Irony

From reading the Bible over the years, I have drawn the conclusion that God likes Irony. I cannot absolutely say so but it does seem that God has used irony at least a few times over the millennia. I’m not going to go over but one instance here, the greatest one, the time when Christ was nailed to the cross.

In this one event there are likely several ironies, some which I may not have noticed. First, it occurred at a time that he seemed the weakest while he was displaying some of his greatest power. There was no way that they would have laid a finger on Jesus but that it was a fulfillment of his plan and his will. To some degree, He demonstrated this when He said, “I am.” in reply to the soldiers in The Garden of Gethsemane. When He replied, the soldiers were forced back by his words.

When I was younger and heard the story for the first time, I was as others. I wondered why God did not send his angels in to save Him. I mean, in the movies, don’t the horse soldiers come riding to the rescue at the last minute. Not this time. God let Him die on the cross. Jesus willingly gave up his life. It was an a picture of utter defeat.

Indeed, since Jesus was born, Satan had tried to kill Him. He knew who Jesus was and he knew Jesus came to save mankind from sin. Even so, I wonder if someone had filled him in on the details. As Jesus died, people mocked him, likely at the encouragement of Satan. Could it be that Satan didn’t know that it was all a big plan. Did he know that Jesus was going to pay for all man’s sin in His death.

Then again, I suppose Satan would have won if Jesus stepped down from the cross and punished those who mocked Him. That was not the Plan and if Satan thwarted the plan, then maybe he would have won. But Jesus stayed on the cross and never tried to explain why. It was the plan. He did it for love of all those who mocked and hated Him, among others.

The Bible does not say and we are warned against speculating. Maybe Satan knew. Maybe he didn’t. It just is that from my point of view, it looked as if Satan did exactly what he was supposed to do exactly when he was supposed to do it. Finally, after thirty years of Jesus walking this earth, Satan seemed to succeed at one thing he had been trying since Jesus’ birth.

So, as the people of the day looked on and mocked Him, I would suspect that millions of Satan’s minions watched and cheered too. God’s messengers were there too, but they had a different attitude. They wanted to go in and help but they were ordered to stand back and let it happen.

So the people yelled, “Others he saved, himself he cannot.” Perhaps throughout the Bible, encapsulated in those few words are the greatest irony in the Bible. You see, the truth is He could, but He would not. It did not fit his purpose to save Himself but to save us.

Then three days later, He rose and walked among men. In what looked like Jesus’ greatest defeat was His greatest victory. And now, because He did decide to pay the price, don’t you think we should recognize the fact. Is it so horrible to go to our knees and admit, without Him paying the price, our future would be hopeless.

Surly, He deserves our respect. Surely He deserves our faith.

And what a disaster it is when man turns his face from Jesus Christ after what he did. What a disaster it is when a man stands on his feeble legs and defiantly says, I can save myself. I am just as good as the next guy. The truth is, though, none of us are as good or as powerful as Jesus.

Certainly one of the greatest ironies is that it is difficult for someone to be saved because he relies on his own abilities instead of Jesus. May I remind you, when you say you are good enough to save yourself, it is akin to spitting in the eye of Jesus. You are saying that He did it all for nothing. To me, and perhaps to Him, it is the greatest sin of all. Regardless, it is the only sin that will keep you out of heaven. If you will not accept him as your one and only savior, you will spend forever in a very unpleasant place we call hell. The only reason we call it hell is that we cannot find a word that truly describes it.

The worst part about it is that there is no hope for anyone who goes there. You see, after you have been there one or two million years, your days in the future have not been decreased by one. God has done what He can for you. There is no reason for you to go to hell but your own stubborn decision.

One final brief important note. Religion will not save you. Jesus and Jesus alone saves. To be saved, first you must admit you are lost. Second, you must admit you cannot save yourself. Finally, you must accept Jesus as your savior. You must accept him as your Lord and savior. If you take any other path, it will lead to hell. It is the irony. No one likes being in a position where he can’t help himself. It is hard to completely rely on someone else, especially when you can’t see him.

Revisiting the E-car

I say E-car because someone apparently took my advice and started racing them. I saw the other day that they raced SUV s through the Arabian deserts. Then, a few days ago, they were racing cars that weren’t that different than the Indy cars, of course, with the exception that they were powered electrically.

It was a little odd to watch them while the only noise they made was from the transmissions and I think they were amplifying that. The noise was not a rumble or roar but a buzzing, sort like the toy cars. I do wonder what the on-watchers thought of that.

Still, they had other limits. Mostly the range. While the Indianapolis has the three hundred, it appears that the e-cars will never go beyond the E-100. What is it? I’m not sure, the La mans 500? I’m not a big car racing fanatic. Still, it would appear that it would be limited to the E-La mans 100.

I do have some solutions for them, that is if they will listen to me, the one without any letters after my name. First they need interchangeable batteries. Instead of charging the batteries, they would change them out during pit stops. Perhaps it could be done with a small crane or maybe they could simply drive the E-auto under a building with the appropriate equipment. The exhausted battery would be pulled out and a fully charged one could be dropped in. It might take about the same time as to replace tires. Perhaps the one part that would take the longest would be attaching the terminals. I don’t know. It sounds to me as if some experiments are needed. I don’t have the money for the research but I would guess to make sure of the connection, nuts and bolts would be needed. The battery pack would have to be fastened in too. You would not want one of those things flying around after an accident.

Then, who knows, maybe we could have thousand mile races, for those willing to endure them, both for the drivers and spectators. The nice thing is that what they could learn during the races. They might put it to use in the private E-autos.

For instance. Instead of driving into a service station and saying, “Fill it up,” we would say, “Replace the battery pack.” Sorry, there would be no self service stations. Too dangerous.

I wish I had thought of the idea but I didn’t. Someone else thought of it first. The advantages are many. First, the owner of the car doesn’t own the batteries. That drastically reduces the price of the car. Instead, they are leased. Each car would have a power meter and the owner would pay the price of the electricity as we pay our electric bill now. Instead of the car having a limit of 300 miles, it could go clean across country and back again, clean; without emitting so much as a puff of smoke in any form.

There are two problems remaining: cost and service stations that will stock enough batteries to get the job done. Oh. there is one more problem. We don’t have the electric grid to support the idea.

So. We need a drastic change to the cars, a drastic change to the service stations, and a big beefing up to the grid. I’m sure we can deal with it. We can get on it right away, except no one seems to have a clue, especially the ones with all the letters after their names.

Manna From Heaven

The first time I heard the passage (From Exodus) about manna, I must admit I had a hard time understanding it. Oh, I had no difficulty believing that God sent it. I had no problem understanding the concept. What I did have problems with were the Hebrews who were not satisfied with it.

I mean, how can someone complain about food you don’t have to hunt or farm. You simply wake each morning and pick it up. As near as I can tell it was about the most perfect food ever was. You could simply pick it up off the ground and eat it raw. You could cook it just about any imaginable way and it still tasted good. Moreover, as near as I can tell, it provided every nutritional need for man.

And the Hebrews complained about it? They did. You can read the account yourself. In fact I wish you would. It just might do you some good.

Now that I am in my early 70s, I have learned a thing about the human race. We love to complain, especially when things are going good. I saw this even more when I was in the Marines. They fed us good three times a day and people complained.

Okay. I will agree, sometimes things weren’t the best, but it was good nutritious food. I guess I did complain a few times. One time, I cut into a pancake and that wasn’t done. No one’s perfect. I called it to the attention of the cook and he made me three more pancakes and they were perfect, though the cook did not seem to like my complaint.

Nonetheless, over the years, I told myself that I would have never complained about manna from God. I mean that is stupid. However, the older I get the more I realize I just might have been a complainer. I don’t really know. I guess, until we are put in those conditions we simply do not know.

The thing here is the broader lesson. Most of us, even good Christians become dissatisfied with the position we are in. Specifically, we don’t like what God has provided for us. Now that is stupid. Yet, I myself have caught myself complaining about the provisions of God. It is simply in our nature, the sin nature that we inherited from Adam. To some degree, we can’t help it, although we make a conscience decision to complain about the gifts God gives us.

Every day, I eat generally twice. Before I eat, I try to thank God. Most of the time I do. Sometimes I forget. Yet, God keeps providing for me, though I do not deserve any of it. I don’t want to make myself higher than any other, but I have noticed that most people, even Christians do not take a few seconds to say a few words of appreciation before eating or after receiving heavenly gifts. Many times, when we mumble the words of thanks, our hearts are not in it. I am ashamed of myself. Many times I catch myself thoughtlessly going through the motions, even to the point that the words run together.

So. Just how many of us would complain if we were provided, every morning with all the perfect food we can eat. I don’t know but I would guess, eventually, all of us. I hate to admit it, but it is in my nature. I suspect it is in yours too.

One of the reasons we complain is that our relation with God is not right. For if our relation is truly right, we would be satisfied, though we have nothing. If our relationship is not right, we will never be satisfied, though we live in mansions and drive nice expensive cars.

So, whenever you feel like complaining, you just might try getting right with God. I guess that goes for me too.

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun

In one of my books, one of my characters was a detective in the narcotics division. Recalling the days, he said that one of his biggest fears was looking down the barrel of a gun held by a twelve-year-old. I was reminded of the passage by the recent actual police shooting of the thirteen-year-old in Chicago.

The circumstance wasn’t the same but it was pretty close. I wrote the passage close to two decades ago and from time to time I think about it. Surely such things have happened. Since my youth I thought about becoming a policeman. I was a little more serious about it when I left the Marines. Instead I worked on computers.

The truth of the matter, I don’t know what I would do if I were caught in such a situation, as in my book or as in the actual situation in Chicago, that is, if I knew I was shooting at a young man. In the situation in Chicago, the policeman did not know he was firing on a youth.

However, imagine if you would. You are the officer. He is pointing a forty-five at you and you know he is thirteen. Just what would you do. Would you shoot or would you seek shelter and talk the young man into giving up?

Fortunately, most policemen never draw their weapon. Most officers are never fired on. Indeed, it can draw the officer into a false sense of security. However, all policemen can conceivably face such a situation and not one of them knows what he will do until he faces it for real, regardless of his or her training. I mean, when you come right down to it, you can never fake reality.

In Vietnam a kid, about nine walked up to me and asked if I wanted the grenade he had. You don’t think that made the hair stand up on the back of my head. It happened one night when I was on guard duty. He was on the other side of the fence and I simply told him to get away from me. Fortunately, he did. I also backed off some. I will never know if the kid meant harm, very likely not. In fact, he likely had no idea how much fear he put in me. For that matter, he likely had no idea how close he came to getting shot.

I would have hated killing him. It would have been a horrible thing. It likely would have caused a big stink and I’d have likely been grilled for a while, but the kid did have a grenade and he just might have used it. I had no way of knowing.

It is a cold hard fact. Kids do bad things from time to time. Sometimes they put policemen in bad situations. That doesn’t make the cop bad and it never will. However, it does make policing all the more dangerous. This time the cop shot. Maybe, next time, the cop thinking of this situation doesn’t shoot. So the policeman dies instead of the kid, him and maybe another two or three people.

The important thing for a policeman must remember. A gun, even in the hands of a ten-year-old little girl is deadly. That gun has no mind of its own. When the holder pulls the trigger, a bullet is going to come out of it and it can kill, no matter the good intentions of the target.

As with the character in my book; it is a cops worst nightmare. Believe me, there is no one who can guarantee that he or she would do any better regardless of the training; regardless of the desire to do what is right.

The best way to prevent situations as this is to keep the criminals in prison. It teaches those who remain out of prison to be more careful about using guns. It is also a good idea for us to teach our children — be compliant with the police. It is best for everyone. Besides, that policeman represents the law. If you don’t have any respect for him, then you likely have no respect for the law.

For those who like to read, I am offering the book to which I referred to, “Mitch,” free. On Friday, 4/23/2001, click on the following URL. It will take you to my author’s page. Then look for the book, “Mitch.” Then or order the book. Last time I looked, Mitch was on the last line of the second page.

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

I used to say just look up my name on Amazon.com but that doesn’t work any more. If you should try it, you will not come across any of my books until the second or third page. In fact you won’t see any books written by any Ben Rhodes on the first page. Maybe they don’t like my blogs at Amazon. I have no idea why.

Tax Breaks for the Rich

Over the years, the dems complain all the time about tax breaks for the rich. Now they are in favor of one. They want to reinstate the tax breaks for state income tax and real estate(known as SALT). Actually, there is already such a tax break. People can deduct certain state and local taxes on their federal taxes if they itemized. However, there is a limit. They can only deduct $10,000.

I find it odd that the dems are not happy with that. They are currently trying to get the cap raised, or better, removed. Guess what? Only the the rich would profit from the change. For instance, it would include folks with a big property tax bill, and/or those paying a lot of state income tax. That sounds like the rich to me.

So, it sounds to me as if they seek a tax break for the rich. If not, tell me how I am wrong. I mean who is going to pay state and local income taxes and property taxes of over 10 grand. Most of us poor folks don’t get close to that on our best years. On my best year, my gross income was only 4 times that. My state and local taxes barely reached a thousand dollars. Their proposed change certainly wouldn’t come close for me, even if I wasn’t retired.

Then again, I live in Mississippi, not New York or New Jersey.

Once again, the folks up there in the northeast want us to help pay for their lifestyle. Perhaps I should rephrase that. They want us to help pay for the lifestyle of the rich — northeast or not.

Isn’t it bad enough that they are using gas taxes intended to build and maintain highways to subsidize their subways and trains.

Trump Honest?

President Trump was and is honest, especially in his finances while president. How do I know? He is worth about 1.2 billion less than when he took office. Had he been dishonest as 3/4 of the senators and representatives, he would have gained far more, even if he only took his salary.

On the other hand, both of the Clintons made their millions while in or after office while taking advantage of their office. No one would have given either of them a dime had they never held office. To the best of my knowledge, they never made a dime with the sweat off their brow or the blisters on their hands. It would seem, they made their fortune by the money given them or their charity organization. I can’t swear to it, but I strongly suspect the Clintons also broke a few rules along the way. Then again, that’s okay. They don’t have to follow the rules as we regular folks do. They have a D after their name.

Rules, Rules, Rules

One thing I’ve got to say about those dems. They do love to play by the rules, as long as they get to make them up as we go along. They were the first to alter the rules on the filibuster. Last election, they altered the rules in mass, even though that was against the rules. They claimed it was UN-American for people to challenge the presidential election, though they did it many times before. By the way, they are now challenging the election of a representative. It would seem the rule they made concerning the challenging of elections is that they can, we can’t. Now they want to pack the Supreme Court. I wonder, just what rules will they want to change next?

The $100 Million-dollar Bribe

It’s been a while now that they decided to move the all star game to Denver. It is something I thought about quite a bit. Actually, to come right down to it, the dems didn’t have a reason to move the game, or so I thought. Really, the voting laws were not changed that much. They still have the vote by mail. The ID’s were already required.

Besides, to their point of view, it doesn’t matter. They plan on federal laws that will override any law Georgia would have anyway.

Then it dawned on me what it is really about. You see, Georgia, a republican state, lost 100 million dollars of commerce. Colorado, a dem state, gained 100 million dollars of commerce. Hence, it is simply a bribe. It has nothing to do with the laws that were passed. It was simply an excuse. It was a way for the dems to reward the democrat state while punishing the republican state. Hence, it was a bribe to the Colorado for voting democrat.

You don’t believe me? Do you think they would have moved the game to Texas or Florida? They might have moved it to Los Angeles, but why. For a state like California, the bribe would not have meant that much with their economy. Now Colorado, they could really use that kind of money.

So there it is. They took 100 million from a republican state and moved it to a democrat state. It should not surprise anyone. It is their MO. It happens all the time, but usually in congress.

Nonetheless, it is ill gotten gain. In the end they will pay for it ten times over. It is the way the Lord deals with people like that.

What’s in a Name?

I was discharged in Memphis so, for a short time afterword, that is where my wife and I lived. We just had one car between us and neither of us had a job. Then I got on at a fast food place. This put my wife in a predicament. She had an appointment at Baptist Memorial and was not at all familiar with the area. Not only that, she had been driving for a little over a year.

If I could have, I would have taken her, but, given as I just got my job, I figured I’d better show up for work. So, the day before the appointment, I drove the route with her and it was pretty simple. All she really needed to do was drive straight west on North parkway to Pauline and turn left(south). The parking lot for the hospital was on Pauline.

Well she got lost. She went all over downtown and midtown Memphis and, a couple of times caught herself on the newer bridge on the way to Arkansas. She did eventually find her way after stopping a couple of times for directions.

Afterword, she told me about it. She said if she got on that bridge one more time, she would just go on to to Fort Smith, where she grew up. It confused me enormously. As I said, I drove the route the day before and was certain of the instructions.

So, when I had a chance, I drove the route again, with her in the car. When i got to Pauline, I made the turn, and right there was the hospital. She was very animate about it. She said that she looked very closely and Pauline was not there the day before.

I went back to the intersection and looked more closely. It was true. On the south side of North Parkway, it was Pauline. On the North side it was some other name, I can’t ever remember what. Had she looked at the street sign on the south side, she would have made the turn and it would have been fine. Since she looked at the one on the north side, she continued west and toward the bridge.

Sometimes these people try to confuse us drivers with tricks like this. I don’t have the foggiest idea why. One day in Yuma I looked for a theater that had an address on Second Street. I looked for hours for it. I gave up and started walking toward the downtown, figuring there would be something there. There was. I soon found myself on the corner of Second Street and 2nd Street. There was also a First Street and 1st Street.

That’s right. If you ever go to Yuma, you might remember that. The ordinals are used one direction. The other way they spell them out. I don’t remember which. At any rate, I got to see most of Yuma that day…while on foot. The one good part, it was winter and the temperature was mild.

My name is Benjamin Franklin Rhodes. I was named after my grandfather, not the founding father of of the Keystone State. I don’t know, but I would guess that, somewhere in my ancestry, someone was likely name named for old Ben. None the less, I have had my share of nicknames. Most of my youth I was called Benny. One or two have called me Benji. A few have called me Dusty and once or twice I was even called Frankie. None of it bothered me much, but I decided in my late youth to that I preferred Ben. While I went by Benny, there were frequently people that spelled it Bennie, not my favorite.

We humans put quite a lot in names. Some people get really upset if you call them by the wrong name. I never have and never will. To me it isn’t that big a deal. It did confuse me some when one guy called me Barney, mostly because I didn’t know he was talking to me.

None the less, we give names to many things, roads, cities, counties states and countries. We give names to people, places, and things. We give names to streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. It is, I suppose so that we can tell one from another. No one would think to create a civilization where we identify people by numbers instead of names. Well, I guess we do have Social Security Numbers, but can you imagine calling each other by number that is nine digits long. Even then we would still have names. Each of us would have a unique number that we would be known by. Of note: the number method would make things easier on computer. Not so much for us humans.

Nonetheless, we have chosen to use names. There are over 7 billion people in this world and each of us has a name. When you add in those that are no longer living, that is a bunch of names. It is sort of odd in a way. The street that my wife looked for that day was likely named after a woman.

We do a lot of that. Some streets have women’s names and some men’s. In Fort Smith, there are several streets that are named for WWII heroes. In some cases, there are streets named for battles. We used to name battleships for states. Subs were named mostly for cities, and so forth. Nowadays, you don’t get an aircraft named after you unless you lived in The White House for a while. Yet the first nuclear carrier was named for a WWII carrier, Enterprise. I have no idea what prompted the original carrier’s name.

Maybe to keep the confusion down, we ought not change names too much. Can you imagine if the navy kept changing the names of ships. Also, in order to understand each other, maybe we shouldn’t keep changing the meanings of words just to fit our purpose. I mean, when a person says infrastructure, he really ought to mean infrastructure. There is already enough confusion in this world.