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My Witness April 12, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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When I was young I was not a nice fellow.  Snakes would cross the street when I sauntered down the sidewalk.  My all consuming passion was getting enough alcohol and drugs to help me forget something I couldn’t remember.  Playing music and living in a 24/7 party atmosphere was all I cared about.  Other people were collateral damage on my way to a buzz.  I had the name of my guitar tattooed on my arm so women would know where my loyalties lay.

Spiritually I was dead inside.  I called myself an atheist and I was faithful to my boast.  Anyone who spoke to me of any religion was automatically consigned by me to irrelevance.  The closest thing I had to an actual conviction was a strident attachment to militant apathy.  I didn’t care about anything and I couldn’t stand anyone who did.

That was my life until I was thirty.  Then God spoke to me.  God touched me.  God changed me.  God gave me a new life.  I was born again.

Today I can remember what I did in my former life but I can no longer relate to it.  It as if my life before God was a movie I have seen.  I can recall the important scenes and the important characters but I feel a complete detachment to being one of the actors in the plot.

God gave me a wife who is the love of my life.  He gave me a son who is my heir and friend.  He gave me a daughter-in-love who is the daughter I always wanted to have.  He has given me two grandchildren who are the joy of my life as a seasoned citizen.  He has allowed me to see miracles, plant churches, be a pastor, found ministries that fed and clothed thousands, watch people accept Him, watch people grow in Him, and hold the hands of people who went to join Him.

I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980 so I just had my 37th birthday as a child of God.  I give Him the glory for my life.  I give Him the honor that is His due.  I cannot even give a fraction of the love He has shown.  He is my source, my summit, and my all.

As we approach the celebration of His rising from the dead I am reminded of the fact that it is faith that saves us and that not of our self for even the faith is a gift.  I look about at all the traditions and customs we have developed in more than two thousand years and I smile.  I pray that everyone who calls on His name has a blessed and joyous Resurrection Day.  Enjoy the season as best meets the requirements of your faith.

Let us all recall that if we confess Jesus as Lord and if we believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.

That is the truth, the truth upon which all of reality rests.  That is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, all the rest is window dressing.  Just as one enjoys Italian food and another enjoys Chinese yet all food is good to those who like it.  So too, our traditions and customs if they do not detract from the truth of by who and how we are saved are all good.

Have a wonderful time with family and friends, coreligionists and those C&E Christians who make it standing room only at so many normally empty churches at this time of year.  Love them all and let God sort them out.  Just remember, the biggest surprise when we get to heave in not who is there but that we are for it is not by works but by faith that we are saved.  The greatest saint and the worst sinner both need the Lord’s grace to enter in.

There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven if we lay it at the cross.  He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves and he forgives us.  Don’t labor under a load you were never meant to carry any further than the cross.  Give it all to Him and he will give you rest.

I praise Him for saving me.  I Praise Him for giving me life.  I ask Him to open doors for me to serve Him.  And when I am gone there is but one eulogy I wish anyone to hear, “God got the glory!”

Yours in Him,

Robert

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

Hope For The Hopeless April 3, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion.
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What is the self-deception of self-perception?

It is so easy to believe that the universe is self-centered because our perception is.  The only universe anyone can see is viewable from one and only one perspective; with our self in the center.

Like any other type of navel gazing the self-deception of self-perception carries the seeds of its own penalty.  While focusing on self we miss the reality of the world that is spinning around us oblivious to the self-absorbed child prattling away in the center of a room full of adults.  We may think we are profound.  However if our only frame of reference is the inherently flawed one we perceive from our perch in the center of an ego-centric universe our insights are skewed and our judgement irrelevant.  We may believe we are essential.  However, while knowing we are essential we should recall that graveyards are filled with irreplaceable people.

This is not an attempt to bring about a personal Great Depression.  It is not it is not the voice of one crying from the roof tops, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” from someone who ascribes to the street wisdom, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”

No, this is the warning of one who has made the mistake of confusing the apparent reality of a personally centered universe for the reality of a God centered universe.  For make no mistake, if we do not put God in the center we will inevitably and eventually put ourselves there.

As we watch our world wobble off into a bizarre pseudo-reality created by perpetually re-elected control freaks in government, indoctrination centers posing as educational institutions, and spin machines in the media it is hard to see where it is going.

Look at the so-called Russian Scandal.  What I want to know is that if the Russians hacked the election to change the outcome and Hillary won the popular vote why aren’t we looking at her campaign for the collusion?

The shrill campaign to make the Trump Presidency appear illegitimate becomes more transparent every day.  Look at Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man who was earlier confirmed unanimously for the Appeals court Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer now says he has “serious doubts” that Judge Gorsuch is within what Democrats consider to be the legal mainstream.

On issue after issue whatever President Trump tries to do or say he is attacked.  It reminds me of the story making the rounds; President Trump is out in a boat with another man.  The other man’s hat blows off.  President Trump gets out of the boat and walks on the water over to get the hat and then walks on the water back.  Gives the hat to the man and gets back in the boat.  The next day the headline is, “Trump can’t swim.”

Many of those around us, many of those who rule the world around us are trapped in a cycle of navel gazing.  They can’t see the forest for the trees.  In the last election we had the choice between the last nail in our coffin and a chance.  We decided to take the chance.  Don’t let those who believe they are the source and summit of all things stop us from at least trying to get ourselves out of the ditch they drove us into.

And by the way the only real antidote to falling into the self-deception of self-perception trap is to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and to believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  If you will do that all the rest of this will fall into place no matter what headlines the media cartel chooses to invent.

The only way we got here to begin with is because prayer works and because He promised 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

So when you see the navel gazers lying about everything, making up their fake news, and convincing everyone around you to repeat their headlines thinking that these are their personal opinions don’t get dismayed.  Don’t be depressed.  For though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked.  Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place no evil shall befall you nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;  for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Remember without hope your hopeless and I would not want to leave you hopeless.  In other words, why worry when you can pray?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

We Battle Not Against Flesh and Blood February 27, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion.
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There are many of us who believe that prayer played a major part in the upset victory of Donald Trump last November.

He may not be a born again Christian. And he may not be one who believes in miracles.  As a person who grew up in the church of Norman Vincent Peale he is the personification of that minister’s theological doctrine of positive thinking.  Like Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, or any of the word of faith, gab-it-and-grab-it, believe to receive crowd The Donald believes the words of his mouth have power to shape the world around him.

Anyone who sees the result of being positive as opposed to being negative knows there is much real world sense to this belief.  Is the glass half empty or is it half full?

As spirit-filled born again believers we know that it isn’t about who we are it is all about what He has done and it isn’t about what we have done it is all about who He is.  We know that prayer is the answer and faith is the key.  We know that God can use any tool to accomplish His purpose.

We also know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  And in this struggle we know that a thousand may fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand but it shall not come near us if we keep our eyes on Him.

So as we watch our president surrounded by the Progressive Fusion Party of Democrats, Republicans, courts, and media don’t despair.  Don’t return to the couch and think, “We voted him in now we can go back to sleep.”  Now is the time to do battle in the heavenlies.  This Hail Mary victory pass shall not stand unless we hit our knees.  We must hold the president and our nation up in prayers.  Pray confusion into the counsel of the enemy, pray that President Trump has the courage and strength to stand for America when everyone around him is proclaiming they are citizens of the world and that America should be just another state in a UN dominated new world order.

The nation state is what won in November.  The globalist conspiracy was thwarted at the very moment when they thought the last nail would be driven into our coffin.  They had victory snatched out of their talons and they are going berserk as the rail against the last gasp of American independence.

Many of these advocates of global centralization and the authoritarianism it would need to re-distribute the world’s goods claim to be atheists.  They are actually devotees of humanism, worshipers of self.  In other words those who have bitten the apple and listened to the siren song of the serpent, “you will be like God.”

And we also know God has promised, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.”  If we will do that, if we will turn from this world and embrace Him then we shall receive the benefit of those who wait on the Lord.  We shall renew our strength.  We shall mount up with wings like eagles.  We shall run and not be weary.  We shall walk and not faint.

So why worry when we can pray?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

Science Fact Swallows Science Fiction January 25, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy, Religion.
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Not too long ago I began a science fiction novel, which has always been a dream of mine, and since I finally broke through the fiction wall last year with my book, America’s Trojan War I thought it was time.  I even had a plot that had been rattling around in my mind for years.

I began working in what I call Writing Mode, which is where I go when consumed with the writing of a new book.  Typically I will rise at about four in the morning and write for twelve hours, sleep and repeat until done.  Building on the years of pre-writing and research that precedes the first chapter I often stay in continuous Writing Mode for weeks at a time.

This process has led to the completion of a dozen published books and several more that are currently working their way through the publication pipeline.  In my mind’s eye I could see my long anticipated science fiction novel spring fully formed from my forehead much as Athena sprang from Jupiter’s in the Greek Myth.  The anticipation of a successful creative birth drove me on.

Here is the plot that inspired me.  A couple of scientists who were also husband and wife, he a world renowned geneticist and she a programming superstar, decide to translate the human genome into computer code.  Once they have completed this herculean task they decide to hack the code. When they do they are immediately confronted with the entity that wrote the code and transported into an endless array of parallel realities.  In these multiple realities it seems each was the invention of another and like a reflection of a reflection in a mirror these wheels within wheels stretched infinitely off into life begetting life.

Through struggles, temptations, and conflict the pair of scientific Argonauts chased the golden fleece of knowledge searching for the prime cause.  For they knew that every sequence has its beginning, and there must always be not only a first domino to fall but also someone to knock it over.

Then in what was meant to be a stunning and thought provoking climax our intrepid duo finally break through to the final reality and find themselves using their hacked DNA code to birth a new reality.  Thus the circle is unbroken and life begets life begets life begets life in an eternal cycle and the prime mover remains veiled while the unnatural source of nature reverberates through reality.

That was the plan.

Unfortunately the reality of science fact swallowed my science fiction.  First the CRISPR-Cas9 comes along.  This is a remarkable technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit the genome by removing, adding, or altering sections of the DNA sequence.   There goes the revolutionary idea of hacking the genome.

This was followed by a headline which provided the final nail in my science fictional coffin, “Lab-Made DNA Used to Breed a Life Form for the First Time.”  This article continued to hammer away at my fictional ideas of creating life by introducing modified genetic codes into reality and thereby willing existence into reality.  The author, Clyde Hughes, put it this way, “Lab-made DNA has been used to breed a life form for the first time by expanding the genetic code with the help of common E. coli microbes.”

Not satisfied with dashing my dreams of wowing people with outlandish concepts the article added, “Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California modified common E. coli microbes to carry expanded genetic material which they believe will eventually allow them to program how the organisms operate and behave.”  As my imagination was corralled by reality the following posts were driven into the now to confine my musings of the future:

“Scripps Research scientist Floyd Romesberg said his colleagues have created a single-celled organism that can hold on indefinitely to the natural DNA mix in synthetic-base material.”

“You can think of these unnatural nucleobases as X and Y.”

“Romesberg said the challenge with X and Y … was that they would lose their code as they divided. Graduate student Yorke Zhang and Brian Lamb, an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow, used a tool called a nucleotide transporter to allow X and Y to be copied across the cell’s membrane.”

According to Zhang, “The transporter was used … , but it made the semisynthetic organism very sick.”

The author of the article interjected, “The researchers found a way to modify the transporter that alleviated the problem, making it easier for the organism to grow and divide while holding on to X and Y.”

And finally the author and the scientists ganged up on me and delivered the death blow to my science fiction fantasy about creating life when they delivered this, “The researchers said their next step is to study how their new genetic code can be transcribed into RNA, the molecule in cells needed to translate DNA into proteins.”

I figured why write a fictional novel about what is now reality.  Therefore to compensate for this extreme case of Writus Interruptus and to live out the rituals and exigencies of my artistic Pon farr I waded into the depths of writing mode birthing two new books which will soon be available.  These books are: Then Came Trump, wherein I share insights about where we have come from, where we are now, and where the Donald promised to lead us.  And The More things Change the More They Stay the Same, which deals with the development of the secular political religion which is jingoistic patriotism using the three presidential assassinations of the 19th century as case studies.

Reflecting further on the startling announcement that humanity now has the power to create life I am reminded of an old story.

A scientist says to God, “You’re not so much I can create life right here in my laboratory.”

God answers, “Is that so?”

“Yes, it is and I challenge you to a contest.  Let’s see who can create life faster and better, you or I” responded the scientist filled with pride over his great ability.

“All right,” said God “let’s give it a try.”

With that God stoops down and picks up some dust and starts molding it in his hands and the scientist grabs his test tubes and starts pouring liquids back and forth.  God pauses and looks at the scientist and says, “Hey, get your own dust.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

Merry Christmas or Mary’s Christmas? December 22, 2016

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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3 comments

In December of 1914 in the first bitter winter of a long bitter war the solders of the German Empire and the soldiers of the British Empire defied the orders of their officers.  They abandoned their hastily dug entrenchments, that would soon grow into an elaborate maze of trenches stretching from Switzerland to the English Channel, to meet each other in no man’s land. They sang hymns and exchanged gifts in a spontaneous outpouring of the feelings of peace, fellowship, and forgiveness which were then the staples of a Christ centered Christmas season.

If you drench yourself in the torrent of Christmas movies that bombard us from Thanksgiving till December 25th you see that the spirit of Christmas in emotional America isn’t about the Christ child who came into a lost world to die as a payment for sin and to rise again to bring new life in harmony with God.  It is instead about the sentimental ideal of love and the boy gets the girl or is it the girl gets the boy?  Who knows, sometimes they throw in a curve that really builds the suspense.  There are movies about Santa Clause, his sons, his daughters, his elves, and wingless angels all of whom help people learn the true meaning of Christmas, which is never about Christ and always about family and friends and being nice people.

In commercial America, Christmas is about Black Friday and discounts so deep they remind me of the street vendor in Mexico who follows you shouting “I’ll give you 110% off if you buy two!”  The Chia Pets come out along with snuggies, pet rocks, and every other doodad imaginable to buy for people who already have too much.

The mountains of presents which obscenely bury Christmas trees in so many American homes are ripped apart by sugar-high children. Children who get into a frenzy of getting so intense they never have time to appreciate what they get. All they want is to get something else.  The beautiful wrapping paper, the miles of ribbon, and the forests of bows are stuffed unceremoniously into big green garbage bags soon on their way to landfills.

The problem with being a Historian is that you are constantly looking for the context, the background, the circumstances in the past that created the circumstances you face in the here and now.  Sometimes when you discover the story behind the story it isn’t what you thought it would be.  Sometimes it is the opposite of what you thought you would find.  Take Christmas for instance.

The early Church never celebrated Christmas.  Why didn’t the early Christians celebrate the festival honoring the birth of Jesus Christ?  For the same reason they didn’t honor either birthdays or anniversaries. It was known that the celebrating of any day or date was a custom of the pagans.  By the word ‘pagans’ they meant people who still lived in the darkness of superstition. In an effort to divest themselves of all pagan practices, they did not even set aside or note down the date of their Savior’s birth.

In the Fourth Century, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Controversy, heresy, and false teaching began to plague a church now swollen from small groups of dedicated disciples ready to suffer persecution with and for Christ to a massive bureaucratic organization crammed with those who wanted to be part of the religion mandated by the government.  Naturally the Church began to lose its fervor and fire: the zealous faith that exploded out of Israel and spread through the Roman world.  Unfortunately, just like today, the Christian leaders of that time not knowing the true secret of the Church’s growth, looked to outward sources to bolster their flagging faith. Celebrations and entertainment began to surface within the church.

In 354 AD – Bishop Liberius of Rome declared that Christians everywhere should celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25.  Since the early Christians didn’t record the actual date of Jesus’ birth how was December 25th decided upon?   Most scholars agree that the birth of the Redeemer did not take place in the month of December at all. In fact, the 25th of December was not even chosen by the Christians, but by the pagan Romans.

When the Romans of that age noticed that the days grew shorter each year during the months of November and December, they began to fear that the earth might be dying. Therefore with the ‘return of the sun’ at the end of December resulting in longer days, the Romans began to celebrate the “Feast of the Sol Invictus” (the Unconquerable Sun) on December 25. Soon many Christians began to join in this pagan festival and the various celebrations that went with it. Their faith wasn’t vibrant enough (or real enough) to stand against the strong pull of the festivity and celebration around them. They drifted with the crowd.

Thus, in order to keep the Christians away from all the pagan rituals that were part of this worship of the sun, Bishop Liberius of Rome declared, in 354 A.D., that all Christians everywhere should celebrate the birth of our Lord on December 25.

Did this celebration continue unbroken? No. During the rule of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of Britain and the Commonwealth, the celebration of Christmas was banned because of “the heathen traditions surrounding this sacred event.” From 1649 to 1658 no celebration was allowed except for special church services on Christmas Eve. Cromwell was a dedicated Christian who lived by the commands and principles of Scripture.

We must recognize a parallel in what took place in church history and what is taking place in this day and age. The pagan festivities of the fourth century and Cromwell’s day are much like the commercial celebration of Christmas today.

Christians no longer participate in the worship of the sun or the sun god as in the fourth century. The centerpiece of Christmas is now no longer the sun but the unconquerable Santa Claus. This white bearded, chubby benefactor typifies the god of this age – materialism. It was Coca Cola who first gave the white bearded individual his red suit to go with the advertising color of the popular drink. What this plump, rosy cheeked individual has to do with the advent of the precious Lamb of God, I cannot even begin to understand! Writer Jonathan Skinner puts it this way: “A white-bearded old man has thrown the baby out of the cradle, and his trinket-filled grotto has replaced a rustic stable…The spiritual has been swallowed by the secular, the sacred obliterated by sentiment. Christmas has been gutted of its meaning.”

These humanistic and unscriptural traditions have quietly crept into the church when true faith and real worship were fading. All this is reflected in the entertainment aspect of much of the Christian worship of today. If we claim to be Christians and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us distance ourselves from the commercial (and pagan) celebration of the so-called Christmas season. Holy celebration is Scriptural but must begin from within in the hearts of those who claim to follow Jesus. The crazy rushing whirl that typifies the celebration of Christmas today has nothing to do with our servant Lord who had no place to lay His head.

Instead of obsessing over the war on Christmas waged by Progressives who desire to erase all that made America great, and instead of campaigning to get Christ back into Christmas perhaps we should pray for a revival that will get Christ back into Christians.  Instead of worrying about whether we are allowed to say Merry Christmas, we should be concerned that so many have lost sight of Mary’s Christmas.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

 

 

 

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