There is correspondence between the verbs 'depend' and 'obey'. In a give-receive relationship, the benefactor is normally in control; the dependent beneficiary is humble and obedient. The theme of the previous article is that Christian gift-service should normally involve self abnegation, helping others with a view toward weaning them of their dependence. Deliberately working to undermine one's own benefactor status.
This is often a time-consuming process, requiring years, decades, or longer to mature. In the meantime, nothing good is attained by shunning leadership where leadership is still needed. The abdication of God-given authority is often nothing more than a weak fear of rejection. The Christian parent or pastor who refuses to discipline or who says, "Who am I to judge?" is not truly humble, but merely lazy or cowardly.
The operative term in the above, I believe, is "God-given". The authority of mother and father is certainly God-given and may not be forsaken. Likewise, the legitimate pastor's duty to teach, sanctify and govern must not be abdicated.
By contrast, authority (or 'service') that is not established by God should be seen as a moral and spiritual plague, degrading both to those who would wield it and those who would be subject.
In many cases, the "Teach a man to fish" principle is appropriate. Charitable and well-meaning individuals or agencies that (figuratively) give a fish are fostering long-term dependence. Where there is no natural ecclesial or family relationship, such manufactured dependence may well be unnatural, even devilish, not true charity at all.
Humble public servant
Now the question gets a bit stickier. If it is wrong for bureaucrats to acquire more power, is it alright for the honest Christian to submit to that power? Does the demand for humility and self abnegation mean that the Christian must always obey civil authority? Is that what Christ was commanding when he said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's"? (Mt.22:15-22) Note that he had asked to see the Roman coin, which his detractors readily produced. Maybe he was saying, in effect, "Look, you're already playing Caesar's game. If you want to play his game, you gotta play by his rules."
Another possible interpretation would be to simply admit that, like it or not, civil government is the present reality, there's no use pretending otherwise. Perhaps Jesus was simply saying, "Do what you have to do, given the present reality." But surely it is absurd to suppose that obeying civil government is a Christian's religious obligation, that the King of kings would demand, as a condition of obeying him, unswerving allegiance to an ungodly and contrived human usurpation of divine authority.
If you need a pigeon hole for me, consider me a theocrat. Judges 21:25 is a triumphal verse, an ideal for which to yearn. Meanwhile, in the present: Do what we have to do. And hope for the literal fulfillment of the ideal.
Thy kingdom come(Note that it pertains to this world, not just a heavenly, spiritual theocracy.)
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
A good mother knows that hers is a temporary vocation, a duty of love that wanes over time. The baby in the womb needs her wholly, a matter of life and death. The infant at the breast may (barely) survive without the mother, but the physical and emotional need is still intense and constant. But as baby grows into childhood and adolescence, the child becomes less and less dependent. The wise mother's vocation is gradually fulfilled as her child gains the ability to thrive independently, without mother's constant care.
We all know of foolish and selfish mothers who don't want the child to grow up. The need to be needed is too strong, and this poor mother desires her child to be permanently dependent, much to the growing child's hurt.
One might meet intentional self-obsolescence in a variety of lesser professions. A web developer who constructs the website in such a way that the client can make his own updates without needing the developer's further assistance. The aging slugger who offers advice to the young rookie. "Teach a man to fish. . ."
I wonder how many school teachers see themselves in a similar light. Even more than equipping the students for adult life, how many teachers, especially at the primary school level, are consciously preparing their students to become home educators? That is to say, a professional school teacher who dreams of a future in which professional school teachers are no longer needed! Such self abnegation is, I suspect, quite rare.
Don't hold your breath waiting for such self abnegation from the medical industry. Yes, there are a growing number of holistic practitioners, chiropractors and the like, and a growing appreciation for natural remedies. True physicians who want to see their patients grow stronger naturally, so that they will no longer need professional assistance.
But the mainstream medical practitioner is much more likely to foster dependence upon pills, injections, and operations that can only come from the medical and pharmaceutical industry. In fact, an increasing majority of medical professionals seem to deem their own expert ministrations as more important than dependence upon God. Gone are the days when a doctor, after treating a seriously sick patient, might wipe his brow and sigh, "Well, she's in God's hands; There's nothing more I can do."
Witness: AMA support for elective abortions, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, etc. They arrogate to themselves authority over human life. Pure undiluted arrogance and blasphemy.
I am chagrined to report a particular instance of this arrogance right here in Nicaragua. Ever increasingly, a Nicaraguan doctor will schedule a Cesarean birth for the slightest reason, or no reason at all. The poor woman feels obliged to obey the doctor's orders. Later, if she gets pregnant a second time, the doctor tells her that, since she has already had one C-section, she can no longer give birth naturally (a gross falsehood). So she schedules another C-section, per doctor's orders. Next, she is pressured to have her tubes tied during the 2nd Cesarean operation, because any further C-sections would be particularly dangerous (another lie). Thus, the doctor arrogates to himself divine authority to dictate how many children the woman may have.
Even less can politicians be expected to willingly relinquish power. In fact, perhaps the only significant check upon medical arrogance is the surpassing power mongering of politicians and bureaucrats. Their entire profession is defined by the acquisition of more and more power. As Hilary Rodham Clinton honestly confessed, "The only way to make a difference is to acquire power." And again, "We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people." (She really said those things! More astute politicians may know better than to say so publicly.)
So it's a power game. When government and doctors (and insurance and pharmaceutical companies, etc.) cooperate in their quest for control, look out. When they clash in their rivalry, it may sometimes make for good spectator sport. A recent example is the Nicaraguan legislature which just passed a measure to criminalize the medical practice of pressuring a cesarean birth and/or performing one without the woman's permission. Hard to say how that will play out.
Meanwhile, if wisdom and goodness demand self abnegation, what ought the wise do? I hope to write more on this theme, and welcome reader comments as well.
After several years of development, testing, debugging, and improving the strategies, I am ready to proclaim that my Sudoku Analyzer is the best on the web, that it can analyze and give a step-by-step solution to even the toughest Sudoku. Please note that this does NOT entail simply giving a solution, but in providing a step-by-step analytical method to solve. And so today I am unveiling the great CyberJerry Sudoku Challenge.
To be sure, I am still discovering some rare Sudokus for which the CyberJerry Sudoku Analyzer cannot give step-by-step analytical hints. But for those Sudokus, neither can anyone else. Or so I claim.
Therein lies the challenge: to provide a step-by-step analytical solution to a Sudoku that has CyberJerry stumped. To meet the Challenge, your Sudoku must qualify thus:
If you think you can meet this challenge, navigate to CyberJerry's Sudoku Analyzer page. Enter the contents of your Sudoku in the grid there, and then click the 'Analyze' button to see that (most likely) CyberJerry can indeed rate the Sudoku in question and give hints for every step. In the (unlikely) event that CyberJerry is stumped (per point #2 above), you may proceed to the Challenge by clicking the hyperlink marked 'Sudoku Challenge'. There you will be able to describe your analytical method per point #3 above.
- 1. The Sudoku has exactly one solution.
- 2. CyberJerry's 'Analyze' button reports that the Sudoku cannot be rated, and at some point the 'Hint' button fails to provide a Hint.
- 3. You can describe a step-by-step analytical way to solve the Sudoku. You need only do so at the point(s) where the Sudoku Analyzer fails to provide a Hint. Note that this must be deductive logic, not a trial-and-error guesswork method.
I promise to publish any successful challenge and publicly acknowledge the challenger's superior Sudoku skills. I reserve the right to likewise publish any failures.
Contrary to what the first post says, there seems to be no obvious need to write any more about the process of creating a blog from scratch. Oh, you may notice a few minor tweeks since that post: The color scheme now looks more like the rest of the CyberJerry web pages. Have converted completely away from mysql. Made a small collection of my favorite quotes to display at random on the top of the side bar. Mostly, the past two weeks have been spent testing and shaking out bugs, a process that will surely continue.
In concord with the first post, I believe Jerry's Blog has become pretty much what was intended: A simple tool that should run well on a variety of devices, with reasonable security and without the need to keep up with the demands of Blogspot, Facebook, or LinkedIn, which are constantly 'upgrading' their platforms. I repeat my offer to accept suggestions and criticisms from any and all visitors.
Having said that, this current post represents (perhaps) the last post written about the blog itself. Jerry's Blog is intended to be a tool, not an end in itself, but a means to an end. From now on, I'd like to focus on the end goal: exchanging thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects which may be of common interest. Or, at least, which are of interest to me, while freely welcoming input from others who share those interests.
I suspect my attention will now turn to my Sudoku Analyzer, and to a "Sudoku Challenge" that I would like to offer soon. Stay tuned.
Blogging about blogging
What 'meta blog' means is that the first few posts of this new blog will probably be about the progress and regress of the above. Blogging about making a blog. And in this case, blogging about starting over again from scratch, on a new hosting server.
To begin, here are my initial design decisions:
- Simplicity. I have no interest in top-heavy 'features' as characterized in sites such as Blogspot and Facebook, but a simple no-frills platform in which to communicate and exchange ideas.
- Compatibility. The aim is to run on a variety of platforms, including old hardware and slow connections.
- Flexibility. As the programmer, I look forward to being able to make changes as I see fit, without having to depend upon Google engineering decisions.
Would also like to hear any suggestions you might have.