I love predictions, as I think they are fascinating to read.
I enjoy reading about stock market predictions, and how many analysts are willing to predict an uptick or downturn, and what they base their predictions on.
I also love what retired Fidelity Magellan Fund manager said about the end of the world and investing:
That on the day after the world ends, "everyone will get up out of bed, put their pants on one leg at a time, and go to work. " He believed in investing in good stocks, and when the market turned down, as it inevitably does, buy more of the good stocks. "If you liked the fundamentals of GE at $20 a share, and the market dumped it to $20 as share, you should love it even more" knowing that, over time, companies that earn money would be rewarded, while those who did not, would be punished. This, in spite of the short term swings and emotional responses. Lynch found that Black Friday of 1987 provided a glorious buying opportunity.
I have also quoted Peter Lynch when he said, "No one, on their death bed, has ever said, "I wish I spent more time in the office."
Credenda Agenda is Latin that speaks to what is believed, and what is done.
We act upon what we believe, in other words.
I like to predict things, as I see the world working in patterns, and by principles. I am always surprised at what I did not see coming, as Bob Dylan said, "It is a perfect time for anything to happen."
Predictions are based upon patterns, or they are guesses; none of the psychic nonsense we sometimes see this time of year.
Before I set forth my predictions for 2012, may I share a personal religious belief with you? For those of you offended at such, this is a good place to bail out. For others, it is a chance to see a base line for opinions inevitably found within articles that are not straight Statement Analysis.
I am a dyed in the wool Protestant who believes that God is exhaustively sovereign, well aware of the problem created by a loving God permitting horrific human suffering. It does not jive, and I know this. This is where trust comes in, for me.
The problem of a loving God allowing children, for example, to suffer, is beyond my comprehension. I can do one of two things with it:
I. I can own what I do not understand, and walk by "faith" and not by my limitations, or;
II. I can alter "God" to fit my intellectual propensity.
I. Faith; that is, trust in what is not understood.
This is what David had to do, while anointed new king, yet found himself running for his life like an animal hunted, though he had done no harm to Saul. Later, when David lost his son, and cried, "Absalom, Absalom, how I would died for you!", I cried with him, thinking how much I loved my own son, who I feared was about to die as he was in need of emergency surgery. I knew what it was to love someone more than life itself.
I named him, "Joseph", in hopes that he would be "a Joseph"; that is, one who, if mistreated, would only give good to those who misused him.
Worse than what David suffered was what Joseph had to go through in life.
Young, beloved of his father, his father indulged him, something that never turns out well, which provoked the burning envy of his brothers. This increased, over time, until they saw him walking in a fancy and expensive coat, and could take no more of it.
They wanted their own little brother dead. For years, Joseph would suffer incredible physical and psychological trauma.
It would also form him into the man he became.
As the account goes, one brother rescued him from death and they had thrown him into a pit. They dipped his fancy coat in blood and showed it to his father.
They broke their father's heart, and who among us knows, how many years this takes off a man's life? Perhaps only parents who have lost children can enter into this suffering.
Certainly Joseph, judicially innocent, cried out to an all loving and all merciful God, Who, we cannot skip over, is all just as well, which is why I use the phrase "judicially" innocent.
Joseph, when he found himself first buried in a pit, left for dead, for the crime of being loved of his own father, prayed to the God of his fathers for deliverance. When he heard the footsteps of men coming, perhaps he rejoiced in his deliverance, only to find that those who came were to sell him into chattel slavery; not just owning his labors, but his life. Ancient slavery was brutal, and the life expectancy was very, very short. I think that from my own studies in history, the movie, "Gladiator" did a good job of portraying slavery in the ancient world.
If you read his story, you will find that wherever he landed, he worked hard.
Advanced through diligence, he found himself doing good for those he served, only to, again, be thrust into injustice's cold embrace: thrown in prison for a crime he did not commit.
He returned to suffering.
Yet, even in prison, unjustly, he worked hard and found favor with the jailer, but when it came time for his reputation to be made known, he was, again, forgotten, so his suffering continued.
As you all know by now, the years aged this boy into a man, hardened by suffering, yet, something else worked within him.
All humans die.
Some die before they are even born.
Some reach 80 years of age when they die, but all human beings die.
Some die peacefully, some die violently, some die by the hands of those entrusted with their care.
Joseph was vaunted, by God, to the place where the known world was ruled, by him, as Joseph answered only to the super-power Egypt's single ruler: Pharaoh.
Wisely, Joseph built up food supplies and sustained the ancient world during one of the most critical famines known to mankind.
He was now the second most wealthy man, and the single most powerful (under Pharaoh) who, by just a wag of his finger, held life and death over others.
Years had gone by, when his still suffering and grieving father sent his brothers to Egypt, as they had heard, there was grain to be bought there.
The time for Joseph's justification had come. Joseph could now, lawfully and justly, punish his brothers for all the hardship he had suffered, and all the pain they inflicted upon his beloved father.
Instead, this once (likely) selfish and indulged child, had learned, through suffering, to be compassionate.
He revealed himself to his brothers, who had come begging food, slowly through a series of tests, and saved their lives from the famine which had years to go before having run its course. Through suffering, Joseph had the selfish, indulged spirit scrubbed off of him, and he was magnanimous in his own love towards those who had done such harm to him, and to his father.
We need a Joseph among us today.
I share this because there are two views in life. One is "under the sun" and one is "above the sun."
I had a friend who I have spoken about in previous articles, who was kind, fun loving, helpful, educated, hearty, and so much more. On Memorial Day, he came over for a barbecue and could not shake a cough. He was a chiropractor, the kind who thought he could heal everything with just a twist of the neck. His sense of humor was as great as his appetite. At 250 lbs, and more than 6' tall, he was strong, athletic and could eat this writer under the table in a pancake eating contest. He loved his wife, his children and he loved life. He loved his God, and bowed his immense intellect before the all-knowing God, embracing that he, himself, could understand human suffering no more than an ant on an ant hill, can receive a lecture about trigonometry.
He chose Choice #1: Trust what he could not understand.
By Thanksgiving, he was dead.
Just before he died, with help, his frail, 130lb body climbed to the pulpit with a tapestry made by his wife. It was a beautiful image of what, I do not recall, but it was when he turned the other side to us, that it made sense.
The other side was strings hanging out, and colors not blending, and without a visible and discernible image for the audience to see.
"This", he said, "is life under the sun. It is colorful, but in some places, ugly, and it has threads sticking out, and it doesn't make a lot of sense. It is God working in our lives, forming us to who we shall, through suffering, one day be. This is life "under the sun" as Ecclesiastes says.
Then, he turned it around to reveal the beautiful finished product.
"This is what God sees. It is the finished product of our lives, made for His glory, and His purposes, in ways we do not understand. We shall live forever, so that the suffering of this present day is not to be compared to the glory which He has stored up for us in eternity; in Heaven, the world of love, where sin, and its ugliest of outputs, death, will be finally destroyed."
We all wept to see this weak, bald, shell of a man, with barely the strength to speak, impart these final words of wisdom to us all.
II. So what is choice #2?
I won't belabor this. It is the changing of "God" into a weak, impotent failure, who, begs people to love him, but mostly just fails as the world continues to rot away, like hell in a hen basket, whatever that may actually be.
Some portray God as the helpless watcher, claiming to love, but claiming to be incapable of violating man's "free will", making the creature the all powerful one and he the useless bystander as evil triumphs.
It is, in fact, when followed through logically, atheism.
I find that many people will fashion "god" into something that resembles themselves
more than that described in the Bible.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest minds to have walked this earth, once said that if any creature, anywhere, of even the slightest size and stature, in all creation, can do one single thing, outside the will of God, there is no God.
Many will say that this is an excuse and that I am not explaining suffering.
Although suffering exists, I do not pretend to know why, explicitly, why the Sovereign God permits it, and I know that we all are faced with either trusting Him, and clinging to Him in our suffering, or, we can change him and make him more like us.
Hundreds of years before Judas Iscariot was born, it was written and predicted precisely what he would do: betray Christ for money. Each year after this prediction, Judas was another year closer to being born, and doing exactly what was said he would do. Did Judas have a free and independent will to decide, "hmm, I have been reading about this moment since I first went to Temple. I am thinking that I am going to not tell those killers where the Christ is, so that the prophecy about me being eternally damned does not come true..."?
No, his will was enacted, as he was a thief, and he was also the treasurer (isn't that interesting?) and he wanted the money more than anything else. His will was precisely as it was written, hundreds of years prior.
Under the sun, that is, in the messy tapestry, we feel like we have our own free will, yet, many of us realize, that there are things going on beyond our control. When we are in trouble, we don't pray, "God, I know you don't violate free will, and I know you can't change the will of this person who wants to hurt me, but could you, just this once, override my free will, and override my boss' free will and help me?"
Of course not.
We beg the Almighty God for help.
The Apostle Paul was stoned.
I don't know, outside of some of the things done by Stalin and Hitler, a crueler death that someone could experience.
I have often thought about what nightmares he must have suffered, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as he lived and relieved each and every angry face (children too?) throwing rocks at him, all for preaching repentance in the Name of Christ, must have been unbearable and ongoing suffering.
Then it happened again.
How did he go back to work?
He was raised in highest societal ego and pride. His arrogance would have led him to class demarcation where most people would be considered beneath him. He was a Pharisee; something, at the time, to be. (Christ so pummeled the word "pharisee" that in 2,000 years, it still has not be rehabilitated. No one likes being called a "pharisee" just like not too many Germans name their sons, "Adolf" yet).
What injuries, permanent, did he suffer from? I cannot imagine the psychological scars he carried with him. There were those that made fun of his appearance saying he was "so strong" by letter, but despised his appearance. Did he receive disfiguring on his face, as well?
He was stoned a third time, with this one, seemingly successful. They left him for dead, believing that they had finished him off. Remember, there were men who so hated him that they each took a vow:
We will not eat food until Paul is dead.
I can barely make it to dinner without sneaking a few Oreo cookies. Can you imagine how deeply they hated this man, the former Pharisee who now turned down donations (sorry, TV evangelists), made tents to support himself, and while chained in a freezing Roman prison, wrote letters of love to encourage others? They hated him without a cause.
Paul's suffering countered the arrogance he was raised in, and enabled him to, almost single-handedly, begin the overthrow of the world's superpower, Rome, brick by brick.
Paul saw the value of suffering, and even the example of Christ, "under the sun", speaks of "learning" through "the things He suffered" in the humiliation of the Incarnation. Paul said that he felt suicidal, ("despairing of life") yet found comfort in trusting Christ, knowing that He has hidden the reason of the suffering from Paul. "Even if I make my bed in hell, thou art with me" David was able to say, write, and allow Paul, so many centuries later, to quote to himself.
This same truth speaks of the end of the world, the old system, where the Temple was destroyed for a new way, and the blessings would be "unto a thousand generations" where we, as humans, would, slowly but steadily, learn to love, and even learn to take military technology advances and employ them in seemingly miraculous agricultural advances. The future, the Scripture teaches, is bright and exciting. Edwards spoke of a time to come where a loved one in one part of the country would be able to just 'whisper' to a loved one in another part of the country, and be heard! What was he thinking of? We now have this very thing through cell phones!
What is a "generation" in the Bible? 20 years? 40 years? The blessings to a "thousand generations" if only literal, means that we have only just gotten started.
Objection: "that is only symbolic language."
The nature of symbolic language.
Symbolic language works this way: The symbol is far smaller than the reality represented.
A tiny American flag might be only 2" inches by 2"inches. Yet, it represents almost 300 million people.
My wedding ring is a tiny piece of white gold, yet it represents a life of memories, future lives, loves, lost, and so much more.
The symbol is far smaller than the reality it represents.
If the blessings are to come to a "thousand generations", the blessings of medical advances, educational advances, agricultural advances are far more than we can, even now, imagine.
We see setbacks, small in the bigger realm of history, and do not see the greater picture above us.
Since the horror of the atomic bomb, the number of deaths by war has dropped incredibly, and if the drop continues, will we learn to find a way to use a tiny atom to fuel, for example, a single car, for life? Will we learn how to produce food in such a way as to see that our fellow humans in the Sudan, for example, receive food in abundance?
For me and my personal religious belief (history Protestantism shared by many others) is that the future is wonderfully glorious, even if I am living in a small time of set back.
Therefore, my predictions, to come in the next article, will have this underlining influence. What we believe, we act upon, and speak of.
Philosophers are most sad when they try to make sense of life outside of the truth. What shall become of me?
Shall I just be buried here, and that is all? What is the purpose of my life? What have I suffered for? Is there no hope? Why am I alone? Why am I sick? Why I am so sad? Why I am depressed?
Why do I despair of life, itself?
Why do you, my reader, care about being lied to?
Why do you care if a child was murdered, and the killer allowed to walk the streets, tell his or her lies, while the child, you never met, goes unburied?
Why do you care?
Yet, you do care.
Some of you care more about Baby Ayla, for example, than her own family did. Rather than have her suffer a single bruise to the face, you would have gladly taken her in, without a single dollar paid to you.
There are those of you who know what I am talking about.
You are those who, while hungry, hear your child say, "Mom, can I have another piece of meat?" and instead of saying, "Can't you let me finish my dinner first?", you get up, smile, glad to see your little one eating, and fill his plate, even while yours might be a little colder, or even, perhaps, a little lighter.
Those of you who have gone without sleep, just to make sure your loved one got his sleep, know what I am talking about.
You scorned the "me first" mentality, and let another take that best parking spot.
You stopped to help a neighbor push her car out of the snow.
You left that waitress just a little more of a tip than normal; you saw something in her eyes, perhaps it was tiredness, and you knew.
You knew, whether taught so, or not, that it was more blessed to give than receive.
You wanted to just give your little fellow two dollars, but knew, for his future wife, that it was more important for him to earn the money through his chores. Somehow, you just knew.
Your children know it too. They brought home the 'stray cat' kids; those who were neglected at home. You always said, "there's plenty for all" and, like the loaves and fishes, thanked God that the spaghetti went further than anticipated.
You hurt over Baby Lisa, though you never met her.
You were angry about Hailey Dunn, and wondered if she would have gone to prom, to college, and had gone on to a good life, even while her own mother and grandmother were putting themselves first, buying drugs for themselves, not caring what impact it had upon Hailey.
You work hard to provide for your children.
|Costume Reproduction of Shirley Temple in "The Littlest Rebel"|
Some of you employ others. They "eat at your table"; that is, provide for their own families, through your labors, intelligence, and hard work. Without you, they might not have jobs. Some of you provide not only for your children, but your children's children as well.
I think of the ancient Scripture: "The righteous lay up for his children's children" compared to the modern, selfish bumper sticker, "I'm spending my children's inheritance" as if this form of selfishness is something to celebrate.
The religious beliefs I hold are ancient, vital, and sacred to me. I believe that when Paul wrote, "if a man will not work, neither shall he eat" he understood far more about what makes us tick, then our government does. He knew that a man does not feel like a man when he does not work, and that when a man does not feel like a man, he will do things that are unseemly, in order to overcome this deficit. This usually does not turn out well...especially for women.
Of course, there are those who cannot work: they cannot work, and it is caring individuals who know that a fishing pole in this case will not work. This is not an act of the will, but a restriction of mind and/or body.
When I read creationism, I wonder how many understand just how psychologically accurate the descriptions are, about how men and women think and understand, and relate to each other in life. I know the "men are from mars, women are from venus" humorous viewpoint came from it, but it is the things, deep within us, that make such sense. I know that men are superior, for example in strength, while women are superior in emotions, just as the Genesis record indicates. There will always be exceptions, but principle is not founded upon exception.
Take one of my favorite holiday classics for example:
"She said I'm cute! I'mmmmm cuuuuuutttttteeeee!" said Rudolph, as he took off in front of the other reindeer, soaring through the air, in their first tryouts for Santa's sleigh.
Did you know that this was Biblically accurate?
The little boy on your lap was created to thrive off the respect you show him. Tel the little boy he can do it, and he will not disappoint. Tell the little boy he is a loser who will amount to nothing in life and he will not disappoint. This is what breaks the hearts of teachers more than anything else.
Did you know the man you call "husband" is no different than the little boy wondering if he can really hit that base ball, yet believing he can because a woman, his mother, said he can do it? Women thrive on love, as men thrive on respect. They do best when they show kindly, respectful affections one towards another. Just as Rudolph sailed on the compliment, so it is that little boys of 5, and little boys of 50, but respond in kind to the female's respect.
More about this when I finally complete the article on the thinking of men and women, and how relevant this is to profiling.
Many of you read about missing children's cases, but may not realize that the principle we follow about mothers of missing children generally not speaking of the child in the past tense is from Scripture. The Solomonic example, taught in law schools for hundreds and hundreds of years, portrays this instinct for us. We are merely beneficiaries from those who have gone before us in truth.
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" is the foundation for all Analysis. This is why SCAN will not deal with sarcasm, for instance, but will focus upon the words the sarcastic person has chosen. (More on this later, especially since sarcasm is a vital tool of humor and communication).
|Dylan Redwine not forgotten|
Therefore, if you are interested, my Predictions for 2013 are coming, but at least now, you know the reference point for my long term optimism, in spite of short term setbacks.
I don't believe in the end of the world coming any time soon.
I didn't fret on December 31, 1999, about a computer chip ending life as we know it.
I did not panic over a calendar that no one has even read before, and I certainly have no interest in the religious date setters who look the Scripture, "no man knows the day nor the hour" and play linguistic gymnastics to dance around its central viewpoint that no one knows, therefore...stop your stupid predictions!
This is called "eschatology"; that is, the study of things to come. My historic faith is abundantly optimistic; more so than I sometimes show, especially at times where we take a wrong turn, or a step backwards in life.
The doom of doomsday is not consistent with blessings of prosperity promised to us.
Instead, I see advancements in technology, medicine and agriculture coming in an amazing and breathtaking manner, even as the internet has changed all of our lives.
The advances in history sometimes seem like the tide at the ocean, in and out, in and out, with inscrutable repetition.
You care enough about truth and justice be here, in the first place.
Truth is unaffected by the passage of time and by changes in culture. It is an entity all to itself. Where I do not embrace it, it is not impacted, nor is it changed. It is a rock to fall upon me, and change me, but I cannot change it. I might be wrong about it, quite often, but it is never wrong.
When we view today, or even the past 40 years, in light of eternity, it seems so small.
The ground I am standing on, at this moment, was a place of great controversy.
Think of this small portion of fiction, placing it in context of the year 970 AD:
There were two Indian tribes who were competing in an athletic contest, similar to lacrosse. There was a controversial call over a goal, granting the victory to the A tribe. The B tribe was furious and fights broke out. There were several injuries. Afterwards, trade hindered, as some from the A side of the river refused to sell goods to the B side tribe. Even those on the A side bickered with one another, some saying that the referee made the right call. This divided some families. On the B side, reports of marriages ending in divorce were rumored about, as some wives said that the ref was being fair. The bitterness was everywhere.
Gone are the teams.
Gone is the game.
Gone is the memory of the call.
Gone is the bitterness of it all. By 990 AD, some of the grandkids had still heard about it, but most laughed. By 1010 AD, the game was forgotten.
By 1012, however, there was another controversial call in a track race that was the talk of the competing tribes for quite a while.
By 1013, the records were lost in a fire.
No one remembers the name of the star who scored the goal, nor the name of the ref who disallowed the goal.
No one talks about it anymore.
There is a department store built over the field now and no one cares to even know what the score of the game was.
At the time of such things, we think ourselves so important, and so very selfish is our thinking that we do not realize how, over time, things are forgotten by us. All the rage today is often not remembered by our children tomorrow.
Bob Dylan was almost arrested in recent years.
He went for a walk in New Jersey and was almost taken in by a police officer who mistook him for a homeless man.
"Bob who?" She thought she might have heard of him.
Girls once swooned over Ricky Nelson. Do your kids know who he is? If it wasn't for Christmas, could your kids sing any Bing Crosby songs?
Things pass on and some things are forgotten. Only in truth does it matter that a sparrow fell to the ground, and it mattered, eternally, to an Eternal being Who understands and orchestrates all.
Even the names of murdered children fade from memory. How often, in our comments section here, do people write, "Peter, thank you for not letting Ayla be forgotten!"
Thank you, dear reader, for not forgetting them as well, and for indulging me this article to share my optimism, based upon my religious belief, for the future.
Next up: My predictions for 2013.
Will there be arrests in the cases that bother us most?