Monthly Archives: January 2014

THE SECOND COMMANDMENT – Modern American Idols

We are slaves to the idols of our minds. — Francis Bacon

What are the idols of your mind? The answer would be different for each one of us. We are not to worship idols but to put God first and then all else falls into place. When we put anything before God we begin to stray into self delusion and slavery.

We set up idols, including celebrities and sports stars whom we worship with slavish devotion, sometimes to our own detriment. Some people worship money and possessions, even their children become objects of their worship, and also their control. The desire for wealth and fame has consumed many good people.

I once told our youngest daughter that if her dad and I ever came into real money we would not let our children know about it because we wouldn’t want to “spoil” them. She was young but wise, so she just smiled and said, “Oh, mom, don’t you think we’d figure it out?” I suppose that when I came home with a Ferrari she would know something was up.

You can make money and possessions your idols, or they can be your servants in enriching your life and the lives of those around you. You know an idol when it becomes more important than God, your family or your friends; you are in trouble when you would sacrifice people for something you can never really keep in the end, even if it’s a good thing. There is an old saying that teaches a vital lesson:


There are just things you can’t take with you. Figure out what they are so you can keep some real perspective.

Is there nothing you CAN take with you?

I believe you take who you are, what you have become, the love you have developed and the love others have given to you, and, of course, the intelligence you have gained in this life. These are the only things of eternal worth we possess.

Will you be thankful for your life here or will death be a time of terror because you wasted your existence and have done nothing worthy of eternity?

Please, identify and set aside your idols, put your life in order with God first. Start there and develop the faith to know that God is still in charge and in the end all will be well.


THE SECOND COMMANDMENT – You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or the waters below the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I The Lord your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 5:4 (Tanakh, JPS Translation)

This is one of the commandments I think I have never quite understood, except in terms of not worshiping graven images and imputing to them godlike powers. It is God alone we are to worship.

My Muslim friends, for the most part, allow no life-like representations of any kind for fear of offending Allah. Many years ago my husband bought a lovely silk prayer rug in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul that has a floral “feel” to it and a few things that resemble lamps, but nothing that could be considered much more than intricate designs. I know that some Muslims do not allow photos to be taken or displayed and the only “art” is primarily of wonderful geodesic designs.

As parents at Ronald McDonald House we frequently put picture puzzles together and some of the Arab residents were horrified that we did so. Sometimes dealing with life threatening experiences makes a simple activity such as putting a puzzle together a way to take a deep breath, step back and calm your soul. We could sometimes even laugh together. A twelve year old sibling of one Arab patient would often watch us at the puzzle table and we could feel how what we were doing excited him, but we didn’t dare invite him to join us. Then one day the boy’s father came and asked if his son could join us. Of course he could, and I tell you this kid could be a champion competition puzzler. He was so fast and accurate it was astounding. He must have figured out how to work a puzzle by watching us. His father was so proud of him, but I’ve wondered if the boy or his father dared to let him continue puzzling at home.

I do not know how artists who wished to paint or sculpt felt about this particular commandment. I do believe that the first part of the commandment really did have to do with worship of idols and still left room for art. It’s the second part that intrigues me. Does God really visit the guilt of the parents on the heads of the children for many generations? Or is this His way of warning the people of what actually happens if they are unrighteous and fail at rearing their children the way that will teach them truth and keep them free?

This appears to be one of those “I tell you of consequences and what happens when you fail in your duty.”  God tells us how things really are and then we are the ones who make them come to pass.

There are so many idols to bind us and stop our growth as people. Whenever we turn to the idols of fame and money, to the arm of flesh, we lose our freedom to make wise choices.


G. K. Chesterton

The search for TRUE science has always been fraught with peril. Just look to Galileo if you think scientific truth is easily won. And now we have so-called “CLIMATE CHANGE DENIERS” to feed to the wolves.

To make a fetish of one’s faith in science, or scientists, alone, places a burden on scientific practitioners that they were never meant to bear. Their opinions on God or religion are just that, OPINIONS only. Being a scientist does not mean your opinion is better than mine as to belief in God and intelligence. And TRUE SCIENCE cannot change the parameters of any discussion on matters of scientific inquiry. To do so is the very definition of hypocrisy. How those parameters concerning so-called global warming have been switched over the years is stunning.

In the field of Anthropogenic Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever else someone chooses to call it, the great scientist Al  Gore’s pronouncement that “the science is settled” flies in the face of all reason. When has science ever been settled? Should mankind’s inquiries have stopped at Sir Isaac Newton? John Stuart Mill said that there is a need to question EVERYTHING in science. Even if many proofs have been given and tested, a true scientist never stops testing again and again. There is always need for a Devil’s Advocate in science. No matter how sound the theory may appear, no advances can be made until results are duplicated again and again. Change just one little thing and the results may surprise you.

What would have happened if Newtonian physics had never been questioned, or Einstein’s theories had not been challenged?  Where would we be without Quantum Physics, Fractal Geometry, String Theory, and oh so many other ideas that have changed our understanding of our world and the cosmos?

If science were really ever settled, why would so much acrimony be stirred by the so-called Global Warming crisis?  Why would careers and reputations be sullied? Why would such ugliness and blackmail be used?  Why stop scientific journals from publishing dissenting opinions and threatening their very right to continue publishing at all? Why would the media stop any questioning and refuse to publish any divergent opinions?

Even after the scandalous e-mails at East Anglia were revealed and clearly showed the lies and intimidation used, there are people who never knew the e-mails were there or never bothered to read them. They still believe that Global Warming is true and have no thoughts or questions on the contrary evidence.

When I was young we were taught the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. Humans and other animals require the oxygen produced by plants and plants require the carbon dioxide produced by the animals. We planted trees on Arbor Day to help the environment and even as children we understood the need to clean the air with plants, and greenhouse gases were considered beneficial for the earth. Now, suddenly we are to believe that those beneficial gases are the root of all evil.

Our juvenile junior Senator, Mark Begich, likes to tell how he became aware of the truth of Global Warming when he saw a childhood photo of him and his siblings at Portage Glacier with the glacier right behind them and small icebergs floating by them. Now the glacier has retreated and cannot even be seen. All I could do was sigh and think, “Mark, sweetie, drive about two miles away and look at Byron Glacier, about 1/50th or less the size of Portage and it’s right there where it’s always been. Look up at Gunsight and the other glaciers in a stretch along the mountain tops, even smaller than Byron, right there where they’ve always been. If it’s Global Warming, wouldn’t the smaller glaciers that are within just a few miles of Portage melt first?” I know for a fact that an ice cube melts faster than a large block of ice. Basic science is still that basic.

About fifty or so years ago there was a glacier in interior Alaska traveling so fast it was called a “galloping” glacier. It threatened to reach and cover the Richardson Highway, probably the only road in the area. Some years it would come forward many miles. Officials predicted that the highway would be covered and destroyed by the ice within a year when suddenly the glacier reversed and began retreating just as fast as it had advanced. It seems that glaciers, and the ice fields they come from, have their own rules. Perhaps Portage has retreated because pressures on the ice field have shifted and other glaciers have pushed outward. Who really knows?

The glaciers in the Himalayas were supposed to be all melted by now. Instead they have grown so much their regular summer melt off threatens to flood the valleys below.

When Al Gore played up the tide water glaciers melting and falling into the sea in Greenland he made it sound so ominous and, again I sighed, “They even have a name for the process, it’s called “calving”, and has always occurred. Where do you think the iceberg that sank the Titanic came from?”

Then there’s the matter of the sainted polar bears. There are actually more polar bears now than ever. They are doing what they always do. The daddy bears are aggressive as all get out and eat the baby bears, even their own, so mommy has to be fierce to protect her cubs. All polar bears swim way out to sea and sometimes rest on ice floes in the middle of the ocean. A forty mile swim? Hey, there’s nothing to it for a polar bear.

And the arctic ice, there’s more of it this year than last by a whole bunch. The Antarctic ice is thicker than ever, too. Read if you care about facts.

Climate change? Only if your POLITICS are so inclined.


(This is a poem I have written in response to the Holocaust Deniers who make a mockery of and deny the reality of historical Truth)

Of late the faded photograph, grainy and old,
Intrudes upon my mind
And sears my sleep.

The women – naked, exposed –
Led helplessly to an open grave,
Striving still, to shield their beauty,
Hands covering breasts and mounds —
Enclosed by encircling arms, one protects her child
Now never to be born.

Nearby with rifles stand
Who think they are men,
leering at the capturing camera,
Bearing witness forever to their unholy glee.

In the vast economy of God,
Whose loss is worse?
The women, whose beauty is only transformed,
Or the unthinkers who destroy themselves?


I feel such a sense of foreboding for the Jewish people worldwide and for the State of Israel.  Our amazing president has managed to fail all of our strongest allies. Will Israel stand alone? Prophesy says so. The Lord has said He will bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them.

Where will we stand?


THE FIRST COMMANDMENT – I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: You shall have no other gods beside me. Deuteronomy 5:3; Tanakh Version


One of the criticisms of the Ten Commandments is that God Himself, the Great I AM, tells us He must be first in our lives and that he is a “zealous” (Jewish Tanakh) or a “jealous” (KJV) God. Some philosophers have equated God as a selfish being for His insistence that we worship Him above all else. Why would a God who loves His children say we must put Him first? Is He really a jealous God? Are we to be slaves to such a God?

To become a person of faith, we must first understand who we are, where we came from and where it is we want to go. We need to get a clear picture of our journey here on earth. Do you believe you have always been and there is a purpose for your existence, or do you think you are just another “animal”, a product of evolutionary chance with no clear reason for being? Which would be the most comforting and satisfying answer? Most importantly though, which answer is the truth?

As a youngster I had very little religious training, although my mother sent us to church on Christmas and Easter, and occasionally in between. My father at that time spoke against all religions. I was eight when my most beloved grandfather died. I saw him in the casket not breathing and went to bed that night and thought to hold my breath to see what not breathing would feel like. That’s probably where my claustrophobia began. I was terrified as I looked into the darkness thinking of my grandpa and wondering if someone would show him where to go. Otherwise how would he find his way?

For several years I thought only of the loneliness of death, the overpowering feeling of not being able to breathe. Then one day when I was about thirteen I knew to end my fear I had to find out if God was a reality. I went to my favorite “thinking spot,” a split rail fence where I often sat to gaze at the mountains. I looked at all the beauty around me and asked God directly if He lived. He didn’t answer right away but I stayed where I was just thinking and looking. I don’t know how long it was, but suddenly a still voice came to me that said, “Don’t you see how beautiful it is? Do you really think that happened by accident?” Warmth washed over my whole body and I knew beyond doubt that God is real and that he had created the earth and all of us for a purpose.

I also knew that every person who lives has always been and will always be. The Lord of Heaven and earth has a plan for you and me, but we are responsible for discovering that for ourselves. Life was not meant to be easy. We are the ones who must find our gifts and strengths, and to overcome our weaknesses. The only way we can accomplish our goals is to put God first. If we think only about our own desires we run the risk of becoming weak, becoming a law unto ourselves and losing our way completely. We are not to trust in the insecure “arm of flesh” lest it become our idol, whether that arm is our own or belongs to someone else.

There is a reason we call God our Father, for He created us in the beginning and then, when we were ready, He gave us the chance to progress by being born into this mortal existence to be tested and tried. To grow and become, as Jesus said, perfect, even as He is, that is the truth of existence.

Only with that knowledge can we be fulfilled and live without fear, giving our hearts and souls freely to Him as we follow the path home to Him, our true destiny.

MY MUSLIM “FAMILY” or How I Got Adopted

“INSHALLAH, CHILD OF ABRAHAM.” To A Most Beautiful Young Eagle on His Final Earthly Flight

For many years we shared time at a Ronald McDonald House in Chicago with families from many Arab Nations. As women we were told not to touch the men and to let the families initiate contact as they desired. So I was hesitant at times to approach any Arab there.

As the years passed we all became more comfortable with each other and began trading ideas and offering help to each other. The first time I shared in the impending death of a child, I stood under a street light with his Arab mother while she and I wept together and she showed me photos of her son when he was healthy. He was her only child and she and her husband had fought so long to keep him. Mohammed died the next morning and his father came to me and said, ” Will you come and look at my wife?” I thought he meant for me to talk with her, but when I reached their room she was lying passed out across the bed like a broken bird. I do not think she had really slept in weeks. Her husband stood there gazing with such love at her, then he turned to me and said, “Isn’t she beautiful?” And he put his arms around me. He really did mean for me to “look” at her and see how beautiful she was.

Over several years a Saudi family came to the House frequently with several of their children who were in need of the same kind of organ transplants. The family was evidently high class because the husband, Nasir, was shown great deference by all the other families and was kind of a tribal leader. Nasir and I had many conversations about the genetic problems that occurred in his family because of inbreeding (his wife was a cousin to him), but he knew that the custom would not change, one always married within the clan. We discussed God and philosophy and he frequently asked about life in Alaska (which he was amused by and could not get a clear picture of), while I tried to learn more of his life. His wife smiled at me but spoke almost no English. Since she was the “chief” wife, most of the other women were kind but distant. Everyone seemed to love my daughter, even Nasir, who had a daughter the same age.

One day I went to the large living room where the men gathered every day to listen to Al-Jazeera. It was my habit to sit in another corner and knit. I noticed that the women, who never came into the living room, were all sitting in the rotunda of the room and had turned towards me as I came in. I was puzzled as Nasir approached me and all the other men also turned towards me. Nasir engaged me in a conversation in front of everyone, which seemed to center around my belief in God. He finally seemed satisfied by my answers and put his hand out to me. I was startled but thought he just wanted to shake hands with me so I also extended my hand. He grabbed my hand, pulled me into his arms and kissed each of my cheeks, then he stepped back and all of the men shook their heads in what appeared to be consent at what had happened. All the women smiled and began talking and everyone looked happy.

Stunned and not understanding what had just gone on, I smiled at them all and went to my customary chair to knit.

Whenever I was at the house after that I was treated as family. If the women cooked they fed me, anxious for me to like their food. Most of the women stopped veiling themselves around me, and, interestingly enough, some of them also unveiled in front of my husband.

I still do not know what happened when Nasir kissed me that day, but I felt like I had been “adopted.” I am so aware now of the wars and general instability in the Mid-East because my friends and their children are there. I worry about them and weep for their losses. I understand the minds of some of the people because they have shared them with me.

My daughter and I kept a heart-rending deathwatch over a beautiful Arab child named after the eagles while his body rejected a kidney and lung transplant. Watching the process of dying for one trying so hard to live is not for the faint of heart. His father could not bear to see his child, his beloved son, suffer. He fell apart if he came into the room. His wife took longer but finally could watch no more either. Many times my daughter and I were the only ones in his room but we tried to be there at least once a day. We spoke to him often and could see his wonderful personality peeking out while we wiped his face and let him know how much we had come to love him. His death was a blow to so many people, but the Arab word Inshallah (as Allah wills) guides and sustains the people of the Islamic faith. They have a kind of fatalism, for want of a better word, that helps them cope in ways more westernized people don’t understand very well.

One question I had about the Arabs has been answered very clearly. I always wondered why the Iranians released their U.S. hostages as soon as Jimmy Carter was no longer President. I now know that Arabs only respect their enemies if they are strong and they knew that Carter was weak. Ronald Reagan was a man they could respect as a “worthy” enemy.