October 2, 2019

Happy 101st Birthday, Charlotte Hadsall

Just when I think I’m about to hit bottom, something comes along to pick me up again.

I’ve been staring at the numbers, and not real happy with the progress. I get a few here, and a few there, but I’m not seeing any growth. The situation is the same on youtube. I get a few hits – some better than others. But when I look at some videos which get thousands or even millions of hits, it gets frustrating.

Today, posted a video of Charlotte Hadsall, who celebrated her 101st birthday on Tuesday. It thought it would be nice to do a video, and so I did it.

Normally, such a thing might get a few hits by now, but actually the number is up to 17. Not much, I grant you, but obviously someone is interested. This helped to cheer me up a bit.

Sigh! One problem is how to make yourself stand out among millions of others. There’s one way, of course, but that’s illegal, and I definitely don’t want to go to jail.

Well, have to keep trying, that’s all.

All right, since this one is short, I’ll put some meat on its bones by doing a bit of mulling and reflection on what happens to be on my mind at the moment.

A few days ago, my buddy Zed and I would having a conversation about things in general. One thing we talked about was a church he’d belonged to, and a number of not-so-pleasant things that had occurred due to certain situations. I’m not going to repeat them here, because that’s Zed’s business, and I make it policy never to reveal personal information.

Anyway, while talking about it, I asked him “Was your church into that ‘born again’ crap?”

That turned out to be a poor question and a poor choice of words. Zed considers himself born again, and while he didn’t take offense, I could tell the question bothered him.

Well, I can see his point. What I overlooked is that the term “Born Again” can actually cover a wide variety of circumstances – some of them minor and some of them major. Trouble is, due to a situation that occurred when I was younger – I often have a tendency to think of the term “Born Again,” in a negative connotation.

Now, one thing I want emphasis. I am not a theologian; nor do I have any formal religious training. Nor has God whispered such information in my ear. What I am to talk about is strictly my opinion, and comes from my own observations and experiences. The opinion of anyone else in such matters is just as legitimate, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, I was about 18 years of age, and going to college when I was approached by a group of people who asked if I was “Born Again.” When I replied to the negative, they offered to “Save” me, and went through certain prayer rituals on the spot.

That was not the end of it, of course. Part of being “Saved” was meeting with the group on a regular basis. They shared a community house, and I met with them their – almost on a daily basis. During that time, we held Bible readings, which everyone interpreted. Trouble is, I could tell that many of the group were not pleased with my interpretations.

I’ve always been a person who is tolerant of other’s people’s beliefs – religious or otherwise. I owe that to my parents, who always insisted that everyone has a right to choose and follow their own path.

The trouble is that these people did NOT hold to such beliefs. Instead, they constantly contended that in order to go to Heaven, a person must be saved, and to be saved one had to be born again.

Worse, those who were not “saved” were automatically condemned to be cast into Hell when they died. There were no exceptions to this, and I sensed a smug arrogance among the group members, because they were in a state of grace with God.

Actually, it was Jesus. They were always praising Jesus and calling for everyone to be faithful to Him, because He had died for our sins.

That was OK. But they also insisted that those who did not admit their sins and offer themselves to Jesus were NOT saved, were NOT “Born Again,” and would be condemned after death as a result.

Now, I’ve had many Jewish friends over the years, and obviously don’t they believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I’ve also noted that although Christianity is the largest of the world’s religion, it is definitely dwarfed if you combine all the other religions.

So if everyone who does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah is going to Hell, that means countless billions of human beings have been condemned over the past couple of thousand years based on that fact alone.

To me, this does not make sense. Worse, I consider it cruel and totally inhumane. There have been many non-Christian people throughout history who have practiced Jesus’ teachings of loving your neighbor, and helping others, and trying to make a better world. Why should these people be condemned just because they choose to follow another path?

I quickly discovered that the group that had “saved” me turned out to be hard-core bigots and haters – if you weren’t “Born Again,” then you weren’t part of God’s chosen. After a short time I got so disgusted with their prejudices and narrow-mindedness, I left, never to return.

But before that though, things did get a bit ugly when I confronted some of them. It just served to more quickly cause me to leave the group.

However, the experience did leave a mark, and that was, whenever I hear to the term “Born Again,” I think of them, and the bad taste if left in my mouth.

I realize now, though, that this was unfair. Not to them, but to thinking that being “Born Again” was a sham.

As I said earlier, “Born Again,” can cover many things. It can be simple, or it can be complicated, given the circumstances.

In simplest terms, it can mean a person has admitted that – spiritually – a chosen path was incorrect. Mistakes were made. That it is a time to take stock, look at what was wrong, and work to correct things.

In such circumstances, we turn to God and religion. We feel a need to turn to the Lord and say “God I’ve screwed up, but with Your help I know this time I can get it right. Please help me.”

There is certainly nothing wrong with such thinking. In fact, a lot of good can come of it.

Under such circumstances, a person doesn’t even have to be a Christian to be “Born Again.” Any person of any religion can go before his or her deity and ask for such help.

In my case though I reacted – and probably overreacted – to a group of people who have hijacked a beautiful concept and made it something narrow-minded and ugly.

Well, live and learn, I always say. I know realize I have to reassess my thinking, and that being “Born Again,” is most often a very beautiful experience.

And now for today’s bad joke.

A man is talking to God. “God, how long is a million years?” God answers, “To me, it’s about a minute.” “God, how much is a million dollars?” “To me, it’s a penny.” “God, may I have a penny?” “Wait a minute.”

o.

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