Monday, March 19, 2012

Days gone by

   We went to Pigeon Forge last weekend and I went to the car to just set and look. I remember when the road was a two lane highway going through Sevierville and to Pigeon Forge all the way to Gatlinburg. There were motels along side the road owned by local people and shops along side the road that were also owned by locals. Each shop was different, each motel was different with the most elaborate ones being two stories high. There may have even been one with three stories high. Soon the highway was widened to a four lane, but nobody knew why. 

  The road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg had places alongside the road with concrete picnic tables beside the creek, and a few beside the woods. Back then it wasn't unusual to see Cherokee people in the shops, sometimes drumming up business and sometimes working there. The shop owners usually worked at the shops and had chiseled out features from doing other hard work. Some were heated in the winter with Pot Bellied Stoves. I remember fans in the bigger shops, but air conditioning either wasn't made yet or couldn't be afforded. Eventually some closed in shops placed one in the wall, but just the bigger ones. We would fuss over who got to stand in front of them when we entered.

  Seahorn Enterprises made a lot of things and eventually they were advertised as made by real Indians. That wasn't a true claim in some ways yet in some ways it was. Most of us have some Cherokee heritage. Most of the products were quality made things and many were made by hand. The products were good enough that people local bought them from local stores, just not in the Tourist shops as they were marked much higher. I bought a paper towel holder that mounts to the wall in the late seventies, maybe be the early eighties, I don't remember which. It was made good enough that to this day we still use it. Made from real wood from here in Tennessee by real Tennesseans by hand. I'm not sure that anything there is made even in the USA anymore and if it is, not here in East Tennessee.

  We'd stay at a motel that had a swimming pool, not all of them had one. It was too cool. We normally swam in lakes and ponds where the water was too dirty to open your eyes and though the chlorine hurt out eyes, we could see underwater. Gold Rush Junction was the theme park where Dollywood is today. It was too cool with fake gun fights and a real steam train to ride. You'd pick where you would eat and almost all were native to that area, no cloned diners. Everything was unique to the area. The food. The people. Everything.

  Gatlinburg was even more unique with shops that could only be found there. I high lift to the top of one of the mountains, looking down at the trees and up at the trees and ridges, looking for bears. I think the high lift is still there and now you look down at other man made sights, but now you don't look at the trees and ridges for wildlife but rather at cheap cabin get-a-ways that are stacked and packed, hanging from the sides of the mountains. The only wildlife is the parties taking place. Most of the shops are clones of shops around the country, restaurants too. I can't help but wonder how one gets excited at going across country to see the same thing they have at home. Kind of defeats the purpose of a vacation in a strange land to be explored.

  There traffic is atrocious with cars that seemed to be going to a fire. East Tennessee is suppose to be laid back. High rise building litter both towns and billboards that shatter the darkness, some even have what looks like TVs on them. There are attractions that have nothing to do with this area and can be found in most Tourist Traps. Ones like the Wild West Show (shhhh...this is the southeast), the Lumber Jack Log Rolls, sometimes I never heard of when I was a kid. Elvis is there, except he is from West Tn and preformed a lot in Vegas. Dolly is shown, except she preformed in Nashville, but at least she was from here. Key word being from. And the list is endless, mindless too.

  There is some good things here that were added like the Aquarium and some that remain like Christus Gardens. Lodge Cast Iron though is a welcome site since they are made in Tennessee, only ones left making Cast Iron Cookware in the whole USA now. The Titanic display is a bit out of place but it seems no more odd than ninety percent of everything else. The one thing though I miss is the old man who was a bear hunter and had a live Black Bear there as a pet. We would stop there in the sixties at his store. He had all kids of neat souvenirs there, cheap too. For a dime you could buy the bear a Coke. Walk to to a fence about a foot tall and he would reach and take it, sit up, and with both paws drink it like a person. Then he would hand the bottle back. I got to pet him on a few occasions. Eventually the whoever in the government decided that it was not good for Old Smokey, so they changed it to a chocolate flavored drink. They also added a cage and it was too long after that they quit letting people hand the bear the drink. The bear was second generation and never harmed or even offered to harm anybody.

  We would still stop and see the bear, even showed Old Smokey to at least my oldest a few times. One day coming through, for whatever reason, the bear was gone. Something about it just wasn't safe of fair to the bear. Eventually the old man either died or sold out and now it bears little resemblance to those fond memories, just as the rest of the area does now. Today those shops would be referred to as "mom & pop businesses". It's usually cast with a derogatory sound. Be that as it may, those mom and pop businesses made this country and made it great. I fail to see the fun in going to a place that looks like a place I can go anywhere in the USA, probably the world. Where is the adventure in that? We're all not suppose to look alike, talk alike, and shop alike.... man that is so lame and boring.               
  At 51 going on 52 now, I am out of place. I feel out of place. I see and read signs saying a place is the heart of the Smokie Mountains and I say yea right, bet they say that at the beach and everywhere their corporation enters. I don't understand a would where people would rather text than speak. Where people inflict pain by piercing places that you would normally go to the doctor if something stuck in you there. Wear skulls in their clothing, tattoos all over their bodies ( great way to be identified), and fish symbols on their cars while driving like they are the only ones that count. A place where people get excited because XYZ store is there too, just like at home and every other place they go to. Where grown people tie a piece of underwear elastic from them and jump off a perfectly good platform. I'm not sure if I am living the movie Escape from NY or George Orwell's 1984 flick. Yep, this one will piss some off, but maybe it will wake some up. It was once said that the USA was the new Roman Empire and I now believe that was truth. (John Lennon). We see how Rome turned out. So how did that work for them?    

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lost In Translation 2

In the Bible we're told of groups that were just not quite human. Vicious and evil by their very intent and were blood thirsty by their very nature. But what of those after the battles took place. All the battles God called for to happen where these giant people lived. Being demigods I think they are what we battle these days in our hearts and minds. By researching other beliefs of those days most wars were fought against a separate race of bipedal creatures. Now if one peoples thought this so and fabricated it would be just a myth possibly, but people who had no known connections and differing religions and beliefs systems all give accounts. Suffice to say, it is so as they were and are so. That doesn't mean that all that was done was approved of by God. Many if not most key figures were removed from power by God when He had enough. God is slow to anger so I'm assuming they must have done things leading up to their dismissal.  This even included the famed King Solomon and King David themselves. And now we quote their deeds, even the questionable?

  During many of America's earliest years, too often many American Indian Nations were slaughtered out of misunderstanding and fear. They too worship one God, that is He who is the Creator of all things. They lived by pretty much the same laws and rules imposed by God and prayed to Him, just not the added laws over the years that man came up with. Rather than rule and be ruled, they sought only to live in peace with all. But new settlers couldn't quite grasp God's name being called in a native tongue and slaughtered many to the act of genocide took place. Mostly it was an ignorance of ways between settlers and the American Indian, but that wasn't only nations of Indians, sometimes it was their own people that some groups of earlier times went after, such as the witch hunts and people who owned Bibles, especially in their own language. We are taught and told what we are expected to believe and yet historical records shine the truth out if sought, a hidden truth that begs to be known inside. It was either Hitler or one of his officers that said within two generations history could be changed and known as one wished it to be known. He who controls the past (information) controls the present, and he who controls the present controls the future. Knowing that, what if most of what we thought was true was a lie.

    Bible research is much the same way. The thing is that unless it conforms to that exact word in that exact spot, or perhaps we hear someone say that only this way is possibly, then we attack it as we are taught only a sound byte in the whole book. An excellent example of this is where we plant by the signs and moon phases. We also place rock on top of the ground that way, dig holes, weed, etc... Now some that claim Christianity as their faith look upon this as Pagan while others read in the Bible where there is a sign unto everything. While some say you can do anything as a Christian and it's ok, some follow a strict set of old rules, and then others see the religion for what it is. I think anything can be taken way too far and to excess. Judaism and Islamic, as well as some Christian beliefs still hold to certain animals not being "clean" food and therefore not to be eaten. In the New Testament those laws have clearly been changed. I do find it funny that things that were considered unclean are the same foods that clog arteries, raise blood pressure, and can make one's health poor. Perhaps it wasn't so much as what is right and wrong as it was a health issue. Fish without scales are usually scavengers and shrimp, crabs, and such you can't drain the blood from and scavenge as well. Pork is well known to raise blood pressure, and I eat them all in moderation. We trip over foul languages while calling someone "useless", which is not a forgivable sin. We'd we miss that? It angers us when we see women dressed in heavy clothing with their heads covered yet we have no anger when women are paraded around naked to almost naked on a stage like dogs or ponies. Another example is how we picture the animals going into the Ark two by two. Without going too much in detail that isn't all there was nor were only two of every kind of animal in that Ark.

  There are those who swear the KJV is perfect, and it is closer than the newer versions are. I have to throw this in though. The NIV is written on a 6th grade reading level, not to mention changes way too much. There are errors in the KJV translation be it by mistake or colorful purpose. There are words to which no word translates to and sayings that only someone who speaks in metaphors would understand. Example. Why did Jesus talk in Parables? Evil cannot understand parables or any metaphors. That doesn't mean one that does not understand it all is evil, just that evil can't. Notice that I could have easily said the word satan, and that is a descriptive term rather than a name. Satan simply means adversary. Try reading some of those verses again with adversary used.

  So as far as one studies Christianity, one needs really only the New Testament to understand it because that is where it all starts. I like reading it both New and Old as it does all tie in together, but I also read other historical literature. I do believe the Bible was inspired by God but I also believe that there are many loose ends I like to have tied up. Why were we created? I'd heard years ago because God was lonely and for years believed that man was created to tend the earth and woman to be a partner to man. Pretty simple really and I guess why we see farmers attacked by those who rule and ridiculed by many they rule. In part the Bible teaches some farming skills and partnerships and in part it goes against farming. Perhaps it is the work of some that were farmers and some that were city people. There are two different worlds that each live in. The Old Testament is the birthing of civilization while the New Testament is the birthing of a new religion. There are many things we should as well know in addition to the birthing, our own civilization division birthing. Did you know that the oldest 10 Commandments we have actually on hand is in the USA? Older than any tangible 10 Commandments in Semitic regions and the same Commandments.

  But in the end if one only gets of Christianity a set of rules that we should see others live by besides ourselves, it was failed. If we see hate, despise, harshly judgmental towards each other, it was a waste. If we see however deep inside ourselves to what we each need to work on inside, then we have well received. If we see kindness and contentment, forgiveness and love, then it was well taken and learned. Not the one though where we allow evil people and deeds go by unmarked. If all we see is a certain day set aside for good and for God, then we've missed the point. If all we see are repetitions of the same way and the same thing, then we've misunderstood. If all we see is fear or superiority to another, then we have failed. If all we respect is our way, then we have not. None of the issues we face today are new and there is nothing new, discovered or under the sun that can be made, thought, bought, sold, or stole is actually new. None. Christianity is an attempt to break the vicious cycle and transcend and climb higher and farther than has been since the beginning of time. Rework connections, great connections, that we have allowed to be broken with everything here and All that Is, Created to the Creator.                       

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lost in Translation

   I think for the first time in my life I am actually studying the Bible, as well as other works like the Christian Apocrypha. I've looked in Judaism and Islamic as well, briefly. I've leaned a lot but it isn't a drop in the bucket. I've studied conspiracy theories which oddly enough, many turn out to be true. Looking at history and records back, and I do mean way back I learned a lot. One has to take into account that all of history isn't recorded in the Bible, it is kind of a Reader's Digest version of what is said and taken place, and of one tribe. It is factual and God knows many have tried to disprove it and failed. I guess I'm one of those people who have to know the rest of the story.

   Knowing the Bible is one thing, knowing it well is another. I think it was Tom Horn that said his wife worked in some kind of office that dealt with Christian business. One woman, a hateful and spiteful woman was always quoting scriptures. Bulling her way over the rest. He said she finally came to a realization of it's not where a person is in the word, but where they word is in them. That held some weight with me when I heard it and the more I learn the louder it rings.

  People use the Bible and twist it a lot. We have wars and fights, but wars? What leads a man to kill another man? Feelings and perceptions. Feeling Superior. Feeling Threatened. Or the thought of either one. Those are the two most, except for Psychopaths. So very many divisions exist today in Christianity, but that is nothing new for the is nothing new under the sun. To add to that, Muslims are almost as divided as are we. The biggest division though is in Judaism which ranges from the same God to the occult, yet many occult members have no clue that many of their traditions were created by Jewish beliefs. Still the question is, why does a man kill another man in cold blood.

   Robbers do it for greed, fear the don't or can't make enough money, same as drug addicts. Killing is usually selective and limited though. To kill on site, hate at a glance, attack with the intent on ending life. This is usually done out of feeling superior, afraid, and in the name of a religion. That doesn't make the religion bad, just the teachers of it, or so called ones. The three groups on display fighting and the upcoming war fights out of superiority. Funny how all three have the same roots and the same message of peace from God, yet pride takes over. I'll just wager that if three soldiers, one from each group, sat down, they'd see they have more in common with each other than with those who order them to war. I still maintain that any president, ruler, politician, or general who starts the war should be the first on the battlefield and the last off. Those who finance wars usually finance both sides, they should also be present on the battlefield. If that actually was a prerequisite to war, there would be no more wars.

  But back to Christians and the Bible, God's Word. So some know it back and front, the good and the bad. A look at the times tells us the correctness of it's words. Thing is, we're all human, only human. Fallible and faltering. Imperfect in every way. We read of wars and rules, but the rules are common sense ones. The other two of theses three religions have them too. There are punishments in there too. For every action there is a reaction. Some highlight the punishment, some don't. There are things that please God and those that make Him angry, that He don't like... war is a big one. All three groups look upon each other and what they consider strange customs and ways and fear that could be their family, friends, neighborhood. Then their leaders instil a I'm better than you or that a group of people are less of a person. Some even count other beliefs as cattle in the field. (many Jewish sects). In the Bible they fought a race different than our own in many cases.

  If while reading this book, or ones that other religions have one missed something good, then read it again and again until you see not only does God love me and you, He also loves "them" the same. If you should miss that part read it again. He forgives us and loves us not on our bloodline but that we are His Creation. Release the fear, the pride, the superior feelings. Embrace the difference. For all our many differences, we are all connected through the Creator that created us all. Let the stiff shirts in the pissing contest fight their own world.            

Friday, March 2, 2012

Open Minds and Closed Hearts

  So I listened to a guy the other night that most Christians wouldn't, a motivational speaker who wasn't professing to be a Christian. As some know I'm not very tolerant of New Age. I have respect for many religions, even those with other gods, but New Age isn't one of them. That is all I'm gonna say on that or I'll get off point, and the point of saying this guy had a New Age twang to him. He used quotes from many religions and many people that some of which I questioned, yet in that reminded me that we often hear the loud noise without listening to the bars and notes to the music. 

  Most religions have some sort of dogma attached and while dogma isn't always a bad thing it can be. Like anything it can be used, abused, and at times blinding and dividing which can lead to division and hate. It is so easy to be led by the heart or by the mind, yet neither is correct in many cases. Hearts can be broken and minds deceived as things are presented to us daily. Anything as fragile as the heart or mind cannot be trusted. For hearts can become foolish, broken, and prideful and minds can be too critical, logic twisted, and broken as well. Thus we have a spirit inside this body, one that when connected to God can be followed, but only when true connection occurs.

  Children have no knowledge of scriptures or history yet they are connected many times. As we grow older though the connection fades and it is up to our parents and elders to try and keep that connection in tact. Mostly that is done through dogma of their religion. As long as that dogma works for the good it is great, but only as long as it works for the good and not the bad. It is when it disconnects one that it no longer is healthy that dogma and religion is to be feared. When love, forgiveness, peace, kindness, patience, and  reverence and connection for all things, creatures, and people both great and small are lost that it can become a poison. It is when we follow doctrine written and created by man that we do falter, but also we can shine from it as well. It depends upon two things, the teacher and the student. How one conveys and how one hears and observes.

  I set and write things that I observe and usually I have no idea what I'd like to write about, let alone actually want to write about or when I'd like to write it. Poorly written though, I write it down. I try and stick to that which I know or am learning more than not and it is written from what I view from a Christian perspective. I study the Bible yet know little when compared to many, but I feel a connection to God and to Jesus. Point is, I can only write about my own faults as to my own beliefs and so I may state an opinion to other faiths and beliefs, but it is not an objective viewpoint. We all all like that truthfully, like it or not, fair or unfair... that is the truth. Whatever beliefs that the writer writes from expresses either intentionally or unintentionally their own perspective, and sometimes that perspective isn't from the Creator. What works for me may not work for you and that may not work for someone else. Me personally I don't like me and so I work on making me better. I do this by not focusing on what is right but rather what is wrong. Someone else may need to like or love themselves in order to correct themselves and become closer to the Creator. It doesn't make either of us right or wrong anymore than it doesn't mean that if something changes that we can't change how we do this... only that we do become better connected with God.

  When we read whatever manual for living closer to our Creator we must learn to discern history from present and fact from fiction, be that error or intentional. Then I think we must ask ourselves what was left out and what was added. An old saying was "You don't throw out the baby with the bath water." Most religions have some common ground in which the footings are laid. These days many religions sound more like Christianity than Christianity does, and that is sad. Books these days are written a lot of times by those who cannot do or even teach, that should sound off bells and whistles. We are walking across a battlefield asking the dead how to survive. Does that sound smart to you? I will include Judaism, Islamic, and other beliefs in that too. If a word or phrase don't fit what our narrow minds have, just the word alone, we close the door. The same goes for those who have no faith in a Higher Power.

  I'd like to expand on some things I find unbelievable based on that last sentence. When the name Jesus is spoken or written, Christians faces light up, even if it is being used for evil to be done. Just as long as they say Amen. Muslims faces light up and say He was a good teacher and prophet, then curl back off when the name Son Of God is said. Judaism's toes curl up and tempers boil as they say He was a blasphemer and devil. Atheist and Agnostics turn off immediately. Zionist and New Age see an opportunity. About the same thing with God and different names, even though Christians know the Bible says He has many names. Mention the term God and some Jewish sects will spell it G-D. What is that? Islamic people don't seem to care how His name is pronounced. The word God is a title and not a name. Christianity has a lot of prophets and knows there will be plenty of false prophets in the last days. Nowhere have I yet found that there will be NO prophets in the last days. Prophets usually see into the future or carry a message that is usually not well received at the time it is told. These days we call them evil and witches, so nothing has changed, save for chronological date change. Now days John the Baptist would probably still be beheaded as would Daniel, declared mentally unstable first. Rather than a road book and history lesson of a few tribes it has become a beating tool and controlling tool, a  dividing staff. An instrument of hate. Thankfully though not for everyone.

  I really feel that some people are commissioned to write about things that are positive and happy, happy thoughts, while some are to write of truth of the times, and others write to make you stop and think. None of these are any more important than the others. So the guy I listened to I didn't 100% agree with, but I'm close to his perspective. I liked him enough to post a video here and listen to him the full two hours, then parts again.