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In June, immediately after she stopped nursing her 19 months old daughter JiaJia, my Chinese wife became pregnant. As a German citizen, I would have had the right to apply to a special visa for my wife in order to have our child delivered in Germany – evading the current restrictions that didn’t allow her to enter the EU in the first place, such as the condition that she learn German first and absolve a language exam, etc.

However, there was no sign from the “Top” that it was part of our Maker’s plan for us to go there, and at times I still keep wondering why. My life as a musician was easier, more enjoyable and often more inspiring than my current life as an English teacher in a country that may well be the noisiest in the world, and sadly, one of the filthiest.
But having a teacher has its advantages. Other than in the West, where teachers have the image of “The Enemy” in probably 90% of their students, my new profession is a respected one here, and I’ve been told repeatedly, even after this relatively short time, that I’ve touched and affected my students’ lives, and perhaps more so than I was able to – on a personal level – as a musician.

Then there is the political aspect.

I love Western culture, and by Western I mean the same that 95% of the world mean when they say “Western”: The American culture. And I’m not talking about the main stream culture, the Britneys and Lady Gagas that only put a stamp on Don McLean’s fulfilled prophecy about “the day the music died.”
I’m talking about artists of the kind you don’t even hear in Europe unless you’re really into music:
Patty Griffin, Richard Julien and the galore of Christian bands and singers that are basically nobodies in the world of showbiz, but constitute a large part of my inspiration since years: Caedmon’s Call, Jeremy Camp, Jill Phillips and her husband Andy Gullahorn and oodles of others.

I love to listen to their music and sometimes I dream of a world in which I would be able to communicate with people that are even remotely on a similar wavelength to mine, who are able to speak more than the very, very broken English of most of my students (not to mention the majority of the large population around me), but what are the options?
Subscribe to a policy that is based on murdering our fellow humans in far-off lands on grounds that not even the bravest of the outlawed preachers and self-declared “revolutionaries for Christ” dare to doubt even though they’re proven to be totally ridiculous?
Or for that matter… Which of the wars that America – the great leader of our great and glorified Western culture – has fought for the past 6 decades could have really be called justified – from a point of view that even remotely resembles the teachings of Christ?

Korea? Vietnam? — Sure, they wanted to stop Communism. Perhaps at one point they realized that a more effective way would be to apply the slogan, “If you can’t lick’em, join’em” and infiltrate the enemy with McDonalds and Coke, as I see here, the possibly most capitalistic country I’ve ever been to, that’s officially “Communist.”
And if so… for what?

What is it that Big Brother or Uncle Sam is pushing on us? What’s so wonderful that they just can’t stop pushing it down the throat of the rest of the world? Certainly not Patty Griffin…

With a foreign debt of cosmic proportions it’s even ridiculous that the rest of the world keeps looking up to America as its great white hope, a dream and fairy tale that only becomes reality in one place for a limited time, namely a time-span of approximately 100 to 180 minutes on the TV – and movie screens around the world. The American Dream made in Hollywood.
As far as the bitter reality is concerned, all that every administration from Nixon to Obama has been pushing like a heroin dealer dressed up like Santa Claus has been the inevitable “death by overdose:” The world domination of bankruptcy.

What world would possibly be easier to rule than one of bankrupt suckers who don’t have a dime, whose money all went up into thin air, invested in some spoof concocted by some real smart wise asses, only to land all the power thinkable in the hands of a tiny clan who had the balls to lie and lie, and then lie some more, until it made Pinocchio’s nose look like a pimple in comparison?

I don’t know whether this far end of the world is going to be any safer when the shit hits the fan… possibly not. But it’s not just an issue of safety and survival. It’s an issue of dignity. I’d sure hate to wake up in the middle of all those wise asses who actually thought that their country was going to save the world while they were all pumping their tax money into making the exact opposite happen.

They say ignorance is bliss. There’s a lot of ignorance going on all around me right now. They don’t have a clue. But there is yet another extreme, and a whole nuther story, and that’s when people blatantly defy the truth, because they just can’t stand to hear it. And that’s precisely where I don’t want to wake up when the shit hits the fan. And hit the fan it will.

I guess the Boss knows what He’s doing in telling me to better stay put…

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The other night we watched the movie “Waiting for Forever” about a boy who had been in love with his childhood girlfriend since they were 10 and officially lost touch when his parents died in a train accident and he and his brother moved to their grandparents. As he grows older, though, he follows the love of his youth wherever her professional career takes her, himself making a living of 3 dollars a day (“on a good day”) as a juggler dressed in pyjamas.
Although this wasn’t the best film I watched of late (for instance, there was the excellent 2010 film “Fair Game,” which gives further insight into the insanity that’s still being perpetrated in Iraq), “Waiting for Forever” moved me most. Not so much because of the plot, but because of the fact that I was watching it with my 28 year old wife who might never get to know the kind of culture that grants a fellow the liberty to make a very unstable living on 3 bucks a day as a juggler, traveling wherever his dream would take him.
Although the boy in the movie was met with heavy criticism from his older brother (a banker), and was being called a stalker, and despite the fact that his kind is a dying breed in the West, at least we have come to know that sort of a culture, while other countries, such as the one I’m currently residing in, probably never will.

Though the culture whose hospitality I’m currently enjoying is by no means an exclusive example of what I’d like to call the “imposed realism” that not only political leaders, but even more so cultural and traditional elders seem to feel obligated to circumcise their offspring’s dreams and ideals with, it is definitely an outstanding example.
You cannot just marry the man or girl you love. Any man that intends to marry is expected to have a house first. My wife has told me of an experience in a Shanghai park where she watched hundreds of elderly couples looking for suitable spouses for their daughters (or sons) with a list of criteria in hand that any potential candidate would have to live up to; criteria primarily based on income.

A juggler making 3 bucks a day wouldn’t stand an chance in hell to get married under that set of conditions. It might me hard in the West, but just about impossible in the East.

Of course, when I was a young lad back in Germany, I got to hear much of the same tune from my folks. Not that they would have expected of me to be able to buy a house before I started messin’ round with the opposite sex, but I was repeatedly advised to “get a good education” to secure a “solid existence” for myself. When I came home one day telling them that I met a group of people who were “foolowing Jesus,” and that one day I would like to do the same, they were naturally horrified.

In the meantime they have accepted my somewhat loose, though not entirely carefree life-style, and my father, having seen his own supposedly “solid existence” and career go down the drain due to fluctuations and instability in the economy has told me since that I made the right choice when I set out to do what I did.
In the West, though, parents have their existence taken care of by retirement insurances, and both my parents are currently better off with their pensions than I am as an English teacher in the Far East, where the only old-age insurance elderly parents have got are their children and their respective incomes, so it’s somewhat understandable that they want their kids to be able to care for them. Many young people live under a lot of pressure because of that responsibility.

Then again, my reasoning is that many things in life are simply beyond our control. Everything is potentially subject to drastic and unexpected changes: death, illness or financial and economic disaster can hit anyone at any time, and what power does anyone really have, to effectively impose their own little reality on anyone in the long run, even their kids?

When Jesus went around luring established young men with flourishing businesses away from their homes and responsibilities telling them He would make them “fishers of men,” certainly He wasn’t met with strong enthusiasm on behalf of those men’s families. For all we know, some of them (like Peter) were even married and possibly had children. What an irresponsible thing to do, to just walk off with a perfect stranger of questionable reputation, Messiah or not…
And from a “realist’s” point of view, that criticism may well be justified: 10 of those young men ended up as martyrs, one committed suicide, and only one died of natural causes on an island where he exiled by the Romans.
Their philosophies and beliefs as expressed in their writings are questionable to this day, and even most “believers” only accept those parts of the Gospels that they can reconcile with the consensus of the imposed realism of our day and age.

The first rule and law is not “to love one another,” but to secure one’s own existence, which, as the Founder of their faith claimed, is no different from what unbelievers adhere to.

So, what would be making a difference then? – Trust.

The people who really made a difference throughout history were those who despite all the seemingly rhymeless reality all around us never ceased to trust that there was Someone ultimately in charge Who not only knew what He was doing, but was also going to take care of them, provide for them, and help them through this mess somehow.

In my own personal experience, I can only confirm that to be true, and I would strive for nothing more than to go down in history as one of those trusters who refuse to accept the artificially imposed realism from those around us – even our loved ones – no matter how justified their reasoning may seem; a person known for the belief that there is a greater Mind than even the wisest of our parents, how ever strange some of the things may first sound that this Great Mind may ask of us – much like a Parent Himself, asking His children to trust Him for the things they do not know, which basically is the essence of faith – the one currency that will outlast any of our existing ones.

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Well, since we all enjoy a good round of gossip, I’ll let you have a delicious swig of some with this one: I’m pretty backslidden!
At least from my good intentions to stay or become politically correct earlier this year, as I unfortunately will have to prove with this post.

A few years back we still had “once-a-week Christians:” Even if you didn’t see or hear any sign of your fellow brethren throughout the week, you could be sure to meet them somewhere among the pews on Sundays.
That Christianity may be in somewhat of a decline again may be assumed by the fact that the surge of “once-a-year Christians” is becoming alarmingly evident.

Folks you never heard of for 364 days straight, now will at least send you their Christmas emails as a reminder that there was something you had in common, namely the celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.

The notorious party pooper I am perhaps, I was never all too fond of that sort of relationship, religion, tradition, or whatever you’d like to call it (since it couldn’t possibly be called anything like genuine friendship)…

While it is probably better to hear from (some) folks once a year than never at all, what takes a bit of the magic out of the whole thing is that it does come across as somewhat stereotype.

Blame it on my distaste for any type, shape or form of ritualism ever since I got an overdose of Catholicism as a boy that quickly drove me to atheism (if God was like that: no thanks!), but I just can’t get warm with people using the same words over and over and over again to express something which seems to represent the very role you played in their lives over the previous dozen of months, the equivalent of which, in numerical terms would be zero.

So, here’s to all the zeroes of the world who are only remembered by their friends and relatives on that special day on which we celebrate the event that marks the year Zero…
And if you feel like a zero, cheer up! The Guy born that day didn’t amount to much more in terms of bank accounts, Facebook friends and followers on Twitter, either, latest by the time He hung on that cross 33 years later, when He was able to count the friends He still had left that day on the fingers of one hand with room to spare…

So, nevermind if I’m not sending any of you any Christmas greetings this year: I only mean to do you a favor.
If I didn’t write you all year long, then shame on me. But I certainly wouldn’t want to make matters worse by sending you a mass mail equal to the ones from previous years, not to mention those of the dears who had exactly the same idea… or lack thereof…

I might send you a note on Holy Friday, though, to remind you that even when you don’t have a friend in the world left, there’s always Someone Who knows exactly what you’re going through, and that that was the purpose for which He had been born: to be there for you when no one else will be.
The time may come. You may not see it now, but at the rate not only (true) Christianity, but things like lasting friendship and interhuman relationship are on the decline, don’t be too shocked if it might even happen to you one of these days…

Merry Christmas!

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 Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

Why Does God Sometimes Take Apart What He Himself Seems to Have Put Together?

I’ve always believed in the power of two. Well, nearly always. Sometimes you’re actually better off alone than with the wrong company. But basically, when you’ve got 2 souls with more or less the same vision and goals, according to the Old Testament, it quintuples a person’s strength in battle.

The problem is that when you’ve gotten used to this modus operandi of two-by-two, when one of your “motors” flunks out, and you’re stuck again on your own, it reduces your power back to one fifth of what by then you might have gotten used to. So, you feel pretty much reduced to a sausage. Folks who’ve undergone separation will know what I’m talking about. The others won’t have a clue, just as I didn’t until it happened to me.

The power of two is great, but don’t necessarily rely on it as infallible, because as long as there’s another human involved, you simply need to take into consideration that this is only a temporary arrangement, even if you happen to be as lucky to have found someone who meant what they said when they swore, “Till death do us part.” – There is still that uncontrollable death factor. But even that is probably not as painful as when someone you’ve fought life’s battles with for many a season deliberately makes the choice to turn their back on you.

Christ was supposed to have been tempted in all things as we are. Unfortunately we don’t know enough about His 30 years of life prior to His public ministry to tell whether there was ever physically anybody in His life whom He loved so much that they broke His heart when they decided to live their life without Him. All we know is that throughout history He’s had a wife (also referred to as His Bride) that probably put Him through the same thing time and again, which is vividly illustrated in the act of God commanding His prophet Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife as a metaphor of the unfaithfulness of His own Old Testament wife.

Later in the Book of Revelation we find similar metaphors of whores and churches who “sit like a queen,” apparently lacking nothing, and yet not knowing that in God’s eyes they’re naked and destitute of the things that apparently really count to Him.

So, to which degree we as God’s wife and bride have broken His heart is hard to tell. One thing is for sure: when you’ve gone through such pain yourself, you wouldn’t ever want to inflict it on anybody else again. Loyalty all of a sudden becomes paramount, when previously it may have been quite irrelevant. Not only the loyalty of others toward ourselves, but also our own toward others and especially God.

How loyal have we really been?

The only explanation for God putting us through the wringer at times like that, where it seems as though He deliberately devastates us by simply withdrawing the person that meant most to us in the world is that we don’t really have a clue about loyalty, especially not our own, as far as He’s concerned. It’s simply not enough of an issue until we learn to appreciate it by the excruciating pain that can be caused by the absence of it. Only once we realize what pain can be caused by broken loyalty are we able to begin to relate to what it means to God, and do we even begin to realize how often we haphazardly switched loyalties for the sake of some advantage, some shiny fruit on a tree, some compromise for the sake of our personal welfare or benefit, some temptation we couldn’t resist…

Perhaps that’s why it often takes quite long for the pain of betrayal and desertion to linger on: It’s only the beginning of our personal lesson on loyalty. We’re only just starting to see how guilty we have been of the same crime that now we feel we can’t forgive someone else for, and not just once, but probably innumerable times.

Loyalty, like so many other values that used to mean something before our society was taken over by the universally accepted as politically correct Western do-your-own- thing dogma, has gone down the drain in this strange new world order, where the only loyalty that counts is to make sure that you don’t move an inch from the place you’re assigned in the Machine. The System needs to continue to function, and that is your foremost responsibility. Human relations, by comparison, are irrelevant.

“Rubbish!” you say – (Or, if you’re American, you might be prone to use another word that starts with “bull….!”)? Well, good for you, if that’s your reality, and if human relationships still mean enough to you to value them above your personal rank, position or economic advantage. But realistically, you’re part of a shrinking minority. And if you’ve got loyalty and you know what it means, for the sake of God and all that is dear to your own soul, hold on to it with all your might and never underestimate it for a moment. In the end, it may be all that determines whether you lost or won your personal battle in this war.

Or, as the Eagles put it in their song “In A New York Minute” which so aptly portrays what can be the fate of all of us at any time:

“If you find somebody to love in this world, you better hang on tooth and nail!”

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193 Race of Addicts

In the science fiction TV series Deep Space 9, one of the offshoots of the Star Trek saga, one of the most significant parties in the plot is a mysterious master race of shapeshifters called the Dominion, also referred to as the Founders, who all live together in a great sea called the Great Link in their liquid state, making up one collective conscience, except when they happen to be on some mission to suppress and dominate their quadrant and its inhabitants, for which purpose they can take on whichever form and shape they like.

In order to protect themselves the Dominion created a genetically engineered race of warriors who live for nothing else but to fight and die to protect the Founders, their creators. In order to ensure their loyalty, the Founders equip their specially created species of bodyguards with an addiction to a drug which is provided by them and their henchmen, another race of diplomats who do most of their political dirty work for them.

It’s interesting to what extent some of these stories represent our reality, many times without our even being faintly aware of it.

An increasing number of people are becoming aware of the fact that we are indeed, manipulated, dominated, exploited and enslaved by a diabolical group of people – who are themselves subject to the demonic powers which the apostle Paul said are governing our world (Eph.6:12) – and in order to ensure our “loyalty” to them, they have artificially equipped us with addictions that have been enhanced scientifically to get us to a point where we will only ever break free from their grip by nothing short of a miracle.

While we have all been equipped from birth with certain needs and appetites by our creator: we all need food, clothing, shelter, and are driven to some degree by our natural urges to procreate, our modern society has enhanced these needs to a degree where what once used to be natural desires, have morphed into downright full-fledged destructive addictions.

Our once natural appetite for food for many people has been transformed into addictions to artificially altered foods, “enriched” with chemical substances, refined sugars and flavours that cause them to crave them to the point of obesity, which is rapidly becoming a natioanl disease in some of our “developed” countries.

What was once a generally natural drive to ensure the procreation of the human race has over the past 6 decades turned into every kind of perversion thinkable under the sun by means of bombarding us from the cradle to the grave with imagery aiming at triggering and feeding our lust, brainwashing us from pre-school age into accepting sexual perversions as the norm and getting us all to think that sex is the most important thing in the world, right after money, of course, that is.

Probably most of us never even realize that we are addicts until we get to the point where the object of our affection is being taken from us, and only then do we begin to realize how subtly but thoroughly the “Dominion” has performed their work on us. The deadly, venomous and highly addictive substabce has been pumped into our veins practically from the cradle, so that none of us would dare to veer from the straight and narrow path of obedience, obeisance and slavery to their cause.

Every now and then, one of us is awakened to the graveness of their state, and when it happens, we’re usually shocked and anything but ready to deal with it. It’s certainly helpful then to have Somebody by your side to help you combat the demons that pull your strings, and – if possible – to cut them loose. The withdrawals will be hard and painful, but still better than a continued life on the planet of the race of addicts much of the developed world presently constitutes.

Think about the “Dominion” and their addict warrior race and ponder whether you’d want that to be your fate, or whether you shouldn’t rather develop the strength of resistance and the ability to say “no” when temptation threatens to get you hooked.

Everybody else around you may be a junkie, too, and it may look normal that everyone’s addicted to something. But, by God, it isn’t.

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Another passage from the Scriptures that never made quite sense to me was Matthew 6:22-23: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Especially the last bit, “If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness…”

I know, all the humanists and believers in the good in mankind will howl at me, but I think I figured out what it means.

If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone you believed in, forsaken by someone you fully trusted in and relied on, someone who was like a light in your life, and they drop you so abruptly that you suddenly realize that the light you confided in for so long was only an illusion, then you’ll know what this passage means.

Darkness is the absence of light. In other words, the light wasn’t ever really there, you mistook it for the real thing, and the person in question may have believed in it as the real thing, but what determines whether it’s real or not is whether it lasts.

Because one thing I have always believed is that love is forever. If it isn’t forever, then it wasn’t real love in the first place.

The level of emotion will not always remain the same, naturally, but there is one ingredient that will make all the difference in the world, between real love and the fake: faithfulness.

The Bible says that if you’ve been put in charge of anything by God, there is only one thing that is required of you: to be faithful.

You may not have a lot of strength, you may not have a lot of gifts, you may not be nothing much at all, but you are one thing, and that is faithful.

That is the one tiny spark that makes all the difference in the universe between the real light and the fake, between true love and that which many people may mistake for love. It may not seem like much at all, but apparently, that’s what makes the difference.

After the love has gone, what is there left to believe in? Apparently far less people have that real, lasting kind of love in them in our world today than we may think, which is why there is so much heartache, disappointment and so many broken relationships and marriages. Too many shiny fake versions of love that promise happiness in exchange for that seemingly insignificant ingredient we despise, that has almost vanished from our vocabulary:

that tiny little factor of faithfulness.

Love is forever. Everything else is only a fake.

Jesus knew that there were people who believed themselves to be benefactors of mankind, oh, and they can be radiant, and that light in their eyes may sparkle deceivingly real. But when their light is gone, just as quickly as you turn off a light switch, then you know it was only an artificial fake after all, no real love, real light.

The sad thing is that it usually takes time to find this out. – Sometimes quite a long time, in fact. Time is the great tester, and it certainly is the factor that will prove our degree of faithfulness, and thus, the degree of authenticity of our love. Some actually have it, and some actually don’t.

It’s shocking when you realize that that light was never really there, and you find out in shock what Jesus meant… “If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

This type of people can wreak quite a bit of devastation in one’s life. For all they give, they subtly demand more in return, more dependence, more devotion, almost like an addiction, like a drug.

You may think you’re receiving their light, but since it isn’t really real, but only a fake, it doesn’t bear fruit, you’ve only invested in darkness, poured your life into a vessel with holes and are ultimately left empty, sucked dry and devastated…

They’re probably the closest thing to vampires in the real world. They may not suck your blood, but drain your life’s energy out of you, and the hollow shell they leave behind will be a sad reminder that it pays to put your trust in Someone Greater than frail flesh and blood, and blessed are they who do, indeed.

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I used to wonder about this passage in Matthew 24: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mt.24:37-39).

I used to wonder, “Why, Jesus, what’s so bad about eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage? Why should that merit the end of the world?”

But if you take a closer look at people’s eating, drinking and mating habits, you get the point.

While 40.000 starve daily in one part of the world, obesity is becoming a major disease in another.

While in one place people don’t even have enough drinking water to survive, in another they drink themselves to death.

It’s the imbalance, the selfishness that matters and makes it so ugly… the unwillingness of the rich to share, and their sickening, self-indulging indifference.

And then there’s the mating game. A whole nuther story.

Have you ever frequented a dating site? Like – in a “civilized,” Western country?

I once wrote an entry about the devaluation of human life in reference to what some nations are willing to pay for the corpse of a butcher as compared to what they’re willing to eke out for the corpse of his victim…

Well, you’ll see the devaluation of human life (along with the sheer absence of human intelligence) nowhere as blatantly as on a dating site.

Here they present themselves like merchandise in a supermarket, and mind you, the customers are picky. “Looking for Mr. Right” or “the perfect man” … or woman, the “girl of my dreams, ” etc.

Whereas members of less “developed” countries are a lot more modest. Perhaps one day the world will see the difference between so-called civilization and truly civilized people, among whom respect is still a given, and courtesy not a “Huh, what’s that?”

Not to mention that in the entire process of feverishly trying to obtain the objects of their affection that might quench their burning needs (or lusts?), the most important Factor is – as usual – left out of the equation almost entirely: the Giver of all things in the first place.

Maybe that’s why Jesus said not labour for the meat which perisheth… although everybody of course, keeps doing it, even the most devout of His followers.

Of course, it would be a sacriliege and the epitome of political incorrectness to preach anything different, for man’s greatest religion and god has become the work of his own hands. After all, the work of his own hands is what will earn him those most desired shreds of paper in the universe, which Jesus said we couldn’t serve, if we served God,;and those, in return, will by us foood, drrrink, and will help us to impress the other sex (either by means of taunting our apparel and plastic surgery, or our vehicles, houses and yachts). In short: materialism.

Since everything begins (evolution) and ends (lifeless corpse in coffin) with mere lifeless matter which is supposed to have brought forth itself, the space between the beginning and the end, that which we refer to as life, revolves around the same: lifeless matter. In other words, not really life at all, since the one thing that gives life, as Jesus said, is Spirit (John 6:63), coincidentally, the same stuff that God Himself is made of (John 4:24).

It’s not that I don’t like to eat, drink or am not totally amazed by the opposite sex. Nor do I try to pretend to come across as some sort of spiritual wonder child, since I’m subject to the same desires and needs as everybody else.

It’s just that the way we go about it and still have the nerve to call “civilized,” to me comes across as rather barbaric.

If that’s what brought on the flood (along with many other evils that find their modern counterparts), then let it rain, Lord, let it rain!

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