Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Patriots (part 5) - Private Martin A. Treptow's Pledge

WW1 veteran/

Above is pictured World War I veteran, Joseph Ambrose, 86, at the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. He's holding the flag of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.

It's sad for parents to out-live their children. Even more poignant for parents whose children have given their life for their country.

One World War I solider, who was killed in action, was Private Martin Treptow. In his inaugural address in 1981, Ronald Reagan gave speech to remember who we are, honoring veterans and their sacrifices.

A message for our times. Still relevant for our continuing war on terror against the enemies of freedom.

This Veterans Day, may we remember our veterans and all those who put themselves in harm's way to serve others--home and abroad.

And this pledge:

"America must win this war. 

Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, 
I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, 
as if the issue of the whole struggle
depended on me alone."

We are Americans. And Freedom isn't Free.

God Bless our Troops!

And God Bless America!



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Faith (part 3) - Halloween 500 years ago

Halloween, 500 years ago...

Legend has it that on the Eve of All Saint's Day in 1517 AD, a German theologian, friar, professor, priest came knocking at the door.

Trick or Treat?

More like nailing his 95 theses at the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

That legendary figure? Martin Luther, of course.

And that story is shown in the clip below.

That Halloween is considered the start of the Protestant Reformation. And today, some choose to celebrate Reformation Day. (Instead of, or in addition to, the traditional "Trick or Treat")

Yet in the 16th century, Martin Luther stood on the shoulders of many reformers before him. Such as,  John Wycliffe in the 14th century.  John Huss in the 15th century.

But one my favorites is Peter Waldo of the 12th century. And his story is told below.

(reference: )

The Waldensians, a movement that took its name from Peter Waldo, were largely absorbed by Protestants when they came along. But the Waldensians still exist as a denomination to this day - e.g. the American Waldensian Society. As I so witnessed in a recent trip back East, I saw a sign for the Waldensian Church in Pennsylvania.

And as the video above said, Peter Waldo had Martin Luther's shtick down three centuries before Martin Luther.

Regardless of denomination or religious affiliation, St. Paul gave this warning 20 centuries ago...

Take a good look at yourselves
to see if you are really believers.
Test yourselves.
Don’t you realize that
Christ Jesus is in you?
Unless, of course, you fail the test!

II Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Reformation is an ongoing process, a never ending test.

So if a monk comes knocking at your door this October 31st, wish them a ...

 Blessed Reformation Day!


Other posts in the series:

Faith (part 1) - Star Trek and Christianity (2016)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Civics (part 2) - We the People

US Constitution/

Constitution Day  

It's celebrated on September 17.
As that date is the anniversary of the US Constitution, written in 1787.

But before the United States had a Constitution, the new republic of 13 colonies was governed by..

The Articles of Confederation

During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress drafted the Articles to conduct business. And they were ratified by colonies near the end of the war.  {reference: }

Yet they were many shortcomings, so a Constitutional Convention was called in Philadelphia in 1787.

For a good timeline on the Constitutional Convention,
check out:

Thus was born...

The Constitution 

The document created on September 17, 1787 at the first Constitutional Convention.
{reference: }

The Preamble stating its principles is told in this children's song below:

So the Constitution was ratified 1788 and put effect in 1789 when we elected our first president of the United States under the Constitution, George Washington.

Meanwhile, to sell the Constitution to the States, a case was made for them in...

The Federalist Papers

These 85 essays were written in 1787 - 1788 to make the case for the Constitution, so the States would ratify it. The authors, who used the pseudonym Publius, were some of our well known Founding Fathers--Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.

The result of this Constitution was the shift from a monarch to

We the People


A document for the ages and all people. And celebrated in our pop culture

As shown in Star Trek, the Original Series,  Season 2 Episode 52 "The Omega Glory" (1968).

Captain Kirk does give a good speech: 

We merely showed them the meaning of what they were fighting for.
Liberty and Freedom have to be more than just words.

Whether it's Sci-Fi in the 23rd century or our own time in the 21st century, the Preamble and the words that follow offer principles for everyone to live by as well as words to remember who we are.

Liberty and Freedom!

That's worth fighting.


Previous post in the series:


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

LOL (part 3) - Year in the Life of a Teacher


For most of the country, school is now in session after the summer vacation.

And for our intrepid teachers, educators, professors, instructors, aids, tutors, so it begins...

Here's to you, my teacher friends. You make a big difference in the lives of children, students of all ages, the community, the next generation.

All year round.

And as you reach the finish line this school year, may you say...

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith
II Timothy 4:7 (KJV)

You are a saint! May that put a smile on your face.



Friday, July 28, 2017

PPP (part 2) - Psalms, Proverbs, and the Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot/

David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, when he looked up at the dark night sky, wrote these words..

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)

And David's son, Solomon, also expressed this proverb in his wisdom writings:

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding He set the heavens in place;

by His knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

Proverbs 3:19-20 (NIV)

In the late 20th century, Carl Sagan brought science and astronomy to the people in his series, Cosmos (1980). Before he slipped the surly bounds of earth, Sagan was moved by the photo of our home (above). Taken almost 4 billion miles away from Earth from Saturn. Known as...

The Pale Blue Dot

As the probe finished its primary mission, Carl Sagan had requested NASA to take one last picture of Earth as it was leaving the Solar System. That became the iconic photograph the Voyager 1 space probe had taken of Earth on February 14, 1990. A pale blue dot, the Earth's apparent size is less than a pixel among bands of sunlight.

 And such inspired his poetic tribute:

Definitely awe struck, Sagan's tribute expressed a more humanist philosophy. As well as overwhelmed by our seemingly insignificance  in the vast universe. All the politics of our short lifespans seem petty. Nothing. {reference: Carl Sagan gave us an incredible perspective on our planet }

Again, David has his words of the greatness of the universe and the smallness of humans and life on earth with the Divine perspective in mind.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!
You have set Your glory
in the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants
You have established a stronghold against Your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have set in place,
what is mankind that You are mindful of them,
human beings that You care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of Your hands;
You put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:1-9 (NIV)

The Pale Blue Dot ... in Psalms and Proverbs.

It makes the Politics of the Earth pale in comparison to the vastness of space....

And beyond, the Greatness of our Creator.

But in His greatness, He cares for all His creatures and put mankind to care for the handiwork of His creation.

And that is awesome.


Other post in series:

PPP (part 1) - All Men are Liars (2017) 


Photo:  Pale Blue Dot/

Friday, June 30, 2017

Faith (part 2) - Founding Fathers' Faith and the Fourth of July

Declaration of Independence (1819)/
It's summer, again.

And July is in the middle of it all. School's out. Vacations. Picnics. Holidays. And important dates in American history. Such as...


A watershed year during interesting times.

Our country was born that year on the Fourth of July. And the John Trumbull painting above captures that iconic moment with this description from wikipedia commons:

"John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence, depicting the five-man drafting committee of the Declaration of Independence presenting their work to the Congress. The painting can be found on the back of the U.S. $2 bill. The original hangs in the US Capitol rotunda."

[reference: Declaration of Independence (1819)/ ]
And this painting, in the public domain, is a favorite graphic for articles about American history and the first Fourth of July. Such as in this US Independence Day video, which most elegantly gives their tribute:

With the YouTube video are the comments of its creator:

"The Fourth of July is more than just a date on a calendar. It is the celebration of an event which transformed a nation and eventually changed the world. It is the day on which our founding fathers declared their independence and forged the way for fledgling nation to become great. 

"As the Independence Day video announces, 'Freedom is not a work of men alone. It is a gift from the Almighty God.'

"This spiritual freedom is the freedom that the patriotic video celebrates. Using memorable images of Christian history and heritage--such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington's crossing of the Delaware--the video tells a message of our freedom and focuses upon God, the source of true freedom and deliverance. 

This short July Fourth video will tell a message of hope and deliverance, while at the same time expressing appreciation for the United States of America."

I cannot say it better than that.

But as the quote above says - Freedom is not a work of men alone. It is a gift from the Almighty God. 

But whoever looks intently 
into the perfect law that gives freedom, 
and continues in it—
not forgetting what they have heard, 
but doing it—
they will be blessed 
in what they do. 
James 1:25 (NIV) 

Since the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers expressed Faith in the Foundation of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian values for the new republic and for governing the nation, as seen in the montage below:

And without faith
it is impossible to please God,
because anyone
who comes to Him
must believe that He exists
and that He rewards those
who earnestly seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

It's been over 240 years...
As we celebrate this holiday in the 21st century, may we heed the advice of  Krista Branch's song, Remember Who We Are.

This Fourth of July may we remember the blessings of God and be thankful for the Faith of our Founding Fathers.

As we look back, St. Paul's words can apply to them...

We remember
before our God and Father
your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love,
and your endurance inspired by hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)



Other post in the series:

Faith (part 1) - Star Trek and Christianity 


photo: Declaration of Independence (1819)/

Friday, June 16, 2017

PPP (part 1) - All Men are Liars

Proverb Scroll/

Remember this childhood taunt on the playground?

Liar, liar, pants on fire.
Nose as long as a telephone wire.
[ reference: Liar Liar ]

And how many have heard this joke?

How to tell a politician is lying...his lips move. 
[ reference:  How to tell...]

And there is much said about this in Psalms and Proverbs about Politics.

Here we go....


King David once said -

I said in my haste,
All men are liars.

Psalm 116:11 (KJV)

And I've heard it said, after giving it a lot of thought, many of us come to that same conclusion -

Everybody lies

So did House, the surly doctor in the TV series named after his character, House (2004 - 2012).

"It's a basic truth of the human condition
that everybody lies. 
The only variable is about what."

Indeed that's a proverb. And there's many like them.


King David's son Solomon gave this nugget -

The lip of truth shall be established for ever:
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Proverbs 12:19 (KJV)

But what about this moment? The politically expedient.


We've seen this play out in the various types of media. Below is a clip that could be the playbook for many a politician from the old movie, A Guide for the Married Man (1967)

It is described as: A man gives his co-worker a series of lessons on how to cheat on one's wife without being caught. 

Like who are going believe, me or your lying eyes as shown in this scene below:

Deny, Deny, Deny

In thousands of years, human nature hasn't change.

And as King Solomon once said:
and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV)

And the words from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah about lying are just as true today.

For your hands are defiled with blood,
and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies,
your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
Isaiah 59:3 (KJV)

The song below contain those words of the prophet as a lament, but also hope as offered in the Gospel:

( reference:    )

Here are the full lyrics from the The Liberated Wailing Wall - I Am Not Ashamed

* The Arm of the Lord

* I Am Not Ashamed

And as our country is so divided and evil seems to be unleashed, a look at Psalms and Proverbs along side Politics can illuminate the Sign of the Times as well offer some hope for troubling days.

So begins the new thread ...

PPP - Psalms, Proverbs and Politics



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Science 101 (part 6) - June's Strawberry Moon


Coming June 9, 2017 is the full moon. And as EarthSky reports, the year's smallest moon.
[reference:  Year’s smallest full moon on June 9 ]

But such beauty in nature deserves a more than just the scientific facts.

The June full moon of Native American folklore is the Strawberry Moon. Its European counterpart, the Rose Moon. Where the sky and earth meet in the eye of the beholder.

Its story is told below:

For more information where science meets folklore, check out:

*  National Geographic article: Full Moons: What's in a Name? 

*  The Old Farmer's Almanac: Full Moon for June 2017

Science written  in earth and sky. 
Spring to Summer.
It's June.

The time when flowers come to full blossom.
Earth's fruits to fruition. 

And a favored month for marriages.
New beginnings on earth.

And enjoy the strawberries!


Previous posts in this series:

Science 101 (part 1) - Vernal Equinox  (2013)

Science 101 (part 2) - The Sound of Music? (2013)

Science 101 (part 3) - From Galileo to Apollo (2013)

Science 101 (part 4) - Cosmos Continued ... (2014) 

Science 101 (part 5) - August Meteor Showers (2016)


Photo: Strawberry/wikipedia

Monday, May 22, 2017

Write Stuff (part 1) - Give them Hope

Auschwitz - Rose left on a stone/

 A rose left at Auschwitz. 

A picture is worth a thousand words. As the rose above symbolizes hope in the dark pit of despair. And it's hope that makes or breaks the story.

End of April, I attended the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado Springs. One of the prequel workshops I attended was  The Emotional Craft of Fiction. Bringing emotion into our novels.

The author, Donald Maass facilitated the workshop. He started by stating that he saw more emotion in the short ads of last Superbowl than many of the manuscripts he was reviewing at the time.

Here is one such example from Superbowl Ad 2017, a 60 second beer ad, which may be what he was talking about:

The workshop was intense. And I would do it again. But in this short post, I can only convey a key point .

As in any writing, there are many ways and styles. No right or wrong way. The attendees spent the day exploring that. But in the end, the reader is sovereign.

Yet the mark of good fiction is that it changes us, the reader. And we care about the characters on the journey. We make an emotional connection with them. Their journey is our journey. Their struggles are our struggles. It becomes part of our long term memory.

What came to mind was the running theme in The Lord of the Rings movies. That emotional connection with the struggle is why this is my favorite scene.

In destroying the ring, Sam's impossible quest is our quest. His struggle is our struggle. As he sums it up:  There is some good in this world...And it's worth fighting for.

And to sum up the workshop in three words, what the author must do for the reader is...

Give them hope.

And so with hope, I start of another thread.

Write Stuff.

Our journey as writers is making the stuff to connect. And it's worth writing for!


Similar Posts on topic:


Photo from: Auschwitz - Rose left on a stone/