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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Demythologizing an address in Rio de Janeiro
Topic: idiosyncratic egotism

Over this last weekend, thanks to Google Maps, I was able to demythologize an address in Rio de Janeiro that had possessed an almost other-worldly aura for me for more than 20 years.

In September of 1984, at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansas, USA, I made the acquaintance of Regina Oliveira, an exchange student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who was also a coworker of mine at the University Library.  Over the next ten months, Regina befriended my wife and I.  Indeed, we became close friends.  Regina's friendship drastically changed my perspective on the world and  my view of my own faith, though the full effect took many years to work itself out.  But, over the much shorter term, during a personal crisis in the late Spring and early Summer of 1991, Regina remained in Lawrence for approximately 2 months after her graduation, when she really wanted to go home to Rio, because we needed her.  Her kindness and true friendship played a large part in saving my life (I was suicidal for awhile) and our marriage.  Then she went home.

Regina returned to the U.S. for about a year later in the Fall.  She lived with relatives in New Jersey and worked an internship in her field.  Then she returned to Brazil for good.  We remained in correspondence until 1991, when she suddenly disappeared completely, without a trace.  All attempts to locate her after 1991 (and, believe me, I made some!) returned no indication that she had ever existed--though I can still prove her existence from 1985 to 1991 by showing letters she wrote and by pointing to her name in the published May 1985 University of Kansas graduation announcement (which is still publicly archived in the campus newspaper and the Lawrence Journal-World).   Her role in changing my life and my attitude was pretty well complete, so it was as if she no longer existed.  I came to regard her as a spiritual figure sent to me for a time, an angel.  (A longer version of the story is found in Suspect Angel, a web page I first published in 1995 as a part of my effort to locate her).     

This is the point in the story where my searches in Google Maps--which I just learned to use this weekend--came in.  After her return to Brazil, according to her letters, Regina lived with her parents at a house on Rua da Bondade (Virtue Street!!!), Curicica, Jacarepagua, R.J., Brazil.  She lived there until shortly before she disappeared in 1990, when she moved to an address on Jardim Botanico in central Rio--an address that, unfortunately, burned in a fire at our house before I could memorize it. 

Before this weekend, I knew that Jardim Botanico was a major thorougfare in central Rio that ran by a large park, the Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico).  However, after the street number of the Jardim Botanico address burned, I obviously couldn't use it.  On the other hand, I remembered by heart Regina's parents' address on Rua da Bondade, and had, back in the early '90's, tried sending two letters to Regina at that address via FedEx.  Neither the letters nor the receipts ever returned, and FedEx was not able to trace them--it was as if the letters disappeared into the great void.  This made me wonder whether the location existed.  Perhaps Rua da Bondade itself was an address in the spirit realm?

So, I asked some e-mail correspondents I had developed in Rio de Janeiro what they knew about the Rua da Bondade address.  All but one had never even heard of the street and did not know how to find it.  The one correspondent who said he had heard of it also said it was in a part of town that I would definitely NOT want to visit, though he didn't elaborate on exactly where it was or why I wouldn't want to go there.  The mystery, and the myth, deepened.

Well, this weekend, I found it. Jacarepagua is a borough on the west side of Rio.  Curicica is a neighborhood on the southwest corner of the borough of Jacarepagua, generally north of the old Autodromo of Jacarepagua, which used to be an important auto racing track but is now in disuse and likely to be removed to buiild an Olympic villlage, if Rio wins its bid to host the summer games.  Curicica is also directly west of, and borders on, the Cidade de Deus (City of God!!!) neighborhood, w 1960's planned community social experiment which was the subject of a famous movie.   Rua da Bondade is a short, two block long street which has a traffic circle as its northern terminus.  It is located almost directly north of the autodrome, approximately a mile (if I'm reading the map correctly).

So now the address on Virtue Street has been demythologized.  I can prove it exists, and point to its location on a physical map.  It is not entirely in the spiritual realm, or in my imagination.  Many questions remain, but the location of Rua da Bondade in Curicica isn't one of them.   

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:36 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2008 11:41 PM EDT
Monday, 22 September 2008
Could America be repossessed?
Topic: Pure Satire

Now that I've suggested that a hyperinflationary economic depression is likely soon, and that the laws will be rearranged so as to prevent common citizens from being freed of their debts or otherwise profiting in any way from it, I will ask one further obnoxious question:

Could America be repossessed?

It is well known that most of our nation's debts--governmental, corporate and consumer--are owed to, and owned by, foreign governments and multinational corporations.  It is also well known that these debts already total several times our GDP.  Moreover, it has been known since ancient times that credtors tend to treat debtors as property, and to expect debtors to just innately know that they are owned by their debts.  For example, more than 3000 years ago, King Solomon wrote that "the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the lender's slave."  (The Bible, Proverbs 22:7).  There are similar proverbs in many cultures.  Finally, as I discussed yesterday, even our U.S. government recognizes its present servile condition, in that it has begun to take drastic measures that will ultimately lead to hyperinflating its domestic debt out of existence in order to preserve its liquidity to pay its foreign and multinational corporate creditors.  

But what if that's not enough?

What if, after all of our government's efforts to sacrifice its economy and people to preserve itself, the foreign creditors still aren't satisfied?  Or what if the American people balk at some of the sacrifices they are asked to make, and the U.S. military (like the Russian military a few years ago) refuses to fire on its own citizens to enforce the needed sacrifices?  

What happens when any debtor who has pledged property to secure a debt refuses to pay?

The debtor's property is repossessed!

In the case of a country pledged as collateral, repossessing the country usually requires a war.  However, in the modern nuclear age, a bloody ground war might not be required.  Consider the possibility that, after first disabling our nuclear arsenal as  a condition of leniency on an earlier occasion, our creditors, many ofwhich are nuclear powers, might simplyTHREATEN to nuke a major city unless we surrendered unconditionally and let their multinational army of occupation take over.  If we failed to surrender quickly or completely enough, or insisted on foolish conditions (such as preserving the Bill of Rights), our national creditors could nuke one or two medium-sized cities with low-yield "neutron" bombs, just enough to kill the people in those cities without contaminating too much valuable countryside.  (After all, the purpose of the attack would be to enforce compliance, not to destroy the collateral).  After that, we would comply quickly and unconditionally with anything demanded!  

Under such conditions, the act of exploding nuclear weapons in a few U.S. cities would not be conidered an act of terrorism, but as an act done in compliance with and in enforcement of international law.

Yes, America could be repossessed. 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 22 September 2008 10:40 PM EDT
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Tools for involuntarily rewriting loans for the benefit of large and foreign creditors being created this week!
Mood:  incredulous

Exactly as I predicted yesterday, the United States is choosing the hyperinflationary route out of its troubles.  The first installment (but certainly not the last) of this hyperinflationary approach is the President's emergency bailout plan for the financial markets.  The leaders of  both houses of Congress have been quoted as saying their chambers plan to act on the proposal by the end of this week.  The President essentially wants to create $700 billion (he says) in new money--though Democrats are saying it will actually be well over $1 trillion--to buy all of the endangered assets of the banking, insurance and securities industries.  Publicly he says this will take only (!!!) $700 billion, and will initially be limited to high-risk and defaulted mortgages.  But the proposal, as submitted to Congress, is open-ended.  Officers of the Executive Branch, upon agreeing that there is a need, will be able to expand the bailout to any part of the financial market, buy any kind of distressed assets they believe necessary, and create the money to do it.   This is sure to lead to massive inflation, though it will probably not hit until after the election (which is only six weeks away).

Also exactly as I predicted yesterday, the interests of large foreign creditors are being safegurded by the President's plan.  To be sure, the legislation the President initially sent to to Congress yesterday morning would have covered only domestic financial institutions.  But by yesterday evening, the President had been convinced to modify his plan to bail out foreign banks and foreign financial institutions holding distressed American assets as well. Obviously, the foreign creditors complained, likely reminding the Administration of their power to crush our economy immediately if they are not permitted to assert their full ownership of it more slowly and invisibly. 

 

Finally, I note that the beginning of the fulfillment of my prediction that statutory means would be found to prevent ordinary debtors from deriving any advantage from the hyperinflation. As one article about the President's plan explains, Congress is already considering including in it amendments to federal bankruptcy law that would permit existing mortgages to be modified. This is only the beginning of a massive rewrite of debtor/creditor law that will permit large institutional creditors to unilaterally modify the terms of existing ordinary consumer debts, possibly with the active involvement of an Executive-branch government agency, so as to avoid being damaged at all by inflation--even runaway hyperinflation. My guess is that this is most likely to occur through some sort of automatic indexing of the principal, or by restatement of the principal (at its pre-inflation value) in terms of specie, real property or hours of labor. But however Congress chooses to accomplish it, we can be sure that something will be done to keep ordinary debts from being inflated out of existence, AND IT HAS ALREADY STARTED TO BE CONSIDERED.

 

Modern inflation is a way for the "big boys" to eliminate their debts to us. It is not a way for us to eliminate our debts to them.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:56 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 September 2008 1:35 PM EDT
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Repudiation of the dollar of hyperinflation: what the collapse will look like
Topic: Pure Satire

For those of you who think the coming collapse will look like 1929, think again.  Everyone--the government, American corporations and consumers--are WAY too far in debt for a deflationary depression to happen.  Deflation won't help the government get out of its debt.  Much more likely will be hyperinflation--in which the government prints money to pay its debts to ordinary people and American corporations, resulting in runaway inflation--or outright repudiation of the dollar and all dollar-denominated debts TO ordinary peons. 

The discussion below ASSUMES that two even more drastic events will NOT occur--1) it assumes that our government will not try to prevent economic disaster by starting the war to end all wars, and rendering the planet unlivable in the process; 2) it assumes that the foreign creditors of the United States will not repossess the country by military force or threat of nuclear destruction.  It's not that I consider either of these scenarios unlikely.  They are far too likely.  I am merely saving them for discussion in later entries.  

Hyperinflation happened most famously in Germany in 1923.   Germany had more reparations from World War I to pay than it had national economy with which to pay them.  So it printed marks to pay its own internal obligations, to save its metals and hard currency for foreign patyments.  As a result, the mark's exchange rate with the dollar fell from 4 marks per dollar to 4 billion marks per dollar in the course of only a few months.     Hyperinflation has also happened in the United States before-- the Continental Dollar, issued during the Revolutionary War under the Articles of Confederation, underwent hyperinflation and was ultimately repudiated--hence the saying "it's not worth a Continental. " More recently--within the last 20 years-- Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Argentina, Turkey and Zimbabwe have become examples of hyperinflation.  If you think $5 per gallon gasoline is bad, try $5 BILLION per gallon.  It may be coming. 

Historically, hyperinflation has been of benefit to all debtors who survived it--whether the debtor was the government or an ordinary citizen.  This was so because wages, for those who could find work, also increased--although they lagged behind the prices of goods.  However, debts, by their nature--at least in the past--always had a fixed principal amount.  So, using Germany as the example, a common person's 1,000 mark debt before the hyperinflationary episode would REMAIN only a 1,000 mark debt (plus interest, of course) throughout the period of hyperinflation.  During that same time, a days wages might increase from 100 marks to, say, 20 billion marks (remember that wages always lag behind inflation).  So, where the 1,000 mark debt might have taken several years to pay off on a reasonable budget before the inflation, at some point in the inflationary process wages will increase to the point that it now takes less than a day to pay the debt.  So the effect of hyperinflation in the past has often been to wipe out all fixed debts denominated in the hyperinflating currency.

However, ordinary consumer debtors, such as myself, should not expect to be relieved of their debts by a hyperinflated dollar, if this is what ultimately happens.  Our government--and the large multinational corporations and foreign governments that hold most of our debts--have undoubtedly learned too much from past eisodes of hyperinflation to permit that to happen.  If hyperinflation occurs, it will be allowed to wipe out all obligations of the goverment and the major corporations to ordinary Americans and American small businesses.  The degree to which inflation will be allowed to affect the debts of large American corporations to each other and to foreign corporations and governments will no doubt be a matter for intense negotiations and international threats (with the possibility of war).

On the other hand, we can be absolutely certain that, if hyperinflation occurs, it will not be permitted to help ordinary consumer debtors and smaller Aerican businesses.  The government will likely find some effective way to either index the principal of all ordinary debts to the inflation rate. Alternatively, the law may simply declare, when the panic is over, that ordinary debts repaid during the panic, in hyperinflated dollars, are really still owed, due and payable in specie, real property or indentured service at some statutory exchange rate.  The foreign multinational corporations, princes and governments that own most of our debts absolutely MUST NOT be deprived of their right to enslave us for our personal and national debts, simply because the government finds a way out for itself! 

Obviously, the government may ultimately decide to skip the hyperinflation and simply repudiate its debt, and the currency with it.  This, however, will be an invitation to war unless the debts owed to certain large foreign entities are adequately taken care of.  Taking care of these foreign creditors will undoubtedly require binding ordinary American debtors tightly to their debts, in one of the ways already discussed.  

So, what we are most likely to see is a hyperinflationary depression, or a depression including a repudiation of the dollar, not a 1929-style deflationary depression.  But noting that happens will be permitted to adversely affect the real value of ordinary debts, which will enslave most of us.    

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:22 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 10:49 PM EDT
Thursday, 18 September 2008
I predicted the current economic times before President Bush was elected!
Topic: idiosyncratic egotism

On October 8, 2000, a month before George W. Bush was elected President, I predicted the current economic situation--in which nearly every expert and commentator sees a serious crash coming.  And I predicted this would happen regardless of who was elected President, because the underlying cause of the problem is spiritual, not political.  See my web page A Warning Against Idolatry, first posted October 8, 2000 (for those who doubt this date, I can prove I registered my copyright in the original text of the warning on September 4, 2001, and I will gladly send doubters a copy of that copyright registration).  

 The economy has been slowly sliding downhill ever since.  But now all commentators see a dramatic crash coming.  

I am now ready to predict the most likely range of dates for the big crash.  It will come sometime between election day in November and the first of the year.  Making this prediction does not require prophetic ability or a crystal ball.  Our political leaders are rapidly running out of flexibility.  The methods they have used to keep oil prices down, business moving and credit available, simultaneously, have very little life left in them.  Nevertheless, our leaders will undoubtedly make their very best effort to maintain the public appearance of business as usual until election day.  They do not want to suffer the anti-incumbent backlash that would result from a meltdown before the election.

But they know they can't hold on much longer.  So shortly after the election--possibly as soon as the day after the election--we can expect to see gasoline prices shoot up to well over $5 per gallon.  That will be the announcement that the whole financial system is about to unravel in short order.

Yes, I could be wrong bout these dates. Our politicians may not be able to hold back the crash until the election, or they may be able to hold it back a little past January 1. But it is clearly coming soon.

Are we ready to be reposessed by our foreign creditors? We had better be.

The only hope is exactly what it has been since I first wrote about this matter in October 2000--a revival in the Church in America.  Unfortunately, it may take panic, impoverishment and enslavement to foreigners to bring it about.

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:44 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 10:57 PM EDT
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
"1 of 300," Topeka, Kansas, Christian Men from All Denominations and Races Praying

Spurred by recent violence in Topeka, a group of eleven churches from several denominations has inaugurated a series of Tuesday night prayer meetings open to men from all Christian denominations.  The purpose of these prayer meetings is to pray together for widespread repentance and responsiveness to the Gospel in Topeka, for a change in the atmosphere of the city, and for an end to the recent increase in violence here.   The meetings are not intended to promote sheep stealing, and no opportunity is presented for this activity.  I personally had no involvement in the initiation or organization of these meetings, which were started entirely at the initiative of the pastors of the host churches, and I have no role in the leadership.  But I do attend the meetings and support the effort. (I understand that the full participation of additional host churches not already included in the list is welcome). The organizers believe, as I do, that one of the major causes of violence in our society is the racial and denominational barriers that divide the Church, and that the negative effects of these barriers may be overcome by unified prayer.  The organizers also believe that the present impotence of the church in the face of the evils in our city (and world) results in part from the fact that the MEN in the Church have abdicated their leadership, and that bringing the MEN together is the key to great effectiveness.  

The prayer meetings that currently have scheduled locations are:

July 15, 7 p.m., Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene

July 22, 7 p.m., St. John AME Church


The group's current brochure states:  

"Answer the Call:"

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  II Chronicles 7:14"

"God is looking for 300 men of faith who will cross denominational, religious and cultural barriers to pray for the city of Topeka and her people.  We will pray for approximately 1 hour at different locations throughout the city in the upcoming weeks.  We are more powerful together than we are apart.  So join us as we stand united and take back what has been stolen from us."

The "host churches" listed in the current brochure are: First Assembly of God, Antioch Baptist Church, El Shaddai Ministries COGIC, Fairlawn Church of the Nazarene, Fellowship Bible Church, Light of the World Christian Center, New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, St. John AME Church, Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Topeka Bible Church and Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene.

The contact person listed "for more information" is Pastor E.T. Watson, III, El Shaddai Ministries, 920 S.E. Sherman Ave., Topeka, KS 66607, (785) 232-5754 or (785) 845-9851

I will post schedules of meeting times and places weekly at Topeka Unified Prayer and Evangelism: Positive Developments.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 6:23 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Some modest proposals for pressing political and social problems
Topic: Pure Satire
The "Pure Satire" channel of this blog will now, over the remaining course of the 2008 political campaign season, present a series of "modest proposals" for solutions to the United States'--and, indeed, the world's--most pressing political, social, diplomatic and economic problems.  These solutions may seem radical and drastic, but I assure you that they are quite modest:  "modest," indeed, in exactly the same sense that Jonathan Swift's 1729 "Modest Proposal" to relieve the plight of the poor children of Ireland was "modest."  Be warned in advance about the nature of my "modesty!"

To read Swift's "Modest Proposal," the inspiration for my own, go to A Modest Proposal.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:04 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2008 10:07 PM EDT
Thursday, 22 May 2008
To the developers around 15th and Hudson in Topeka, Kansas
Topic: idiosyncratic egotism
This is a notice to those presently building new commercial space in Topeka, Kansas, on the south side of East 15th Street between Adams St. and the corner of 15th, Hudson and Maryland, and on the east side of Maryland Ave. on Hudson Hill between 15th and 17th:  My wife and I own and live in the house on the corner lot on the northwest corner of 17th and Maryland, immediately south of your property along 15th (1601 S.E. Maryland).  This property will be important to you if you plan in the future to re-route  Maryland or 17th  to support your development.  Be on notice that we are willing to sell to you if an appropriate price--a price large enough to make the purchase of substitute housing economically feasible for us--is offered.  Make an offer.

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:35 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 May 2008 8:36 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 May 2008
My purpose, Christian unity, effectiveness of mission, and further personal preparation
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: my books

Obviously, as a Christian, the main purpose of my life on earth is to come to know God and to trust Him to live through me, through my thoughts, words and actions, that He may be glorified in the world around me.  It is to learn to live out my oneness with Him in the Spirit.  

I have long been aware that, for me personally, with my unusual gifts, personality and disabilities, a large part of that purpose involves letting God live through me intellectually, guiding my study and thinking (which are very major parts of my life).  I have also long been aware one of the major purposes, or possibly better "sub-purposes," of my life involves moving the Church, Christ's Body on Earth, toward more outward manifestation of its real unity.  That has been the focus of my intellectual activity for the last 14 or 15 years of my life.  It has led to the publication of numerous websites (links to all of which are found on the Christian-oneness.org website) and one book (Our Oneness in Christ).

 But thus far these efforts do not appear to have been very effective.  The websites usually gather only a few hundred "hits" per month, and very little response.  The book, published in December 2006, has received some very positive reviews but has sold only about 30 copies, total, not counting copies I or my coauthor have purchased ourselves and distributed for free.  I have sought for coauthors for additional books, believing God was in it (and I still do believe that), but have received only weak response to my proposals.  God works in His own time, but I have had to ask Him why nothing seems to be happening.

He has reminded me that I must let Him guide my course.  And He has started me on a new course of personal preparation.  The underlying ideas  in my existing book and websites are generally scripturally sound, but I do not yet have the philosophical or theological background to adequately understand where the divisions in the Church really came from. I also don't yet have the background to fully appreciate why the various divided entities in the Church seem to be locked in the mode of insisting that everyone outside of them--whether unbelievers or believers from other denominational groups--must come to them on their own terms, fully understanding and affirming their theological terms of art, or not at all.  (Obviously, this traditional insistence that those who come to Christ must first understand and agree with church language and forms of thought keeps many people away from Christ in this post-Christian country).  So, he has strated me on a course of reading as He directs.

One of the major functions of this blog will be to present reviews of many of the books I'm directed to read, or have already read.  These reviews will be posted in the "reviews" topic of this blog.  The other major function of this blog will be to provide a place to vent frustrations with the world aruond me.  This venting will occur mostly in the "pure satire" topic.    

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 9:46 PM EDT
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Applications of Quantum Mechanics to Real Life: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: F unAQs
Although I have no idea where I'm going, I can be absolutely certain I'll get there.

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:58 AM EDT

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