Christian Beliefs

In some Western countries there’s an emphasis on a Christian individuality.  These Westerners based their beliefs on Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christianity.  In the Holy Bible much is centered on spiritual personalities and their vertical relationship with God.  A few of the righteous were Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Noah in the Old Testament; John the Baptist, Mary, the Mother of God, and the twelve disciples (later apostles) in the New Testament.

Today Christians’ horizontal relationships with the divine may be rather challenging.  Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), the longest serving First Lady of the United States, observed, “We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.”  Still Jesus Christ reminded us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  In Scripture such caring – the love of our neighbor, ought to be the pilot in our Christian walk.

Search for Meaning

An Italian Dominican friar and Catholic priest Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was concerned about the true meaning of life and mankind’s relationship with God.  Much of his focus was on prayer and the divine truth.  Marcus Aurelius (121–180 AD), a Roman Emperor believed, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is well within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Priests, good, and caring friends continue to hold out hope when they say look within to find the true meaning of life.  Some stories in the media stress the same basic idea.  The American mind explored by a French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville saw such an experience about American democracy in the 1800s.

Some Western journalists endeavor to report the news objectively.  This resulted through two schools of thought:  a) the rationalists who believe that knowledge could occur with experience; and b) the empiricists who subscribe to the basis of their knowledge on observation borrowed from the natural and physical sciences.  In a “dialectic approach” journalists may present both sides of a story leaving readers to draw their own conclusions.

Editorialists though are free to express their own opinions by arguing for a particular point of view.  These writers are mainly drawn from the ranks of seasoned journalists with years of professional experience.  These may be specialists and respected for their incisive reflections about the society.  They consider such assignments to be pearls in the world of journalism.  Michael Pollan (b. 1956), an author and professor wrote, “I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not.”  Pollan has to be alluding to the fact that journalists regardless of how talented they are lack perfection.

Love of Freedom

The love of freedom is held up and promoted as the epitome of living successfully in Western democracies.  Currently, there are debates concerning how people may explore the limits of freedom.  Scripture tells us of the total freedom believers will find in Christ.  Such freedom is the truest and best of all freedoms.  There will always be limitations that have to be tempered with personal responsibility.    In times of war and terrorists’ acts, America’s 1st Amendment that attests to American democratic freedom is sorely tested:

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.

 U.S. Const. Amend. 1 (1791)

This amendment is only abridged when national security interests are under attack.  In reporting questions always arise concerning how journalists address such concerns?  What effects this law will have on the American tourism industry and the perceptions of foreigners living in our midst?

Wilson Mizner (1876–1933), a playwright and entrepreneur wrote, “To profit from good advice requires more wisdom than to give it.”  Although the American 1st Amendment is law and much more than mere advice, it has proved itself to be beneficial not only to the American government, but also to all citizens.

Joy of Faith

The joy of faith is contagious.  Each day it comes like the light of God which shines brighter and brighter.   In short, it’s our daily bread dished out for us to taste its sweetness.  This heavenly delicacy which is sweeter than honey accompanies us on our faith journey.  Faith is a free and everlasting gift with no limits.  It’s special and supernatural.  Supremely, it’s like heaven on earth while we go through its fields picking beautiful flowers.  This journey is by the loving care of our Physician of Souls, who dwells on high.  In our divinely orchestrated world we move independently with a special passion, walking by faith, and not by sight.  Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890), a major Dutch Post-Impressionist painter professed, “I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed.”  Van Gogh was talking about God’s goodness and guidance in his faith walk.   So why shouldn’t we do the same?

A Joyful Witness

Let your shout for joy penetrate the night air.  Be happy when you witness by showing an attitude of thanksgiving to our Savior who’s loving and just.  God is our bread and feeds us with an abundance of blessings.  For our benefit he has bestowed us with the gift of knowledge.  As a testament to such a gift innovators have invented engines and machines which make our lives more enjoyable.  Daily, God’s sustenance continues to fascinate our souls.  We are able to journey from place to place through life with confidence, patience and perseverance.  In doing so, we relentlessly storm heaven with prayers for the good things and benefits of life.  These prayers bring relief to souls unable to find life’s blessings and satisfaction.

The Journey of Faith

An America professor of Internet Law at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Johnathan Zittrain (b. 1969) remarked, “If you entrust your data to others, they can let you down or outright betray you.”  In modern society which depends on the flow of data, Zittrain’s statement is sensible.  In the Internet world there are instances of concern about security, but whatever we do, we have to trust others, and have faith they will do what’s in our best interest.  Being able to trust is important for the proper functioning of our society.  This task is never easy, but depends on faith, for he’s the true bread of life, in whom, we depend for sustenance.  In his gifts we rejoice.

Christians grow in faith through their Church.  By this gift they are better and look forward to the day when they will gain heavenly crowns.  These authentic Christians are rich in wisdom and display grace.  Their love is known in the world.  Their security is abundant since their souls are at peace.  They are healed, fruitful, and blessed.  They are shining lights to all men and women.

A Chinese philosopher, poet and founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu (604 B.C.–531 B.C.) observed, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  This expression is faith-filled because such accomplishments may not necessary come in the form of mountains, or leaps and bounds, but like a little mustard seed that grows abundantly.

A Flicker of Light

John 5:35 stated, “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for awhile in his light.”  It takes is a flicker to illuminate a dark pathway.  This is the essence of faith that brings light in our lives.  Truly, light enlightens our darkest deeds.  This may be demonstrated by how we care and treat God’s creation which is a special gift to us.

In modern society we live in the comfort of our home and enjoy family life.  Nor must we forget once our earthly journey is complete we look forward to the beauty and prestige of God’s Heavenly Kingdom.  What a joyful day it will be when we pass through the spiritual gates of acceptance.  But now we must tend to the welfare of souls amongst us.  Let us delight and have a dialogue with souls yearning to be set free to ascend to heavenly places. This is why each Sunday on every continent Christians flock to churches to be invigorated in their ongoing mission of faith.

 

Gifts of Joy

We must consider it gifts of joy when we encounter various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance.  This endurance has its good result so that we will be perfect and complete (Jas 1:2-4).  When we share in the suffering of Christ keep rejoicing, so when the revelation of his glory comes, it will result in exultation (1 Pet 4:13).  The Lord explains that being drunk is a false joy (Jer 51:39).  But when he turns our sorrow into gladness then will our souls  sing praises unto him (Ps 30:11-12).

Artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969) felt, “As soon as you concern yourself with the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter.  Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you.”  It’s believed a good way to face the problems of life is to be positive.  Testing puts hurdles in our way which are necessary trials for our growth.

Course of Action

Through our intuition we often have to decide on the course of action we should take.  This will be the best way of dealing with our problems.  Brian Grazer (b. 1951), a film and television producer wrote, “You have to trust yourself not research.  Not testing.  Testing helps, but you have to trust your own taste.  If your taste says something isn’t any good, don’t let research rationalize that out of its own truth.”  One’s shoe doesn’t fit all.  A lot of research deals with generalizations but we should know the difference concerning what’s right for us.

Testing can make or break us.  The trick is to stay positive in our daily encounters to obtain the best results.  A former professional boxer Evander Holyfield (b. 1962) was certain: “The word of God steadies me.  He says your trials and tribulations make you who you are.  So you can see my whole story in the way I endured and overcame some testing experiences.”  Testing is like shaping a pot in a kiln.  The final result is what our potter Jesus wants us to be like.

Testing Situations

But still we have to question situations that come our way.  The Bible spells out why we ought to do this.  That is when we are propelled to discern the true gifts that guide us.  Thabo Mbeki (b. 1942), a South African politician remarked, “I think that probably the most important thing about our education was that it taught us to question even those things we thought we knew.  To say that you’ve got to inquire, you’ve got to be testing your knowledge all the time in order to be more effective in what you are doing.”  We should embrace the gifts for testing problems.

Testing however can be a double-edged sword.  Burt Rutan (b. 1943), an aerospace engineer said, “Testing leads to failure, and failure leads to understanding.”  It’s often said we must try again and again and at last we’ll succeed.  Let us view failure as a positive force that motivates us to do our best.  The 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter (b. 1924), remarked, “Testing oneself is best when done alone.”  Inevitably, testing begins by taking account of oneself.  We have to be honest about who we are.  To be true to oneself is paramount.  Change begins with us before spreading to others.

Our Heavenly Journey

How’s your journey?  Where will you end up?  In the Middle Ages it was believed that there was paradise on earth.  This place located in the Near East was described as having perfect beauty, peace and immortality for believers.  It was thought to be the Garden of Eden that the Bible describes in the Book of Genesis.  This garden was said to be never have been destroyed with the fall of man.

In William Morris’ Earthy Paradise was a collection of narrative poems that dealt in its prologue about the flight of Norse sailors from the Black Death and their search for an earthly paradise.   Americans in their journey however are involved with everyday realities.  Some are known to attend school for years, have careers, be affiliated with religious groups, and have families.  Some meet strangers and enjoy learning about diversified cultures.  Christians believe in life after death, but some non-believers don’t know what to expect.  Regardless of our beliefs, we’re all on a journey and we know we’ll eventually die.  But, Christians believe after death they will rise again and reside in heaven.

Right Comfort

 As they journey Americans wish to do so quickly and comfortably.  There are a lot of products promoted in stores to accomplish these ends.  Consumers use the best services, right chairs, adjustable mechanisms, or stay in a Comfort Inns.  They wish to sleep well and improve their home efficiency by having comfort in every room.  Some use a water furnace and have a Geothermal Unit, with satellite TV programs that are easily accessible and convenient.  Others ride a hybrid and comfort bike-shopper for buying groceries.  Some ladies are known to wear a Comfort-Sports Bra when playing sports.  With these right comforts we’re all moving rapidly along in style.  But, where are we going?  Where will we end up?

No Destination

 Some folks that are journeying but they don’t appear to have any clear destination in mind.  We take flights with our imagination and may even descend to the underworld.  This has been the motif of stories in mythology and folklore.  In these stories, a descent is generally made to capture an abducted person, or someone who has died.  It’s also to seize treasure, or to discover secrets about the rulers of the underworld.  Myths like these appear in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese and Japanese mythology.

We don’t even have to reflect mentally on folklore, for these circumstances are played out in real life.  Persons journeying are involved in chases, crime, burglaries, interludes, drama, fiction, murder, assassinations, discoveries, and a myriad of intrigue.  In our diverse vocations we take trips along different avenues in our lives.  Where?  Some may ask.  It’s everywhere, in all directions, doing good and bad.  Nevertheless Scripture is clear that the kingdom of heaven is won by grace.  Some bad characters will surely end up in the same place with reasonably good men and women.

Our Inner Voice

Our inner voice seems to be on a journey of its own. Often it praises us for successes which we enjoy.  Then, there’s disillusionment.  Some situations seem bizarre and we wonder where we’re heading.  At other times, our psyches assure us that we’re right to be happy.  Maybe because we’ve won scholarships to prestigious universities, or, have been honored as man or woman of the year in Time magazine.  In your minds’ eye we picture the accolades.  Having reflected on how blessed we are, we thank our stars for our good fortune.

Our inner voices may take other flights.  As we’re journeying we reason how conscientious we have been at work.  Having no reservations about our thoughts, we seem encouraged about some good people in the world.  Soon dissolution creeps in.  We start doubting what we really believe.  We feel now that we deserve more from life.  People we observe are not treating us as kindly as we think they should.  Our feelings are now interspersed with anxiety attacks but why?  To us, these seem to reveal some basic need that we can’t quite put your finger on.  We’ve to have friends, colleagues with whom we can talk and share some of our innermost thoughts.

We have tried psychiatrists but that don’t seem to help the way we wish.  Our thinking directs us to latch on to Christian friends to help find answers that appear to be evading us.  This we’ll try first before seeing our priests for counseling.  In church we find ourselves surrounded by Christian love and we did discover in our Christian friends, gems we met at Barnes & Noble.  They are pious, goodhearted and strike us as having happy dispositions.  Our thoughts have begun to be peaceful as we journey on, for in them we’ve found what we believe as real peace and happiness.  We reasoned, it’s not fame or fortune that matters most, but contentment and inner-happiness.  We presently believe, “We’re set in life and ready for God’s Kingdom.”

Media Convergence

The Internet has evolved as a dynamic teaching, research and entertainment resource.  It’s a major player in mass communications that embraces all disciplines.  Because of its interactive nature it has profound influences in many countries of our world.  All that’s necessary is for users to have access to computers, modems, and an Internet provider.

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928), an American linguist and political commentator wrote, “The Internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.”  We see this because the costs of computers are more affordable to Americans, and the accessibility to websites at an all-time high.  A feature making this revolution possible is the multiplicity of search engines.

Social media sites like Google +, Facebook, Twitter, emails and chat-rooms are media options many enjoy.  Attachments on emails, pictures, greeting cards, and animated graphics are delightful additions to Christians and non-Christians alike.  With interactions via e-newsletters, e-newspapers and e-magazines, interest groups have made their presence felt.  Some Christians do their devotions now through social media sites.  Every day, they are introduced to prayer requests, their patron saints, and devotionals from diverse prayer groups.

Children & Internet

K. Rowling (b. 1965), a British novelist remarked, “The Internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers.” It’s been a boon because teenagers are doing their research and homework assignments with its aid. While online, they are able to access encyclopedias; with interactive features both teachers and students can share workstations, while participating in video conferences.

For younger children, ages three through twelve Junior Net Corp – an online service for kids has teamed up with Highlights for Children and Sports Illustrated for Kids, to provide advertising free places where students can do research, puzzles while participating in classes, and play virtual games.

Queen Rania of Jordan (b. 1970) observed: “In education, technology can be a life-changer, a game changer, for kids who are both in school and out of school.  Technology can bring textbooks to life.  The Internet can connect students to their peers in other parts of the world.  It can bridge the quality gaps.”  To Queen Rania, this Internet technology holds promises for kids to improve socially by being able to receive a global education.

But the allegorical “serpent” known in Judaic-Christian scriptures continues to be a threat to youngsters who venture aimlessly on the worldwide web.  As they surf the web they may encounter predators seeking to entrap the innocent and naïve.   Children are vulnerable and can be victims to online criminals.  Even some adults have fallen prey to scams in cyberspace which were devastating.  Because of these reasons some parents have turned to the Internet filtering technology to counter such devious behavior.  However, there remain problems with the filtering effectiveness on computers.  Media professionals therefore advise parents to exercise control concerning when their children are surfing the Internet.

The Bible & Web

As we reflect on the boon on the Internet we must think about the presence of a number of Holy Bibles whose texts show the way to the religious, brokenhearted and lost alike.  John Locke (1632–1704), an English philosopher and physician assured us: “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men.  It has God as its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter.  It is all pure.”  Before Rowling expressed the idea that the Internet can be a “boon or curse for teenagers”, but it can impact the young and old alike.  Despite these shortcomings, the Word of God has also taken a central role in all the traffic found on websites.  It’s pure in the midst of impurities.  It’s however necessary for Internet users to choose wisely from this digital diet that’s free to all.