Twenty years ago, the United States of America changed. And so did the world.
Terrorists took over four regular airplane flights and used them as weapons against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which was the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. But the heroic actions of the passengers and flight attendants of United Airlines Flight 93 prevented the fourth plane from reaching its intended target.
As we watched an actual national disaster occur, many of us understood for the first time that disaster movies paled in comparison to the real thing. It was surreal and in those first few hours, it was terrifying. We lost a sense of security we had enjoyed for nearly one hundred and fifty years.
I heard the news of the first airplane striking the World Trade Center just after I had dropped off my then-five-year-old son, Adam, to elementary school. I was listening to the radio on the way to work. I remember the radio announcer thought it may have been a charter plane having an accident. But by the time I reached the office, the second plane had hit the other tower and I knew it was deliberate. In my heart, I already knew it was terrorism.
I was a network administrator at an engineering firm then, and we all knew no work was going to get done that day. Like many people, we stood around the office television in the main lobby and watched the unfolding news. What was strange to me was hearing the engineers explain the effects of the burning plane fuel destroying the support structures of the buildings, which they believed led to their collapse. It made sense but there was an intellectual disconnect in the way they spoke compared to the fear and amazement I could sense from them.
We were all in shock.
I remember my wife calling me after the second tower collapsed. She was at home with our then-two-year-old-son, Jonavinne. I did my best to comfort her.
The schools let out early that day, so I left work and went to pick up my son and take him home. Then I did one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do as a parent: I explained to Adam, in kid-friendly terms, what had happened in these terror attacks. I had to pray before speaking with him and the Lord blessed me with words. I let him know it was real, it was serious. Many people had been hurt and many people had died. Explaining death was probably the most difficult part. But he received it all from me. To the best of his ability, he understood.
All through the rest of the day, like so many others, we watched the news and the constant replay of the images. It was entrancing, morbid and terrible. My wife and I said many prayers that day — for the victims, the survivors, their families, America, the world, and for ourselves and our family.
But we saw something else start to occur in the news coverage. People were coming together for candlelight vigils in support of the victims, survivors and their families. They were placing flowers and wreaths, pictures of the victims in memorium. And by the next day, a sense of nationwide unity had emerged. Videos of support emerged, statements from many world leaders, interviews with ordinary people from many nations.
Also, amazing stories surfaced from survivors of the World Trade Center towers. Jews and Muslims had helped save one another. People of all races and ages sacrificed to make sure others made it out alive. We heard about the herculean efforts from all the first responders and learned of so many of their selfless accomplishments and sacrifices.
When it mattered, during a crisis, Americans put aside their differences and came together as a nation. In our darkest hour to date, America shined. And like many other Americans, I was proud of us. That togetherness, that shared identity as Americans, helped us cope and survive as a country. It was an outstanding example to the world.
It’s an example we can still learn from.
Dr. Elizabeth Merab gazed at Commander Drusilla Nona, the salt-and-pepper haired Chief Engineer of Transport 80-14. The sixty-four-year-old was brought into the Medical Bay with difficulty breathing due to inhaling toxic fumes. She was also suffering debilitating pain from multiple fractures in her right leg.
“Drusilla, you can barely breathe, and that leg can’t support your weight yet,” Dr. Merab said in an exasperated huff.
“I can manage better than you think, Elizabeth,” Drusilla hissed back. “And my team needs me!”
“You’re a certified mechanical genius without peer, but you have a chip on your shoulder the size of Dolarus Prime,” Dr. Merab insisted.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You work beyond your shift hours, get far too little rest, and you refuse to change your dietary or exercise habits,” the doctor continued.
“I passed my last physical,” the engineer retorted.
“I’m still not convinced you didn’t use some kind of tech to throw off my bio-scanner.”
“If I did, you couldn’t prove it, doctor,” Drusilla said with a smirk.
Not responding to the comment, Dr. Merab added “You even think you can continue to work with these injuries.”
“I can!” the engineer asserted.
Let’s put that to a reality check, shall we? Dr. Merab barely touched her patient’s injured leg and then let go. Even so, it caused the older woman to howl in pain.
“Th-that’s got to be some kind of ethics violation!” Drusilla wheezed a moment later, furious and now sweating from the discomfort. “Do n-no harm, right?”
Dr. Merab visibly bridled under the accusation but stayed in control of her emotions.
“We’ve known each other for twenty-five years, Drusilla. I’m hoping a personal appeal will prevail where reason has failed. Barring that, I might have to drug you against your will and face being dragged off in fusion cuffs. That is, if we survive this catastrophe.”
“Just try it,” Drusilla warned.
Dr. Merab leaned close to the Chief Engineer and spoke softly but with a firm tone.
“Between your half-scorched lungs and the effects of being tossed into a bulkhead, I would be doing more harm letting you go in this condition,” Dr. Merab soothed. “Dru, let one of my nurses treat you properly, so you can live to see your husband and grandsons again. I know I want to see my granddaughter on her tenth birthday next month.”
Drusilla gave her an angry gaze. “No air using our grandchildren, Liz.” Then she relented. “Fine. Do what you have to do but get me up and walking around as soon as possible!”
Satisfied, Dr. Merab smiled and used a hypo-injector to relieve the engineer of consciousness.
“You have a deal, my friend.”
This excerpt is from Into The Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery, available as an ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get it now!
Here’s a first excerpt from “The Fate of Transport 80-14,” my short story in the Christian science fiction anthology called Into The Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery. This ebook is on sale for only $2.99 USD on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
This portion features the main character, Karen Liviana, and her son Darius on the ill-fated freighter.
Please let me know what you think in the comments. And if you really like it, please support me by buying a copy. Thanks!
The temperature hadn’t dropped any. And she could hear air circulating through the vents in the ceiling. Life support was still functional.
She pushed with her legs against the counter she’d been latched onto and drifted weightlessly towards a wall with a communication unit. She endured some glancing impacts from soaring pots, pans, and chopped vegetables as she passed by them. Then she grabbed and held onto the corner of a wall-height storage locker, using muscles honed from years of conditioning. Within sight of her target, she reached across and pounded the “Open Channel” button on the communications unit with her fist.
“Section Chief Liviana to Operations, we’ve lost gravity on Deck Three,” she barked. “What’s going on?”
There was a moment of static. The Communications Officer should have responded already, but they hadn’t. It took a few more seconds before she heard a response click.
“Chief, this is Commander Ennius. We’ve encountered an unknown exotic particle concentration emanating from the SNR 1727-41 nebula. It’s having a negative impact on multiple systems, including gravity in some areas.”
Ennius sounded troubled, which Karen found unusual. August Ennius was second-in-command of Transport 80-14. He was an experienced Federated Nations officer. What had him so concerned?
She got her answer when the lighting flickered, and she heard the engines stall.
“Chief, stand by for further instructions,” Ennius stated curtly. “I’m heading down to Engineering to assist.”
“Copy that, Commander.”
Sudden queasiness informed her that the internal stabilizers had gone offline. A heartbeat later, gravity harshly reaffirmed itself and the cold metal deck made a poor cushion for her stout body. There was a sharp pain on the right side of her skull as it struck the floor. She squinted hard in response.
After a few seconds’ disorientation, Karen thought she heard her son call out to her and she opened her eyes.
“A-are you okay, Darius?”
She felt his hand on her back.
“I’m fine, Mom,” he said reassuringly. “Let me help you up, okay?”
Darius offered his hand, and she took it. A low groan escaped her lips as she got to her knees and then stood. She had to close her eyes again and lean against him for a moment.
“You’re bleeding, Mom!”
Let me start with some affirmations:
1. I am not against mask-wearing.
2. I am not against any of the COVID-19 (and its variants) vaccines.
3. I am not against science.
4. I am for using reasoned thinking and common sense.
5. I am for the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms and liberties it stands for.
6. I am for civil and respectful discussions.
The last couple of years under the specter of COVID-19 have changed the world, and not for the better. People of all ages and beliefs live in fear now. Some are afraid to leave their homes, afraid to go to work, afraid for their children and grandchildren’s health and safety. Some are afraid to return to normal.
I can certainly sympathize. People have gotten terribly sick, had complications, and hundreds of thousands have died in the USA alone. Pretty much everyone knows someone who has had the virus (or they have had it themselves) or lost someone to it. That kind of grief is tangible, palpable. It breeds fear.
Some fear is healthy. It keeps us aware, it warns us not to be careless. Such normal caution leads us to hold our young child’s hand in public or lock the door when we leave our homes. There’s a chance our child might get excited and run off or get lost. There’s a chance some stranger might rob our residence while we’re away.
But there is such a thing as unhealthy fear, the kind we may unknowingly project onto others. It’s similar to judging other people without knowing their circumstances. “Why can’t they just get in step like the rest of us?” What if they can’t? What if that is outside of their control?
I get that people want to feel safe and secure. That’s what the law and law enforcement is supposed to provide. It doesn’t always succeed. But since people should not murder, injure, blackmail or steal from one another, the law provides a deterrent and (hopefully) consequence for committing such crimes. They are the responsibility of government and an inviolable mandate against criminal behavior.
Some things, however, should not be mandated by government. Medical matters, for example, which should be private. Public establishments such as restaurants, business offices, gyms and entertainment venues legally have no right for their employees to ask for your vaccination status or medical history under HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This law was created in the USA in 1996 and remains in effect today.
You can read the expansive HIPAA document, including its Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Enforcement Rule and Breach Notification Rule AT THIS LINK:
So, it is strange and interesting that states like New York, California and Virginia are requiring state workers to get vaccine verification to remain employed. In fairness, Virginia at present allows for weekly Covid testing as an alternative.
New York has gone much further, requiring proof of vaccination to enter indoor facilities such as “movie theaters, music or concert venues, adult entertainment, casinos, botanical gardens, commercial event and party venues, museums and galleries, aquariums, zoos, professional sports arenas and indoor stadiums, convention centers and exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, indoor play areas, pool and billiard halls, and other recreational game centers” as well as “indoor food services” and “indoor gyms and fitness settings.”
Of course, there are some exceptions to NYC Mayor DeBlasio’s executive order, but none of them are medical. If you do have a medical or doctor-provided legitimate reason not to take the vaccine (and there are quite a few conditions that qualify), that doesn’t matter in New York.
For clarification, the following is what is exempted under the New York executive order:
“§ 2. I hereby order that the following individuals are exempted from this Order, and therefore may enter a covered premises without displaying proof of vaccination, provided that such individuals wear a face mask at all times they are unable to maintain six (6) feet of distance from other individuals inside the covered premises:
* Individuals entering for a quick and limited purpose (for example, using the restroom, placing or picking up an order or service, changing clothes in a locker room, or performing necessary repairs);
* A nonresident performing artist not regularly employed by the covered entity while they are in a covered premises for purposes of performing;
* A nonresident professional athlete/sports team who enters a covered premises as part of their regular employment for purposes of competing; and
* A nonresident individual accompanying a performing artist or professional athlete/sports team into a covered premises as part of their regular employment so long as the performing artist or professional athlete/sports team are performing or competing in the covered premises.”
However, I remind everyone that medical conditions are NOT exempted.
This is what I believe people should fear: abuse of power in the supposed name of public health.
The entire executive order from the New York Mayor is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also has racist overtones, since the executive order would unduly impact African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, who have been less likely to get vaccinated.
I bring up the New York executive order because it is the most extreme and the least fair. But if such a mandate can be done in New York, it can be done anywhere. And if you doubt me about these facts, you can read the Mayor’s executive order for yourself at the link below.
CLICK HERE FOR NY EMERGENCY ORDER 225
As I stated initially, I am not against mask-wearing or any of the vaccines. People have to decide what is best for themselves and their families. They should also consult a medical professional to determine what is best for their health.
I am against authoritarianism. And I am against the infringement of the rights of Americans by decree (executive order), which is not law.
I have watched and listened to many news sources as this has developed. I have seen dangerous actions spurred on by those who would take advantage of the fears of decent, law-abiding American citizens.
And I cannot be silent. To me, silence is acceptance and assent.
I do not speak representing a political party or a political philosophy. I am a Christian first, an American husband and father before all else. I have been gifted with the ability to write and I will try to use this gift to help others if I can.
I am promoting personal liberty and freedom. But I am not suggesting a particular action. That is between you, your medical professional, your conscience and whatever else you believe in. Be informed and decide for yourself.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Into The Unknown: Seven Short Stories of Faith and Bravery has released! It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Googleplay.
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Many people disagree with parts or perhaps even all of the Bible. And that number of people grows by the day. But why is that? I think some of it is because people haven’t actually read the Bible. They may have simply disagreed with something they read or heard somewhere else. Maybe what they read or heard was out of context. Perhaps it was confusing or unbelievable. Or maybe they haven’t yet been taught the Bible by a Christ-inspired pastor.
Also, way too many people have been offended by the words and actions of hypocritical Christians.
Beyond that, the cross of Jesus Christ is a figurative line in the sand. Stepping over that line — by believing that Jesus is the Son of God and asking Him to send His Holy Spirit into your heart — is supposed to mean something. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Believing in Jesus as the only way to obtain salvation is the same as declaring every other belief system in the world wrong.
So why do people leave behind their religions, agnosticism or atheism every day to follow Jesus Christ? Because they realize at some point that Jesus can offer something no other belief can: Himself.
God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three personas that comprise One Living Divine Being: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They are God. Therefore, when we have the Holy Spirit, we have Jesus. And through Jesus, we have access to God the Father.
This is one reason why faith and prayer are far more important than some people realize. Through this connection in the Spirit, we can ask for miraculous interventions — either on our own behalf or for others. Sometimes God will answer those requests with a “yes” and sometimes with a “no.” People wonder sometimes why God doesn’t always answer “yes.” It's because He knows everything, including why “yes” might have turned out badly for us or someone else.
Ultimately, Jesus Christ offers us peace, love, understanding and so much more.
Yet the Cross of Christ is an offense for a multitude of reasons. And it was always supposed to be that.
The Cross is a literal representation that Jesus was a sacrifice for sin. My sins. Your sins. EVERYONE’s sins throughout time itself: past, present and future. One might ask why? Or how is that even possible? That's because God exists outside of time. He is omnipotent, all-powerful and all-knowing.
With the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all humankind fell from God’s grace. Adam and Eve were now sinners. They would pass that on to all of their descendants. And that’s why we were all born sinners. We couldn’t help it. It’s just who we were/are. No matter how good we might have tried to be, we would still sin, even if just in our thoughts.
But God made a way to redeem us all back to Himself. And His Son was the only Being worthy to make the extraordinary sacrifice required on our behalf. Jesus was the only One capable of enduring the suffering at the hands of the Romans, the slow and agonizing death on the Cross before His glorious resurrection.
Jesus even endured temporary separation from God. That’s why in Matthew 27:46 (KJV), it reads “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is because God cannot abide sin. God is Holy.
I know people don’t like hearing about sin. No one likes being told they’re doing something wrong, much less that they need to change. People don’t like hearing that there are consequences for the choices they have made or will make.
And frankly speaking, people don’t accept reality sometimes. They would rather think they can reshape reality to fit their lifestyle, choices or preferences. If they don’t like who they are, they think they can change themselves. They can alter how they look, sound, describe themselves or feel. They can use cosmetics, fashion, drugs or surgery. They can demand other people acknowledge them in whatever way they like. But such tactics inevitably encroach upon the rights, lifestyles, choices and preferences of other people.
Everyone has an opinion, but everyone’s opinions can’t be accommodated simultaneously. Without some kind of system to mediate between different people’s opinions and actions, we would only have chaos, terror and suffering. That’s why laws and government systems exist.
And God established both the law and government.
Romans 13:1 (King James Version = KJV)
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
People often say “How could a just God allow bad things to happen to good people?” God gave everyone free will. We are not robots, we make good or bad choices every day. The real problem is sin.
Galatians 5: 16-23 (KJV)
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Each of us make choices every day. We can choose to hang onto our habits, lifestyles, preferences and sins. We can choose to be offended by the Cross. It is understandable.
But I think we should ask ourselves one question:
“What am I getting out of this?”
All sin can bring temporary pleasure, relief or escape. But what about tomorrow? What about years or decades from now, if we live that long? What about when we take our last breath?
Is it really over then? Do the biological processes end and we just cease to exist?
Or do we really have a life beyond this one? Are we eternal souls just occupying a body for now? Will our souls leave our bodies on our final day here on Earth? What then?
Do you think everyone goes to Heaven? Sadly, according to the Bible, that isn’t the case.
1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (KJV)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
John 3: 16-21 (KJV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
In 1996, I was stubborn. It took me looking death in the face (while I was extremely dehydrated with veins collapsing) to realize I wasn’t going to Heaven. Not the way I was: a sinner. I chose to beg God to spare my life that day. I promised that I would give my life to Him the next day (a Sunday) at church. God chose to save my life and I gave it right back to Him.
It all comes down to our free will. What choice will we make? Do we accept Jesus and His salvation or reject it and Him? Do we hold on to our offense or do we let it go?
Is the offense worth it…if you’re wrong?
As a Christian, I find it very difficult to hear of others who claim Christ as their Savior speak ill of the Jewish people. And that goes whether these people-calling-themselves-Christians disparage Jews as an ethnic group or because of their religion.
Let me preface this article by stating that I am not speaking of the complex political issues that currently plague the Middle East. I have no desire to delve into that at this time.
I am simply saying this: I believe many Christians need to study their Bible more closely to better understand God's relationship with the Jewish people.
Over the years, I have heard many people justify their bigotry by saying that “the Jews killed Jesus.”
I have three answers to this:
Jesus Christ was resurrected, ascended back to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to Earth as a way to redeem those who accept it back to God. We were all separated from God and born sinners after the sins of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But God made a way to redeem us.
And according to the Bible, it all started with a promise from the Lord. God made a covenant with Abram.
Genesis 17: 1-7 (King James Version = KJV)
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
It continued in Genesis 17: 15-21 (KJV):
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Fourteen generations later, God made a covenant with King David.
2 Samuel 7: 1-16 (KJV)
And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,
Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Twenty-eight generations after that, Jesus was born of Mary and raised by Joseph, who was of the lineage of David. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He walked the Earth thirty-three years, teaching and performing miracles until He fulfilled the prophesies of the Messiah.
Some time after Jesus's ascension, Paul spoke to the Christians, specifically to give them a good understanding of Christianity and God’s everlasting relationship with the Jewish people.
Romans 11: 1-36 (KJV)
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
I have been taught these things about the Jewish people. I will go a step further and say that I see myself and my fellow Christians as “spiritual Jews.” We may not observe all the same customs or days, but that’s alright. We can still love, appreciate and support one another.
That said, I have seen individuals (some famous, others not), individual churches and even some supposedly Christian organizations show anti-Semitic behavior. They all give similar defense of their actions. “The Jews killed Christ.” And as I said at the beginning of this article, it shows a poor understanding of the Bible and God’s covenant with the Jewish people.
Jesus laid down His life. He could have called twelve legions of angels to His defense, but He didn’t. He was a willing sacrifice to establish God’s Word. The Old Testament predicted the New Testament. The New Testament fulfilled the Old Testament. All of God’s Word is valid and relevant today.
So, if God calls a people “My people,” they are His people. That doesn't change, because God doesn't change.
To God, forever means forever.
Most of you know that my current writing endeavor is a steampunk novel. But some of you might have been wondering “what is steampunk?” Wordnik defines steampunk as "Science fiction set in an alternate version of the historic past, especially 19th-century England, and involving advanced technologies usually based on steam power" or "an aesthetic style inspired by steampunk fiction."
I wanted to follow the second definition. I’ve read some traditional steampunk and seen movies inspired by it. I never really liked the 19th century trappings or the aristocracy surrounding it, so I decided to make a steampunk that was uniquely my own. In this case, a present day alternate Earth where history had unfolded differently from what we know, and Victorian Era influences persisted in modern America.
On this Earth, the two world wars never happened and the British Empire still exists. That empire has also reconciled with the United States of America, forming a strategic alliance to save the world from an environmental crisis identified in the late 19th century. The crisis was averted and the alliance, which became a financial partnership, persists to this day.
The main character in the first book (of this trilogy) is a plus-size biracial (Black/White) young woman named Merritt Baxter. She will become entangled in a technological power struggle that she never saw coming.
The art for this title reveal graphic is by Christopher Jackson, who made the book cover art for my Jordan of Algoran science-fantasy series. Queen of the Skies will be published in the future by Ambassador International.
I have been an outspoken critic of Critical Race Theory, especially this year since researching it. I’m going to break this down into straightforward points and I think you’ll understand why I oppose it, whether or not you agree. And I appreciate your consideration and patience in advance.
Critical Race Theory is based in a faulty premise, that all people are inherently racist, which is untrue. Racism is taught. People are not born racist or privileged. They are born human beings, completely dependent upon whoever raises them. They can’t even communicate aside from cries or movements. Language is taught. Everything else is instinct prior to that.
Critical Race Theory is based on a model of conflict: oppressor and oppressed. This is its Marxist core. There must be revolution to bring about change. Peaceful change is not possible, there must be upheaval. The old (history, legislation including the US Constitution, and traditions based in the culture of the “oppressor”) must be thrown out, destroyed. Canceled.
In Critical Race Theory, reality — and even compromise — is rejected in favor of the new order. Oppressed must become oppressor for justice to occur. Certain races cannot be racist. And yet, Critical Race Theory contradicts this because it presumes everyone is racist, even if they don’t know it. It literally promotes race hatred.
Critical Race Theory and its cousin “Antiracism” (which does not oppose racism, it promotes it) presumes that “white people” (their words, not mine) have always been in power and are the oppressor. It also presumes that all people of color (except Asians, who are somehow closely related to white people, which literally makes no sense) are oppressed. Yet it encourages anti-white and anti-Asian discrimination, because discrimination against the oppressor is justified and some form of justice against past discrimination.
Critical Race Theory encourages racial segregation and discourages interracial relationships. It also promotes the racial supremacy of people of color.
Critical Race Theory is what people want your children and grandchildren to learn in school. It is already being taught in colleges (where it began). It has spread within the US Government.
If I sound alarmist, you’ll have to forgive me. I had to face a lot of racial opposition to my marriage from people of different races. I sacrificed finishing college to be with the love of my life. My three children are multiracial. My middle son has had this hatred shoved at him by college educators and told to write a paper on it. I have stakes in this figurative game. Everyone should.
Critical Race Theory is marketed as harmless, as fixing the wrongs of history and routing out systemic racism. It is (and does) none of those things. Anything that has to lie about what it is cannot be a good thing. It denies the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement. It opposes Dr. King’s dream.
Lastly, Critical Race Theory has no endgame. What happens when its “racially just utopia” is achieved? All races are segregated, white people and Asians are relegated to second class citizenship, and people hate each other based on the color of their skin. History is rewritten by the new oppressors. This is somehow good?
We would essentially find ourselves in an alternate reality where it’s the pre-Civil Rights Era, but the races have changed. And if you think that can't happen, California recently voted on whether or not to repeal (undo) their Civil Rights legislation. Thankfully, that effort failed. But what was the point of even trying to do that? People wanted to be able to discriminate against other races...legally.
I rarely make such definitive statements, but I believe this way of thinking is evil. It is meant to bring harm — and it has. People are being hurt, even killed. Those carrying out the crimes are being driven by this way of thinking, they are motivated by strong emotion. By hate. There is no justice in this. And the endgame is sadly very predictable.
In the late 1960s, even Star Trek understood the basic idea that two extremely divided views on race cannot co-exist. The idea of any kind of race hatred, no matter who is voicing that hate, will ultimately lead to one terrible end, if followed to its logical conclusion.
I urge you to watch this short clip from “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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