Taking Sides

Taking Sides

For those who believe in overcoming evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love, of any religion, system, or creed, I wrote the following to one of my friends…  Do we need to “take sides,” or take the side of overcoming evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love, as Peace Pilgrim proclaimed?

“All I am saying is it is just a terrible mess when anyone attempts to overcome evil with more evil, violence with more violence, falsehood with more falsehood, hatred with more hatred… On either side of this, and on all sides of everything, resorting to the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the way of the world since Cain killed Able, and has never “worked,” although mankind keeps trying it over and over and over again and again in place of the clear Godly Gospel message which includes overcoming Evil with Good, as Jesus did on the cross… This message of the cross is the central focus point to solve the world’s problems.

As Christians, we can “DO this” as is indicated in the observance of the remembrance and the reality of Jesus’ death on the cross which we as Christians need to DO often, since we seem to not be able to remember for long Jesus’ core message to “Love one another as I have loved you,” and to overcome Evil with Good, not more Evil. If we as Christians cannot remember it, DO it, BE it, and shine this as a light on the hilltop, not hiding it under bushel baskets, afraid to preach this message of the Gospel of Peace, how can we expect Goodness to arrive magically from any non Christian political system? In Egypt, anywhere, including the NON Christian political system in the United States…

Make sense?

What do you think?”

John Cooper
Tuscaloosa, AL

Mother Dogs and Men Who Cry

Mother Dogs and Men Who Cry

We had a mother dog come in our showroom door this week… She had broken loose from her wire like leash obviously to search for food…. She was a dog with a pleasant disposition, although obviously in need on food… Her rib bones where protruding through her skin and her breasts were partially full of milk, as much as could be supplied from her body fat….. Not much fat was left on her…

Wink, my wife, came in to my office crying, saying “there is a dog out here.” You may have heard the puppy stories before… I went out to find the mother dog with her nose to the ground trotting back and forth all over the place, into the back shop, etc. I thought she might be thirsty so I garnered a bucket, put some water in it and offered it to her… She refused the water, but vigorously liked my hands in an appreciative manner and ran back to the showroom where she tipped over Wink’s trash can that had some wrappings from a Jimmie John’s sandwich and tried to open the empty crushed up paperwork. Wink was crying and I began to realize what was really going on…. “It just isn’t right,” Wink whimpered, as she cried with tears streaming down her cheek.

I took out $20 and asked David Jones to go to the Dollar store and purchase some dog food. While he was doing that, I pursued the dog who left the showroom, who ran to a house across the street with her nose to the ground, and I momentarily lost her as she ran around the neighborhood… I checked with the neighbor across the street, whom Wink said had some puppies, but they said it was not their dog… then I saw her, a block away, not far from a lot upon which a policeman had been shot and killed a few years ago… I went to catch her so we could feed her, but she ran up under the crawl space of another house looking for food… I called Flannigan, a truck driver who lives next door to the house asking if this dog belonged to the neighbor. He said it did not, but it belonged to the house next to the lot I knew the policeman had been shot and killed on.

About that time, the mother dog came out licking my hands and I captured her short leash and began to lead her back to our shop to feed her. Then the Animal Control truck wheeled around the corner… Wink had called 311 and the Animal Control Center responded quickly. David came up with the dog food, and I told them the dog was hungry and needed to eat. They advised not to feed her because she would just throw up in their truck… They put her in the truck and they were going to carry her off and I offered the bag of food to them to take with them, but objected that the mother dog had puppies somewhere and the puppies would die if they took the mother dog away… The Control Men began to realize the seriousness of the situation and we all began to search nearby houses…. There was a Pit Bull dog on a heavy chain in the back of one house, barking and lunging at his chain… “He is just a breeder,” the Control Men said, but they saw a dog house just out of reach of the lunging Pit Bull’s chain and went to get a long metal stick with a lasso on it to catch the pit bull it he broke loose… One of them went to the dog house while the other one and I watched close by, keeping our eyes peeled for the Pit Bull… “There are five puppies!) he exclaimed…

The Control Men then got the Mother dog out of the truck, and put a long leash on her collar as I scurried to get an empty and dry dog food bowl from the back yard. I opened the dog food sack David had brought to me and poured out some into the bowl and the Mother Dog desperately gulped up the dog food…. “She isn’t protective of her food,” one of the Control Men said, as I put my hands close to the food in the bowl as the Mother Dog lapped and chewed the food and I poured more out for her as tears dropped from my eyes..… I asked the Control Men how much to give, knowing that one should give only a limited amount to a starving animal, and they told me. I put the rest at the door of the house where apparently no one was home, and left my business card on the door for those who lived there….

We took the Mother Dog to the doghouse and the Control Men said the dog house should have a wood floor, and the puppies should not be on the ground… I told them I had wood, if they needed it, (in our cabinet shop)The little puppies where so happy to see their mother, and vice versa…. In the meantime, Wink had called me at least a couple of times to see what was happening… I went back to briefly tell her what happened, and I am writing in more detail now…. “It just isn’t right,” she murmured as she cried…

After work, I did my regular things, having some popcorn and drinks as I checked my personal email…. One of my Sisters called me, and we talked at length about some family difficulties we are suffering, (about someone we love who is suing the family) and I left work about 7:30, before dusk and saw a whole bunch of new and shiny cars around the house where the Mother Dog lives…. Some of the cars were driven up in the yard, so I stopped at the intersection and took a picture of the scene with the new and shiny cars… I thought to myself, … If the resident’s friends have new and shiny cars, why can’t they afford dog food? So, I drove up in my Avalanche in the yard too, and walked to the back of the house to see the Mother Dog…. The Pit Bull did not make that much of a ruckus, since apparently he knows me a little bit, since our face to face meeting earlier in the day…. Soon the residents came out of the house, the man of the house first… I introduced myself, asking him his name, shaking his hand… He told me he had the dog food and had my business card… I explained how the Mother Dog had gotten loose, and a much shorter version of the story above. He said he worked at Burger King. I told him if he was at work, and that since the dog was apparently starving, since our business was so close, I could come and feed the dog in the middle of the day…. He seemed appreciative, and a little girl, about two years old came out of the house in front of apparently her Mother. I offered my index finger to the little girl, she grasped it; I asked her name, and I listened closely with my hearing aid ear to her name, and nodded to her Mother… We ended the conversation on an amicable note, and I told them that the Animal Control Men were to come to see them the next day to help them keep better care of the Mother Dog, telling them, for instance, that the Mother Dog would need food with more protein while she was nursing…

I drove across the lawn in my pick up, the tires slipping a little bit, since they are slick and are in need of replacing, to the yard of Flannigan, to whom I sold our GMC-White truck tractor on terms… “They just don’t need things like that if they can’t take care of them.” Flannigan said…… After that conversation, I began driving home, crying along the way…. At a couple of points, I pulled doff the road to weep and cry… “It just isn’t right.” I muttered, as Wink had cried also…..

 
Let me clue you in on this…. All the above is written with multiple meanings in mind. The Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, is written this way… This means there is more to it more than you may imagine at first reading….. For a glimpse of what I mean, check out http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/04/30/apocalypse-now/.

The story I tell is true… I have witnesses that it is true, but I will only partially explain a couple of things…. Other meanings of this story may become evident…. At a later time….

First,
Some men cry….
I am a man…
I cry… I cry often…
John 11:35
35 Jesus wept . (Over Lazurus)
NIV

 
I can imagine the anguish Jesus had:
Luke 13:34-14:1
34 “O Jerusalem , Jerusalem , you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
NIV

 
And Nehemiah:
Neh 1:3-5
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept . For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
NIV

 
And Esau, and Jacob, and Joseph, and the people of Israel, many times, and David, and Kings, just for a few… They wept too….
Real men cry….

 
Back to Mother Dog and puppies… I told Wink and David later that It is just not right, and even worse that it is just not right that in addition to animals, human beings are in the same condition, starving to death too, while we spend enormous funds on the military and killing people… Flesh and blood people whom we mistakenly believe to be our real enemies.

Even the amount we spend on Drones could be put to better use. The amount we spend on sanctions against Iran….. Would that be better spent sending peace delegations, even Civilian Peace Delegations to just drive up on Iranian officials lawns and talk to them? I have asked before… I have asked “high” officials such things…. No response… Dead silence….

Ancient walls such as Nehemiah wept over were walls for the protection of the city of Jerusalem… A Christian is called to be a citizen of a different Kingdom, of a New Jerusalem, one whose light is of a God who cries for us, and runs after us, and whose mayor is a God who pursues us. It is a city whose gates are never closed… Always open….. A Christian is to bear the Armor of God, and have feet shed in the Gospel of Peace…. The Gospel of Peace, another idea just about completely rejected in most of Christianity… Bring that idea up one day. I imagine you will find no response, dead silence…. Other elements of the Armor of God mentioned below are:

 
Eph 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God , so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
NIV

 
Speaking truth to the powers….
righteousness…
gospel of peace…
shields of faith… (not shields of nuclear warheads)
helmets of salvation, swords of Spirit, prayer, awareness that we are not fighting against flesh and blood… such things along with the Gospel of Peace seem to be sought after, not so much….

 
It just isn’t right that we should spend so much money, time, and energy building up walls of defense, using that armament actually for offense, and pre-emptive warfare, while we shed our lives of the Armor of God and ignore the Gospel of Peace and suffering and hungry humans in so many nations, and our own, and our supposed enemies beautiful mothers and children…

Our enemies are not flesh and blood..

 
“It just isn’t right,” cried Wink… Not for Mother Dogs, certainly not for humans…
Mother dogs and men who weep… Some don’t care so much about that idea either…
Maybe the world would be a better place if we did….

 
Oh, I just saw our neighbor who owns the dog again this morning after I finished this article… He waved, and I we walked to meet each other… I shook his hand, asked how the dog was doing and he said fine… I told him there are some people around concerned… He said the Animal Control people had talked to him and advised him the mother dog while nursing needs more protein, like chicken and stuff…. I was thinking of the Mother Church too, while talking to him… Yes, Christians need more protein too… Solid food, the meat of the Word…

Grace and Peace,

John Cooper
Tuscaloosa, AL

God, you are just not big enough to handle all my problems:):)

God, you are just not big enough to handle all my problems:):)

I set before my computer just a little dazed, knowing I need to write out my thoughts, knowing I have been thinking about some things I need to get off my chest, the past week or so.., not having a clear and present idea of exactly what it is… Have you ever been there? Have you ever prayed like that also? Help me, God, I do not know how to pray?

 
I and our families, including my personal church family have been going through a lot lately…. Personally, Wink, my wife, has had an exam that seems to indicate something suspicious regarding the occurrence of breast cancer from five years ago we thought was behind us… One of my cousins recently had a Mastectomy…. Our business is struggling for the past several years in an inhospitable housing industry related environment…. I have had a Patella tendon torn in two this past year and am still healing from that… In my church family, one of our members just lost her unborn child… One of my business friends recently lost his family business that had been a pillar of the community for over 60 years, and is selling his home to attempt to pay off more of his creditors.. I cannot pay our business bills in a timely manner as we have always been able to for over 35 years… One of my Great Nephews, only 5 years old, had holes drilled in his head to relieve pressure from fluid building up as a result of brain cancer, just yesterday…. He is scheduled for a craniotomy to take out one of the large masses of cancer from his skull this coming Tuesday…. There is more lurking in the background than even these things…

 

 

Ever been there? Ever done that? That is, you are personally struggling, and it seems so many you know are also personally struggling also? What is one to do? It seems to just pile up….

 

 

Last week, I think it was, Fred Shuckert, pastor of Grace Church, http://www.gracenews.org/index.php, which I am a member of, mentioned in his sermon a quote from Corrie Ten Boom, recalling it something like this, “”When I walked by a mirror I told God, “God, you are just not big enough to handle all my problems.”” I got to thinking about that and could not get up the nerve to say it just like that, but that Sunday afternoon, I emailed another friend, Paul Kurts, a former pastor in the Worldwide Church of God, as I was, the following note regarding an email he had sent to me:

 

 

“The Pastor of Grace Church, Fred Shuckert, in Tuscaloosa, AL where I attend, mentioned a reference from a book written by Corrie Ten Boom something to the general idea of “When I walked by a mirror I told God, “God, your are just not big enough to handle all my problems….” And she laughed….

I tried it out Sunday afternoon three times, but I had to modify it to “Father, someone told me to look into the mirror and tell you that your are just not big enough to handle all my problems.” And, I laughed until I cried….

I went home thinking about it, and had to pull off the road, in front of Your Way Furniture and laugh some more until I cried some more…. It is “Your Way, Jesus!” We are not Furniture, we are all beautiful human beings, each one of us, loved by God before time began, because He gives us a portion of his Eternal Spirit, to live forever into eternity…. This is just hilarious! We should celebrate it! Every communion, we should celebrate, and remember Jesus, and remember we are chosen, and remember Jesus has promised to draw ALL men unto himself…. It is more than funny, it is funny and beautiful….. It is amazing….

We are looking for the original source for Corrie Ten Boom’s idea, but I have found this link that may be a clue: http://rinamarie.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/wednesdays-word-corrie-ten-boom-on-anxiety/

I intend to write some about this and post it to my blog site, https://jcooperforpeace.org/ ASAP….

Personally, Wink and I are facing a lot of personal problems, principally of which is that Wink is going back to the Dr. tomorrow for evaluation of an MRI which shows something suspicious regarding her occurrence of breast cancer originating 5 years ago. Our business is severally struggling, and it seems the more I do Spiritually, the more we are attacked physically… Therefore, when I look into the sky, and see the universe, and read of physical masses in the universe that are billions of light years across in width, depth, and height, and are propelled outward from Divine force, I look into the mirror and say, “Father, someone told me to look into the mirror and tell you that your are just not big enough to handle all my problems.” and… laugh, hilariously…:):)

Jesus, you are worthy, Jesus, you are the way… Your Way, Jesus…”

 

 

Now, your God may not reveal himself to you, as a Triune God, as mine has to me… You may not call him Jesus, you may call God Allah, or Yahweh, or God, or you may not call on him at all, but some day, I really believe, God will call on you, and all of us to believe in the One God of the Universe who created all of mankind and all of creation, and created us “Good,” and loved us, and promised us he has everything under his control, that he has a hope for us, that he has a plan for us, that he knows what is best for us, if we live, if we die, we live and die in the parameters of Eternity he alone can imagine in its fullness….

 

 

OH, by the way, he has promised to resurrect us. He has promised to draw ALL men unto himself, he has promised that EVERY knee will bow, He has said that as in Adam, ALL men die, so in Christ shall ALL men be raised alive.. He has promised he has a hope and a future for us. He has told us he SO loved the world that he gave his only son for us….

 

 

God is FOR us? Who can be against us? Let us Laugh, hilariously, that any enemy can think they are against us, or can do anything to us of an eternal or lasting meaning… Why, who would have thunk it, but maybe we might even consider loving our enemies! A key to peace in one’s personal life, a key to peace in ones national life, and key to peace in the life of the world is to love one’s enemies….
Let us rest in this Peace…

 

John Cooper
https://jcooperforpeace.org/

In Rembrance

In Remembrance

I apologize in advance for being so boring, but the last two articles I have posted on my blog site, “New Covenant”, and “I Cried too, Mr. President.” are still giving me remembrance of the event Jesus instituted in his remembrance. Now I am remembering how I choose to remember others. I am sure this is a common human experience and others use the same methods…. I have in my possession a chest of drawers form my Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Hinkle, as well as 6 of the chairs he made as a cabinet maker in Salem, IN. (He was a farmer and a cabinet maker, as I am a cabinet maker,) and was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Salem, IN.) I have pictures of his and my father’s progeny also. I have items from my mother’s household, items from my Aunt, Gladys Lemeron, and my step Uncle, Kenneth Cooper, the McCulley side of my family, and various other articles of remembrance by which I personally chose to remember my relatives. I am certain you know what I mean and probably also have articles of remembrance from your varied relatives.

These mementos are real… They are physical… We can touch them, we can feel them, we can connect with them and wonder and remember…. (I had in the essays posted to my blog site questioned if we believe the gifts Jesus left us, are real.)

 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he returns.” (I Cor 11)

 
I wonder why the furniture we can touch and feel, and the pictures we look at and the memories we have personally experienced seem so “real?” Are Spiritual things not real? Maybe Spiritual things are actually more real, and we just do not realize it.

So, now I want to take off on a tangent, if you will allow… Stop right there…. Think about this…

 

 

Stop Right There 2012-12-27_07-26-33_739

This Picture is a remembrance to me of an art auction for our local Tuscaloosa, AL Jewish Synagogue’s building fund for their new temple which has now been constructed. I contributed a Tiger Woods serigraph to the auction which was organized by Toby Whitman, who served on the board of Compassion Coalition with me. I knew at the time that Toby had a terminal disease, cancer of the brain, and would most likely soon die, which she did, but she was as enthusiastic and cheerful as ever, as I always remembered her to be. I bought it, just to remember the event. I also was thinking how diametrically opposite the picture’s  message was to that of Jesus, who was radically inclusive of women in his ministry, allowing them to wash his feet, pour oil over his head, and all those things. Women just seemed to love Jesus…

I purchased another picture at the same Jewish Art auction….

 

 

2012-12-27_07-27-52_793

 

 

I remember bidding directly against Toby on this serigraph in a light hearted and friendly way… Sandy Koufax was Jewish. Toby of course, was Jewish… As a boy I saw Sandy Koufax pitch in the World Series. I also remembered him stand up for his religious beliefs in spite of persecution and refuse to pitch on the Jewish High Sabbath of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which in Biblical terms is the Sabbath of Sabbaths, a day to fast and repent, a day when the High Priest went once per year into the Holy of Holies…

 

I had to make a stand for my Spiritual beliefs in the ethics of Jesus in the late 1960’s myself, choosing to observe the Sabbath and the Biblical Holydays as a Christian, and choosing to refuse to go to war and becoming a conscientious objector to war myself. For perhaps 25 years I observed this same Holydays as Sandy Koufax, and refused to play tournament tennis, which was at that time my passion, on even the weekly Sabbath, the 7th, Day of the week… Since that time, I have found my rest and my Peace in Jesus, not in the observance of days, times, and seasons, but I still hold to the ethics of Jesus regarding Peace and Nonviolence. I explain this because I admired Sandy Koufax even before the beginnings of my conversion experiences.

 

I remember that I won the auction against Toby… It is hanging on our showroom wall… She wanted the picture bad, but I wanted it worser… :):)

 

Now, back to remembrances… What about the remembrances of Jesus, and what Jesus asked us to observe to remember him? “Do this,” Jesus said… But, would Jesus want Toby to do this, to take the “symbols” or the “real” remembrances of him in communion with ALL of mankind? No women may have been aloud (:):)) at the Lord’s supper, way back then, but I can only believe they would be allowed now…. Speaking of the Lord’s Supper, is it just for Christians, and not for all mankind? Would a Jew like Toby be welcomed by Jesus? To me, one can read Scriptures that say yes, and Scriptures that say no, but I ask you….

 

How many Christians were at the Lord’s first Communion? 12? None? I say, none, that they were all Jewish, and not yet True Believers, and that the Holy Spirit did not come upon them until 50 days later, (or, 49 depending upon inclusive or exclusive counting methods)…However, I believe Jesus has included all of mankind in his invitation to the table… If one does not yet believe, Jesus “symbols” are “real” enough to bring about that belief, given enough time and space, which God has plenty of….

 
I have personally taken communion with avowed atheists, such as Rong Li, and Muslims, such as Jamaal, from Yemen. I have taken first communion with new believers, like Mariko. They took it, and they did not just keel over dead, or get sick and die…. I believe Jesus wants all mankind to remember him. Nor do I get sick and die when I take the “real” blood and body of Jesus in communion with my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of the rules made up by men. That stated, however, in no way do I take this matter lightly. I believe this is a “real” remembrance, a Spiritual remembrance, more “real” than if it were merely a physical one, and of much more importance and value than placing a picture on a wall, for instance. To me, I am not worthy, no one is worthy, except by the Grace of God which is poured out upon the whole world, all whom God loves, which Grace, not of our own merit, supernaturally makes us worthy. To me, all men are included in this magnanimous love of God. I cannot imagine Jesus would refuse the bread and wine, gifts of remembrance, to any person who wants to receive them. Paul might have excluded unbelievers or Jews, at times in his life, or those danged wommenz :):), and at other times I believe he would have included all… Refer to his advice regarding meat sacrificed to idols… In one place yes, in another place, no. To me, it is all yeses with Jesus. Jesus gave his body and his blood for all, and he gave his symbols of remembrance to as yet unbelieving Jews, including Judas…. Only Judas died… Oh well…. We all have to die sometime, it may as well be right after receiving the body and blood of Jesus. That is the best of times to die…. Also, it is good reason to live again…

 

 

Oh, and one more thing, regarding “believers” who are the only ones to partake of this remembrance, according to the vast majority of “Christian” systems…., where does anyone say that? Does Jesus say it? Does Paul say it? Paul’s advice is to not partake of these remembrances unworthily… If you are not a believer, I believe if you really care about observing this remembrance, these gifts are real enough, and the Spiritual forces behind them are “real” enough to help you to become a believer! If not, you may soon die, and become a believer via other means…. :(:(

 

 

I remember Toby, we remember Jesus, I submit God remembers all of us, every one of use, and our Spirits return to God who gave them. Maybe these symbols of remembrance we are speaking of are leaves of the healings of all peoples, of all nations, of the world, all of it… really?

 

 

John Cooper
Tuscaloosa, AL