Chapter 6 Written / Published 22.8./28.8.16 Pics by author, unless indicated
Australia August is winner time, sorry winter time, when senior citizens
tend to watch more television. This chapter (6) includes many
observations from screens, on TV Channel 9 and in church. There are
links to crossword puzzles and misspelled words on TV.
Car registration plates make a comeback, one with a strong police connection, and bees, our symbol for truth.
At the end, when I thought I had finished the chapter, an unexpected message came, in an unexpected way: HE is the Beginning and the End. HE is God and all good. (Return HIS call !)
6. Called to Freedom
How it started nobody knows. But the way it has spread around the globe is nothing short of amazing, from Paris to Cologne, from London to Adelaide. The popularity of the practice, however, the way it has grown in recent years, created its own demise. What am I writing about?
Around the world lovers have taken to the practice of pledging love to ones partner by fastening an inscribed padlock onto a bridge and throwing the key into the water below. It's meant as a symbol of love, unbreakable, forever locked together. Many authorities find that the sheer weight of the hundreds or thousands of steel padlocks threaten the structure of their bridges.
For this same reason the Adelaide City Council has decided to remove all padlocks on the University footbridge across the River Torrens. When it was reported on television, my sharp eyes spotted one special padlock among the many that flashed across the screen. Two letters, C & D, immediately reminded me of the Readers Digest Hidden Meaning Quiz from the previous chapter. (A B C C should have been A B C D).
As this news item splashed across our TV screen a second time during a later bulletin, I had my camera ready. The only reason I took the picture were the letters C & D. But, as has happened many times among my nearly 400 chapters, when later writing about it I saw much more:
C & D Locked in Love since 2002. (Pic. - ABC TV)
In the morning of that same day, Friday 19.8.16, on Channel Nine TV their Today Show broadcast a segment with an unusual subject: The most unpopular baby names of 2016. (The most popular only came at the end). I found this odd. Would it not be better to focus on the most popular names, which would be far easier to compile?
How did they come up with a list of names no one called their baby? There would have to be a questionnaire with many hundred choices. And why would anyone want or need to know what's unpopular, anyway? What about foreign names, which in our multicultural society are proliferate? Was Dieter or Ali included in the list of choices?
I only gave this segment closer attention after I saw the list of names flashed onto the TV screen. They disappeared again very fast. I only managed to remember a few names, which I quickly scribbled into my diary I was updating at that time. A few things just did not look right. Judge for yourself:
Most unpopular boy's names, TV Channel 9, Sat 20.8.16, 8.55 am.
In the list of the most popular names I only recall No.7 - Aidan, which happens to be the name of our oldest grandson. In some states it is illegal to call your child by certain names; Jesus, for example. Does anybody know why? Certainly, in our culture a boy in kindergarten called Jesus would be teased no end. Does this happen in Spanish/Catholic speaking cultures, where the name Jesus is common?
The name Jesus, given by God for HIS humility, belongs to ONE:
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The date of starting this chapter (228) happens to be the registration number of my little 'green machine', the Suzuki Wagon R+. For this reason may I include a peculiar observation of car registration numbers. It happened the day after publishing the previous chapter, while driving home from my regular table tennis afternoon at Elizabeth, South Australia.
At the eastern end of Park Terrace, stopping at the traffic lights, the registration plate of the vehicle ahead of me carried the letters SDZA (not in that order) plus a three digit number. My playful mind turned these letters into SADZ or 'sad end'. The lights changed, the traffic moved and I thought that was the end of that; not so.
Only about 4 kilometers later, just as I was turning into my street, a vehicle ahead of me changed lanes rather suddenly; not dangerously, but I still noticed it's registration plate. Did I see this correctly or was I still thinking of meeting the 'sad end' moments earlier? The station wagon, which turned into my lane, carried the same three-digit number and the same four letters as the other. The letters had a different sequence (ie. SZAD). I didn't know what to think of it in the end.
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A final, peculiar observation, while driving in my green Suzuki, came while waiting for the traffic lights to change. It was already evening in Mid August 2016, as I sat at one of the busiest intersections in Adelaide. The bright neon lights of advertising and business names seemed to be fighting for the attention of passers by. One sign succeeded with me, so much so that I quickly snapped a picture, before the lights changed. Take a look:
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The previous chapter touched on the subject of happiness versus joy. It shows the picture of a smiling man, who proved that smiles add seven years to ones lifespan. A few hours after uploading this chapter, in the middle of the night, I was listening to the radio.
As I listened sleepily, still churning over the chapter I had just finished, I was astounded what I was hearing. Was it really so? I had woken just in perfect time to tune into the radio station, which broadcast an interview with James O' Dea, an American peace activist. The subject was: Smiling - how good it is for our health!
Out of curiosity I checked the website of James O' Dea. I learned he's the author of the book Cultivating Peace and had written other essays, addressing the deeper problems mankind is facing. But nowhere did I find the name Christ as the salvation for mankind. HE is the embodiment of peace. How sad that intelligent, educated academics look for solutions to the world's problems anywhere and everywhere, except in God's instruction book, the bible.
Friends, any man or woman who makes peace with God and allows Christ to be the boss of their lives will experience a sense of freedom like never before. It all sounds like a paradox - letting someone else rule your life in order to be free. But that's just what Christ's death of the cross achieved.
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The day before starting this chapter, a Sunday, this truth was the subject of the sermon in our church. There was a little twist involved, which started a few hours before church, when my wife noticed a misspelled word on the TV screen - fastet, referring to Usain Bolt, the fastest runner ever! (More of the Olympic champion later). Clearly the letter s was omitted until corrected a few seconds later.
But why am I writing about such a triviality? There are two reasons. Firstly, the day before I had emailed a comment to the same TV station about Usain Bolt. Secondly, in church, only two hours later, the letter s drew my attention by featuring in just the right place, at the front on the church on big screen. Take a look:
The theme on Sunday 21.8.16: Freedom in Christ.
(Back to Aug 21)
Moments later, at the start of the bible reading, another slide came onto the big screen. My outside the box, creative mind again saw things, made a connection and snapped another photo on my Samsung. (My 95 year-old mother-in-law probably never noticed. What my wife thought I don't know. My creativity is never a favourite subject in our communication.)
Scripture reference: 1. Corinthians 9:19
Text: Though I am free and belong to no one ...
The message Paul conveys in the passage in Corinthians is this: The Good News of the Gospel is so important that he is free to identify with other cultures, other traditions, in order to win them over to Christ. He continues to compare the Christian journey with that of a sports person, a runner. (How timely to be writing here on this subject, two days after the Olympic Games in Rio have ended!)
As I write the Australian Olympic team is returning from Rio. The medal winners are bathing in the accolades of the crowds who are welcoming them back and congratulating them. However, soon all will be back in their normal routine. Their achievements and often their names will be forgotten.
The prize waiting for those who run the race of life will never be forgotten. It is by far the greatest one could ever win and last for eternity. Just ponder the word eternity for a few moments. The human mind can't comprehend it. Still, let's keep going to win the prize HE has prepared for us. It will be good, allgood.
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The same Sunday, when I took above pictures in church, Usain Bolt made world headline news. We watched it on Channel Nine TV. The Jamaican sprinter was going for the triple triple, meaning, if his team would win the 4 x 100 m relay run later that day, the flash from Jamaica called Bolt would have won three gold medals in three different Olympic Games. It turned out to be that way.
Seeing the words triple triple triggered a thought process, which in the end made me sent an email to Channel Nine. The letters ripl, the middle of triple, teased me somewhat, when suddenly I noticed the small logo of Channel Nine at the bottom corner of the TV screen:
Just prior to composing the message to Channel Nine a composer's name flashed through my mind. He was also famous for Number 9, his 9th symphony.
Message to Channel Nine, Subject: Bolt and Beethoven, dated 20.8.16:
does Usain Bolt and LV Beethoven have in common?
Answer: If Usain
wins the triple triple this Olympics, and it’s his last, they both
will be remembered for their 9th!
PS What does Channel Nine (logo) have in common with Usain? 9 golden discs.
Mr. Beethoven's first name is Ludwig van ... initials LV, love it.
Another athlete who will be remembered for his outstanding achievements is the great Michael Phelps. Channel Nine TV broadcast a segment about the American champion swimmer. It was hard to comprehend that a top performing sports person, whose life had brought success, money and fame, could feel so low. In his own words Phelps described his condition like this:
While watching the story of Phelps' deep problems and amazing turnaround, I was anticipating one important piece of information, a major factor in Phelps' recovery. Sadly, the television report, the interview with a (sports?) psychologist, did not touch on it at all. In a message to the TV program I filled in the missing details.
Subject: Phelps real help, dated 14.8.16:
Thank you for your inspiring segment on the amazing turnaround of Michael Phelps. After the London Olympics, as you reported, he was at rock bottom, without purpose in life. But then, his friend Ray Lewis introduced him to a book by evangelist *Ray Warren, 'The purpose driven life'. The positive message of living life with the purpose of trusting and serving God is what inspired Phelps to move on. The result of such a life are evident on the world stage as I write.
Pity you did not mention this major factor in Michael Phelps’ success this morning. Many viewers, who struggle with life, could have been positively influenced. Sadly, the remarkable changes that re.al, true Christianity brings, is seldom seen on mainstream television. Reports of abuse by the clergy never seem to end.
PS: Help – “My help comes from the Lord ...” (PS 121, 2)
*Should read Rick Warren.
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First performed in 1885, a play by Henrik Ibsen is 'The Wild' what?
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At the time of this chapter public debate in Australia is again on same sex marriage. The winner of the recent election, the Liberal/National Party, promised to hold a plebiscite later in 2016. Recent media reports put the timeline forward to February 2017, because the Electoral Commission would take the extra time to prepare the poll.
In the days of composing this chapter other news reports indicated that some politicians and lobby groups are steering away from supporting a plebiscite. The Greens Leader Richard Di Natale made it party policy to not support a plebiscite, but wants the Parliament to decide. "A plebiscite will be very divisive", he argued on the ABC on 26.8.16. His comments came after the Labor Opposition also stepped back from supporting a law to hold the plebiscite.
Senator Natale also argued against the plebiscite on another front. Here is part of the transcript from the ABC 7.30 Report:
Do I understand the senator correctly? He thinks a public debate, hearing both sides of the argument on gay marriage, will drive young people to suicide! What psychologist has come up with this bulldust argument? It sounds a bit like saying, if I don't get my way I will kill myself, which is nothing but emotional blackmail.
A plebiscite is a waste of money, but only because we don't need it, because we don't need gay marriage! Same sex people already have all the rights of married couples, what more do they want?
The real reason the gay lobby, the Greens and Labor, do not want the Australian public to decide on the issue is the fear they might fail. There is a logical reason for this. In a letter to the Advertiser Newspaper, my first in many months, I explained why:
Letter to the Editor, Adelaide Advertiser, dated 22.8.16:
May I add, even if there were a plebiscite and Australian voters would back same sex marriage, a majority vote would be democratic. It still does not make it right. It is one thing for society to allow certain behaviour, it is another to make laws, which go against natural principles, against God's creation of male/female. Even a majority can be so very wrong!
At the time of this chapter another social experiment was reported to have failed miserably. Some years ago a program was introduced to Australian high schools, which was to prevent unwanted pregnancies among teenage girls. They were given life-like baby dolls, which needed looking after, feeding, nappy changes etc, and who cried in the middle of the night. (I wonder if those dolls could smile?)
The thought was that girls, realizing the amount of work and inconvenience a baby brings would be turned off from falling pregnant. After years of this crazy experiment a study found it did not work. The ABC reported the following on August 26th:
Children are a blessing, not a nuisance. Motherhood is the most important job in the world. It would have been far better to teach girls right from wrong, teach teenagers clear boundaries, moral principles, based on the Ten Commandments, as well as the birds and the bees!
Will gay marriage and gay adoptions also become a social experiment doomed to fail? Any law that crosses the line, contra to God ordained principles, is doomed to fail.
In the end God's truth will prevail. It will not be sad. Bee assured!
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God works in mysterious ways. HE can use whatever HE pleases to speak to us, even drop-letters in a bible reading booklet.