Dandelions and Sin – Part I

Dandelions and sin.  Dandelions remind me very much of sin.  I looked over my yard and I saw three dandelions.  Like my life, I have a few sins, but not very many.  I got my dandelion digger, a bag to put them in, and went to dig up the three dandelions (sins).  But then I found another one, then another one.  An hour later, I was still digging them up as the more I searched for them, the more they appeared.

David wrote in Psalm 139: 23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Lord, search our hearts and lead me in the way everlasting.

Lilies of the Field Pt 3

Not only do the hyacinths look beautiful, but their fragrance can fill a room.  Such beauty.  Such smell.

Praise the Lord for His creation.

Tyrants and Truth

Today celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.  This samizdat publication  [the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state, especially formerly in the communist countries of eastern Europe] told the truth about the Communist persecution of the Catholic Church.  They tried to silence the truth, but the KGB failed.  Pope John Paul II said that perhaps the most important verse was John 8:32 where we read “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  I highly recommend reading the full article at https://www.wsj.com/articles/tyrants-cant-tolerate-truth-chronicle-catholic-church-lithuania-cardinal-soviet-stalin-11647546444?mod=latest_headlines

Three examples of this is in the Russian assault on Ukraine:

1.)  The Russians initially denied they attacked the maternity hospital.  Later they said they had in fact targeted the hospital.

2.) Putin says Ukraine is controlled by Nazis, but the president of Ukraine is a Jew.  Not sure why after the Nazis killed six million Jews and tried to kill more, they would install a Jew as a president of Ukraine.  Putin is a liar.

3.) Putin has forbidden the invasion to be called an invasion.  If  you call it an invasion, a prison sentence of 15 years may await you.  It is a “special military operation.”  They refuse to acknowledge that the plan is not going in accordance with schedule.  Putin is a liar.

Lilies of the Field Pt. 2

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

God on the Sermon on the Mount as quoted by an eyewitness account.  Matthew 6

Below is an example of God’s creative beauty.  This hyacinth had 27 of florets!

Lilies of the Field Pt 1

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Jesus’s words from the Sermon on the Mount, as quoted by one of his apostles, Matthew in chapter 6.Hyacinths from our garden

W A R – jus in bellow – leader 4

Killing the leader is valid in jus in bello theory because it is proportional and it does not kill the protected class.  Let me give you several examples of this.

On 18 April 1943, the United States sent 18 P-38Gs with the sole purpose of killing Yamamoto, perhaps the best Japanese admiral, the author of the Pearl Harbor attack.  Killing this individual, was saved thousands of lives.

On 02 May 2011, 23 SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden.  Although his wives, e.g., Dr. Umm Hamza and Dr. Siham Sabarwere, both of whom had help write his speeches, were there, the SEALs did not kill them as they were not legitimate targets.  They were women.    Osama’s children who did not fight back and grandchildren were not killed.  Killing the leader, but not the innocent falls in the just war theory.

On 03 February 2022, Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi blew himself up when the United States special operations forces arrived on-scene.  When he detonated the blast, he also killed his wife and several children.  Note that he blew himself up; the special forces did not kill them.

 

W A R – jus in bello – leader 3

In the just war theory, is it legal to try to take out a civilian leader?  In the first two blogs, I said that it was okay for the nation to try to remove their own leader, (like Brutus did to Caesar and Stauffenberg tried to do to Hitler), but is it okay for another nation to try to take out the leader of the opposing country?

Some argue against targeting the leaders as that would undermine the respect that we owe to those in authority (Romans 13).  Others contend that assassinating a leader would cause a tit-for-tat cycle.  You kill my leader I kill your leader.  Then there would be a never ending a cycle of killing leaders.  A Pandora’s box that cannot recapture the evil.

However, that assumes that all the follow-on leaders would be as evil.  There are clear cases, where taking out the evil leader would stop the war.  If Hitler had been killed, there is a high probability that his successor would not have the charisma to carry on the war and the war would have ended within weeks; thousands upon thousands would have been saved from death.

The other advantage is that it follows the just war theory of proportionality and protected classes.  But more on that in the next blog.

W A R – jus in bello – leader 2

Psalm 109 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, 2for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. 

3With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.  4In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. 5They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship. 6Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand.  7When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. 

8May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.

9May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.  10May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. 11May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. 12May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.  13May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.  14May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.  15May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

16For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted. 17He loved to pronounce a curse– may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing– may it be far from him. 18He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.  19May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.  20May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me. 

21But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me22For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.  23I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust.  24My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.  25I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.  26Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love 27Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it.  28They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice.  29My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.  30With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng I will praise him.  31For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.

This is an imprecatory (cursing) psalm.  You don’t always want to pray like this, but there are times you have to.  At the end, David pleads for mercy based on God’s love.

Lord, hear our prayer.