Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday Morning Rant 18

Ah, New Years Eve! Zion Beckons wishes a Happy New Year to you all. As I look back upon 2007 I have to admit that if nothing else, it was interesting. We started with an ice storm which tested everyone’s mettle. It also revealed much Christian goodness and neighborly love. The old saw is that anything which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I tend to agree. I find we are far better prepared today to meet an emergency than we were on January 10th. I sincerely hope that is the case for you as well, regardless of where you live.

When we became reduced in services, we became aware that our Amish neighbors must be made of sterner stuff. They certainly didn’t notice that the electricity was interrupted. About the only difficulties we had in common were downed trees. They even had us there. They used the wood piles which accrued for fuel. For them little changed; livestock got fed, the wash hung out to dry and the little ones went to school as if nothing had happened. Good people and wonderful neighbors are no doubt, a gift from God.

As winter turned to spring we received an inordinate amount of rain and enjoyed plant growth of exceptional measure. Our little patch here in the Ozarks bloomed, recovered, and delighted us. Our farmer neighbors stopped worrying about yields stunted by drought and enjoyed the bounty. We also didn’t have any cares about the well keeping up with the laundry and the dishwashing – not to mention the showers.

Also in the spring, Jan’s book (The Book of Mark) was published and we had the opportunity to share it with many in the Restoration. Yes, it’s available on Amazon. The teens love it. Editor's note: They do?

As summer came, so did the heat, but the flowers seemed to like it so all was well. The summer also brought continued discontent with the hierarchy and concern over the future of the Restoration. Over the next few months we cemented our relationships with many Saints of a more orthodox persuasion. It was in July when we launched “Zion Beckons.” As a result, we enlarged our contacts even more and were constantly amazed at how many good and faithful people there were. When we looked at the details of who is looking at the blog we find people from all over the country log on and many spend a great deal of time reading.

As the year moved on there was an Orthodox Saints Reunion at Odessa Campground which was one of the spiritual highlights of the year. It was invaluable for the purpose of furthering existing relationships and forming new ones as we met for praise and worship. The good spirit present at Odessa was felt by all, and hopefully taken home and shared with others. Given the opportunity next year, it is a must.

In the fall the spirit of reunion was still in my heart so I visited half of my twenty grandchildren in Las Vegas and Tucson. To be with them and also to visit with old friends is yet more evidence of the great goodness of having God at one’s side. They all provide overwhelming evidence of understanding and eagerness to do His will. His message must be powerful to reach so many.

If you have read the previous post, you are well aware of what the balance of the fall entailed. While a matter of great concern, the center of attention in our lives still is abiding by the will of our Master. Despite personal matters, it is not an appropriate time to ignore His concerns. Rather, it is a period which should involve much prayer and contemplation on the power of God and how to utilize that power in our lives.

What does 2008 hold for us all? God knows and will share it with us as required. I do know that He will not require us to face anything for which we do not have the strength. I think of the great prophets and disciples of earlier times and marvel at how much they were able to endure to preach and teach and do the will of the Master. I firmly believe that these qualities exist in men and women today. They will need our support in the coming year. If we don’t readily recognize them, ask God, He will point them out.

While I don’t pretend to be an able prognosticator, there are a few things which I believe you can count on in the coming year. If we hold fast to the scriptures, we will have our plans for doing His will in our grasp. If we can offer our opinions in a spirit of love for the hearer, we will become more persuasive. If we can love our God with all our might and mind and will, all will be well.

Happy New Year,

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Test of Faith

As you might suspect, I have quite few blogs on my morning reading list. I used to get very impatient when they failed to offer me a full dose of their profound wisdom on a daily basis. Oh sure, they sometimes mentioned (in advance) that they would be on vacation, getting married, or actually doing some paying work on a (ugh!) job. Even then I felt somewhat deprived. After all, didn’t they appreciate that I had clicked in to read their offerings? Did they not know, as we at Zion Beckons are so aware, that the reader is the life blood of any on line journal? Well, yes, they do know and they also have a life. A life, which by its very nature, is chock full of the unexpected.

The imprecise nature of the rhythm of life is all too apparent around our house these days. With no close relatives near at hand our daily existence is not really disturbed by the holidays. Since we awake every day praising God for the morning and thinking of Him and His gifts, each day is in essence, Christmas. As far as seeing the old year out with a huge drunken splurge, no thanks, “Been there, done that!”

Now the exceptional has proven to be the rule. We are suddenly made aware that no matter how stable life seems to be, it can unexpectedly be disturbed. We suddenly see that rather than being humdrum and ordinary, it has taken on a new and frightening dimension. At our age – mine especially – it is reasonable to assume the presence of life-altering happenings. We have recently seen changes which blow the mind.

At Thanksgiving, my brother Craig was ill, sitting in a chair, walking with difficulty and hearing poorly. Before Christmas, he was bedridden, deaf and it required great effort to get him into the bath. Now, nearing New Years, his care is supervised by hospice personnel, his speech has become slurred and he is obviously in vital peril. It is very difficult to grasp.

At the age of 62, having lived a successful and extremely athletic life, we find him facing one of life’s defining moments. He fully understands this and has no desire to be the burden to his wife and caretakers which he has become. I salute his reason and his courage. As his closest living blood relative – he has no children – I feel compelled to be with him every moment I possibly can. Unless we have an intervention from Almighty God, I see little possibility of recovery from either his cancer or the incumbent symptoms.

In this circumstance I am fully acquainted with the necessity to realize that my plans and desires are not always in concert with the mind of God. In my life, I have attended to the burial of my parents, one son, my uncles and aunts, and numerous friends of long standing, and confess that in each case I questioned God. Selfishly, it is my wish to retain them all in my circle for my own reasons. Apparently what I can’t seem to fully understand is they are not “mine” but rather are His, to do with as His will directs. Faith is easy when it has a positive result for me. It is not so easy when it has what I determine is a negative outcome.

All that having been said; I will continue to pray earnestly for him and beg you to do so as well. This is a test of faith for your host. Please join me in a prayer to the Almighty for a fuller, richer understanding of His will.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday Morning Rant 17

Cecil has been in Lisle, IL with his brother and doesn't have access to a computer on which he can doodle about with the blog, so I'm filling in for him. For those of you who still like me: greetings. For those of you who think I've gone to the Dark Side: deal with it.

On this blog it's still all right to say things like "Christmas" and "God" and "Jesus Christ" and even "salvation'" without fear of censure or censor. For the past several days I have been thinking about sacrifice. Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as: an act of offering to deity something precious: esp: the killing of a victim on an altar 2: something offered in sacrifice 3: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else: something given up or lost. The Hebrew and the Greek translations, according to Strong, center around the slaughter of an animal, as Old Testament priests were wont to do.

William Jefferson Clinton had it nailed when he sacrificed the sanctity of the Oval Office, the honor and dignity of the office of President of the United States and the respect of the American people on the altar of a cocktail dress. Sadly, this country apparently "got over it" and as a result diminished herself in her own eyes and in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Men and women have been sacrificing themselves for our nation in times of peace and war since the first shot was fired at Lexington. They have proudly put themselves in harm's way for God and country (the sake of something else) keeping their eyes on the greater good and not minding the loss. It's an innate quality which contributes to the survival of the species. It's also, I believe, a noble trait that sets us apart from the void.

This past week Cecil sacrificed his comfort, his status quo, and his Christmas preparations to drive to Lisle and be with his brother Craig. He will continue to make himself available any time for as long as necessary. It may involve frequent commutes between Verona, Missouri and Lisle, Illinois at inopportune times, but he will do whatever it takes to be available to him and his wife Lynne.

The common thread that runs through the above items is, of course, love. Love of self, love of country, and love of family. There's another love that is unfathomable to us meager humans. It's the supernatural, agape love that God has for us. The love He had, and still has for the world that caused Him to sacrifice His only begotten son. (John 3:16) I don't know about you but I have trouble wrapping my brain around that kind of love. A love that knows the outcome, that knows the stakes, that knows the pain, and does it anyway. What an ungrateful world we are. As I look around at this time of year I see a lot of love: love of shopping, love of decorating, love of wrapping, baking, entertaining, and love of complaining about the things that were just mentioned. When did it become that way? When did we sacrifice the love for our fellow man on the altar of commerce? When did we allow a few mean spirited and ill intended groups to take the Christ Child out of the season?

I've had lots of time to reflect on this while Cec has been gone. The strange thing is that while I've been here in the house except for a haircut on Saturday and church yesterday, I have felt more in tune with the season than ever before. Our Sunday School teacher Sunday morning said that his wife had asked him if he was going to teach a lesson about Christmas. He replied, "Christmas is always with us." My prayer for all of us is that we can keep a Christmas attitude until He comes again. Merry Christmas to you all.

In His love


Thursday, December 20, 2007

“It Went Away”

She came to me the other night as I labored at my desk. “Honey," the universal introduction to matters trivial and mighty in a typical marriage, “take a look at this will you?” Since we firmly believe that our union is the product of the intent of God we both treat each other with equivalent respect. “Uh-huh. Let me finish typing this line,” I responded without looking up.

She lowered her head under the desk lamp and, pointing to a spot equivalent to where a label on a shirt would normally be, and asked plaintively, “What is it?” Since the corrective lens in my glasses revealed nothing amiss on her skin, I seized the magnifying glass (see: Sherlock Holmes) and started a detailed inspection of the nape of her neck. Still nothing came to my eye to reveal the cause of any discomfort. Once she took her finger and clearly identified the offending spot I was able, largely through discernment, to spot a pin-prick size interruption in the skin. No color variation, it was merely a deviation in the texture of the skin.

The next question was inevitable. “What is it?” Dear reader, I have decades of experience in the arts of marriage but still confess I have never been able to frame the word “nothing” in any palatable way. Any truthful response is doomed to failure. You are left then with only invention. Serious: perhaps a biopsy could reveal whether it is malignant. Academic: further research and study may be required to fully answer your inquiry. Pious: perhaps we should seek the elders to attend to the matter with supplication and prayer. Flippant: this is probably the result of your last tussle with our pet alligator. It didn’t go well.

As I reflect on the transaction, I extend it to include many interchanges we have with others of our acquaintance whether intimate or casual. Often we encounter those who have issues in their lives, be they physical, spiritual or emotional which are not highly visible. Being out of sight does not minimize their importance to the afflicted one. Failures to attempt to recognize, treat, or simply empathize with others then do not likely acknowledge the scriptural teachings we have in such abundance. The Master demonstrated total understanding of the people He encountered. Not just sin, but also faith and goodness. While we cannot duplicate His gifts, we can acquire an inner atmosphere to better see into the people we love, and genuinely appreciate everything going on their lives. Given His teachings, I assume that includes everyone you meet.

The mere presence of a sincere interest in others can often be palliative. Our most often used throwaway line in common daily use is: “How are you?” Do we really care? Should we really say, “I’m in great shape but I feel obligated to ask about your well being anyway?” The question, “How are you?” should logically be followed by silence on our part to receive the answer and take it seriously. It’s all part of getting out of ourselves and sharing with others.

Returning to the initial narrative, she came in this morning with an obvious insect bite on a delicate part of her anatomy. She embraced the suggestion of a dab of antibiotic ointment but rejected the offer to kiss it and make it well. When I inquired about the spot on the back of her neck, she replied; “It went away.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is America’s Iniquity Full?

With permission from “Apologetics Press,” we offer, unedited, a fascinating article. The author, Dave Miller, has organized some scriptural references and other research and come to some interesting conclusions. If your Christmas preparations are complete and you find yourself with some time available, please read further. If not, we understand.

Apologetics Press :: Scripturally Speaking

Is America’s Iniquity Full? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

When one examines the sweeping scope of human history, it becomes readily apparent that progress is not technically linear. Rather, nations rise and fall. The progress that they achieve is often lost to later civilizations, who must essentially “reinvent the wheel.” Archaeological evidence exists to substantiate the fact that highly advanced civilizations have preceded modern times, creating many enigmas for researchers. The Moche were a highly developed society that vanished centuries ago. The ancient Paracas performed medieval wonders in brain surgery using only crude metal instruments. The fabled Macchu Picchu achieved incredible engineering feats (“Inca...,” 1995). The Nasca (or perhaps their predecessors) produced massive drawings that stretch for miles and are thus visible/discernible only from the air (“The Lost City...,” 2000; “Nasca Lines,” n.d.).

What happened to such civilizations? Why are they now nonexistent? One would expect that the likelihood of a nation’s survival would increase in proportion to the technological, medical, and economic progress. One explanation for this circumstance (perhaps the explanation) is provided by the Bible. Simply stated, the Bible affirms that as a nation moves in the direction of spiritual and moral depravity, becoming increasingly alienated from God, that nation positions itself for inevitable destruction. That destruction may come in the form of natural disasters—like volcanoes (e.g., Pompey). It may come in the form of external invasion—as in the case of the fall of Babylonia or Rome. It can even come in the form of direct, miraculous intervention by God—as in the case of Sodom and the other cities of the plain (Genesis 19:29).

This principle is alluded to repeatedly in Scripture. When God promised to Abraham that his descendents would be given the land of Canaan as their homeland, He noted that this gift would not be given for several hundred years. Why the delay? “[F]or the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). God would not have displaced one group of people simply in order to give another group the land. That would be unjust and prejudicial—in direct contradiction to God’s nature (Deuteronomy 32:4). He eventually allowed the Israelites to conquer Canaan because the peoples that inhabited the land had grown exceedingly wicked. Concomitant with reception of the land, God used the Israelites to punish the Canaanites for their perversion and depravity.

For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 18:25-30, emp. added).

Observe that God gives civilizations a considerable amount of time—even hundreds of years—to choose the spiritual and moral direction they will take. If they are determined to spiral downward in an ever-deepening devotion to idolatry, covetousness, sexual impurity, etc., then God eventually “lowers the boom” and destroys them for their iniquity (cf. the Genesis Flood—Genesis 6:3). The inspired writer of the book of Kings compared the wickedness of King Ahab to the previous inhabitants of the land of Canaan, noting the reason for their destruction: “And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 21:25-26).

This same principle is reiterated in the New Testament. Jesus summarized the history of Israel as one of frequent rebellion against divine precepts. He intimated that they were nearing the limit of God’s toleration and impending punishment when He declared to them: “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt” (Matthew 23:32). It was as if an imaginary cup had been gradually filling up with sin, and that it was nearing the brim—at which time God would respond with appropriate destruction. Paul verified this very understanding when he accused his fellow Jews of having been the ones “who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16, emp. added). As the Jews entrenched themselves against the will of God, they were guilty of piling sins on top of sins, until inevitable divine wrath would be forthcoming—as it did when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Speaking centuries earlier, the inspired writer of Kings acknowledged this principle in his summary of the Jews’ national history:

And the Lord spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day’” (2 Kings 21:10-15, emp. added).

Observe that the writer compared the sin of the Israelites with the sin of the previous occupants of the land of Canaan, thus earning for themselves the same outcome: divine retribution and devastation. As the prophet Ezekiel reported: “‘Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord God” (15:8).

It is interesting that the Founding Fathers of America recognized this eternal, biblical principle as having been posited in the fabric of the Universe by the Creator. They understood that while God will judge each individual human being at the Judgment when Christ returns (e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:10), He judges nations in history, in time, by bringing destruction upon them when their iniquity is “full.” That is why Luther Martin, a delegate to the federal Constitutional Convention, stated in 1788: “It was said, it ought to be considered, that national crimes can only be, and frequently are, punished in this world by national punishments” (Elliot, 1836, 1:374, emp. added). George Mason, often called “The Father of the Bill of Rights,” stated at the Constitutional Convention: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities” (as quoted in Madison, 1840, 3:1391, emp. added). The “Father of the American Revolution” and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, explained: “Revelation assures us that ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’ Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character” (1907, 3:286). Thomas Jefferson likewise warned: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever” (1794, Query 18, p. 237, emp. added).

Finally, consider the haunting, if not prophetic, warning issued by Daniel Webster:

[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity” (1903, 13:492-493, emp. added).

If this pattern of eventual divine retribution has repeated itself many times over throughout world history, and if God is immutable, i.e., He does not change (Numbers 23:19; Malachi 3:6), will He not respond to America’s iniquity in the same fashion? Yes, He will. So the only question that remains to be answered? “Is America’s iniquity full?”


Adams, Samuel (1907 reprint), The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry Cushing (New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons).

Elliott, Jonathan, ed. (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions (Washington, DC: Jonathan Elliott).

Jefferson, Thomas (1794), Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia, PA: Mathew Carey).

“The Lost City of Nasca” (2000), BBC, [On-line], URL:

Madison, James (1840), The Papers of James Madison, ed. Henry Gilpin (Washington, DC: Langtree & O’Sullivan).

“Nasca Lines” (no date), [On-line], URL:

“Inca, Secrets of the Ancestors” (1995),Time Life’s Lost Civilizations Series, [On-line], URL:

Webster, Daniel (1903), The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Company).

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dachau, a Testimony

In recent days I have been consumed with thoughts about the accusations of America turning into a hotbed of fascism. This coupled with anti-Jewish rhetoric and action both in the Middle East and here at home has been on my mind as well. Thrown into the muddled mix I call my mind, is the historic and God-driven accounts of subject peoples of the Scriptures. The combination has not only dominated my thoughts but also provoked some memories of events which will forever color my thinking. These memories are not of being eyewitness to huge happenings. They are small in the grand scheme of things but keep coming back to me.

On a mild, but typically overcast fall day in 1953, I went to the motor pool, checked out my assigned Dodge ¾ ton 4X4, fueled, and comfortably settled in for the 150 mile trip to Munich, Germany. The mission was to go the US Army depot in Munich for forms, logs, manuals and the other paper work which is really what drives the military. Some general was credited years ago with maintaining that the army traveled on its stomach. Rather, it seemed the army I was in traveled on its paper. Various forms for requisitions, allocations, inventories, and on and on and on, were the order of the day. Actually it was a departure from normal routine and I looked forward to the trip.

The journey through Stuttgart, past Ulm and on, was through undulating forested hills which are the precursor to the Alps. This peaceful drive gave no hint of the violent war less than a decade earlier. The only disturbing factor was when I drove close to recently harvested cabbage fields with the rotting remains of wasted plants. All was well and I arrived early in Munich, found the depot, transacted my business and started back to Heilbron.

About thirty minutes into the return I noticed a signpost indicating the town of Dachau. A prominent name from the so recent past, it piqued my interest and I took the turn. As I neared the town, I came across my real goal, the former internment camp. I turned in and drove to a small cluster of brick buildings and parked. The camp was largely abandoned and completely unoccupied. I was at once aware that it was the loneliest place that I had encountered in Europe. Normally, there is somebody present everywhere you go. My truck (actually Uncle Sam’s) was the only vehicle parked. It was then I picked up on something which I had often heard of but had never personally experienced – the smell of death. One identifies it without question even lacking prior experience.

By then, appropriately, the overcast skies lowered and a gentle misty rain began to fall. I proceeded on my own self guided tour of the facility. A mound in the center of the parking area had an already faded and crude sign identifying it as containing upwards of 3000 souls, nameless and thrown into the pit with slack lime. One of the cluster of brick buildings revealed the crematory ovens embedded in a brick wall within, showing evidence of Teutonic craftsmanship and efficiency throughout. As I left the building I looked to the left upon rows and rows of spare frame structures used to house inmates. I knew for certain that I had a glimpse of hell. That all pervasive smell had not abated. The gentle rain continued.

Dachau had been populated in its history by over 200,000 prisoners. Between the main facility and its sub-camps the death toll was around 35,000. By no means the largest of the camps, it was the first and the model for all the others. It was also the first to be liberated by the 57th Infantry late in the war. The original Kommandant, Theodore Eicke, went on to be in charge of all the subsequent camps both in their design and construction and also their day to day operations. The original was built primarily for political dissidents but came to house persons from 30 different countries. Many later camps were built for the more exclusive internment of Jews, Gypsys, homosexuals and others thought undesirable to the Third Reich, and their death tolls reached the millions. These numbers and other facts do not reflect what I absorbed that day at Dachau.

The smell of death coupled with the reality of examining the actual site of this crime against humanity left a mark on my psyche that is permanent. I could no more dismiss this picture of horror than I could erase the faces of my children from my mind’s eye. I now recognize that I gained a different perspective on nearly every issue from that date forward. Any leftover innocence from childhood was removed. My attitude toward God, politics, my nation, my gifts, other peoples, and my very life was altered. Like most men, I don’t tear up easily. I did that day.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, the German government in Bonn had already declared the site for a lasting memorial. Viewing pictures taken recently I notice new, polished infrastructure, leisurely paths to exhibits, landscaping and an inviting atmosphere. Somehow, I believe my tour conveyed the message with far more impact. Arlington Cemetery is beautiful also until the reality of its purpose reaches your inner being.

Be assured, I do not bring this piece to you to put a damper on your upcoming celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I do apologize. My selfish interest prevailed because I love the Godgiven liberty in our Constitution which provided the foundation of a nation which recognized evil and destroyed it. In my life, I have been a witness to the full range of human behavior. As I recently read the false charges of impending fascism in our own administration I felt the need to share one aspect of what it really looks like. I think I would recognize it again if I saw it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (17)

Reading this weekend has raised several issues which are both heartening and disturbing. I guess I shall have to accept the fact that we live in an increasingly polarized world. If you haven’t been out of your shell much for a while you may have, mercifully, missed much of it. The laws of probability have visited me with a recent avalanche of opinion pieces which pit black versus white.

The first was an offering, surprisingly on a faith based board, of Naomi Wolf’s screed about George Bush leading us toward a fascist existence. That required a rebuttal of about two thousand words to counter the lies, inaccuracies, innuendo and generally cavalier treatment of truth in her offering. What alarmed me most were the subsequent comments to the original which ran the gamut from “interesting” to “boy, I heard that.” Do people actually believe this @$#%? Don’t they realize they are reading political tripe?

In any discussion between Saints, we hear and read nearly every opinion backed by endless references to scripture, biography, church literature, and histories. When offering argument for doctrine we search, research and prod resources for verification to present in support of our understanding. Yet, they somehow manage to accept invalidated agenda driven demagoguery without even checking on just who is making the case. I offer no apology in calling and apple an apple, and not an orange.

For the record, I have no difficulty finding areas of disagreement with the President. His posture on stem cell research and immigration, and former failure to exercise the veto power has caused me no end of angst. However, being a gnarly old cynic, I rarely agree with everything anyone says or does. This is my problem, not theirs. My tolerance level does increase when opposite opinions are presented in a reasonable manner and substantiated with a measure of logical thought. The key for me is to counter the message and love the messenger. Jesus Christ has informed me of this in so many ways that I had best not ignore it.

The second stimulating piece was a treatise on commonality between believers in God and atheists. It was disarming at first because it turned out to be a serious essay on what is normally a humor blog. I kept waiting for the punch line – it didn’t come. The crux of the conflict came in the definition of belief. My Webster’s Ninth Collegiate in the entries for belief and believers uses the word truth as relative on several occasions. The proponents of God have no difficulty being referenced as believers since they acknowledge God as true. The atheists rankle at the thought of “believing” in non belief. I don’t blame them for their ire; proving a negative can be daunting.

Examining the comments on the entry (there were dozens) I found most were associating belief exclusively with a higher power, most often God. Many seemed to ignore the more prosaic notion of recognition of truth as a function of the mind. Truth is learned. At the age of one I put both hands on an open oven door seeking the cake. The truth learned is with me to this day. I have a scar from the burn in the center of my left palm which can easily hide a lima bean. That learned truth has prevented further recurrence. Others may also benefit from my testimony that hands on an oven door equal pain.

The author of the mentioned article then brought us to a logical conclusion. Our beliefs are on display constantly in that corner of the world we occupy. The entirety of our actions exists for the world to see and represent that which we hold to be true. As such, our daily life becomes an ongoing testimony of our belief. Our interaction with others mirrors that which we believe to be true. Can truth be changed? No, but our learned perception can. As Christians, we are on an everlasting quest to enhance our knowledge of that we hold most dear: Jesus Christ. Let us earnestly pray our behavior always follows our belief.
When a sister called to say church had been cancelled again because of weather, I was naturally disappointed. This then presented a review of options available to occupy that five hour (we live forty miles away) time span. Five hours to study scripture, watch the early football games, or get a head start on the “Rant” all went through my mind. Instead, I opted to go to nearby Freedom Christian Center and worship with the Baptist (?) neighbors. I believe them when they say God comes there on Sunday morning too.

I was richly rewarded for my decision. They had their children’s program Sunday morning and it was marvelous. They had an extravaganza typical of a mega church. Singing, dancing, and instrumental music within the framework of a play were presented with the enthusiasm only the youth can bring to the celebration of Jesus Christ. The message was clearly directed to the King of kings. My discomfort over being severely over dressed for the occasion melted as I became involved in the service. My good neighbors provided a wonderful replacement Sunday activity. When I arrived home, I found the Packers in the lead so, all is well.
My brother Craig continues to require your prayerful entreaties to God for relief from the ravages of his cancer. I plan to head north to the Chicago area this week to help, if possible. Fortunately, I have a reliable 4X4 with new oversized tires so weather shouldn’t become a factor. Whatever the outcome, I know that God’s wisdom will prevail. Thank you all for your previous efforts on his behalf.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Note: The church he attended is not Baptist. It's one of those "non-denominational" ones with the horns, bells and whistles.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Do eighteen formative years in the “Tall Corn” state qualify one to claim a degree of expertise in the “what makes Iowa tick” department? Since every person’s own life experience governs their opinions and reactions it probably does not. Still, it does not totally invalidate some personal observations.

Social difficulties of epic proportions were present in my formative years on a national and international scale. Born in 1932, I am today still reflecting the lessons learned in the Great Depression. I detest waste, and continue, at my personal peril, to clean up every morsel on my plate. My father, with a very young podiatry practice, waited hours between patients, and became a model airplane builder par excellence. He built from plans, not kits, from raw balsa, tissue paper and long strings of rubber bands. At the age of nine-and-a-half years, I saw the country plunge into war unlike anything which has been seen since. As a Des Moines Register paper boy, I had the very first look of the day at the news before anyone else in town during the struggle. On a scorching Iowa day in August 1945 I shared with the citizens of the rural community I call home, West Liberty, Iowa, the joys of Japan’s surrender and sober reflection upon the cost.

Our high school graduated twenty-four students in 1950. Today, I still number the bulk of them as my closest and dearest friends. Scattered from Virginia to the desert Southwest and into the deep South, we all still keep in touch along with the handful remaining in Iowa. In retrospect, I see our class motto as having been prophetic: “Tis the set of the sail and not the gale, which determines our destiny.” Materially, almost all have done extremely well.

I firmly believe that Iowa in the thirties and forties – and other rural areas nationally for that matter – provided a substantial base for their subsequent success. The opportunity for spiritual enrichment was constant. A sense of the presence of God as the directing factor in our lives was ever present. The creeds varied but God did not. Many of my classmates were active participants in their individual churches and most remain so to this day. This factor underlines the importance of forcing potential presidents to square their views on faith with the general population.

This necessity is not overblown. While serious theologians may find Iowan’s opinions naïve and amateurish for the most part, they will not easily be changed. To ignore a reasoned sincere response to their feelings would be political suicide. To pander and attempt to gain cheap acceptance would also be a disaster. For most of the candidates – regardless of party affiliation – to deny Divine guidance as a necessity for good government would represent the poorest of choices. To project faith as the primary engine of executive ability would be equally foolhardy. Watching them collectively walk this tightrope is immensely entertaining. It is probably satisfying to fans of diversity to see this collection of mainstream Protestants, Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims Agnostics and Space Invaders vie for the top job through faith. Oops, I almost forgot to include the Church of Global Warming.

The inflated importance of the Iowa Caucus is largely situated in its position as the first. In itself it will neither make nor break any candidate – Des Moines Register opinion not withstanding. It all does serve to further elevate the self importance some Iowans have as a result of having heard throughout their youth how accomplished they are. After all, Garrison Keillor assured them on PBS that all of Lake Wobegon’s kids were above average. The fact he broadcast from Minnesota didn’t faze them. Then we are faced with the matter of trusting any state which dedicates an Interstate (I-80) rest area to a former US vice-president who was an avowed communist, with critical decisions which affect the country as a whole. That in itself takes the “warm and fuzzy” out of the equation for me.

Although national security, taxes, health care, etc. claim a large share of interest in the state, one other issue is close to paramount. Perhaps even eclipsing faith is the matter of continued production of excessive amounts of corn with government subsidies, to provide the basis for its questionable use in ethanol enhanced fuels. The fact that it is economically unfeasible, escapes the selfish interests of the growers. That t-bone at $12.95 a pound (and rising) comes to you courtesy of the ethanol lobby. Thus the question for the electorate becomes one of God meets mammon, who wins? Trust me; this will be a major issue in the minds of more than a few Midwestern voters.

Last, but certainly not least, a major concern in Iowa is immigration. Due to a burgeoning poultry processing industry, there has been a major shift in the presence of immigrants, both legal and illegal in Iowa. In a Restorationist view, we are bound scripturally to obey the laws of the land. In a misguided effort to avoid any accusation of racism, many Iowans tolerate the influx of illegals and the incumbent costs of their maintenance – schools, health care, added crime, etc. In a state dominated by faiths with affiliation to the World Council of Churches and their all-embracing attitudes, the public solution is obvious. In the privacy of the voting booth, other solutions may prevail. Since most of the candidates would prefer to waffle their way through the issue it will be harder to detect a clear cut preference.

I am sorry to say that the Iowa I knew as a boy has all but disappeared. I can only pray that the residual remains of the values I learned and came to cherish still remain in the hearts and minds of electorate. We shall soon see.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TV Writers Strike!

Network TV shows have writers—who knew? And I thought all that talk show blather came right out of their squash. Were you deceived, as I was, thinking all that brilliant repartee was dreamed up by the star of the show? Is it possible that Leno and Letterman are not actually responsible for that rapier sharp wit? Apparently, all of the well-coiffed, slickly garbed, golden tongued hosts are now revealed to be as clumsy as the rest of us in forming ideas on the fly. Their principal talent is now revealed to be only their timing and the ability of a fourth grader to read off a teleprompter. In itself a considerable ability, but is it worth the millions?

Evidently it is, because we dial in by the legions to hear that mindless drivel every night. Surely tens of millions of viewers can’t be wrong. The commentary on news, politics, religion and of course, constant sexual innuendo, pollutes our homes and worse, our minds. We willingly adjust the remote to provide not just talk shows but also sitcoms rife with endorsement of one deviant life style after another. The supposition is that the fabric of American culture is exposed and contemporary problems are addressed. As I look at our home and those of our closer friends, I fail to see the similarity.

As we bow our heads to give thanks to God for our meal and other blessings, most of us are not interrupted by the entrance (stage left) of some guy in a pink short skirt, carrying a Gucci bag, screaming for attention. Our subsequent table talk is not devoted to “green” issues or sis’s upcoming abortion. We do not discuss some impending deceit to advance the family’s fortune or status. We see the father in the household as a benign counselor and a strong figure to lean upon. We view the mother as his helpmate with the softness to absorb the daily cares and the wisdom to advance the family’s growth and development. I truly believe our close friends and neighbors more nearly mirror the popular culture than those who run from one crisis to another.

Do we live in a bubble? Well, yes and no—we, like many Saints, exist in a world rife with many problems in which we choose not to participate. After exposure to the word of God it is apparent that many of today’s young families shun the dysfunctional approach to family life. Thankfully, our faith tends to insulate us from many outside perils. This solid core of belief in God and the constant desire to live His way and please Him serves us well in maintaining the stability of our homes. That stability is the cornerstone of our church and our nation.

Obviously the media at all levels thrives on controversy and human suffering. Who wants to see a news release about the fellowship and warmth of a successful church dinner? Is the presence or lack of paprika on deviled eggs a subject for “Sixty Minutes”? Take two of each and make your own decision. The onset of the strike has revealed much about our family’s viewing habits. We had to wait until a Monday night when Leno features “Headlines” to figure out that it had begun.

Upon the loss of Leno's "Headlines" I realized I was being deprived of a personal favorite. My beloved Packers had not been affected. Discovery and the History channels were still educating me. The activity on the Animal Channel was still delighting me and whetting my appetite for the “Puppy Bowl” (if you love puppies and hate football, this has to be on your agenda) on Super Bowl weekend. C-Span was still a snoozer. “Casablanca” reruns along with other oldie favorites were still being aired on Turner Classics. The Weather channel continued to be alarmed over a half inch rain in Galveston. The “Mythbusters” proceeded in their desire to blow themselves up in pursuit of truth. I even caught Tiger making yet another 45’ putt. It also provided an opportunity for Oprah to go on the campaign trail for Obama. It really didn’t matter all that much.

Since I don’t trust any TV news I have no idea what the impact has been in that area. We get all our news from trusted sources on the net. Yes, they exist. I recently published a picture of a restoration of the cross on Saint Mary’s church in Baghdad which I doubt anyone saw on the nightly news. It didn’t involve suicidal Islamic fundamentalists or US military failures, so therefore was not newsworthy.

For those of you who are getting sick of re-runs, you have my sympathy. I don’t wish anything to cause you pain. For those of you who didn’t notice the absence of the writers, I applaud your viewing choices. This prompts a recommendation to all; you might think about settling down with a “Good Book”. By the time you read—and understand it—the strike will be over.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Out of My Depth

In 1979 a very close friend called with a request to meet for lunch at a popular Baton Rouge eatery adjacent to the LSU campus. I agreed and further denied that I would be bothered by the presence of a visitor from out of town. Once there and introduced, I was delighted to be with this seventy–seven year old man with the distinguished appearance and razor sharp mind. Lunch was accompanied by continuous conversation between two men who, it developed, were light years apart in background but shared many mutual interests. I detected in his speech and manners some European background and pursued it to find he was a naturalized Hungarian. Anecdotes of Europe flowed from there. When the waiter cleared the table, I regretted seeing the end of the opportunity to be with this remarkable gentleman.

Even had I not later been apprised of his standing I would have found the experience uplifting. Afterward, I learned that my luncheon companion, Eugene Wigner, visiting from Princeton, was a leading light in the Manhattan project, an intimate of Albert Einstein, and one of the (if not “the”) leading experts in the field of quantum physics. In 1963, he had won the Nobel Prize for physics and numerous other awards on both a national and international scale. None of these associations and honors was even hinted during our two hour lunch. The mere definition of quantum physics would have escaped me anyway so I’m happy he chose not to “talk shop.” Happily, I pray, he lived well until his death in his nineties.

This happy memory was recalled because of a recent discussion regarding materialists' evaluation of the human mind. They triumphantly enjoy the success of computers to defeat even the brightest at chess. They predict, as a result, a machine driven society with the capacity to solve every vile human condition from warts to world hunger. It would be delightful if true. However, it’s far more complex than programming the movements of the bishop and the rook. Obviously a computer, with a massive memory, can certainly best any human mind on a subject with a predictable mathematical outcome. Can it detect the sensation of cozy warmth of seventy-one degrees as opposed to the chill of sixty nine? It becomes even more complicated when you check the thermostat and find that the actual temperature is neither one. While the brain’s chemical reactions may be quantifiable, the overall sensations are not so easily catalogued.

One barrier to the materialist is the issue of free will. If all behavior were mathematically predictable it could be expressed as law. If not, it could be described as random. The governing factor then is freedom, or in Restorationist’s parlance, "agency". An inner sense, devoid of mathematical probability, then rules the behavior. “If it feels good, do it!” That cry from the sixties underlines the antithesis of the materialist’s goals. We are governed by that force of will rather than a conditioned response to a set of data. Hence, we are free to exercise our free will, and also bear the responsibility. Otherwise we could claim every misdeed to be the result of being “hard wired” to misbehave. We are men, not robots, and we have choices.

My dog and my computer have much in common. They both respond (mostly) to my commands. She will come, sit, stay, etc. in concert with the training she has received. The more training she received, the more responsive she became. This does not speak to her “feelings” for me but rather, to her intensive training. Of course she greets me in a state of obvious joy which I realistically attribute to her desire for treats, companionship and a good ear rub. Does she “love” me or is it a conditioned response? Ego aside, I think it is the latter. The computer is in the same mold. Open, file, print, copy, paste—whatever I request it does without complaint. All though both have occasional lapses, neither makes a bad decision. Neither is governed by free will.

The computer recognizes truth but it cannot recognize “meaning". This is the critical separation between man and all else. The crucial fault in materialism must lie in the failure to recognize “meaning” and “will". It is easy to see why a mathematician might be unable to understand such a nebulous concept. Research indicates that not all these scholars deny it. My luncheon companion, with impeccable credentials, is credited with since writing that materialism is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.” It’s easy to imagine his measured tone as he said it. As a Hungarian Jew in the thirties, he and his family were expeditiously converted to Christianity. When hostilities ceased, he did not return to the original faith.

Why then is it necessary to address this issue of materialism? If we have no opportunity for making decisions, there is no foundation for judgment. Lacking that, we may only be seen as “machines” without agency and consequently without salvation. For believers, this seems an elementary exercise. For those swept up in the fever of "science knows all," it is a recipe for disaster in the afterlife as well as the here and now. The entire fabric of our society depends on the decision making process to differentiate between right and wrong. We cannot hide from these responsibilities. Our God who made us also provided the platform to exercise these daily decisions we make for good or ill. Given the end result, the matter becomes all the more critical.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (16)

It’s another beautiful day in the Ozarks! It has been raining off and on all night and the temperature is now hovering around 32 degrees. This is the same recipe which brought us the ice storm in January. That resulted in eleven days without electricity, heat, water, phone, internet and, for part of the time, access to the outside world. It was an adventure which wreaked havoc in our beautiful forest and provided cleanup employment until Labor Day. There was, as always, an upside in that we now we have confirmed that God helps us in adversity. The experiences of January left us far better prepared to face this or the next crisis if and when it develops.

No, we did not go out and buy a generator but we now have in stock, propane, kerosene, water, batteries, lanterns, cooking gear, chain saw, carbon monoxide detector, and non-electric heaters. We have these in sufficient supply to be able to share some of these resources, if necessary, with neighbors. As a result of the January storm, our local electric co-op replaced over 2000 service poles which were toppled. Hopefully, this new infrastructure will better withstand the ravages of nature. Since our Constant Companion is with us, we really have nothing to fear.

We readily recognize that our preparation makes survival possible but when we are yoked with God as well, it all becomes bearable. Actually, the quiet time provided opportunity for reflection free from TV and the “net.” This is the point where I remind you of Jack Jones’ (my late stepfather) oft heard refrain; “Everyone should have as much!”
A dear friend from Independence favored me with an offering she found touching. I opened the video and was treated to a story which restored my hope in America, youth in general, and brought back memories of a time of crisis for many of our citizens. I urge you to click on it and further challenge you to not be affected by it.

For the curious, Spade, Texas is a community of 100 souls in the panhandle south of Amarillo. The ever diminishing population of this high plains town caused the merging with another school district and thus the circumstance which is the subject of the video.
I am constantly on the alert for pithy sayings and sound bite wisdom. Often they encapsulate profundity well past the bulk of the message. One of these came across the desk and I must share it. “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

Whether it is just a simple smile, a pat on the back or some tidbit of joy from an experience with Jesus Christ, the beneficiary can reap an untold measure at little or no cost to the giver. In no way are we diminished by the enhancement of others. To not share our joys and the “Good News” has always seemed an act of selfishness. It’s just a thought.
In discussions around the dinner table, we have come to the conclusion that during this season, nearly every one has become distracted. I pray that Yule tide has prompted everyone to withdraw into contemplation about the advent of our Lord and Savior. Oh that it were so. As a natural cynic it seems more logical that shopping, decorating, preparation for guests, etc., are more likely the cause of the distraction. That’s not all bad. I have found over the years that personal shopping trips have placed in my thoughts a greater appreciation of others. To not think of them and understand their needs and desires results in folly in the holly on Christmas. One of my sons (about six at the time) opened a present from a distant relative and exclaimed, “Oh boy, one of them!” While the remembrance was appreciated, a little more thought to the recipient would have been welcome.

When we moved from Las Vegas, we did not bring the Christmas decorations. I can’t say for sure that their omission was intentional but I have often wondered if their inclusion in a move to Mount Zion was inappropriate. On the bluff below the house I have installed a herd of lighted moving deer. That’s it! No Santa, no wreaths, no tree, no cascading icicles, no 100 yd. strings of blinking colored lights, no Rudolph or other external decoration on the house. The serenity of the deer herd seems to project the message of the season better to me than the immense display I used to have. Formerly, the house looked like a cross between McDonald's and Caesar’s Palace.

In any case, the season has brought a blessed quietude to the boards and the rancor has abated. Granted, the problems have not been solved, only shelved and it seems the spirit of the season will prevail for the time being. I plan to enjoy this while it lasts. I can only hope the peace brought by the celebration of our Lord’s birth affects us all and leads to solutions in good spirit and reason.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cleaning Up the Desk

I have made reference previously to the difficulties my brother, Craig, has faced in his struggle against cancer. The doctors have acknowledged that temporarily they need to alter his treatment regimen. They discontinued the chemo to allow some recovery for the side effects of that treatment. He will have home hospice care in the mean time. I urgently ask for the support of our readers through prayer. I truly believe that God’s intervention is his only hope. He has the bravado and the intestinal fortitude but he will definitely need Divine intervention to defeat this disease. Thank you.
Please do not misunderstand the inclusion of this blog reference. It will give you access to the speech which was given by Gov. Mitt Romney in response to requests for his views on faith and the role of religion in Government. Personally, I have other candidates which I back and hope to see in the oval office. That in no way prevents me from acknowledging the brilliance of his speech and his consequent awareness of the role of the Creator in our government. It would be my prayer that every candidate should share his views.
I printed that entire blog post from the center place board because I tend to give greater importance to words on hard copies than the fleeting images on the computer screen. As I pored over those eighty pages, several messages stood out.

Its overall theme was rigidity. Almost without exception, every poster had an unbending opinion of the truth of his cause. Oh, there was an excess of flowery language which hoped to cloak that rigidity, but, it was there nonetheless. I confess that I am probably guilty as well. While I don’t waste time mixing it up on that particular board, I have some very fixed concepts of my faith and the will of God. Regular readers of this blog are likely nodding their heads right now. My desire is that, in remembrance, I would be described as having a “steadfast faith.” Yes, I am stubborn in my understanding of Jesus Christ and if you choose to sway me on any particular, you’d best come armed with valid scripture and a demonstrable interest in my salvation. Your political interpretations will not be considered valid. In the ensuing conversation, be advised that at the first mention of either diversity or reconciliation my ability to hear ceases.

Toward the end of the postings there seemed to be an onslaught of offerings describing the various associations with social groups to enhance the quality of life for the disadvantaged. They ran the gamut from battered women, addicts, and the homeless, to drunks, wife beaters and the rest of the detritus of society. I make no argument that these people don’t need help but I find it unseemly that anyone would proffer this assistance as evidence of caring and love for humanity. It is a normal part of our obedience to Him. To “do unto the least of these” should be a standard, not an isolated circumstance subject to praise. As an example, in our twenty four years of marriage my spouse has been active in service in all five of the communities in which we have lived. In Houma, LA, Colorado Springs, CO, and Milwaukee, WI, she wrestled drunks at the local detox. Once we moved to Las Vegas, she found Hospice work more to her liking. She continues to serve in assistance to the aged to this day here in the Ozarks. I have never heard her offer this information as a validation of either faith or belief. I am thrilled by the evidence that my brothers and sisters are willing to share their time and talents in the assistance of these folks. I am certain that it does not go unnoticed by God and He is the only witness required. I don’t remember who said it but it is still true; virtue is its own reward.

Last, but definitely not least, is the issue of banning posts and persons from the center place board. This seems to be a highly arbitrary procedure. The copy I worked from provided the deleted posts and persons. I came to one inescapable conclusion; the more orthodox your belief, the more likely you are to be banned. I find this abridgement of liberty reprehensible. I happen to know personally those good and faithful individuals who were banned. I know them to be honest and straightforward. The monitors of the board were unimpressed and banned them anyway. At the same time, I witnessed specious accusations and criticism fall like rain with no interference from the administrators of the board. I saw attacks on Richard Price and Arthur Hawley in clear text contrary to the alleged rules of behavior. This sounds more like a procedure in some tinhorn third world dictatorship than a Christian endeavor. At the conclusion, when the heat became too oppressive, they deleted the entirety of the board. Typical, if you destroy the evidence, then it didn’t happen. Now you know why I don’t post. They would never post the first one.
Well, it looks like the desk is about cleaned up. Don’t worry, I’m sure something else will fall on it and require our mutual attention. Meanwhile, please pray for Craig and others. They all need the help which only God can offer.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

"Brother and Sister Price, Right On!!!"

This is the subject line of a former center place discussion topic which has since been removed. It is the board which contained the strong accusations against the Prices. In the Monday Morning Rant (15) I dealt with those and especially the aspect of the youthful son of one of the critics. I was advised that he was “only nineteen years old.”

A commenter noted the last comment, “don’t send a boy to do a man’s work,” pointing out that among others, David and Joseph Smith, Jr represented God’s use of youngsters to do his work. Not one to question God’s choices of servants to do His will I sought to find out if they were more accurately defined as men or boys.

Let’s take a look at I Samuel 16 (Inspired Version) to get a little background on David. Saul proceeded through the sons of Jesse to locate the one whose heart was with the Lord to anoint. The final choice turned out to be the youngest of the group. When Saul was looking for an excellent harp player a servant suggested David. He was described in verse 18 as follows: “Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.” Later in I Samuel 17.34-36, while pleading with Saul to represent the Israelites against the champion offered by the Philistines, we read: “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock. (35) And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him and slew him. (36) Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”

Whew! There’s a day’s work. Slaying a lion and a bear at one sitting in chapter 17 seems to validate the assertion in chapter 16 that he was indeed “a man of war.” Being the youngest son does not necessarily mean one remains a child forever. Obviously he was younger than his brothers, but I can’t read this and see a callow youth. When compared to Goliath at 9’6” (six cubits and a span) he would look like a child regardless of his size. Young, yes; but, definitely a man. And, most important, imbued with skills acquired as a shepherd and enhanced by the Spirit of God.

Now, we proceed to Joseph Smith, Jr.. At the rough age of 17 years, 9 months, young Joseph received the announcement of the existence of the plates, the next day he viewed the plates and was told to wait. For whatever reason, it was four years to the day that Joseph was actually permitted to receive the plates. At 21 years, 9 months the work of translating the plates began. The young husband—he had married eight months earlier—had gained experience and maturity and apparently God found him ready. It was three years later in 1830 that the book of Mormon was published and in April, the church organized. Yes, he was young, but surely no longer a child.

Part of the comment I received to the Rant concerned the distribution of papers from older folks that were “utter nonsense.” I certainly agree. Having just re-read the eighty pages of the postings on that board, the evidence is overwhelming that it’s not just younger persons who choose to misunderstand the doctrines, laws and traditions of the church. There are comments there by some seasoned adults which border on the ridiculous.

In the final paragraph of the comment the observation is made that, “Often times those ‘most qualified’ lack certain qualities that the Lord requires to promote His standards (I Cor 1:27-28.)” I can’t imagine that the Lord has any problem evaluating who has the qualities He needs. “Most qualified” is a designation dreamed up by men. The further insinuation is made that the lad’s claims come as a messenger of God to correct me. While I can certainly stand correction on occasion, my experience with God has always been far more direct. He has consistently granted healing, direction and encouragement. These experiences have never been subtle or third hand. I always speak plainly to my Lord and He has always responded in kind. A full reading of Zion Beckons will reveal sin, forgiveness, repentance and, I hope, a sincere effort to be pleasing to God accompanied by an all out effort to do His will. Thankfully, I will only have One Judge.

This is the third time this year that some one from the center place, when faced with comment or inquiry, instead of responding with a logical argument, has questioned my status as a Christian. I noticed, reading the board, that the most popular posture when faced with facts and objections is to plead “hate” on the part of the questioner. Once the allegation of “hate” is established we are treated to a dreary paragraph or two about how much love they have for everyone. People who love don’t describe others as “haters.” They also don’t attack venerable servants who disagree with their opinions with false allegations and invective. I still haven’t seen anything which vaguely resembles an apology to Richard Price for his defamation.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (15)

The “Rant” is the most difficult to compose just after the sacrament service on the first Sunday. I feel closer to Christ, His purposes, His teachings and the example of His life. I always feel more strongly the burden of sin and the desire to shake the remaining vestiges of my former life. The effect on me then is to refrain from being confrontational and to stifle my tendency to immediately retort to that which I don’t believe to be true.

One of the life lessons I have been taught through examination of Christ’s earthly life through the scriptures is His attitude toward false teachings. He confronted them directly, forcefully, and gave them the names they deserved. He was unimpressed by the office or the title of anyone working against His will. His teaching style was one to be admired and should be adopted by our modern educators. If one agreed with the truth he was blessed. Those teaching other than the truth were condemned and shamed. I don’t recall any offering of shades of gray. When doubt remained, He was quick to offer an illustrative parable. The Master was a great teacher but loath to countenance nonsense.

A good (and faithful) friend wrote me recently criticizing one of my posts about the dust up over published allegations against Richard Price. Since it was intended to be private correspondence I shall not reveal the source. This person, with a heart of gold, suggested that youth and lack of experience prompted the unfounded accusations. As a father of five and grandfather of twenty, I am more than familiar with just how stupid kids can be. Had it been one of mine I would have suggested that well known truism that one doesn’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. Nor does one disrespect a venerable elder with an impeccable history who has performed a generous service as publisher to the church and to its members. Had he been mine, I would have asked myself where I went wrong in his upbringing and made every effort to direct him to more righteous directions.

My friend also pointed to an apology which was printed on the center place discussion board. Since it is controlled by persons with the ability to censor the content and the length of exposure, I am not surprised that the entire posting was deleted. I think the apology would have been better directed to the aggrieved party by snail mail with the permission to publish it in Vision. It was so short-lived I never had a chance to see it, so I don’t know much about it. Again, is there no one to counsel this lad?

My friend also mentioned some other folks and their blogs. The suggestion was made that we are providing a divisive attitude within the body of Saints. It would hurry Zion Beckons to average thirty-five readers a day, so I don’t really see us as much of a force to influence the greater body. Mention was made that we should focus on the things we have in common and the goals we share. I certainly agree as long as that which we have in common, universally, is the love of Jesus Christ and the goal we have is the establishment of His kingdom here and now. I confess that anyone who strays from those criteria is subject to derision on these pages.

One final note on the matter concerns the willingness of a youngster in the faith to evidence such interest. I find that laudable even if I disagree. I assume that he was driven by some inner desire to correct what he felt to be a wrong. I certainly hope no one else would have put him up to it. Surely any adult would realize you don’t send a boy to do a man’s work.
Like any cancer patient, my brother Craig has had his ups and downs. As you know, the treatment can be as cruel as the disease. At the close of the week he suffered a seizure in the doctor’s office, which resulted in re-hospitalization and additional testing. It is very likely I shall travel again to Chicago soon to “help” out. Please continue your prayers as the issue is still in doubt. May God bless you all for your support.
In the midst of our eternal political season I find it difficult not to enter the fray. I had a recent entry on “Thinking”. Although I put a candidate’s name in the punch line I am sure you have figured it out that you can substitute any name you wish. It’s not my wish to intentionally offend.

Speaking of “offend,” have you noticed that a Holy Book now accompanies nearly all the Sunday appearances of the candidates? They all seem to manage a photo-op on the church (temple/cathedral/stake) steps. Generally they are shown gripping the hand of the pastor (monsignor/elder/prelate) and gushing over his timely sermon (homily/message/?) to the flock to which they pretend to belong. One wonders if they didn’t have a driver if they could actually find the church. If you find this question important I guess you’ll have to figure it out for yourself at election time.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Horse or a Hard Drive?

Imagine, if you will, that you were Joseph Smith or one of his brothers in Christ. You have received revelations from the Lord and you need to share them with other saints. You go to the barn, saddle your horse, or hitch up the buggy, and set off. Your wife has packed a bit of food, you've donned your warmest coat and set off through the forest. No doubt the road, if there was one, was crude. There were few creature comforts to ease the burden of lengthy travel. You were no doubt warmed by the Holy Spirit, and you hastened to spread your newly revealed message. Under these conditions, haste meant several days of lost time. This was a common dilemma faced by our ancestors in the faith. Is it any wonder that they baptized scores of people at a sitting? They didn’t have the luxury of long winded, agonizing decision processes. They dealt in the here and now. When the spirit called, you obeyed.

Now, fast forward to today. You have a significant dream, a fresh testimony, an inspired thought to improve the fellowship and you need to share it immediately with others. You go to your home office, study, den, whatever, and pick up the phone or sit down at your computer. You are suddenly in contact with the entire world if you so choose. Aside from the usual complaints about faulty internet service, balky computers, and fuzzy phone connections you have the means of instant communication. You can “go tell it on the mountain” without any appreciable strain. You are only limited by the length of your email addressees list or your phone log.

One of the biggest challenges we face now is to insure communication with others in our circle of faith occurs at an appropriate moment in the recipient’s time zone. If Ev in Maine has a thought at dawn to share with Hartley in Nevada, his 3 am call may not be appreciated. So he fires off an email, which will be received as soon as Hartley fires up his computer. These intercontinental transactions would have been impossible for the Saints of 1830. The country didn’t even have regulated time until the advent of the railroads.

Given our current conveniences, what would be our excuse for not spreading the gospel? What would be our excuse for not being aware of the entire goings on within the church? Are we reluctant to face the terrors of the night trudging through the woods? Do we wish to avoid the discomfort of long range foot travel suffering cold, fatigue, hunger and fear of encountering some real or imagined predator? Sorry! There is no justifiable excuse available. These modern devices are gifts from God to be used to spread His message. Through His good offices, men have been inspired to design better and better means for communication. It is impossible to believe that the computer, on which this is being entered, is simply an extension of the “big bang.” Like many of our gifts, it is useless without prayerful application.

In our corner of Zion, we are surrounded by Amish neighbors. One could not possibly ask for better people to have so close. They are, though, a peculiar people, and disdain being connected to the world. Without motorized vehicles, electricity, or telephones they intentionally are out of touch. Being isolated from “the world,” they feel better able to quietly pursue their faith and not be distracted. There is no intention here to either condemn or endorse those feelings. It is just one group’s response to modern technology. They do, rightly, recognize that those things which can work so well to work for good may also be used to promulgate the workings of Satan. This applies to most things which surround us in daily life. The ability to exercise moderation, temperance and good judgment are not unknown qualities of saints. Obviously, if evil is the intent, it will probably be the outcome.

Traffic on the internet or other technology should be subject to the same prayers and supplications as other media. God will provide the discernment necessary to ferret out the truth. One need only ask. He “upbraideth not” anyone who seeks this help. Given this preparation we are then ready to exploit the huge resources available. God has supplied some marvelous tools for the dissemination of His word.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do You Think Too Much?

As I went through my folders this evening, I came across this little tale. I have no idea where it came from or worse, who wrote it. Since it was obviously floating free in the ether of the internet I shall publish without shame but with apologies to the author. It’s only right that we lighten up a little sometimes.

"It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone—'to relax,' I told myself—but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, 'What is it exactly we are doing here?'

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, 'Joe, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job.' This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. 'Honey,' I confessed, 'I've been thinking . . . .'

'I know you've been thinking,' she said, 'and I want a divorce!'

'But Honey, surely it's not that serious.'

'It is serious,' she said, lower lip aquiver. 'You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!'

'That's a faulty syllogism,' I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. 'I'm going to the library,' I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with BBC 4 on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors . . . they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. 'Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?' it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was 'Big Brother.' Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed . . . easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today, for example, I voted for Hillary Clinton.”

Come on, laugh, it’s funny.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thought Police

One of the greatest threats from any totalitarian administration of the rules of order are from those would control thought. Physical abuses and the threat thereof are painful and can inflict long term damage upon individuals. However, abuse of the freedom of thought, though less obvious, is far more damaging to the entire society it affects. That last bastion of the right to privacy, the human mind, is under fierce assault from the political correctness advocates and the accompanying cadre of “thought police.”

Historically, we can view the perpetrators of thought control in the extreme without having to search very far. Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Germany), Pol Pot (Cambodia), Chairman Mao (China), and Joseph Stalin (USSR) are among some of the most celebrated names to rise in any discussion of the issue. While they physically abused their peoples, their most insidious assault was on their minds. They, in common, realized that a mind under control was equivalent to a body under control. Even the most historically illiterate readily recognize these stated examples. But, we say, this is America and it can’t happen here.

The purveyors of political correctness and diversity palaver are alive and well in our society and in our church. We are besieged from every side by those who would obscure the truth by accusing critics of insensitivity and disrespect. Granted, name calling and personal attack is not in any remote sense part of reasoned argument. However, stating matters in plain speech with actual facts should be allowable and part of normal discourse. Lacking the perfection of God, men will sometimes err on the side of overstatement and offer candid opinion which proves offensive. Often, the offense is a justifiable statement of belief which has a clear meaning stated in our scriptures. Many times, people’s actual words are repeated to verify their position and those words are criticized as an attack. I would suggest that editing what one says would help to avoid these embarrassing quotes later.

Recently, a brother challenged an accusation made against another and asked for specific citations and evidence of the supposed offense. The charges made were serious and entailed the eventuality of legal relief. Suspecting the charges were false and knowing they had been vigorously denied, he aired his opinion on a prominent discussion board. His action, standing up for the accused, resulted in being banned from the board. His original post named all the parties concerned. A revised post deleted the specifics but was still barred. It is well known that the accused party is an active critic of the current hierarchy. This suppression is a reprehensible example of censorship accomplished in the name of political correctness. Given the relationship of those who maintain the board and those who would lead the church, one easily concludes that it reflects the attitude of the leadership. God help us!

I freely admit to being terrified of this stifling of the free exchange of ideas. It’s one thing to have been asleep at the switch as the church slid into apostasy (decades ago) but quite another to be awake and alert and then thwarted by those who would suppress our right to free _expression. May God forgive me; I didn’t see it then. Today, with a clearer mind and a radically different level of interest, it seems blatant. It is not necessary for me to understand completely the wiles of Satan’s influence to appreciate his presence and influence. Some of those who perpetuate this vile dogma of hiding everything from the sunshine of truth may actually believe that they have the greater good in the forefront. They are, in my opinion, only “drinking the Kool-Aid.” For those who have forgotten, the preceding reference is to those who followed the false prophet, Jim Jones and committed mass suicide to avoid the ultimate “come uppance” upon their exposure. While I don’t see an exact parallel to this incident, I do see the danger in following leaders with personal agenda. We have need of only one master, Jesus Christ. To support His leadership requires the sublimation of self. If your agenda is not His agenda, it’s time to rethink your relationship. His pronouncements on the subject are clear.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

(If you wish to pursue the example cited, I have verifiable copies of all the pertinent emails, articles and responses. This is available to serious inquiry by sending your email address with a request to the comments section. Your email will NOT be posted. Your email address is not included on the messages we receive in the comments.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Morning Rant (14)

In my opinion, one of the most descriptive words in the English Language is “bittersweet.” In our available vocabulary we may search and actually find an exact word or phrase to illustrate situations and conditions which we experience.

We returned from the Chicago area last night and a visit to my brother and his wife, Lynne. Regular readers (many of whom have sought healing for him through prayer) know Craig has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Upon arrival we found a normally robust and very athletic 62 year old man reduced to using a walker, nearly deaf and in a generally debilitated state. As the weekend progressed we discovered a man who is naturally competitive, filled with the will to defeat his condition and wage all out war against his disease. Hence, we have a new found appreciation of the word bittersweet to evaluate the trip.

Public expressions of religiosity and long professions of faith have never been part of his persona. It is not my place to judge his attitudes on such matters but I can relate the superficial evidence. It has been scarce. He is a good man but he doesn’t bother others with his innermost thinking on the subject. He did come in for a huge surprise in the process. The outpouring of concern, cards, phone calls and visits from interested people has been huge. He has found a “new” word for his personal vocabulary—blessings.

One friend, when he heard the news, flew in from Boston, not just to visit but to be on hand to help, encourage, and rag him to help himself. It’s a guy thing. Some men just need a buddy to deliver the unvarnished truth of the painful actions to take to assist in recovery. Dave supplied it. Many others overwhelmed him with concern. It appears now that he recognizes the true meaning of blessings.

Once one becomes familiar with the paradox of healing through chemotherapy, it is possible to view it as a blessing and a curse. It requires destructive processes to tear down the bad but in the process destroys the good and necessary. In war, they call this collateral damage. Unfortunately (or not!) many of you are all too familiar with the process due to the afflictions of loved ones or from your own personal experience.

The strongest upside to this whole affair was the opportunity to share, to a ready listener, my personal testimony of God’ healing power. It has always been received with not so much dismissal but rather bored acceptance. It’s an old song but it needs to be sung over and over. The audience which tires of it need the words the most. God has the capacity to alter any and every aspect of our lives, if He is sought. This whole process becomes far more attractive in the face of a life threatening calamity. To deny, or even doubt, this truth is to bar the Greatest Physician from an active part in ones recovery. When the false shroud of personal invincibility crumbles, the only possible recourse is faith in the ability of the Master to come to our aid. I believe He will. Thanks to your prayers, so far, I believe my brother is coming to this point. As a family, we solicit your continued prayers for his recovery and prayers for his wife for strength in a very difficult situation. Thank you.


What kind of an idiot drives 550 miles on “Black Friday” and another 550 miles on the last day of a four day holiday weekend? Would it have been possible to have chosen two worse days to take the road? Through God’s protection and my skills as a former professional driver we managed the trip without incident (other than sky high gas prices.) As our lives are currently structured, there was no choice.

In the course of travel, we were exposed to completely opposite ends of the human condition. We encountered folks who were courteous, friendly, helpful and generally considerate of those around them. Unfortunately, we also found a handful whose personal agenda prevented them from extending the least concern for their fellow man. They are among us. I have never quite figured out how jockeying for a one car betterment of position in a traffic jam is worth the risk. I am also unaware of the reason to pull on a busy highway and then drive twenty miles an hour under the assigned speed. As I pulled into a service station for fuel I observed an officer giving a citation to an individual in a parked car in the lot. I noted, while fueling, the transaction ended and the cited party drove the car off the lot and, without stopping, moved onto a busy arterial street. Oops! The officer noted this infraction and gave chase once again. I guess the driver is “stuck on stupid.”

As I walked into the store a woman outside complimented me on my shirt. This gratuitous remark then re-elevated my spirits and my disgust with the prior situation left me. It’s amazing to me how one little nicety can erase my former feelings and so quickly change my attitude. God is good.


We are now back home, safe and sound. We may now resume our affirmed policy of “preaching to the choir.” We sincerely hope your holiday provided feasting and most important, a celebration of God’s many gifts.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Clash of Cultures

Our nation is a polyglot of cultures, religions, attitudes and other unique characteristics. Our history is replete with men and women whose individuality and independent nature forged a country far different from their homelands. Since they were not encumbered by kings and despotic rulers they were free to exercise their talents to the fullest. With no authority to provide for them, they developed a measure of self-reliance to provide that which had formerly been directed by the state. Given the God inspired government they formed here to guarantee liberty, they carried their self-reliance into their daily lives in every way. It was inevitable that they would also carry it into the conduct of their faith.

Pursuit of their concept of God was a prime mover in populating the nation. Many had suffered the tyranny of a state religion and longed to be free of those prohibitive chains on their faith. We have enjoyed our religious freedoms for so many generations we may have grown lax in our understanding of how it separates us from the “old country.”

Even in America, as Latter Day Saints, we are far closer to the realities of religious persecution in our past than most other church bodies. Certainly, others have suffered from time to time, but few have equaled the pressures the Saints felt through the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Our predecessors in the faith were not shy about professing their beliefs. Our ancestors, lacking our communication and information retention capacity, did an astonishing job, with God’s help, preserving the Holy word. There were occasions however, when the Saints had to deal with unruly mobs and fleeing members of the hierarchy, that retention of the exactitude of various pronouncements came out muddled or in some case, probably inaccurate. The original pages of the Book of Commandments were mostly rescued from the middle of the street.

They did the best they could with what they had, and persevered. The inherited grit which they gained from their predecessors coupled with their ability to deal with their own everyday hardships produced some very rugged individuals. As we look at today’s peoples in the church, we find some very strong traits which must be a result of that gene pool. These folks, when seen in person, don’t much resemble Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, but do when they express themselves. It is my privilege to know some of these people and I rejoice in the opportunity.

When they see their beloved church falling before the onslaught of political correctness and the perceived need of reconciliation, they rise up and call for common sense. They rebel at the notion that the appointed leaders should have the right to silence their objections to doctrinal interpretation in any way. When they seek guidance from above, it is from God and not a collection of functionaries in Independence. They do not prosper well in an atmosphere of false accusations and trumped up charges. Their primary tool is reason. Their weapon of choice is always truth.

From what source then come those who would have man lead the church instead of Jesus Christ. The claim is always that they are led by the Lord. The behavior speaks differently. Their fear of hearing from the faithful is akin to those in despotic regimes who stifle speech, abridge liberties and demand fealty to the leadership. One can only conclude that a great cloud of deception has fallen over a segment of the priesthood. The countries from which our ancestors came have fallen to a point well past agnosticism. They find our faith quaint and fail to understand the relationship between our God given form of government and the success of the nation. Their principal export is the social drivel which would be disastrous for our country and our church.

Our faith is a gift from God. Our entire belief system comes from the Almighty. Any lack of resistance to those who would usurp His will constitutes endorsement of the destruction of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. Modern theologians decry any black and white evaluations and have allowed our concept of Christ and His church to diminish to a murky gray. Christ’s message is lengthy but clear. Without study and prayer the words can seem mysterious. Critics are always with us to derail any attempt to reason. But, the absolute fact remains, that Jesus Christ is the head of this church and as the scriptures clearly relate, He will continue to be regardless of the activity of foolish men.

Let us then rejoice that there are those among us who are possessed of reason. Let us give thanks to our Father that they are willing to endure the slings and arrows from the hierarchy to seek the will of the Lord. Let us support those who do not promote the church as a social experiment but rather as a means to define and achieve the ends our Savior proposes. Let us realize that a culture of individualism under the direction of and with the able assistance of our heavenly Master will produce the Zion we all seek.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Season of Thanks

After writing yesterday’s post, I continued to dwell on the reasons I have to give thanks to God. In the course of checking the postings—yes we do actually edit—I noticed the counter had logged over 3300 readers since its installation on July 24. Given the highly limited size of the audience and the narrow limits of the appeal of what is written here, Jan and I have cause to thank each and every one of you for your interest and occasional participation. You have provided encouragement and provocative thought as members of the Zion Beckons family. We give you the special thanks you deserve and praise God for your activity.

We have also shared some intimate details about ourselves and our families. Of course we treasure your acceptance of us—warts and all. Regarding the family matters, you have responded wonderfully to our prayer requests. Since I asked for your prayers for my brother, his condition has improved exponentially. He still has cancer but he is virtually pain free and gradually returning to his normal boisterous self. We will join him and his wife for part of the coming holiday near Chicago. We can hardly wait.

It is a never ending source of amazement to me that the Lord constantly demonstrates His willingness to bend to help us in our every need. We realize we are next to nothing in the grand scale of things but he consistently takes the time and trouble to bail us out. I am ashamed to say, He provides far more than we can ever give in return. Since it is not a “zero sum game,” we should gracefully accept His benevolence and rejoice in His love.

We associate with a group of other Saints who exchange messages about God working in their lives. Like all of us, they are subject to human physical breakdown and other difficulties. The testimonies of His activity in their affairs are a perpetual source of strength for all of us. The most significant aspect of their relationship is their willingness to turn the conduct of their existence over to the care and keeping of their Heavenly Father. I thank God for His interest, healing and encouragement in all our lives.

I am fully aware that “thanksgiving” should not be reduced to a seasonal occurrence. Given what we have all received; it should be a matter of constant concern. However, I appreciate that an annual event does bring a special reminder to us individually and as an historical point to ponder. Coming, as it does, just before the Christmas season, it serves as a focal point of preparation to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Considering the nature of the secular world, it’s possible I feel closer to Him in this season than I do surrounded by red nosed reindeer, gaudy lighting displays and the other trappings of commercial appeal. I may actually be turning into the Grinch.

My exploding Christmas list of grandchildren prevents me from ignoring the commercial holiday altogether. It started out as a clothing item and a toy for each. This has now been reduced to a toy each for those under ten and a personally selected article of clothing. We do not exchange gifts with adults. I felt I could not face one more daintily wrapped beribboned package of myrrh. Since I now have developed somewhat of a reputation for picking out stuff for kids—I do it, not Jan—I can’t stop. Oh well, there’s only twenty of them. The point is: once my heart is full of thanks giving, I am then prepared to go out and spread the love around.

Despite the ACLU, historical revisionists, and other killjoys, we still have Thanksgiving as a reminder of the providential nature of God. We can recognize His gifts and appreciate the generosity of others and pay due diligence to the pumpkin pie, cranberries, and, thanks to our good neighbors the Tysons, turkey. As my late stepfather used to say, “Everyone should have as much.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon