gratitude for what that master did for his art.

In Christianity, we tip our hat to the baby Jesus and either keep him in a barn (His birth story) or leave him in on the cross (his sacrifice and death).

How often do we let him reign in our hearts?

Have a Merry Christmas!

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Post 911

My wife made the best observation of this day in history and our reaction as a country. She put it on her facebook account and I asked if I could share it and she said yes.

I got me a good woman!

For those of you that are political correct lovers, please stop reading. Okay, you've been warned. Every event, especially tragedies, can be used to strengthen us so that we can go to greater heights, or we can allow it to defeat us and we can become weaker. There's lots of wonderful postings about how we 'remember' those that gave their lives on 9/11 and how we're 'grateful'. Are we? Have we used this attack on OUR soil to strengthen us, so that we support our military, stand up for Christian religious freedoms, fight to defend America? Or are we electing and supporting officials that are stripping our military; standing up for everyone's religions EXCEPT for Christian values; strengthening our borders; defending innocent Americans when they are captured on foreign lands? Lip service on an anniversary is like a man buying his wife a huge diamond, beautiful flowers and dinner at an expensive diner and then cheat on her, degrade her and live like a single frat boy the other 364 days of the year. SHAME on US, America. We need to find that passion of unity and demand that our leaders share our passion and love for our country. If not, OUT THEY GO!!! Let's truly honor the lives that were sacrificed on 9/11 because if we do not, the NEXT blood shed is not only on the terrorists, but OURS!

The thing about being a soldier, sailor, or any type of warrior is the willingness and ability to fight, but also to be ready.  I believe it was Thomas Jefferson that stated that the price of liberty and freedom was eternal vigilance. The late Ronald Reagan stated that we as Americans are only one generation away from tyranny!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

5 Reasons why Atheism is Wrong

I was reading a story recently about yet another a group that mercilessly attacked a high school because the foot ball team for prayed over an injured teammate.  I want to talk about 5 reasons no one should be an atheist. 

1.  No Paid Holidays

This is actually an old Henny Youngman joke, but it's true. Our calendar has at least 7 holidays that are Christian or reflect Christian beliefs and about 11 holidays that are Jewish and penned in some calendars as well.  There's even two that could be counted as pagan: Halloween and the Vernal Equinox; even though Halloween is the eve of all Saints Day on November 1st.

2. No Moral Compass

I once took a class in introductory business law, and one of the first things the textbook outlined was the purpose and history of law.  One of the purposes of law was to establish limits on what was acceptable in society.  With the decline of the church in recent years and the rise of crimes and moral ills; a new field has come along called ethics.  Ethics tries to incorporate a standardized belief system of rights and wrongs without a true internal belief system.  In other words a morality that is not of God.  Ethics will spend much time talking about internal and external belief systems but doesn't seem to scratch the surface.  Morality and the true underpinnings of our actions come from within.  We all contain a moral compass that will always guide us, provided we let it. The danger of atheism is that an external system with no "True North" will eventually fail because of the lack of a true landmark based in the knowledge of God.  We can argue about all the dos and don'ts but there are landmarks in morality that will never change!

3.  A Blank Check

A third problem with atheism, may sound like the debate fallacy of the "Slippery slope".  In short the slippery slope is an illegal debate tactic that suggests that one action will lead to another until we have drastic consequences from one small action.  For example: an ad on television undermines tooth brush sales.  Suddenly there is a decline in the tooth brush market, which eventually leads to bad breath, rotting teeth and a rise in denture plate sales!
OK thats a bit extreme but that is the slippery slope.  Although it is not always true, the slippery slope can hold water!  A person without a God-consciousness has written a blank check to himself or herself.  If nothing is wrong, and all things are allowable human nature suggests a downward turn towards anything. Where does this new freedom end?
In the bank of humanity, this blank check will eventually become overdrawn and all of humanity will eventually become the victim . . . all for the want of what we desire!  Just look at ancient history.

4.  Bad Manners

This one may sound odd, but what is the societal norm?  All around the globe the human race (with few exceptions) is a religious people.  Despite the fact that religions differ, two things don't seem to change:  There is a God, and he is offended by sin in  humanity.  Another point is that there is a sacrifice that is required.  The correct response to this is the Blood of Jesus!
Back to bad manners. 
If the majority believe in God, is it not bad manners that a select few want to eradicate God from our society?
If everyone is driving in one direction on the freeway, why do you want to be so different?   Do you not see the danger?  Even if you take God out of the picture, do you think you help the cause of atheism by being rude?

Honestly, consider this for a minute.

5.  Denial of Basic Humanity

Without stating what I wrote above, our human society screams from history, literature, architecture, science and even technology that we acknowledge God.  We are markedly different from the lower animals and are so much more than instinct and chemical reactions.  We are creatures of reason that understand there is something beyond our nature that makes this all possible.  How can we deny what makes us what we really are: more than an animal.  We have a body, soul and spirit! We are not just one element or nature.  To deny God is to deny our humanity and make us just animals incapable of reason and true greatness!

So,, the next time someone says that they are an atheist, remind them:  YOU ARE MUCH BETTER THAN THAT! YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT!

Oh, and there are no paid holidays either!

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 2014

Here are two thoughts to consider on labor Day

1.   Working Vs. talking (or idle talk)

2.  A Proper Balance for all things

Solomon said in proverbs that
In all labor there is profit . . .

He also goes on to say that just talking leads to penury, or extreme want.

I find it ironic and amusing that the day that we use to celebrate the American work ethic is marked as a day without "labor" goofing off or anything far from labor in and of itself . . .  unless of course we count barbecues and picnics as labor.

I have a love for old books and still own a set of encyclopedias.  Some information is pretty much static.  So is the history of Labor day.  It was initiated in 1882 by the Nights of Labor with a parade In New York City to celebrate the American worker.  The original society behind the institution of Labor day no longer exists due to several ideologies that didn't mesh with 19th century America. 

If you care to study the history of the Knights of Labor you will find they had high ideological goals but no practical strategies to get there. What ended up happening was some noble attempts but an eventual disenfranchisement of  Irish immigrants.  This led to radicals taking over.  This reminds me why a good street fighter can beat up a Black Belt in the Martial Arts.  Point fighting is great, but can you take a punch?  Ideas are great, dreams are great and working towards a goal is great.  What is always needed is a balance between ideas and labor.

Even in our society today there is still the age old struggle between labor and management.  Labor wants the most money for the least effort and Management wants the least money for the most work!

No matter if you are labor or management I must caution you that there is a proper balance for both and the argument will probably never end on who is right and who is wrong - since there are liars and noble people on both sides!

Having said this, I wish all of you a happy Labor day 2014

(Now I will go do a load of Laundry!)

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


This post is dedicated to a friend at karate, but to all who strive to reach a goal.

Recently my Kyoshi asked when I worked (evenings and nights) because he wanted to test one of my class mates for black belt.
He has been training for just as many years as I have, but just wanted to be a good fighter and has never been concerned with rank. He truly believes that the belt is "just a piece of cloth"
True as that may be, I want you to think about is this way:  It represents a milestone.

Websters online dictionary defines milestone this way:

an important point in the progress or development of something : a very important event or advance

In a previous post on self confidence I conveyed the story that when I was a novice (yeah... I still feel like one 27 years later as well!) the black belts would tell me "A black belt means that I am just beginning to learn"

They were right. A black belt means you have learned the basics to an acceptable degree of the martial arts school curriculum that you are involved in.  The senior instructors in the school / organization will review your abilities and confer on you that "piece of cloth" we call a black belt.

Now, depending on the school, the test may be rigorous or . . .  shall we say less than rigorous. I say this because there is a common occurrence in martial arts schools that a person can "purchase" their way to black belt with no real-world skills.  We have all heard the story how a person that claims to be a black belt in Karate easily loses a fight to a person who has never stepped on the mat a day in his life.  I readily admit that there are good street fighters out there than hold their own and win against a person trained in the arts.

So, what is my point?  My point is to simply state that this "piece of cloth" represents a milestone in your training and, for that matter in your life.  Although there are many programs out there that teach martial arts and self defense, and a person can "buy" a black belt, you my friend have paid for this through blood, sweat and tears!

That piece of cloth is a representation of those years of sweat and practice.  It is a representation of your dedication and development and marks an important event.

That event being "you are just beginning to learn."

I am by no means an expert in Japanese or Okinawan traditions, customs or culture but I do understand a few things. An upperclassman in a school (Japanese:  Senpai) has a responsibility to look out for and encourage the class mates in the ranks below him (kōhai).  As Westerners we have a difficult time understanding collective societies that value the group over the individual.  In America, it is all about us. In other cultures the family name, or group affiliation is more important.

I am encouraging you to test out.  In many many ways, you have already earned it.  Oh, and being Senpai I offer my help in practice at the inconvenient times, when I work until midnight and come to the Dojo with only 3 1/2 hours of sleep under my . . . belt (pardon the pun).

To my readers, I say this: any event that marks a milestone in your life should be stepped through and taken. If you have "done the time" in training and work, treat that pinnacle event as what it is: a milestone!

In other words, you earn(ed) it!

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Biblical Church Part 9 Education

There are thee pertinent Bible verses that come to mind:


Ignorance of the law in court is no excuse.  Ignorance of how a piece of machinery works, if we try to repair it can result in an injury or fatality. Yet why do people think that ignorance of the word of God will still build a strong church or ministry?  Christian education in a church is just as important as preaching the gospel and winning people to God!  Soldiers are given basic training, then advanced training for their military occupation.  If the Church is an Army, we should be involved in spiritual combat training as well.  I’ve heard much talk from churches but little action!
I agree that a good portion of this combat is prayer.
 After all, the above mentioned scripture says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)!  The Bible doesn’t mince words when Paul told Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved”  or Paul told the Thessalonian church to “Study to be quiet”  nor Solomon who stated “A wise man studieth to answer”  our words and actions must be chosen both prayerfully and carefully!
A biblical church should be a church that teaches sound doctrine.  The doctrine should also be backed up with actions to prove it as well!  Moses commanded the Israelites to teach their children the precepts of God.  To this day in Jewish tradition, they will read a specific passage from the Bible that asks and narrates the reason behind the Passover that it may be learned and remembered! There are other activities, but this one comes to mind the most:  Do this, and REMEMBER why you are doing it!


Please note on the second point that, unlike many who quote this verse (Proverbs 29:18) I have included the entire rendering.  Mainly due to this reason:  A vision of God and what he expects of us requires knowing the word of God.  God doesn’t operate outside of his word (Bible).  The more we have on the inside through prayer and study, (once again humbly I say this, and within reason, because God can do anything) the more God can use our faculties.  I say this very carefully, because the Book of Numbers tells us that God used a Donkey to speak to an unwilling prophet (Numbers 22:28).  This is a good lesson to remember on humility.  Even with this illustration, it does not mean a soldier can neglect his training to be ready for battle!  Soldiers are given orders to “Take that hill” or “Hold this position” or something else depending on the situation.  A church that supports missions, has a defined community outreach and objectives to meet that end, is evidence that they are doing something!

Battle Gear

No matter what age, soldiers must be dressed and trained for battle!


Lastly, if we are soldiers, we must wear all of our spiritual armor.  I call to your attention the various photos of soldiers in Iraq, who wore their helmets, flack vests and goggles.  They were trained and dressed for offensive combat and defensive protection.  In the scripture, the allusion is to a Roman soldier in battle gear.  The first items of armor (Verses 14-17) are concerned with having our vitals protected (breast plate, loins, helmet, shield) .  The helmet of salvation is on our head – where our brain is, concerns mental protection as well as the shield of faith.  Any firey darts (or arrows) can be deflected if our shielding is ready.  The Fifth is having our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel.  This goes back to education and training!  Armies have always depended on marching on their feet.  How do we know the gospel if we only hear it once?  The offensive weapons are prayer and the Word of God.  Many times, we hear the word of God is likened to a sword, that cuts very fine.  My experience is that people want to use this sword like a club and eventually become seriously injured.  In other words, they step on their tongue or are caught in hypocrisy or scandal.  This was all from using the word of God as a bludgeon rather than a sword!
My point is simply this: Preparation and training does not waste time or energy!
A Biblical church has a mission and diversifies it’s resources to be effective on all fronts!

Your Brother in Christ
And  Senpai in Karate