Game Over Videogames CEO: I love you (RE Thanksgiving Memo)

Thanksgiving Background

Happy Thanksgiving to All – by which we mean, all those in the Upper Class in America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there’s any hope for America, it’s in people like David Kaelin, the President and CEO of Game Over Videogames.  He wrote a memorandum to his employees regarding the Thanksgiving holiday and it ended up being posted at Boycott Black Thursday, a Facebook page.  It is almost impossible to read the small image there, but an enlarged copy can be seen at a Nice World thread:  Black Thursday/Friday.   I’ve written it out here for your Thanksgiving joy, and as a reminder that there are still people in business who think of their employees as humans (that is, a thing that has thoughts and needs other than those of a robot) and are not afraid to say what they think of certain employers.

__________________

11/06/2014

From the Office of David Kaelin

President and CEO Game Over Videogames

Memorandum to All Employees

Subject:  Thanksgiving Holiday Scheduling

Attention Employees of Game Over Videogames,

Many of you have been asking if we will be open on Thanksgiving Day.

No, we will not be open on Thanksgiving Day.

I do not hate you.   You guys are awesome.   Why on earth would I do some god awful thing like make you work on Thanksgiving Day?  I can’t believe you even asked that.  What kind of evil- inconsiderate- heartless- soul-sucking- black pit of doom- employer would do that?

Enjoy the day off and spend time with your family.

Love,

David Kaelin

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To sign a petition asking Kmart not to force their employees to work on Thanksgiving, go here:  https://www.coworker.org/petitions/kmart-close-early-on-thanksgiving

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The following information is from a petition to Walmart:

Income inequality is the highest it’s been since 1928. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages are at the lowest point since 1948 – even as productivity increases.

No one family is driving this trend quite like Walmart’s owners, the Waltons. The Walton family is the richest family in America with nearly $150 billion in wealth and as much money as 43% of American families combined. And yet, most Walmart workers make less than just $25,000 a year. That’s why community members are joining their calls for increased wages and access to hours. Stand with us and join us on Black Friday if the Waltons fail to respond.

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America, the land of opportunity!  For the already wealthy and powerful to suck the wealth out of the powerless workers, that is.

Posted in Christian, Christianity, Entertainment, Holidays, Love, Religion, Video games, workers rights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Gay Love” by K. Smart: Excerpts and Pulled Verses

There is no shortage of information available on the internet regarding what the Bible says about sin and salvation in general, and homosexual acts as sin in particular.  I came across an article by Kevin Smart (I think it’s actually by his wife, however!) at Light & Life Communications and thought it was good, so I want to share it.  Also, the article contains references to biblical verses regarding homosexuality, so I’ve written them out here for your reference.

For anyone who comes to this article and wants to rave about how I’m picking on a certain sin and somehow that negates the points made–please, don’t be absurd.  Sin is sin, no matter WHICH sin it is (if one can in all seriousness claim that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual practices, then in all seriousness, it doesn’t condemn anything).  The reason why Smart’s article exists, and others like it, is because so many people are trying to make homosexual acts NOT a sin when they clearly are in God’s view.  The worldly embrace of homosexuality has entered the church and thus it’s a big issue indeed.  Who would accept a church that embraces adultery the same way?  That would be funny, wouldn’t it, to see a bunch of leaders in churches who are proud practitioners of adultery?  Adulterous acts and homosexual acts are both sexual sin–they are outside of God’s provision of marriage between one man and one woman.

Gay Love

A formerly nonexistent point of view in the Christian community is increasingly becoming a popular opinion: A heterosexual union is the ideal, but a monogamous union of a homosexual couple is acceptable to God.

I have wondered in the past whether or not I had any right to question a homosexual’s lifestyle if that individual maintained a monogamous relationship. God has blessed me with many beautiful friendships in my life. Over the years as the homosexual backgrounds of some friends have been revealed to me, I have become somewhat perplexed about why I, as a heterosexual Christian, would have so many friends and acquaintances who are gay.

. . . .  Christians need to be reminded, as I have been, that they are the salt for their homosexual neighbors. They have what it takes — God’s grace — for homosexuals to be freed of their thorns in the flesh, the sins in their lives. We as Christians need to show God’s unconditional love to homosexuals to such an extent that they become more attracted to God in our lives than they are to a member of the same sex. If our neighbor finds in us the love of Jesus Christ, he or she may turn from homosexuality’s embrace. We should not close them out of our lives.

. . . .  Many homosexual Christian activists argue that Christians who condemn homosexuality based on biblical grounds are taking the Bible’s references to homosexuality out of context. There has been much written in support of Christians practicing homosexuality, as these writers retranslate and reinterpret Scripture in favor of homosexuality.

Without taking on the task systematically, I would like to simplify the classic argument against homosexual practice, while not intending to oversimplify it. We need only look to Genesis to meditate on the fact that God created man, and then woman, in His image to be united in exclusive intimacy. Genesis unmistakably teaches that God made man and woman to become one flesh. This is the good and perfect will of God, which men and women have since disobeyed and marred in all forms of sin, including homosexuality and transsexuality, which are condemned explicitly elsewhere in Scripture (rather than just implicitly in the Genesis Creation narrative): Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 22:5; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10-11; Romans 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-7; and Jude 1:7.  [see the verses written out below]

. . . .  Condemning homosexual relations, I’m well aware, is not socially or politically popular at present, but as Christians we are called to be not politically correct but biblically correct, to seek God’s righteousness and to be molded into the likeness of Christ. . . .  Nevertheless, we can be friends, mentors, prayer partners, accountability peers and witnesses to the gays and lesbians in our lives. Heterosexuals should not think that because we do not have a homosexual past we cannot witness to a homosexual neighbor. In fact, a homosexual who is searching may find the health and restoration he or she needs within the environment surrounding a loving, godly married couple who invites him or her into their lives through friendship and Christian witness. . . .

. . . .  Read more at the link provided (article title)!

Verses (from the NIV) for the biblical references given in the article only (excluding Genesis 19 and Judges 19):

Leviticus 18:22:   Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13:  If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Deuteronomy 22:5:  A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.  [Considering when this was written, surely if someone wore the cloths of the opposite sex it was meant as an act of deception.]

Deuteronomy 23:17:  No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. [“There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” 1 Kings 14:24]

1 Corinthians 6:9-11:  Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Timothy 1:[8]-11:  We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.  We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Romans 1:26-27:  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Matthew 19:4-[6] (and Mark 10:6-7):  “Haven’t you read,” he [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joinedtwo-kinds-of-people-by-cs-lewis_zpsbcb8ec60 together, let no one separate.”

Jude 1:7:  In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Posted in Bible Study, Christian, Christianity, Faith, Religion, Theology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

No players showing on Destiny locations

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

I don’t know the technology behind servers for video games like Destiny, but for quite some time now I have seen no other players.  I was on Mars for quite some time, gathering relic iron and waiting for a public event, and I didn’t see a single soul the whole time.  I went to Venus to gather spirit bloom and saw . . . not a single player.  I went to The Tower and saw no one.  But, right now, the little “radar” map in the upper left corner is showing people around me (blue dots and blue arrows); yet I see no one.  The radar on the planets never indicated that anyone was around the whole time.

I haven’t found anything online about this, so if you know anything about it I’d love to hear it.  I would also love to find a REAL place where a person can report bugs and tech issues to Bungie.  If you know of such a place, please leave a comment!  Also, if you’d like to do the special level 26 strike for The Thorn hand cannon, let me know–my son needs to get that finished and it’s a bit of a strain doing it alone.

Update.  This morning, the issue was still the same.  I went to the Bungie “help” page (what a joke), didn’t see a post with the same issue,  so reported it.  But, having the notion that Bungie wasn’t going to actually help, I took the disc out of the XBOX one, put in Garden Warfare, and played a round.  All was good – it’s not our internet settings or the like.  I then put the Destiny disc back in, signed in, and now I can see players.  This is just weird and we have not had issues like this with other games.  There is also a weird sound issue that is unique!

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A Destiny Black Garden Photo Album

Some photos taken while in the Black Garden.  If by chance you want to use any, you may as long as you include the url of this page.  If you want to know more about the game, you can see Destiny, A New Kind of Online Multi-Player Video Game and Destiny’s Notebook.  Thanks!

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

A crazy, multi-frame shot from right before battling the Vex and Sol Progeny.

 

Me sitting at an interior garden area.  It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

Me sitting at an interior garden area. It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

Flowers in the Black Garden (interior, mostly).

Flowers in the Black Garden (interior, mostly).

More flowers in the Black Garden

 

This doesn't show it well, but bubbles float up out of the water in the Black Garden.

This doesn’t show it well, but bubbles float up out of the water in the Black Garden.

 

The Black Garden after you go through the initial interior area.  From here, you descend.

The Black Garden after you go through the initial interior area. From here, you descend.

 

As you descend toward the heart, you realize, for sure, that you're underground. The diamond is not a glitch, but a floating species of the Garden.

As you descend toward the heart, you realize, for sure, that you’re underground. The diamond is not a glitch, but a floating species of the Garden.

An interior Black Garden view.

An interior Black Garden view.

 

Black Garden, colorful door area to outside space.

Black Garden, colorful door area to outside space.

 

Black Heart, view from just-opened door.

Black Heart, view from just-opened door.

 

One image I would’ve like to include was of the garden after this door was opened.  Apparently, the darkness that was let through was enough to destroy, or at least corrupt, the beauty of the rest of the garden.  All turned lifeless tan and dark, with red sky.

Worshiping Vex with a Sol Progeny statue toward back.

Worshiping Vex with a Sol Progeny statue toward back.

 

Yep, I don't think I was welcome.

Yep, I don’t think I was welcome.

 

Please see the first image in this album for what happens next, me getting ready to battle.  There are no battle images here as I was tooo busy.  ^_^   For more game info and images, please see Destiny’s Notebook, right here at my blog.

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Destiny’s Notebook

[This is the ongoing notebook, or journal, of a guardian in Destiny.  It contains information on gameplay, game characters, and the storyline.  Check back often for new entries and updates . . . last updated on 10-7-14.  For the my “likes and don’t-likes” of the game, see the second part (especially) of Destiny, A New Kind of Online Multiplayer Video Game .]

Second Birthday

Well, this is awkward.  And sad . . . that is, I’m sad.  The reason:  one moment I’m battling some earth invaders, the next I’m talking with this little floating angular thing which appears to be staring at me with one bright bright eye, and he – yes, he – is saying how I was dead for a long time but I’m alive now . . . by some unstated, unexplained voodoo . . . and how he’s my “ghost.”  Then run run run.

So, what year is it?  2726?*  Did my family leave any descendents that are now alive?  The Traveler I know of, but all this is new.  Or, I guess, the result of what was beginning when I was killed so many years ago.  So, now there are these “ghosts” The Traveler made before it went into a sort-of hibernation, and I draw power (“light”) from my ghost, or is it The Traveler?  This power is awesome, so don’t think I’m complaining.  Just confused, so far.  Hmmm.  I am a powerful Titan now, but with much to learn . . . and of my past, much to forget.  Even my name, apparently, since it is Amenta but my ghost only calls me Guardian.

A Later Day

I have learned much but haven’t been in any mood to write.  I have done what I ought to, have been going through the motions since my second birth, and now am beginning to get used to my very unexpected new life; all that I knew, all the people I liked and loved, gone . . .  in a flash . . . and yet everyone wants to dance.

Here’s a pic of me.  Not very good, taken before sunrise at The Tower.  But it’ll have to do for now.  I will return later with some of my experiences, but know one thing – it is as annoying as you have imagined having to take a potty break.  Oh, and know a second thing.  With all the incredible tech that goes into the armor, weapons, ships, teleportation, etc., they still can’t get me a helmet with night vision . . .  How crazy is that??

Me, Amenta, at The Tower (yes, I have legendary blue armor on - a bright thing in my new life).

Me, Amenta, at The Tower (yes, I have legendary blue armor on – a bright thing in my new life).

The Sword of Crota – Oh Happy Day!

I had the most fun today.  Patrols can be fun and relaxing, and the missions – well, they can be fun, but those thick-skinned bosses can be a bit tedious as well!  But then I get this mission to find the “Sword of Crota,” some old super powerful sword.  Sounds like a legend that turns out to be, if anything, just an old cool looking piece of steel.  But no, I found the Sword of Crota and it was all that it was touted to be.  Wielding that thing against enemies was like playing an aerobics version of whack-a-mole.  Yes, you actually whack the ground with a sword!  You can slash around with it, too, and slicing up the annoying Hive lackeys was quite satisfying.  Of course, I defeated the three powerful Swarm Princes that guarded it.  They’re not very good guardians if they can’t stand up to their own weapon.  But then again, look who was wielding it.  ;-)

(I wonder when I’m going to find a blade I can wield against enemies.  That Crota Sword was just so much fun, but I find there is some force that doesn’t allow me to pick up any Hive swords I find laying around.  Hmph.)

How is ANYONE Alive Anymore?

I have been through many battles now on the planets we had settled in our Solar System.  Besides the heart-wrench I feel when seeing all things abandoned and destroyed, especially on wild and beautiful Venus, there are all the enemies.  The Traveler has so many enemies – why?  The Darkness is The Traveler’s foe, but why does The Darkness have so many apparent minions that fight each other?  How can these “civilizations” go on, fighting and killing so much?  Well, THIS guardian is helping to relieve them of their miserable existence, but, there are just so many.  It’s like they breed and grow to adulthood daily . . .

In any case, there are four different enemies:  Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal.  The Fallen; I expected a race having the name “Fallen” to be human, at least, but these things have four arms.  So, the Fallen are insectoid humans?  They are piratical with no real home, apparently feeling most comfortable with their military “houses”–one is called “Devils,” another “Exile,” again making me wonder about a possible human past.  I’ve been told that the weird purple spew that I see when they die is their souls coming out, but I’m going to ask around about that more; I wonder if The Speaker knows?

The ancient, undead Hive are moon-based, but invade Earth too, fighting us and the Fallen.  Their moon settlements are vast and amazing, even though their floors, chambers, halls, outdoor grounds, bathrooms (no doubt), and anywhere a Hive member has walked, are littered with human bones.  I don’t know that humans are their enemies so much, more like their meal source.

The Vex; how I hate the Vex.  They occupy Venus, and they are biological-mechanical hybrids (abominations that, to all appearances, have traded in their biological bodies for mechanical ones) with no desire whatsoever to communicate – exterminating us is their only desire.

I wonder if the Cabal are just imperialistic opportunists who don’t care about The Darkness or The Light, but only go forth and conquer in the name of power and money?  Whatever their motives, they fight any Vex they see on Mars (a VERY GOOD thing), but they also attack Guardians, so . . . another day, another enemy.

Mom, Where do Servitors Come from?

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One of Aksor’s servitors.

Went on this strike mission on Venus, at Ishtar’s Sink, and ran into an Archon Priest.  What a bear and a bug it was to take him down!  He was an amusing foe, though, with his wicked laugh and his presumed curses at us.  His name was Aksor, and he was of the Fallen House of Kings.  Besides noting my team’s victory, I wanted to record something else odd and amusing the Archon did.  Servitors are everywhere and I don’t know how they all come into being, but Aksor makes servitors appear to assist him in an odd way.  Maybe he doesn’t do this all the time (or didn’t, I should say), but as I was standing in front of him at one point, he squatted – yes, squatted – and emitted purple energy all around him.  Then pops out a servitor.  OK.  So, was Aksor really female and she births those things, or is Aksor going to the bathroom, or is Aksor a male that drops a ball now and again?  No matter which might be correct, all methods would imply either a limited number of drops or a necessary regeneration time.   At least it didn’t smell.

New Friends

Banshee-44 and Phil

Banshee-44 and Phil

So I’ve been around for a while and have made some new friends.  I took a pic of two of them together – aren’t they cool?  One is the gunsmith at The Tower, Banshee-44–he’s on the left in the photo.  The other is Phil, a strapping Exo Warlock; he’s good to have by your side on strikes.  He has those exotic Sunbreaker gauntlets, which are just so awesome (and I lent him some coin for their purchase . . . . he owes me  ^_^  )!

Banshee-44 and Phil are both Exos and get along great.  I don’t mind just listening to them talk, especially since Banshee-44 is just so funny.  When they first met Banshee dryly said to Phil, regarding his face paint, “Are those bite marks?  Nasty . . . “.

When I first met Banshee, he said, “Have we met?  I know that gun.”  One time when I approached him it was early, and he said, “Nothing like a new gun in the morning.”  “Indeed, indeed,” I said to him, and “If I purchase a new firearm from you, perhaps all three of us could go have some coffee and danish together.”  I didn’t end up buying a gun that day, but next time I do I need to be there in the morning so we can get our Danish!

The Queen’s Wrath

The Awoken Queen said she expected me to answer her calls for assistance after she helped me gain access to the Black Garden, and she has wasted little time in calling!  But as the Queen is rewarding diligence handsomely for doing her bidding, I am pretty much at her beck and call.  She has two new shades to color armor, which I would love! – but, one of them requires that I do A LOT of her quests.  I will see if I can accommodate her while her emissary is with us at The Tower (she is only with us for about two weeks, though I’m pretty sure she’ll be back again).  It IS pleasant seeing her ship docked out past the large tower gate courtyard, with its huge streamers flapping in the breeze.  Her bounties can be fairly easy, but her missions . . . that is another thing altogether.

The Black Garden

What a time I had at The Black Garden.  I made it there, and I made it out alive; I fought the Vex and the Sol Progeny, alone, and have lived to tell of it.  Or rather, I would live to tell of the beauty of that garden.  If I can find a way back to the garden, I will go and maybe be able to get an image of it, an image worthy of its beauty and remembrance.  The images I have seen of it come out so green, and no doubt that is the spiritual essence of the place – or so it was.

The walkway in the center, which is part stairway and travels downward, is beautiful in itself; but from it you can see the utter vastness of the garden.  Its huge, depthless chasms, its field of black flowers that release red petals that float, float up, up; it’s so odd, and it inspires awe.  Before you get to that area there is an interior sort of winding garden area with pools of water.  I mention this because they, too, release something that floats–water coated gas bubbles emerge from the water, travel upwards, and dissipate.  I want very much to return.

I want to mention a curious thing related to the enemy that “lived” in that timeless, placeless place.  What is called The Black Heart was there, a disturbing, roiling mass of what looked like black oil.  It had called the Sol Progeny to fight me, and these three Sol Progeny had been–to all appearances–lifeless statues.  The Progeny were brought to life and emanated dark energy.

The thing I find curious is that I too was lifeless, and I was brought to life and draw on the power of the one who reanimated me, The Traveler.  His energy is light, though.  Just something that occurred to me.  There are powers in this universe that control life and death, that can channel their own power through a living thing.  I wonder if it’s someone’s unchangeable “destiny” to belong to a power that is dark or a power that is light.  I’m glad I’m with the light, but for those with the dark, do they ever wish they weren’t?  Do they ever think of “changing sides,” but cannot?  Or once your being flows with whichever energy, is it even possible to think of being different?  I’m thinking of it objectively now, but I am not tempted to change.

Who Am I, Really?

I have memories of battle, sort-of, and I knew how to use a high powered weapon right after my reawakening . . . it all seemed right and seemed to fit.  But, I don’t know if all my “memories” are really my own.  I mean, it dawned on me that I was found by my ghost amongst a ton of cars that were obviously in a jam, no doubt a jam that was headed outside the city; I wasn’t found at a battleground.  All were dead, and I had seen more than one skeleton.  All the dead there were very dead for a very long time.  Yet, somehow, I was reanimated, flesh and all.  Since The Traveler has the power to do that, He no doubt has the power to make me “know” things, like how to handle a weapon or two . . . and make it seem like my own memory.  Or maybe I happened to be a Guardian (soldier) who happened to be running away . . . yeah.

I wonder if any Warlock has figured this out yet, but is simply holding out on us.

Black Garden Memories

I asked my ghost, and he was able to provide me some images from The Black Garden!  It’s exciting, even though they are not very good.  My ghost is more than amazing, but images simply can’t capture the all-encompassing beauty of The Black Garden.  Here are just a couple, but I’ll be putting more together in a little photo album.

Me and my ghost at the Black Garden, just before the battle to destroy the Black Heart begins.

Me and my ghost at the Black Garden, just before the battle to destroy the Black Heart begins.

 

Me sitting at an interior garden area.  It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

Me sitting at an interior garden area. It was so peaceful . . . after I eliminated my attackers.

As Days Go By

The Queen’s Emissary will depart soon, but I’m confident I’ll at least be able to buy a couple of weapons (and the “class armor” item, which for me, is just a fancy butt banner) before she’s gone.  I was able to win her favor to a degree and obtain the Queen’s Emblem and a new shade of color for my armor–they are both very nice.  But I will not have done enough by the time she leaves to have earned the special armor shade or the exclusive emblem.  I’m a good guardian, but I not the best–at least for her purposes.

Destiny, on Venus, fun in purpleI know guardians who like fighting it out in the Crucible and who have guardian friends who can accompany them on the hardest missions.  Those kinds of things are needed to win the highest favor of the The Lady of the Reef.  I do some “strikes” with others, even the hardest Vanguard strikes, but the very hardest things, no, I’m not qualified yet to do them.  My friend Phil, whom I mentioned earlier (and he’s in that great photo!), he’s very good but he’s still not able to do the hardest missions yet.  He and I–we do many missions, even hard ones–by ourselves; still, the social guardians are the most highly rewarded.

PS:  It took many tries at The Lady’s “Kill Order,” but I finally won the Queen’s Armor (the “chest plate”).  I have it on in the two photos here.

Me with my new helmet (Helm of Saint-14) and Queens Guard Plate armor, on Venus.

Me with my new helmet (Helm of Saint-14) and the Queen’s Guard Plate armor, on Venus.

More Guardian Training, Fewer Missions

Now that the Queen’s emissary is gone, someone else has set up shop in our tower:  Lord Saladin.  He’s from the Iron Banner and has some nice things for sale for those who prove themselves in the Crucible.  I’m not very interested in training against guardians in the Crucible (I much prefer targeting real enemies), but he’s offering special bounties and missions there; Phil already made a reputation with Lord Saladin in his first day of doing his quests!  Anyway, the machine gun he offers is just  . . . awesome.  It’s practical looking but in a clean, stylish way, with just the right amount of embellishments.  It’s called “Jolder’s Hammer.”  So, maybe I’ll be persuaded to do Saladin’s wishes!  Or if Phil is nice, he may buy me one of those pretty machine guns.  :)

The Queen had given guardians missions to do in the worlds, but no so with Saladin.  So, I’ll just be going around, doing some strikes and such, and collecting Relic Iron from Mars and gathering all the other collectable things a guardian can to improve armor and weapons, and to bring to the guilds for trade.  I’ll have enough this week to buy the last weapon that I want that is actually purchasable right now.  After that, I’ll have less to do.   I think it will be time to catch up on some reading!  I might as well add these photos I took, too.  I wish they could really capture the beauty or other aspect of the place that I see when I’m there.

This area is so beautiful - this photo is only part of the whole.  There's a little pond at the bottom of the waterfall, and I often see a rainbow there.  So very peaceful compared to much of . . . everywhere.

This area is so beautiful – this photo is only part of the whole. There’s a little pond at the bottom of the waterfall, and I often see a rainbow there. So very peaceful compared to much of . . . everywhere.

Venus is so beautiful, but it has its creepier and drearier aspects.  Red water, decrepit buildings, bizarre clouds.

Venus is so beautiful, but it has its creepier and drearier aspects. Red water, decrepit buildings, bizarre clouds.

Venus, how beautiful it was; the manmade there didn't take over and overwhelm the natural.  But Venus' nature can't be tamed.  White-blue "lava" can be seen behind the buildings as "comets" fly through the air.  I call this my Venus at night postcard.

Venus, how beautiful it was; the manmade there didn’t take over and overwhelm the natural. But Venus’ nature can’t be tamed. White-blue “lava” can be seen behind the buildings as “comets” fly through the air. I call this my Venus at night postcard.

________

* The game is  set 700 years in the future, but from “near” our present time, when – as you can see in the opening of the game – humans had landed on Mars.  So, I made up a “we landed on Mars” future date and added 700.  This is the date for my character’s rebirth, not an official date from Bungie.

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Escape from Internet Savagery; Heal and Laugh

Hello!  We (my family and I) started a new forums board for the internet weary, and we’d love to have you visit and join if you like.

It’s a fun place, a place to find encouragement and stories showing the amazing goodness possible in the human being.  Ordinary conversation can be had, too, and we even have a shout box (live chatting).  It does not have the same domain name as here since we wanted it open to all people, and if any non-Christians there want to know more about Christ, all the better.  We had a forums board associated with “withchristianeyes” and it just didn’t get much traffic.  There are other Christian boards on the internet and sadly, there is a lot of aggression there.  Ours was to be aggression-free, but people just didn’t like that!

So, why am I doing another board that is also a save haven from aggressive trolls and the like?  Well, I want a place like that, so it seems very likely that others want that too.  I’m on
Twitter and it’s sad how many absolutely unpleasant people there are on there.  I don’t try to follow such people, but even many everyday tweets by people are mean-spirited.  Christ calls us to love and respect people, not hammer morality* into them or tell them they’re stupid simply for being in another political party (!).  There are incredibly close-minded and vicious people in whatever party.

So, the forum is called Nice World, A Narcissist-Free Environment.  As you might surmise, we like things a bit tongue-in cheek, and the language isn’t all proper there.  We hope you enjoy being at the place!  Here is an image of what a small part of it looks like right now.  We made it only a couple of days ago, so more boards (thread groups, not necessarily sections) are sure to come.  Thanks for checking it out!

Nice World Forums

* When someone accepts Christ and is reborn, the Holy Spirit will change them to be more in alignment with God’s will.  Christ and rebirth comes first, then change.

Posted in Christian, Christianity, Entertainment, Health, Humor, Religion, Spirituality, Video games | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello Kitty is Popular, but is she Evil?

A basic Hello Kitty.  (c) Sanrio

A basic Hello Kitty. (c) Sanrio

Some would say I’m a bit of a tom-boy, but when it comes to Hello Kitty, I’m all girl. If, somehow, you’ve missed the ubiquitous feline adorning girls and women alike, let me tell you a bit about her; if you came here trying to figure out if she’s actually diabolical, I’ll get to that. Hello Kitty is the star in the line-up of successful characters created by Japan’s Sanrio Company, Ltd. (Sanrio, Inc., is its U.S. subsidiary). Now at the ripe age of 40, she is more popular than ever and is one of the most successful brands in the history of marketing. She is so popular that Sanrio–without advertising–brings in $7 billion a year from her character alone.

Sanrio’s perspective is to spread happiness, love, and friendship. Their success in selling seemingly innumerable products, running popular theme parks, and even having Hello Kitty painted on airplanes (EVA Airways), shows that people desire to connect with those values.2

The adoration of Hello Kitty’s mouthless face is a bit of a mystery, however. There are some who find her face disturbing, but her popularity seems to prove the correctness of one of Sanrio’s ideas that by having no mouth, the person looking at Hello Kitty imagines her to have reciprocal feelings. True to the company’s perspective, Sanrio has also said that Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth because she doesn’t represent any particular language group—instead, she “speaks from the heart.”3

In a new twist (August 2014), Sanrio proclaimed something even stranger, however, saying that Hello Kitty wasn’t a cat, but a girl. The company does indeed seem to change with the times, which of course would be just “good business practice” according to many. But why would insisting that Hello Kitty is a girl and not a cat—even though she looks just like a cat (but with a short tail)—be a good business decision? Would people identify with her even more than they do now? (I doubt it, myself.) Maybe Sanrio is just trying to get back to Hello Kitty’s roots for her 40th anniversary . . . er, birthday. See, Hello Kitty is not the character’s name, actually, but Kitty White. She’s a “girl” (cat-girl mix?? Or woman, since she’s 40?) from the United Kingdom and not Japan, despite what some publications there would make you think; “she was born in southern England on November 1, 1974. She is a Scorpio and blood type A.”4 OK . . . .

A cute north-inspired Hello Kitty.  Apparently this was made for a mobile app by (c) Sanrio.

A cute north-inspired Hello Kitty. Apparently this was made for a mobile app by (c) Sanrio.

So, Hello Kitty’s creators, keepers, and fans might seem a bit obsessed, but is Hello Kitty actually evil and to be avoided by all God fearing folk? A controversy started a number of years ago revolving around a rumor like this: Hello Kitty’s designer was thankful to an idol/god of some sort for healing/helping her daughter, so she dedicated the design or creation of Hello Kitty to it.5 Since the lady who came up with Hello Kitty was single and childless at the time,6 either this rumor is completely false or the details are now wrong. In any case, imagining for a moment that this is true simply for argument’s sake, let’s look at how a Christian might respond. Let’s also look at two other concerns over immorality or evil possibly related to Hello Kitty that have concerned Christians.

What to do about things sacrificed to idols

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 14-33 (of the New Testament) Paul argues that it is better to not eat food that is sacrificed to idols/demons. The Christian sits at the table with Christ and so foods shared at an altar to a demon don’t belong there. He acknowledges that we have freedom in Christ and that the demons have no power over us, but he also calls on us to not make another person get the wrong idea about our alliance or beliefs. However, does this example apply to a non-food Hello Kitty product that was made in a factory and purchased at a retail store? Was the product offered in any way to a demon? This is extremely doubtful. The rumor or urban legend seems to have no validity in the first place, and Christians should not be spreading false reports and gossip.

Sanrio’s Hello Kitty contract with the band KISS

The Polish Catholic priest Slawomir Kostrzewa has been on a bit of a crusade that the western media is happy to make fun of. His cause is educating parents about toy and cartoon products that are increasingly dark and death related, products that seem to idolize death, the undead, and witchcraft, and calling on parents not to buy these products. Often, these products combine the cute and loving with Satan and sin, so that children may become immune to the ideas of evil and hell.

Since his own long writings and videos are in Polish, it isn’t the easiest thing to get at Kostrzewa’s own words. But there is an article out there you can read with Google translate (or whatever service or program you use) that presents much of Kostrzewa’s thought and argument.7   His case against Hello Kitty is two-fold: one, the availability of disturbing products that are not for children, which is discussed separately below, and two, children’s products that are made with death-approving or demonic symbols and associations. Only certain lines of the feline’s products have such associations–not all Hello Kitty products have skulls and other reminders of death on them. Of particular concern are the products based on Sanrio’s 2012 contractual agreement with the band KISS. The band KISS evokes death, rebellion toward God, and the serving of darkness, in its live performances. Why Sanrio chose to associate Hello Kitty with this band and what it evokes is a mystery.

Yep, this is a bit disturbing compared to other Hello Kitty images.  What was Sanrio thinking? (c) Sanrio

Yep, this is a bit disturbing compared to other Hello Kitty images. What was Sanrio thinking? (c) Sanrio

Whether the members of KISS worship Satan or not, the perception is often made by youth that they do, or that Satan and the dark side are cool. Lead singer Gene Simmons has certainly made it clear that he respects neither Christians nor God,8 so the band does not represent Godly or even tolerant secular values. So, would you want your child having a KISS product (Hello Kitty or other), or would you boycott all Sanrio products because they made an agreement with KISS that concerns a small line or products? That is up to you. Of course, if a person investigated all companies that s/he buys products from, there would no doubt be few companies found worthy of support in a Christian sense. Most people, and thus companies, are of this world and make decisions based on worldly ideals. I personally think that Sanrio made a bad business decision when it associated the wholesome Hello Kitty with such an unwholesome band.

Unsavory or not-made-for-children Hello Kitty products

It’s no secret that Hello Kitty appears on products everywhere, and many of these are not for children. Sanrio is adamant in its policy to not have guns made with Hello Kitty on them, so if you see such weapons they are privately (and unlawfully) produced. Otherwise, though, Sanrio seems quite free with its Hello Kitty license. There are “adult” Hello Kitty products out there, but I’m going to assume that a parent would not buy their kids these products or take them into stores that sell “adult” products! I personally have only seen them in online images and wouldn’t know whether they are licensed by Sanrio or not (as might be imagined, there is a huge “knock-off” industry devoted to Hello Kitty).

Since these Hello Kitty products exist, it seems likely that other cartoon characters are used in the adult products industry as well. If someone is making Mickey Mouse S&M products and you happen to find out about it, would you boycott all things Disney? This simply is a whole other realm that is not associated with children and would only be known by children or teens if an unscrupulous adult informed them in some manner. If you’re interested in knowing about some of the more weird or questionable Hello Kitty products, licensed or not, Hello Kitty Hell is a site devoted to driving up its site views . . . I mean, having this information in a centralized location.

To Enjoy or Not to Enjoy Hello Kitty

Compared to many of the toys and dolls for girls out today, most Hello Kitty products are definitely cute and innocent. There seems to be no validity to the rumor that the original design of Hello Kitty was dedicated to a demon and his work. The issues of inappropriate designs on some products, and products that aren’t meant for children, are issues that can and should be addressed by parents with their kids. Personally, I love the wholesome and fun Hello Kitty products (and simply avoid the far smaller number of questionable ones). They make me feel happy for whatever reason someone wants to come up with. Hello Kitty evokes mental associations of real kittens or puppies, of brightly colored and beautiful things like flowers, butterflies, birds, and cakes, and thus makes me feel happily free of cares for a time. I don’t see how there’s any harm in this from a Christian perspective.

For more on Hello Kitty and a Christianity, please see my earlier article, Hello Kitty is satanic and bad for Christians (>^_^<) KIDDING!   Thank you!

Hello Kitty tatoo, in a feminine traditional Japanese look.

Hello Kitty tatoo, in a feminine traditional Japanese look.

Sources & Notes

  1. At 40, Hello Kitty is timeless
  2. Hoover’s Company Profiles: Sanrio Company, Ltd.
  3. FAQ: Why Doesn’t Hello Kitty have a Mouth?
  4. Turns Out ‘Hello Kitty’ Is NOT a Cat and Never Has Been
  5. A version of the rumor from 2010 can be found at Hello Kitty Devil Worship
  6. What is This Thing Called Hello Kitty?
  7. Ks. Slawomir Kostrzewa: “Devils have become fashionable and a great sell” (translated from Polish)
  8. Snopes.com: KISS, KISS Rock Band is of the Devil

 

Posted in Children, Christianity, Entertainment, parenting, popular culture, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

By the Waters of Babylon: Fallout’s Honest Hearts, S. Vincent Benet’s Short Story, and the Biblical Psalm

By Vicki Priest (c) 2014

An image from Chernobyl, Russia, filtered by author (found at http://bit.ly/1t2nfGr).

An image from Chernobyl, Russia, filtered by author (found at http://bit.ly/1t2nfGr). This looks eerily like an image from the Fallout video game series.


Contents

  • About Honest Hearts
  • Psalm 137
  • Stephen Vincent Benet’s “By the Waters of Babylon”
  • The Influence of Psalm 137 and the surmised influence of the By the Waters of Babylon story in Honest Hearts

About Honest Hearts

The Fallout video game series takes a player on dangerous adventures through various regions of the United States after a future nuclear war with China has taken place. The series is one of the more successful in the “role playing game” (RPG) genre, taking place in “post-apocalyptic” times (2161 and forward). “Honest Hearts” is a 2011 add-on to the Fallout New Vegas game of 2010, taking place in what is Zion National Park in the real world, year 2281. While it’s obvious that people died in the park due to the historic nuclear cataclysm, the park itself is mostly unscathed by this point in time.

There are two outside leaders, both Mormon and both from the recently destroyed “New Canaan,” who lead two neighboring tribes, the “Sorrows” and the “Dead Horses,” in Zion Canyon. However, these two leaders have wildly different backgrounds and, not surprisingly, their views on how to handle the invading “White Legs” tribe are miles apart. It is no secret that the White Legs want to kill the Zion Valley inhabitants, just as they destroyed New Canaan. But what will the player do? Aid Joshua Graham and the tribals that wish to stay in Zion by meeting the White Legs head on, or will you side with the more pacifist Daniel and help the Sorrows flee the valley for a new home?

The game puts the player in bit of a false dilemma by implying that you are either siding with the idea of vengeance through Joshua Graham, or taking your stand with Daniel against militaristic actions that kill innocents (Daniel uses this argument, but it’s absurd since the attackers are warriors only). It’s an odd and unrealistic dichotomy, which is acknowledged by the different possible game endings that have varying levels of regret expressed by Daniel; the tribals themselves saw it more clearly and realistically – they desired to not be killed and to stay in their home (defense of self and residence).

The vengeance aspect is pointed out, however, since it is included in the most memorable dialogue of Honest Hearts: the reciting by Joshua Graham parts of Psalm 137 from the Bible (Old Testament), referred to as “By the Waters (or Rivers) of Babylon,” and the subsequent conversation you have with him. Joshua is there to help the tribes defend themselves, since the White Legs are after the remaining New Canaanites (Joshua and Daniel), but he also wants revenge against Caesar. Fallout New Vegas sees the people of the Mojave Wasteland and area settlements fighting against the murderous and slaving Caesar and his invading army. Joshua used to be Caesar’s “right hand man,” but Caesar executed Joshua for losing a battle; obviously, and unbeknownst to Caesar at first, the execution via burning Joshua alive didn’t actually work. Joshua’s legendary name is the Burned Man.

Psalm 137

Below is Psalm 137 rendered in the New King James translation. Zion is synonymous with Jerusalem, the City of David, but also refers to Mount Zion (or the Temple Mount). Mount Zion can also refer to the land of Israel. In Honest Hearts, Joshua Graham recites the King James Version, but only the verses indicated by highlighting.

1By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion
.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, “Raze it, raze it,
To its very foundation!”

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!
Happy the one who takes and dashes
Your little ones against the rock!

The ending is pretty grim sounding, is it not? The translated word for “little ones” can refer to any offspring, and thus they are expressing that their enemies, who killed them and took others as slaves far from home, should be left with no descendants. It is also figurative in that the Babylon area where they were living had no rocks for such deeds to be carried out.

The beginning of the last stanza is prophetic, saying “O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed.” There are other biblical passages referring to the destruction of Babylon or the daughter of Babylon. But while other biblical prophecies have come to pass, the total destruction of Babylon has not. However, there are two prophecies related to this Psalm/Israel’s captivity that have been fulfilled.

The first is that God remembered Edom for its hateful actions against Israel and destroyed them. Much more remarkably, though, as prophesied in the book of Isaiah (44:28-45:7) and Jeremiah (29:10), a named king would let the Israelites go after 70 years of captivity (the first wave of captives was taken to Babylon in 607 BC). This king was the Persian Cyrus II, and he overtook Babylon in 539 BC. Shortly thereafter the Israelites were not only allowed to go back to Jerusalem, but were even assisted in doing so. But, not all Israelites left Babylon, and in the 1st through 3rd centuries AD, many Jews returned to Babylon.

There is an unfulfilled prophecy concerning Babylon in Revelation chapter 17, and it is obvious from this and other verses in the Bible concerning Babylon that the name is also a term describing the mystery religions—false and satanic religions that have spread throughout the world—that shall be destroyed in the end times. It seems appropriate that the worldwide spread of Babylonian ideas and religions should be addressed as the daughter of Babylon. Historically, many interpreted Rome as the new Babylon, or descendant of Babylon, and in Fallout New Vegas there is the new Caesar accompanied by his military.

Abandoned building in Detroit that looks very much like a scene from the Fallout video game series.  This it taken by an artist who has prints for sale, at http://bit.ly/1qeH2E1.

Abandoned building in Detroit that looks very much like a scene from the Fallout video game series. This it taken by an artist who has prints for sale, at http://bit.ly/1qeH2E1.


“By the Waters of Babylon” 1937

The Saturday Evening Post published Stephen Vincent Benét’s short post-apocalyptic story, “The Place of the Gods,” in its July 31, 1937, edition, but it soon became known as “By the Waters of Babylon” and was honored with the first entry in The Pocket Book of Science Fiction, 1943. It is popular today and can be found in a variety of sources. The story takes place is some future time–though seemingly not too far in the future–after New York City had been destroyed by bombing and lethal gaseous chemicals, and human survivors lived on in varying degrees of primitiveness in the surrounding countryside.

The gist of the story is as follows. The survivors, known as the Hill People and the Forest People, carve out a living after the destruction of civilization. They develop a tribal culture and religion, forbidding people to go to the City of the Gods and non-priests from going into other post-war structures.  The central character, who we eventually discover is named John, narrates for us the story of his youth and his vision quest experiences that will lead him to becoming a man and a priest. His vision quest is to do the unlawful, to go to the City of the Gods. The chief priest, who is his own father, agrees to let him go.

John makes his way to the place of the Gods, which we discover is New York City, and is of course amazed.   The heart of his experience comes from finding himself in the penthouse home of a highly educated and wealthy (unnamed) person. The apartment was not bombed and it was pretty much sealed, so rugs, paintings, books—even the man who had lived there—were preserved quite well. There were books in different languages, and all kinds of equipment that had lost its magic: “hot” and “cold” faucets, lighting fixtures that didn’t use wick or oil, a cooking area that didn’t use wood. Before he slept John used the fireplace, a place for fire but not for cooking, he correctly surmised.

While asleep he had an out-of-body experience (not a dream) where he saw the city as it had been, how far humans had gone in their knowledge and technology–”no part of the earth was safe from them” . . . . “but a little more, it seemed to me, and they would pull down the moon from the sky,”–and the actual attack on the city. After this he acknowledges that the “gods” had been only human. “Knowledge” is constantly referred to throughout the story, and it seems to be of the highest importance to John. Obtaining knowledge is the central theme of this story, but a part of that theme is the questioning of why and how a “good” like knowledge can lead to such a high-level “bad”– the virtual destruction of man.

Despite the destruction that “the gods” brought upon themselves, and his own self-warnings about his ancestor’s knowledge, John goes back home with the mind to tell his people the truth and lead them on the road to learning what the ancestors had learned. His father agrees, but tells John that the people must learn all this slowly. John concurs, and justifies his intentions by saying that “Perhaps, in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast.” He doesn’t concern himself with thinking that war and killing are part of the human condition, whether a people have a lot or a little knowledge; the fact that humans nearly caused their own extinction at the height of their knowledge doesn’t deter him.

But why didn’t it? Earlier in the story John says, “If I went to the Place of the Gods, I would surely die, but, if I did not go, I could never be at peace with my spirit again.” This sentence is virtually a retelling of the Fall of Man in Genesis 2 and 3. God told man in Genesis 2:17, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Man was innocent prior to eating from that tree of knowledge; innocent in a judicial sense (they obeyed) and innocent in a moral sense (“they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed,” Genesis 2:25).

In Genesis 3, Satan (the snake) tempts Eve to eat of the tree, but when at first she rebuffs him, he shoots back, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). So, being tempted in her desire for wisdom (her take on what being like God meant), Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and Adam—whom the command of God was given—went along with her.

Adam and Eve did not fall down dead, no. The death God spoke of was spiritual. In the story, John had continued his thought from that quoted earlier, saying, “It is better to lose one’s life than one’s spirit, if one is a priest and the son of a priest.” This is a twisted view of God’s intention, and one that doesn’t seem too far removed from the thought of Eve; maybe if she just at that fruit a little bit slower . . .  The story represents humanity, in its more innocent and holy state, wanting again what they desired in The Fall—to be like God.

The Influence of Psalm 137 and the surmised influence of the By the Waters of Babylon story in Honest Hearts

Vengeance, Righteous Wrath.  Joshua Graham uses Psalm 137 and its relation to both biblical history and prophecy to justify fighting the invading White Legs tribe, which was influenced by, if not controlled by, the new Caesar. Historically, God saw to it that the real-life Edomites, who assisted the Babylonians in conquering Israel, were destroyed; the White Legs might be viewed in a similar vein, as helping the new Romans destroy the New Canaanites.

Joshua also uses Jesus Christ of the New Testament as a justifier, making the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament (NT) seem seamless:

“Happy are those who do the work of the Lord. Zion belongs to God and the people of God. It is a natural temple and monument to his glory. When our Lord entered the temple and found it polluted by money-changers and beasts, did he ask them to leave? Did he cry? Did he simply walk away? No. He drove them out. It is one thing to forgive a slap across my cheek, but an insult to the Lord requires… no, it demands correction. If they pollute the Lord’s temples on Earth, like Zion, who are we to stand by and let them continue?”

In the NT, Jesus twice went into the temple area and angrily scolded the cheats and money-changers there, zealously guarding the holy. And regarding the holy, Joshua states at one point, “Zion is a place, and a state of being, that has been lost to us several times in the past. Each loss is a new fall of man.”

The old places made taboo. As in By the Waters of Babylon, in Honest Hearts the innocent tribals made pre-war structures taboo (forbidden to enter). The tribals of the Zion Valley were the descendants of children who had survived the nuclear war and found their way into that unspoiled land. The tribals in By the Waters of Babylon were the descendants of those who escaped the cataclysmic destruction of New York City and its environs. But why make these pre-war places taboo?

Innocence lost, innocence kept.  As discussed earlier, the Bible explains how humanity lost its innocence in Genesis chapters 2-3, universally referred to as “The Fall of Man.” Humans chose to disobey God so that they could be like Him, disregarding the consequences. In By the Waters of Babylon, humans almost caused their own complete destruction due to their intelligence combined with committing evil.  Being like God doesn’t make humans do evil, of course, but makes humans guilty when they choose to do it.  Not being God, weaker humans always seem to choose an evil action or path sooner or later; God recognizes evil but is incapable of it, whereas humans are more than capable.

In the Benét story, humans once again were choosing to be like “the gods,” despite the incredible destruction they knew resulted from such a choice by their ancestors.  The story reflects not only human tendency, but the real-life history of many Jews who returned to live in Babylon–home of their pagan captors–instead of staying in their holy land.  In Honest Hearts, the tribals continued on in their innocence, maintaining the taboo against going into pre-war buildings or going to the remains of civilization, the wasteland.  The one Dead Horses companion you have for a time, Follows Chalk, either goes off into the wasteland (akin to going and staying in the decimated New York) and is never heard from again, or he stays with his tribe, helping them and maintaining both his life and innocence.

Joshua Graham said that each loss of “Zion” was a “new fall of man.” Zion wasn’t lost this round, and there was no new fall of man.

An abandoned class room in Detroit, filtered by author; image from http://bit.ly/1xdO5Sk.  This looks like it could be a screen shot from the Fallout video game series.

An abandoned class room in Detroit, filtered by author; image from http://bit.ly/1xdO5Sk. This looks like it could be a screen shot from the Fallout video game series.

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New Testament Views of Women: Paul’s Female Co-workers

1171414 girl jumping, freeimages.comFor an introduction to this subject, please see New Testament Views of Women: Overview.

For a discussion of this subject relating to 1 Corinthians, see New Testament Views of Women: 1 Corinthians 14:34-36

Considering that there were no women that had any kind of leadership role in the religion of Israel at the time of Christ, it is truly radical that there are so many women mentioned in the New Testament who promoted the faith and who in fact had leadership roles. Jesus led the way for women to not only find salvation and comfort in him, but to realize what Galatians 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That the latter church chose, for the most part, to forget Jesus’ lifting up of women and change words in the translation of Paul’s writings – some are shown below – is unfortunate (to say the least) and makes arguing for the accuracy of many translations more difficult.

But who were Paul’s co-workers, and what level of leadership did they really have? For right now, let’s focus on three: Priscilla, Phoebe, and Junia. There is so much that could be covered that information on their roles is presented in a concise list format:

Priscilla. Apparently well-educated, and thus from an influential Roman family.

  • Priscilla and Aquila, her husband, taught Apollos more about Christianity after they had heard him speak publicly (Act 18:26). Priscilla was the primary teacher, as evidenced by her name being given first. Of the six times she and her husband are mentioned in the NT, she is first four times. “The order of names in ancient times indicated priority of role and importance” (Schmidt 178). St. Chrysostom (AD 347-407) confirmed that Paul placed Priscilla first for good reason. Significantly, whether ahead of her husband or not, she taught a man.
  • She is acknowledged as being well known by the gentile churches (Romans 16:4). She would not have been well known unless she had leadership functions. Paul refers to her as synergos (Romans 16:3), the same word he used for Timothy and Titus, who preached and taught. She was a “fellow worker” (synergos) with Paul, not a silent and passive female.
  • One of the oldest and largest catacombs in Rome bears her name, as do several monuments.
  • No one really knows who wrote the Book of Hebrews, and the suggestion that Priscilla wrote it is not discounted even in the Archaeological Study Bible (Garrett); some suggest, too, that she “polished up” Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Phoebe. Carrier of the Roman epistle to Rome from Corinth, a 400 mile journey.

  • In Romans 16:1-2, Phoebe is referred to as a diakonos, or deacon. “Deaconess” was not a word at that time and was first used in AD 375. The common word “deacon” is most often translated “minister” in the King James Version, though it is rendered “deacon” three times; however, when that word is used with Phoebe, the KJ translators used “servant” instead. Amazingly, the slightly earlier Miles Coverdale bible had kept the word “minister” for Phoebe, but recent translations still use “servant.”
  • Paul called himself a deacon (diakonos) in 1 Corinthians 3:5, and it is used for Timothy in Acts 19:22. Deacon is used with “co-worker” (synergos) and commonly meant someone who teaches and preaches; the person would have some authority in the church. Another thing to consider is that the term deacon was masculine and only males functioned as deacons in Greek culture. Paul very well knew what he was doing when he used that term for Phoebe.
  • Paul not only said Phoebe was a deacon, but a prostatis (Romans 16:2) as well. Prostatis “meant ‘leading officer’ in the literature at the time the [NT] was written” (Schmidt 181). To us it would mean something like “superintendent.”
  • Origen (AD 185-254), who was not a feminist, wrote that based on Romans 16:1-2 Phoebe had apostolic authority.

Junia

  • Junia is found in Romans 16:7, where the name is still often mistranslated “Junias.” The name “Junias” was non-existent at that time. The Archeological Study Bible (Garret, p 1860) notes that “the more common” reading in Greek is “Junia.” She probably was the wife of Adronicus, the other person mentioned in that verse. For the greater part of church history—the first 1300 years—all acknowledged that the person was a female! Why did bible translators in the last several hundred years change Adronicus’ companions name? Because Paul referred to them both as apostles, and outstanding ones at that. St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, and Peter Abelard all considered the person to be a woman.
  • Paul did not restrict the word “apostle” to the twelve only (he called James an apostle and interchanged it with the word diakonos), as is common today. Origen wrote that women had “apostolic authority” in the church based on Romans 16.

The note on Romans 16:7 in the Apologetics Study Bible (ASB) goes almost as far as what Origen wrote and thought, but why can’t our Christian culture acknowledge what Paul actually wrote?  Interesting, isn’t it?  I, the author of this paper, am female, yet I have a bit of a hard time personally accepting female church leaders.  I believe my view is based on both personal and cultural factors, but knowing what Paul wrote and what Christ did, I would not argue that a congregation is wrong in having a female leader. This is the note from the ASB (Cabal, p 1704):

Many claim that Junia (or Junias), designating one of Paul’s relatives, could be either a man’s or a woman’s name. In fact, the masculine form, Junias (as a contraction of Junianus), has not been located elsewhere, whereas the feminine Junia is common. Of course, if this person was a woman, this would be an intriguing fact, particularly since Paul called Andronicus and Junia “apostles.” J.D. G. Dunn suggests they were husband and wife—a reasonable assumption. The precise status of all who are called apostles isn’t clear. Some were close associates of the apostles, such as Barnabas (Ac 14:14) and James (Gl 1:19), but also see the Greek term apostolos in 2 Co 8:23 and Php 2:25.

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A post on 1 Timothy 2:11-12 will be posted in the future, God willing.

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Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Anonymous. “Women in Ancient Israel.” Bible History Online. n.d. http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html (accessed June 2011).

Cabal, Ted, General Editor.  The Apologetics Study Bible.  Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007.

Cowles, C.S. A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church. Kansas City : Beacon Hill Press, 1993.

Dunn, James, General Editor. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Faulkes, Irene Bonney. “Question of Veils in India.” Dr. Irene Faulkes Articles. 2011. http://revirene.org/Question%20Of%20Veils.htm (accessed June 2011).

Garrett, Duane A, General Editor. NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

Schmidt, Alvin John. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

—. Veiled and Silenced: How Culture Shaped Sexist Theology. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1989.

Zondervan. “Interview with Alvin J. Schmidt.” Zondervan. n.d. http://www.zondervan.com/media/interviews/product/pdf/0310264499_authintrvw.pdf (accessed June 2011).

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© Vicki Priest 2014, 2012  (This is an edited version of a series of articles first posted at Examiner.com, 2011, and transferred from withchristianeyes.com)

Posted in Bible Study, Christianity, History, Religion, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Testament Views of Women: 1 Corinthians 14:34-36

For an introduction to this subject, please see New Testament Views of Women: Overview.

When it comes to the question of women in Christian leadership, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 are used to show God’s disfavor of women having such roles. In light of both the whole New Testament and of all of Paul’s extant writings, we know that these passages are contradictory; they at least seem so without looking deeper into the social contexts or possible translation issues. Some scholars even propose that 1Timothy was not written by Paul, and therefore not genuine. However, in this article we will explore some possible reasons for Paul having written 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, even though he acknowledged females praying and prophesying in chapter 11 of the same epistle.

1 Corinthians 14:34b-35 states: “women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (NIV 1984).

Why would Paul say this when he commended many women who had house churches? These include Mary (mother of Mark), Nympha, Priscilla (with Aquila), and Apphia. These house churches did not follow sexist synagogue rules. Also, Mary, Jesus’ mother, prayed with the other disciples. Women apparently spoke at Pentecost (even though “men” are mentioned, the text states that the Holy Spirit rested on all who were there, and Peter quotes Joel concerning women prophesying as well as men) and Tabitha was a disciple. Considering that Paul writes of women praying and prophesying in church earlier in the same letter, why would he then write verses 14:34-35?

One explanation is that these verses were added later—called an interpolation–and there is a possibility of this. These verses are commonly found at the end of the chapter in various manuscripts and seem to have been added by scribes early on (but later than Paul). However, since no early manuscripts have been found that do not entirely omit the verses, the interpolation explanation remains only a hypothesis.  Another thing to consider, however, is the command for women, or wives, to ask explanations of their husbands at home later.  At the time 1 Corinthians was written, there were many more women in the church than men, so were they to ask their unbelieving husbands about Christian truth?

Katherine Bushnell, a conservative scholar, agrees with the interpolation theory: “[Bushnell] buttressed her argument by saying that it was not like Paul to use the laws and traditions of the Jews ‘as a final authority on a matter of controversy in the church. He spent a large share of energy battling against these very “traditions” of the Jews, as did his Master, Jesus Christ’” (Schmidt 188-189).

CS CowlesWhile the interpolation theory seems like a plausible explanation, not all those who dismiss the direct but contradictory message of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 agree with it. Another explanation is provided C.S. Cowles.  She provides a word study showing that some women were being referred to, not all women; that the “silence” was that of voluntary restraint; and that the “speak” referred to—and there are 30 different Greek words for “speak”—has the meaning of “talk” or “chatter.” Paul wasn’t saying that women could not pray or prophesy, only that the women who were talking during service needed to not be disruptive. She defends the use of the word “law” as Paul’s way of appealing to social convention.

Regarding the admonition for wives to consult with their husbands at home, Cowles believes that the women had felt free to ask questions during service since the early services were not formal, but quite social, and it had gotten out of hand. She does not try to explain why women with husbands are the only ones referred to here, nor the related criticism of them having to possibly rely on unbelieving husbands.

Another explanation, which is highly possible and thought by many to be most likely, is that Paul is quoting from a letter (or stating an argument) from the Judaizers.  Judaizers wanted traditional oral law enforced in other ways and places as well (for example, they wanted males to be circumcised), and these verses are very similar to the actual Jewish oral law prohibiting women to speak during services. Considering how the law is cited in this passage–which would be highly out of character for Paul, the explanation that those verses are a quote makes perfect sense.  Also, the verse immediately following is a rebuke: “Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (14:36). Is Paul rebuking the Judaizers for trying to silence women, when Paul already acknowledged that women can speak and prophesy in church (11:5), and when Paul so often commended the women co-workers, deacons, and even ministers or apostles that he knew and worked with? It seems so.

But why don’t we know for sure that verses 34-35 are a quote? Quotation marks of any kind were not used in these ancient writings. However, it is accepted by many NT scholars that 1 Corinthians has many quotes within it, but not all agree that 34-35 is a quote. One of the scholars who does believe that it is a quote from Jewish oral law, however, is Neal Flanagan, a Catholic. He has written that since it is a quote and that Paul rebukes those who would silence women, it is then a text that reaffirms 1 Corinthians 11:5 as well as Galatians 3:28.

To read further, please see:  New Testament Views of Women: Paul’s Co-workers

[edited on 10-8-2014]

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Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Anonymous. “Women in Ancient Israel.” Bible History Online. n.d. http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html (accessed June 2011).

Cabal, Ted, General Editor.  The Apologetics Study Bible.  Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007.

Cowles, C.S. A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church. Kansas City : Beacon Hill Press, 1993.

Dunn, James, General Editor. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Faulkes, Irene Bonney. “Question of Veils in India.” Dr. Irene Faulkes Articles. 2011. http://revirene.org/Question%20Of%20Veils.htm (accessed June 2011).

Garrett, Duane A, General Editor. NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

Schmidt, Alvin John. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

—. Veiled and Silenced: How Culture Shaped Sexist Theology. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1989.

Zondervan. “Interview with Alvin J. Schmidt.” Zondervan. n.d. http://www.zondervan.com/media/interviews/product/pdf/0310264499_authintrvw.pdf (accessed June 2011).

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© Vicki Priest 2014, 2012  (This is an edited version of a series of articles first posted at Examiner.com, 2011, and transferred from withchristianeyes.com)

Posted in Bible Study, Christianity, History, Religion, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments