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Pedal to the Metal

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Conversion. Interesting musical (and other) Topic. Check it out:

In the fourth century there occurred one of the outstanding “conversions” of all history, that of Roman Emperor Constantine. It is said that before a battle he saw the sign of the cross in the sky with the words: “By this conquer.”

Did Constantine become a real Christian? Christian conversion is symbolized by baptism, total immersion in water. Constantine postponed this vital step until his deathbed. Constantine was not “a Christian character,” contends historian H. Fisher in his History of Europe, and adds: “He . . . put to death his wife and his son. . . . He believed in Christ, but also in the unconquered sun. [Constantine initiated the observance of Sunday] He . . . retained the office of Pontifex Maximus [high priest].”

Due to Constantine’s support, “Christianity” (of a degenerate kind) became the official religion of the empire. This resulted in a sudden increase in conversions and set the pattern for multitudes of future conversions. Historian E. Gibbon explains: “As the lower ranks of society are governed by imitation, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, were soon followed by dependent multitudes.”

Tribes. “Pagan” Tribes:

In the fifth century the decadent Roman Empire began to shrink and crumble. Warlike Germanic tribes burst through the frontiers of the empire and flooded southward. The famous Pax Romana collapsed and Europe became a theater of war. In time, Clovis I, a Frankish king, subdued his rivals and became master of a large part of western Europe. The Franks were not Christians, but Clovis I married a Catholic princess named Clotilda.

According to some accounts, Clovis I had an experience similar to that of Constantine. Hard pressed in a battle with the Alamanni tribe, he appealed to Christ for victory. He won. On returning from his campaign he was baptized in 496. Charles Oman’s book The Dark Ages states: “3000 of his warriors followed him to the font [of baptism].”

Did they become real Christians? Answers Oman: “It cannot be said that the king’s conversion made any favourable change in his character or his conduct. . . . The Franks . . . hastened to follow him to the fold of the Church . . . But, as with king so with people, the change was almost entirely superficial.

Genuine conversion is not an act of superficiality, eh? Real conversion is not cosmetic.

Britain:

Britain in the sixth century was mainly non-Christian. Under the empire it had been “Christianized” somewhat, but Saxons had invaded and driven the British “Christians” west. The latter had no ties with the papacy in Rome. So in 596 Pope Gregory I sent a monk called Augustine who landed near Ramsgate, Kent. He soon converted the local king, Ethelbert, followed by the men of Kent. Similar mass conversions took place in other parts of England. Fisher writes: “Here, as elsewhere, the conversion of the pagan is to be attributed not to any penitential movement of the heart, but to the pressure of the monarchy upon a submissive population. . . . The creed of the king became the creed of the people.”

But Augustine’s main assignment from the pope was to convert the independent British “Christians” to Rome. Two meetings held by Augustine with the local bishops failed completely. “If,” the “saint” exclaimed, “you will not have peace from your friends you shall have war from your foes.” This belligerent attitude echoed the policy of Pope Gregory I who, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, “sometimes advocated a war of aggression against heathens in order to christianize them.”

Saxony, Other Countries:

War certainly played a major role in the conversion of non-Christian Europe. Concerning Charlemagne, king of the Franks from 768 to 813, H. G. Wells says: “He made his wars of aggression definitely religious wars. . . . Whole nations were converted to Christianity by the sword.” In 782 at Verden he massacred in cold blood 4,500 prisoners who had led a revolt and turned back from “Christianity.” Concerning the conquest of Saxony the Encyclopædia Britannica states: “The violent methods by which this missionary task was carried out had been unknown to the earlier Middle Ages.”

Cowed, no doubt, by Charlemagne’s cruel reputation, the Slavs of eastern Europe were easily subdued and converted. In 988 Vladimir, the Russian ruler, maneuvered his marriage to a Byzantine princess, an Eastern Orthodox Catholic, and agreed, as part of the political contract, to become a “Christian.” He then “commanded the collective baptism of his subjects.”

“The conversion of Europe to Christianity,” wrote historian Fisher, “was, after the first heroic age of poverty and enthusiasm, mainly the result of material calculation or political pressure. The Goths, the Franks, the Saxons, the Scandinavians went over to Christianity, not as individuals directed by an inner light, but as peoples subject to mass suggestion and under the direction of political chiefs.

Many of the clergy had become wealthy, politically powerful and immoral. This caused the growth of “heretical” sects. By the twelfth century, Languedoc, or Southern France, had become a hotbed of heresy. Let us now consider how the Church attempted–

“Heretics in Southern France”…

There were two groups of heretics in Languedoc​—the Cathars, or Albigenses, and the Waldensians. The former were the most numerous and their beliefs had elements of Christianity and Oriental ideas. The Waldensians were more orthodox and very zealous in preaching the Bible among the common people.

Peaceful methods of conversion were tried first. When this failed, Pope Alexander III declared at a Lateran Council: “The Church . . . must . . . invoke the aid of princes, that fear of temporal punishment may force men to seek a spiritual cure for their shortcomings.”

However, Pope Innocent III tried another preaching campaign. Prominent in this was a Spanish priest, Domingo de Guzman. But in spite of his zeal conversions of heretics were few. A Dominican writer credits him with saying: “Where a blessing fails, a good thick stick will succeed.” What was this “good thick stick”?

In July 1209, a powerful army of knights, men-at-arms and mercenaries set off from Lyons to Languedoc. They were soldiers of the Cross. They had mustered at the bidding of Pope Innocent III to conduct a Crusade against the heretics. Their leader was a papal legate. On July 21 this force camped near the city of Béziers in southeastern France. A suggestion that a group of heretics should be given up to the Crusaders was rejected by the citizens.

The next day the Crusaders attacked and soon overwhelmed the small body of defenders. The mercenaries, vicious desperados, and the knights, all eager for plunder, were ruthless. Many people fled to the churches for safety. Historian Oldenbourg, in the book The Massacre at Montségur, describes the outcome: “The doors of the churches were forced open . . . All inside were slaughtered wholesale​—women, invalids, babies, and priests. . . . In a few short hours the wealthy city of Béziers was a city of bleeding mutilated corpses, and nothing else.” And this shocking display of brutality was done by men led by the papal legate, who triumphantly wrote to the pope: “Nearly twenty thousand of the citizens were put to the sword, regardless of age and sex.

Did this “thick stick” get results? Hundreds of Cathars and Waldensians were burned at the stake, but by 1229, after twenty years of war and misery, the heretical groups were still well supported in Languedoc.

In 1233 two Dominicans were given special powers as Inquisitors. Their method was to announce a “period of grace” during which heretics or sympathizers could come and confess. But to prove their “conversion” they had to denounce others. This crafty scheme, backed by the fear of torture or the stake, caused many to collaborate. Denunciations snowballed and set off a reign of terror. In just one place, Moissac, 210 heretics were burned alive in a monstrous holocaust. The Holy Inquisition succeeded in suppressing the Cathars. The Waldensians still survive.

A few centuries later the fair country of France was convulsed with the struggle between the Church and the Reformation. In England, when King Henry VIII proclaimed himself head of the Church of England in 1534, those Catholics who refused to be converted to his new politico-religious system were in great danger. “The creed of the king” still had to be “the creed of the people.”

Protestantism:

Protestantism made progress during the reign of his son, Edward VI, but the pendulum swung the other way during the following reign of Catholic Queen Mary. Sir Winston Churchill commented, in his “History of the English Speaking Peoples”: “Here were the . . . living beings who composed the nation, ordered in the name of King Edward VI to march along one path to salvation, and under Queen Mary to march back again in the opposite direction; and all who would not move on the first order or turn about on the second must prove their convictions, if necessary, at the gibbet or the stake.

Anyone familiar with the Sage of PEACE and Love –Jesus– and His “love Your neighbor as Yourself” and forgiveness teachings would ask:

Can you imagine Jesus Christ or any true Christian condemning people to the gibbet or the stake for their beliefs?”

[excerpts read and my highlights/italics: Were Christendom’s Methods of Conversion Christian? Awake!—1982]

PLEASE!:) WAKE UP PEOPLE…human “progress” ?!  so-called “evolution” through the centuries down to modern-day…HA!..humans, sadly/stupidly, still employ/fall for the same sort of cruel (conversion) strategies/tactics in “varying” degrees…in government, in business, in religion, in media, in social-media, in academia…”creed of King” whomever (he/she) “king” happens to be and whatever “creed” happens to be…the dominators cry:  Submit or else! Comply or Fry!:(
NO! I THINK FOR MYSELF.
Any conversion/change of my heart/thinking is voluntary.
And based on “Accurate” education–an essential, eh?
As wisely noted in the Bible: “humans have dominated humans to their injury”…these centuries-old patterns/precedents continue—different kings, different platforms, different places—SAME STUPIDITY…aka fake lies, fake ideas, fake living…ALL (eventually) deadly.
i will continue to remain politically neutral and resist the popular controversy/ideology–flavor of the day…attempting to coerce me/my thoughts/actions into submission.
TRUST TRUTH:)
(The Bible always tells me the truth!)
“Thinking ability itself will keep guard over youdiscernment itself will safeguard you.”—PROVERBS 2:11.
12:23 p.m. 12/13/18 (FL)
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36,800 YEARS

appreciation attitude Breathing-Fragile-Life choice compassion conscientious-ness courage Freedom Fundamental Human Rights humility Joan Winifred justice pain peace prisoners reality respect

108 🙁 currently imprisoned in South Korea

 

19,300+ imprisoned over the last 68 years 🙁

36,800 years of accumulated confinement! 🙁

(Prisoners of Conscience/Conscientious Objectors in Pursuit of Peace/Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Prison Stats in S. Korea, November, 2018)

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WHY?? four rows of :(…symbolically speaking:

This can represent completeness in form or function, as in the expression “the four corners of the earth.”​—Revelation 7:1; 21:16; Isaiah 11:12. [excerpted article: What do Numbers Mean in the Bible?]

In God’s Word, the number four is often used to denote that which is all-embracing, or complete. [excerpted Pure Worship of Jehovah Restored as Last, Summary of Clarifications]

Two Brothers:

Prisoner Profile:

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on my side

Breathing-Fragile-Life choice contentment courage forgiveness God healing hope Hope humility insights Joan Winifred justice lamentations of the heart leadership never giving up! patience positive qualities power prisoners questions reality sovereignty spiritual food study Transformations trust Truth

IF there is an “ALMIGHTY” God/Ultimate Designer/Architect of the Universe/Creator of Man & Earth/Yahweh/Supreme Sovereign/Maker of TREES…True God of LOVE…”s–l–o–w to anger and  a       b     u     n      d      a      n    t      in loving-kindness”…merciful and Freely Forgiving…:) who cannot lie!!…

do i want “Him” on MY side??!

there are frequent/rare times in life…when over/underwhelmed, betrayed, rejected, bored…lonely, lost, depressed, sick, sad, grieving…tortuous to the soul/tough times; all of us have faced these in varying lengths and in varying degrees/forms…for me, just “thinking” , approaching life/challenges/disasters/disappointments/death differently/(outside typical boxes) from Others: for example, obviously—IF You read my blog—i tend to be more spiritually minded v. secularly/academically/mathematically/materially minded..etc..my meditation/analization processes tilt toward..(spirituality)…Spiritual/Biblical Truth…my obsession.

it’s the stable/anchor place of deeply satisfying-comforting answers that completely/repetely nourish my mind/heart/kidneys and which make the most sense to imperfect-limited me.

a Biblical character i admire a lot…”Joseph”…an excerpted article: check it out IF YOU:) so choose: “Please Listen to This Dream w August 2014:

How did Joseph get into such a terrible predicament? And what can we learn from the faith of a young man who was victimized and rejected by members of his own family?

Joseph came from a very large family​—but not a happy and united one. The Bible’s portrait of Jacob’s family stands as vivid proof of the negative effects of polygamy​—an entrenched practice that God tolerated among his people until his Son restored the original standard of monogamy. (Matthew 19:4-6) Jacob had at least 14 children by four different women​—his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and their maidservants, Zilpah and Bilhah. From the start, Jacob was in love with his beautiful Rachel. He never felt such an attachment to Leah, Rachel’s older sister, whom he had been tricked into marrying. A bitter rivalry persisted between the two women, and that jealousy carried  over to the children of the household.​—Genesis 29:16-35; 30:1, 8, 19, 20; 37:35.

Rachel was barren for a long time, and when she finally gave birth to Joseph, Jacob treated this son of his old age as special. For example, when the family were on their way to a dangerous meeting with Jacob’s murderous brother, Esau, Jacob made sure that Rachel and little Joseph were given the safest position at the rear of the household group. That tense day must have made a deep impression on Joseph. Imagine how he felt that morning as he wondered, wide-eyed, why his aged but vigorous father was now walking with a limp. How amazed he must have been to learn the reason: His father had struggled the night before with a mighty angel! And why? Because Jacob wanted a blessing from Jehovah God. Jacob’s reward was the change of his name to Israel. A whole nation would bear his name! (Genesis 32:22-31) In time, Joseph learned that the sons of Israel were to father the tribes of that nation!

Later, young Joseph faced tragedy firsthand when the dearest person in his young life left him all too soon. His mother died while giving birth to his younger brother, Benjamin. His father grieved deeply over the loss. Imagine Jacob gently wiping the tears from Joseph’s eyes, comforting him with the same hope that had once comforted Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. How touched Joseph must have been to learn that Jehovah would one day restore his mother to life! Perhaps Joseph came to have even deeper love for the generous “God . . . of the living.” (Luke 20:38; Hebrews 11:17-19) In the wake of the loss of his wife, Jacob always had tender feelings for those two boys, his sons by Rachel.​—Genesis 35:18-20;37:3; 44:27-29.

Many children would be spoiled or corrupted by such special treatment; but Joseph learned from the many good qualities of his parents, and he developed strong faith as well as a keen sense of right and wrong. At the age of 17, he was working as a shepherd, assisting some of his older brothers, when he noticed some wrongdoing on their part. Was he tempted to keep the matter quiet so as to gain their favor? In any case, he did what was right. He reported the matter to his father. (Genesis 37:2) Perhaps that brave act confirmed Jacob’s high opinion of this beloved son. What an excellent example for […] youths to think about! When tempted to conceal the serious sin of another​—perhaps a sibling or a friend—​it is wise to imitate Joseph and make sure that the matter is known to those who are in a position to help the wrongdoer.​—Leviticus 5:1.

Perhaps because of Joseph’s courageous stand for what was right, Jacob bestowed an honor on the boy. He had a special garment made for his son. (Genesis 37:3) It has often been called a striped coat or a coat of many colors, but there is scant evidence for such renderings. Likely, it was a long, elegant robe, perhaps reaching to the extremities of the arms and legs. It was probably the kind of garb that a nobleman or a prince might wear.

“When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they began to hate him, and they could not speak peaceably to him.”  (Genesis 37:4) Their jealousy may be understandable, but Joseph’s brothers were unwise to give in to that poisonous emotion. (Proverbs 14:30; 27:4) Have you ever found yourself seething with envy when someone received attention or honor that you wanted? Remember Joseph’s brothers. Their jealousy led them to commit deeds that they would come to regret deeply. Their example serves to remind Christians that it is far wiser to “rejoice with those who rejoice.”​—Romans 12:15.

Joseph surely sensed his brothers’ animosity. So did he stash his fancy robe out of sight when his brothers were near? He might have been tempted to do so. Remember, though, that Jacob wanted the robe to be a sign of favor and love. Joseph wanted to live up to his father’s trust in him, so he loyally wore the garment. His example is useful for us. Although our own heavenly Father is never partial, he does at times single out  his loyal servants and favor them. Furthermore, he asks them to stand out as different from this corrupt and immoral world. Like Joseph’s special robe, the conduct of true Christians makes them different from those around them. Such conduct sometimes incites jealousy and animosity. (1 Peter 4:4) Should a Christian hide his true identity as a servant of God? No​—no more than Joseph should have hidden his robe.​—Luke 11:33.

a dreamer of dreams…

It was not long before Joseph had two extraordinary dreams. In the first dream, Joseph saw himself and his brothers, each binding a sheaf of grain. But then his brothers’ sheaves encircled his sheaf and bowed down to it as it stood erect. In the second dream, the sun, the moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to Joseph. (Genesis 37:6, 7, 9) What should Joseph do about those strange and vivid dreams?

The dreams came from Jehovah God. They were prophetic in nature, and God meant for Joseph to pass along the message they contained. In a sense, Joseph was to do what all the later prophets did when they related God’s messages and judgments to His wayward people.

Joseph tactfully said to his brothers: “Please listen to this dream that I had.” His brothers understood the dream, and they did not like it one bit. They answered: “Are you really going to make yourself king over us and dominate us?” The account adds: “So they found another reason to hate him, because of his dreams and what he said.” When Joseph related the second dream to his father as well as his brothers, the reaction was not much better. We read: “His father rebuked him and said to him: ‘What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Am I as well as your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the earth to you?’” However, Jacob kept thinking the matter over. Might (Yahweh) Jehovah be communicating with the boy?​—Genesis 37:6, 8, 10, 11.

HATED…Ouchy-wawa! 🙁

Not long afterward, Jacob sent young Joseph on a journey. The older sons were tending the flocks up north near Shechem, where they had recently made bitter enemies. Naturally, Jacob was concerned about his sons, so he sent Joseph to check on their welfare. Can you imagine Joseph’s feelings? He knew that his brothers hated him more than ever! How would they like it when he came to them as their father’s spokesman? Nonetheless, Joseph obediently set out.​—Genesis 34:25-30; 37:12-14.

It was quite a trek​—in all, perhaps four or five days of walking. Shechem lay about 50 miles (80 km) to the north of Hebron. But at Shechem, Joseph learned that his brothers had moved on to Dothan, which lay another 14 miles (22 km) or so to the north. When Joseph finally neared Dothan, his brothers saw him coming from a distance. Immediately their hatred boiled to the surface. The account reads: “They said to one another: ‘Look! Here comes that dreamer. Come, now, let us kill him and pitch him into one of the waterpits, and we will say that a vicious wild animal devoured him. Then let us see what will become of his dreams.’” Reuben, however, persuaded his brothers to throw Joseph into a pit alive, hoping that he could rescue the boy later on.​—Genesis 37:19-22.

Unsuspecting, Joseph approached them, no doubt hoping for a peaceful meeting. Instead, his brothers attacked him! Roughly, they stripped off his special robe, dragged him to a dried-out waterpit, and pushed him in. Down Joseph fell! Recovering from the shock, he struggled to his feet, but he could never climb out on his own. He saw only a circle of sky as his brothers’ voices receded. He cried out to them, pleading, but they ignored him. Callously, they ate a meal nearby. While Reuben was absent, they again considered killing the boy, but Judah persuaded them to sell him to passing merchants instead. Dothan was near the trade route to Egypt, and it was not long before a caravan of Ishmaelites and Midianites came by. Before Reuben returned, the deed was done. For 20 shekels, they had sold their brother as a slave.​—Genesis 37:23-28; 42:21.

As Joseph was taken south along the road to Egypt, he seemed to have lost everything. He was cut off! For years, he would know nothing of his family​—nothing of Reuben’s anguish when he returned to find Joseph gone; nothing of Jacob’s grief when he was deceived into believing that his beloved Joseph was dead; nothing of his aged grandfather Isaac, who still lived; and nothing of his beloved younger brother, Benjamin, whom he would miss dearly. But was Joseph left with nothing at all?​—Genesis 37:29-35.

Joseph still had something that his brothers could never take from him: faith. He knew much about his God, Yahweh/Jehovah, and nothing could rob him of that​—not the loss of his home, not the hardships of captivity on the long journey to Egypt, and not even the humiliation of being sold as a slave to a wealthy Egyptian named Potiphar. (Genesis 37:36) Joseph’s faith and his determination to stay close to his God only grew stronger through such hardships.

It’s very commendable (and imitation worthy from my POV) Joseph never gave up hope, never became bitter; nor haughty when put in a powerful position, “Avrekh” , 2nd to Pharaoh…He didn’t retaliate, seek revenge/compensation for years of unjustly suffering…Amazing!! Joseph “continued” loving his Brothers (aka jealous enemies in His own household) exercising patience…which provided them opportunity for positive transformation. He forgave his brothers. Preserving many lives!

i like this song and video about Joseph:

questions for reflections:
what are my personal/individual hardships growing in me?!
negatives?! positives?!

am i getting bitter or better?!

am i being patient?

forgiving?

how will “accurate” faith/knowledge/Truth, forgiveness, hope, humility, gratitude,

God!…

get me through the ups and downs/the highs and lows

the reality of this fleeting/fast-paced life?

(whom does one turn to when even your own brothers/family hate/are against You?! How about God??)

p.s. life lesson:  don’t hate (nor love?) the messenger, eh?! 😉

Good Night/Good Day to You Reader:)

11/15/18 @ 12:16 a.m.

p.p.s.

I AM NOT ALONE!!! 

🙂

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