Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.

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["Ram Jam - Black Betty - 1977 - 720p (HQ)"]

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Serendipity? Coincidence? You be the judge.

In book III of Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana (1703), we find this anecdote pertaining to Puritan missionary to the Indians John Eliot (1604-1690):

"It was his wisdom that he began with them upon such principles as they themselves had already some notions of; such as that of an Heaven for good, and Hell for bad people when they died. It broke his gracious heart within him to see what floods of tears fell from the eyes of several among those degenerate salvages at the first addresses which he made unto them; yea, from the very worst of them all. He was very inquisitive to learn who were the Powawes -- that is, the Sorcerers and Seducers that maintained the worship of the devil in any of their societies; and having in one of bis first journeys to them found out one of those wretches, he made the Indian come unto him, and said, Whether do you suppose God or Chepian (i. e. the Devil) to be the author of all good? The conjurer answered, God.Why do you pray to Chepian then? And the poor man was not able to stand or speak before him; but at last made promises of reformation."

Does it require that much deductive inference or is it all that implausible to surmise that by "Chepian" the native was indeed referring to our very own (or someone like our very own) "Champion" or "Championship?"

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["ZZ TOP - JESUS JUST LEFT CHICAGO - Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010"]

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["The Beach Boys: The Monkey's Uncle"]

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As mentioned or alluded to, in one way or another, several times before much of the rejection of religion is justified because what is rejected is not true religion to begin with. Within the past week, I saw fit to praise some of the early New England Puritans, noting that they were among the foremost who first planted and gave character to this country's civil and democratic ideals and principles. Yet none of this was to suggest that I was or am in whole hearted agreement with them on everything. The belief they many of them held, for example, that everything and all events were divinely ordained and necessarily the result of God causing them is a view that seems to me to be presumptuous; for how can one prove such a thing? Moreover, I find such a potentially dangerous opinion from a moral perspective; because wrong-doing and minded people can take it up and argue that any crime they commit is an act of God; since God's is the cause of all events. So if you accept the Puritan assumption, how can one reasonably refute that sort of rejoinder? This is by no means to dismiss the notion of providence. For is it not equally nonsense to imagine that mere human opinion is not the final word on the course of great and epochal events?

Similarly, while I do hold the Bible the most preeminent of spiritual books, unlike the Puritans I have a hard time receiving all its lines and parts as necessarily true history or the inspired word of God. The fact is, as far as I am concerned, the Bible was or may have been cut, edited, and interpolated over the centuries, and not always by people who rightly ought to have been allowed to do so. In reading him, and try sincerely as he might, poor, well-meaning Origen occasionally strains and is not always able to explain away discrepancies in the New Testament; even if permitted to view them in solely in a spiritual light; and even if he is most of the time reasonably successful or better otherwise. Regarding the Old Testament, how laughably absurd, for instance, is it that the story of David's touching forgiveness of Shimei is followed up by Solomon's tartar-like retaliatory slaying of the latter. It is oft implied in the Bible that punishment teaches. Yet how actually true is this supposition if we judge by history and experience?

Perhaps we should think that portions of the Bible are intentionally and circumstantially dated -- and the sack that was fine for new wine in its day is, in certain cases, an inept vessel for the wine of our times. Only honest, just, and rational interpretation, guided by the Holy Spirit, can for us deduce whether for us a specific something it contains does or does not apply and make sense presently.

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"Choose..." (OR ELSE!)

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I know, I know...


["Silver Bells - Bing Crosby"]

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Some (Random) Thoughts in Passing

There is this very misguided and foolish idea out there that if you don't print or make openly available your address and phone number you are better protecting yourself. Really, taken all in all, this is merely sheepish surrender AND playing into the hands of those who most rule by fear. Put your address out there for all to see -- and if possible your phone number. Respecting the latter, indeed, let them send you promotions, and other annoying calls; the more of this they have to do the more drain it is on their resources (though, as ever, always pity the poor phone slave-person.) Hiding your address, etc. means very little as a practical matter. If they WANT or NEED to find you -- and they, regardless of what main or subsidiary group or affiliate, are actually and always the ones who are responsible for both annoying and malicious mischief -- rest assured, that they always can, including address, phone, down to your DNA if need be.

In a word, fight fear -- don't accommodate it! And together we not only can but will win.

And speaking of "fighting," as I see it, the aggregate, rational, and sincere church are the continentals while the secular-religious the militia in the war against (the now outdated and primitive) singular and superior Oaf (and, unnaturally, the evil magician.) Meanwhile, the most effective strategy involves, as best as possible, to gather ones forces and concentrate at ONE point of attack; while being prepared to change that point as warranted; while maintaining a reasonably straight line and carefully guarded flanks; always, of course, in a cost prudent manner.

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[Ch. 7]...For if everything whatsoever was made through the Logos, then nothing was made without Him. Yet it does not follow from the proposition that without the Logos nothing was made, that all things were made through the Logos. It is possible that though nothing was made without the Logos, all things were made, not through the Logos only, but some things by Him. We must, therefore, make ourselves sure in what sense the “all things” is to be understood, and in what sense the “nothing.” For, without a clear preliminary definition of these terms, it might be maintained that, if all things were made through the Logos, and evil is a part of all things, then the whole matter of sin, and everything that is wicked, that these also were made through the Logos. But this we must regard as false. There is nothing absurd in thinking that creatures were made through the Logos, and also that men's brave deeds have been done through Him, and all the useful acts of those who are now in bliss; but with the sins and misfortunes of men it is otherwise. Now some have held that since evil is not based in the constitution of things— for it did not exist at the beginning and at the end it will have ceased— that, therefore, the evils of which we spoke are the Nothing; and as some of the Greeks say that genera and forms, such as the (general) animal and the man, belong to the category of Nothings, so it has been supposed that all that is not of God is Nothing, and has not even obtained through the Word the subsistence it appears to have. We ask whether it is possible to show from Scripture in any convincing way that this is so. As for the meanings of the word “Nothing” and “Not-being,” they would appear to be synonymous, for Nothing can be spoken of as Not-being, and the Not-being can be described as Nothing. The Apostle, however, appears to count the things which are not, not among those which have no existence whatever, but rather among things which are evil. To him the Not-being is evil; “God,” he says, [Romans 4:17] “called the things that are not as things that are.” And Mardochćus, too, in the Esther of the Septuagint, calls the enemies of Israel “those that are not,” saying, [Esther 4:22] “Deliver not Your sceptre, O Lord, to those that are not”...

[ch. 11] First let us look at the words, “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” That is equivalent to saying that He is not the God of sinners but of saints. For it was a great gift to the Patriarchs that God in place of His own name should add their name to His own designation as God, as Paul says, [Hebrews 11:16] “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” He is the God, therefore, of the fathers and of all the saints; it might be hard to find a passage to the effect that God is the God of any of the wicked. If, then, He is the God of the saints, and is said to be the God of the living, then the saints are the living and the living are saints; neither is there any saint outside the living, nor when any one is called living is the further implication absent that in addition to his having life he is a holy one. Near akin to this is the lesson to be drawn from the saying, “I shall be well pleasing to the Lord in the land of the living.” The good pleasure of the Lord, he appears to say, is in the ranks of the saints, or in the place of the saints, and it is there that he hopes to be. No one pleases God well who has not entered the rank of the saints, or the place of the saints; and to that place every one must come who has assumed beforehand, as it were in this life, the shadow and image of true God-pleasing. The passage which declares that before God no living being shall be justified shows that in comparison with God and the righteousness that is in Him none, even of the most finished saints, will be justified...

[ch. 16] Let us suggest another question, namely, whether the life was the light of men only, and not of every being as well that is in blessedness. For if the life were the same thing as the light of men, and if the light of Christ were for men alone, then the life also would be only for men. But such a view is both foolish and impious, since the other Scriptures testify against this interpretation and declare that, when we are somewhat more advanced, we shall be equal to the angels. [Matthew 22:30] The question is to be solved on the principle that when a predicate is applied to certain persons, it is not to be at once taken to apply to them alone. Thus, when the light of men is spoken of, it is not the light of men only; had that been the meaning, a word would have been added to express it; the life, it would have read, was the light of men only. For it is possible for the light of men to be the light of others besides men, just as it is possible that certain animals and certain plants may form the food of men, and that the same animals and plants should be the food of other creatures too. That is an example from common life; it is fitting that another analogy should be adduced from the inspired books. Now the question here before us, is why the light of men should not be the light of other creatures also, and we have seen that to speak of the light of men by no means excludes the possibility that the light may be that of other beings besides man, whether inferior to him or like him...

[ch. 19]...To such an enquiry we shall reply that the life here spoken of is not that which is common to rational beings and to beings without reason, but that life which is added to us upon the completion of reason in us, our share in that life, being derived from the first reason (Logos). It is when we turn away from the life which is life in appearance only, not in truth, and when we yearn to be filled with the true life, that we are made partakers of it, and when it has arisen in us it becomes the foundation of the light of the higher knowledge (gnosis). With some it may be that this life is only potentially and not actually light, with those who do not strive to search out the things of the higher knowledge, while with others it is actually light. With these it clearly is so who act on Paul's injunction, “Seek earnestly the best gifts;” and among the greatest gifts is that which all are enjoined to seek, namely, the word of wisdom, and it is followed by the word of knowledge. This wisdom and this knowledge lie side by side; into the difference between them this is not a fitting occasion to enquire.

[ch. 23] In connection with this subject it is necessary for us to point out that darkness is not to be understood, every time it is mentioned, in a bad sense; Scripture speaks of it sometimes in a good sense. The heterodox have failed to observe this distinction, and have accordingly adopted most shameful doctrines about the Maker of the world, and have indeed revolted from Him, and addicted themselves to fictions and myths. We must, therefore, show how and when the name of darkness is taken in a good sense. Darkness and clouds and tempest are said in Exodus to be round about God, and in the seventeenth Psalm, “He made darkness His secret place, His tent round about Him, dark water in clouds of the air.” Indeed, if one considers the multitude of speculation and knowledge about God, beyond the power of human nature to take in, beyond the power, perhaps, of all originated beings except Christ and the Holy Spirit, then one may know how God is surrounded with darkness, because the discourse is hid in ignorance which would be required to tell in what darkness He has made His hiding-place when He arranged that the things concerning Him should be unknown and beyond the grasp of knowledge. Should any one be staggered by these expositions, he may be reconciled to them both by the “dark sayings” and by the “treasures of darkness,” hidden, invisible, which are given to Christ by God. In nowise different, I consider, are the treasures of darkness which are hid in Christ, from what is spoken of in the text, “God made darkness His secret place,” and (the saint) “shall understand parable and dark saying.” [Proverbs 1:6] And consider if we have here the reason of the Saviour's saying to His disciples, “What you have heard in darkness, speak ye in the light.” The mysteries committed to them in secret and where few could hear, hard to be known and obscure, He bids them, when enlightened and therefore said to be in the light, to make known to every one who is made light. I might add a still stranger feature of this darkness which is praised, namely, that it hastens to the light and overtakes it, and so at last, after having been unknown as darkness, undergoes for him who does not see its power such a change that he comes to know it and to declare that what was formerly known to him as darkness has now become light.
~ Origen (185-232 A.D.), Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book II

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"Back then they had faces..."

Of late I have just started re-watching (i.e., since when it used to air originally and in re-runs on television) Irwin Allen's "Lost in Space;" a strange amalgam of family program and exercise in sheer terror. As a child, I used to find something decidedly disturbing about the show, and viewing it again today I can see why. One amusing thing now, however, is that as bizarre, frightening, insane, and preposterous as LIS could be, real life, in its own way, can sometimes match or even surpass it in these qualities. Below, via YouTube, is the screen test of actor Guy Williams; who, as you will recall, played the father.


["Guy Williams - Original Screen Test"}

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How should you treat anyone (i.e., who you don't know or else know merely by repute?) As if they are, like anybody else, just doing their job (in life.) And should it prove they are not actually doing anything or much of anything, you will find this out soon enough, and know not to unnecessarily waste your time on or with them (at least, if you can help it.)

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