Remembering … Junior High Years

REMEMBERING  …  JUNIOR  HIGH  YEARS

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’.   (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Remembering Peer Pressure Testings  during Junior High Years,  in Reisterstown and Wards Chapel, Maryland

When I think back, on days gone by,

Such as my years, in junior high:

Peer pressure dares, and snobby sneers;

God’s grace my guide, not foolish peers

Rich victories won, as time hiked by.

This limerick begins a “Pilgrim Geography” series, recalling how God has providentially blessed me in various places, along life’s journey as I trek about this earth as a “pilgrim” belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ.

During my junior high years I was confronted with a lot of ugly peer pressure (i.e., opportunities to sin), which repulsed me and nudged me toward the more-independent pathway of “daring to be a Daniel”  —  when peers mocked my teen-aged piety (as if I had a loser lifestyle, as a “jerk” who would never become “popular”) saying NO to opportunities for immorality.

Needless to say, I have no regrets that I repeatedly refused “dares” to compromise my personal integrity for the fleeting comfort (and false “value”) of peer “acceptance”/approval.

For a few Old Testament Scriptures, that inform God’s children of their privileged calling as “pilgrims”, see Genesis 47:9; Exodus 6:4; and Psalm 119:54.  In the New Testament, see especially Hebrews 11:13 and 1st Peter 2:11.

By God’s grace, since becoming a Christian (during autumn of my 6th grade year), my earthly pilgrimage (which has included a lot of Providential geography) has been an ongoing mix of life experiences that provide character tests and opportunities to grow in serious loyalty to (and fellowship with) Him, always being enabled by His indwelling Spirit’s all-sufficient grace and guidance (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30), spiced and seasoned with a generous sprinkling of surprises, learning, adventures, joy, and abundant life (John 10:10).

Thank You,  LORD,  for being with me — and shaping my young life then —  through those precious years.


 

Tired Feet, Refreshed by Cold Tidewater

FOOTWASHING, IN COLD TIDEWATER, CAN BE VERY REFRESHING

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Jesus saith to him [i.e., Peter], He that is washed needs not, except to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.   (John 13:10)

Iona-MartyrsBay-beach-wideangle

After a lot of hiking along Martyrs Bay, on Iona island (19th July AD2019), a small isle in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, I refreshed my feet with a good foot-soaking (for about 5 minutes — as long as I could tolerate the cold!), in the frigid shore-waters of the Iona’s shore.  Hence this limerick, by which to remember that very cool experience:

AFTER HOURS OF HIKING, SOAK YOUR FEET IN THE FRIGID SHORE-WATERS OF IONA SOUND

Hiking for hours, on Scottish ground,

Fatigued feet trek, toward Iona’s Sound;

Footgear off — pants cuffs rolled,

Step in sea-water — c-c-cold!

“Freezing” tired feet, in Iona’s Sound!

Iona-MartyrsBay-shoreline


 

In Real Life, It’s Survival of the Fitted

© Jay Fleming

IN  REAL  LIFE,  IT’S  SURVIVAL  OF  THE  FITTED

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Know ye that the LORD, He is God:  it is He Who hath made us, and not we ourselves;  we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.   Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise;  be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  (Psalm 100:3-4)

JJSJ-with-Dungeness-CrabDarwinists cluck, with affection,

Darwin’s phrase, “natural selection”;

Science fiction’s sales pitch,

‘Tis a slick bait-and-switch;

It’s a fraud, by-passing detection.

 

Whene’er the real world we inspect,

We observe real cause and effect;

The “fittest” can’t survive

Till at first, they arrive;

Blind nature can never “select”.

 

If nature is deaf, dumb, and blind,

It won’t birth a lucky “design”;

Half-baked, mutants aren’t “fit”,

When they, gene-codes omit;

Such changes won’t make a new “kind”.

 

So whom have the Darwinists kidded?

And whom have such sophists outwitted?

Nature’s “favor” won’t wait

For a new, wannabe trait;

To survive, life must be God-fitted!


© AD2010 James J. S. Johnson


What’s the real “why” and “how” behind creation?  Check out Revelation 4:11.

Wise-men-still-seek-Jesus.silhouette

For some specific examples of “survival of the fitted”, see my creation science article “Survival of the Fitted: God’s Providential Programming”, ACTS & FACTS, 39(10):17-18 (October 2010), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/survival-fitted-gods-providential-programming   —  including Arctic Tern migrations, chicken egg hatching, mustelid embryology, Melipona bees pollinating vanilla bean flowers, etc.

In fact, the evolutionary phrase “natural selection” is a deceptively misleading bait-and-switch metaphor, as has been documented and clarified by Dr. Randy J. Guliuzza, “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: The Illusion That Natural Selection Operates on Organisms”, ACTS & FACTS, 40(9):12-15 (September 2011), posted at https://www.icr.org/article/darwins-sacred-imposter-illusion-that/  .

See also, accord, an example of an evolutionist effectively admitting this awkward reality, saying:  “Evolutionary biologists routinely speak of natural selection as if it were an agent” but then again “Many evolutionary biologists, in fact, assure us that the idea of a selecting agent is ‘only a metaphor’—even as they themselves succumb to the compelling force of the metaphor…And so we are to believe that natural selection, which ‘is not an agent, except metaphorically’, manages to design artifacts; and the organism…is not, after all, a creative or originating agent itself. Its [the organism’s] agency has been transferred to an abstraction [natural selection] whose causal agency or ‘force’ is, amid intellectual confusion, both denied and universally implied by biologists. Natural selection becomes rather like an occult Power of the pre-scientific age…”  [  Quoting admissions by evolutionist Stephen L. Talbot, “Can Darwinian Evolutionary Theory Be Taken Seriously?”  —  posted on  natureinstitute.org  on May 17, 2016 accessed September 14, 2018 (emphasis in original), at    http://natureinstitute.org/txt/st/org/comm/ar/2016/teleology_30_TMP.htm   ]


white-ibises-birdbook-webel-backyard-ad2016The Rock Dove Blog is a humble attempt to honor God with a beginner blogsite, so your patience (hopefully) will be rewarded, in due time.  At present the sole author on this blog is Dr. James J. S. Johnson (a/k/a JJSJ), a fan of rock doves (a/k/a “pigeons”)  — as well as an appreciative worshiper of the God Who made them (and also the rest of creation, including us humans, for whose benefit the Lord Jesus Christ became mankind’s crucified-and-afterward-resurrected Kinsman-Redeemer.  Addicted to reading since childhood, JJSJ has earned (over time) several academic degrees (including natural science degrees) and government-issued post-doc certifications.  But the greatest truth is “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so” — which is summarized in John 3:16.


 

KEEP LIFE SIMPLE: BE HONEST!

KEEP  LIFE  SIMPLE:   BE  HONEST!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

“But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, because He hath prepared for them a city.”   (Hebrews 11:16)

God has promised us a glorious future, a home in Heaven with Him forever — a good destiny beyond our best expectations!   And God is not bashful about His promise because He knows that he is faithful and shall make it happen when the timing is right.  God will never be ashamed of promises He makes, because He always fulfills His promises.

Being made in God’s image means that we should live out moral behavior that is like God — we should be truthful, gracious, kind, caring, appreciative of beauty, etc.

So human merchants should be honest.  Yet the fact that legislatures pass consumer protection/antifraud laws (with names like “Deceptive Trade — Consumer Protection Act”) is a reminder of how fallen the human race is — we routinely fail to live out our mandate of honoring God as creatures made in His image.  So, BUYER BEWARE!

Of course, cheating merchants eventually earn a public reputation for dishonesty — and that reputation eventually punishes a lot of mercantile dishonesty.

Dishonest merchants often end up in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, for reasons like this — this I personally witnessed frequently many such commercial scams and schemes, including many “bust-out” frauds, as a Board-certified specialist in Business Bankruptcy Law, in Texas (active in federal bankruptcy courts, mostly representing creditors), during the timeframe of AD1990 through AD2010.

But this same problem can appear even in trivial scenarios, such as grocery stores dishonoring their own coupons.

Accordingly, a limerick follows.

STORE COUPON: FOR SAUSAGE OR FOR BAIT?

Bison sausage, when grilled, is a treat;
What pleasant, nutritious red meat!
But a coupon we used
Sad to say, ‘twas refused
Now why would store clerks try to cheat?

(JJSJ sampling Cod Liver Oil — obviously this is not a photograph of eating Bison Sausage.)

Honesty is the best policy!  (See, accord, Romans 13:7.)

GOOD SERVICE INCLUDES QUICK SERVICE

Seest thou a man diligent [mahir] in his business?  —  he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before low-ranking men.   (Proverbs 22:29)

GoodSuccess-needs-GoodWorkEthic

SLOW  SERVICE  LIMITS  CUSTOMER  SATISFACTION,  EVEN  AT  A  CAR-WASH

When clean,  our car’s bright,  as a flower,

To the car-wash,  it went,  for a shower;

“15 minutes”  we were told  —

Waiting, waiting  —  it got old  —

Finally clean,  the car-wash  took an hour.

Punctuality and promptness are virtues tied to customer satisfaction.  As customers we don’t like slow service, so we should provide quick service when we are in roles of responsibility.   Good service is not delayed service.  Deadlines are important!   Good service includes promptness in responsiveness.  The adjective translated “diligent”, in Proverbs 22:29, means prompt in responsiveness (note: this Hebrew adjective’s root verb appears as “make haste” in Isaiah 49:17 & Proverbs 1:16).  In other words, handling responsibilities quickly is a trait that routinely precedes success and promotion.   God tells us this as a proverb, because it helps us with practical living.

It’s easy for us, as customers, to become dissatisfied when we are disappointed  — by sluggish (dis)service — e.g., see “When Will this Airplane ever Take Off?” [posted at https://rockdoveblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/when-will-this-plane-ever-take-off/ ].  It’s harder for us to make ourselves provide prompt service to others, when others are “customers” waiting for our service.  May God help us to serve with promptness!

 

 

PUSHING TRUTH AWAY IS NOT GOOD

JohnKnox-statue-StGilesCathedral.Edinburgh

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him?  …. See that ye refuse not Him Who speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him who spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him Who speaketh from heaven.   (Hebrews 2:3 & 12:25)

Hebrews12.25

God’s truth demands a response.  A response to God’s revealed truth is either honest or dishonest.  There is no middle ground — when it comes to moral accountability for the truth that God gives unto each of us:   either we receive it as lovers of the truth, or we reject it while clinging to worthless lies (2nd Thessalonians 2:10).

PUSHING  BACK  TRUTH  INVITES  A  MISERABLE  LIFE  (AND  WORSE  AFTER  THAT)

For us abundant life   is appointed,

Yet for some its receipt   gets disjointed;

Though God gives enough truth,

Some push back, aloof;

So in life they fail,   disappointed.

mixed-photos-including Bosque-ICR-AD2012 009

God’s highest revelation of Himself, of course, is the Bible, the Scriptures. The Holy Bible is a form of verbal communication. The text of the Bible—every letter, every jot-and-tittle—is inspired. God has promised to preserve the text. It’s not just a matter that He inspired it so many years ago and it was lost. He promised that the entire Bible would be preserved.

The Holy Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, is about who JESUS is, and what He has done since He created the heavens and the earth—with special attention to His redemptive role as the promised Messiah.  Christ Himself said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).

God preserved it, He transmitted it, and He did it in a way that is similar to the reproduction and distribution of seeds. In fact, many times in Scripture the Word is compared to seeds.  (See Matthew 13:3-23.)

Christ-is-risen!-PPTslide

 

NORWEGIANS TAKE SKIING SERIOUSLY !

NORWEGIANS  TAKE  SKIING  SERIOUSLY !
Skiathlon  Heroes  Recall  Norse  “Birch-leg”  Skiers  of  Old

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For a just man falls 7 times, and rises again, but the wicked fall into calamity.  (Proverbs 24:16)

[photo credit: Business Insider]

As Norway’s Olympic skier Simen Hegstad Krüger recently (i.e., on Sunday, February 11th A.D.2018) reminded the watching world, Norwegians have a time-honored tradition as competitive and resilient snow-skiers – and a track-record as loyal teammates during times of crisis – harking back to the Birkebeiner of old.

At Alpensia Cross-Country Centre, in the men’s cross-country 15km X 15 km skiathlon competition (2018 Winter Olympics, PyeongChang, South Korea), Krüger initially slipped, fell face in the snow, breaking a ski-pole, with his fall worsened when two other skiers (Russia’s Denis Spitsov and Russia’s Adrey Larkov) promptly collided into, stumbled upon, and tangled around him. Within 15 seconds Krüger found himself, in effect, as the cross-country train’s caboose!

[photo credit: Business Insider]

But, since Viking times, Norwegians have a hardy reputation for battling the odds – and 24-year-old Krüger refused to accept this disappointing debacle as an excuse for quitting, or for reducing his best efforts to win.

SUCCESS IS NOT ABOUT NEVER FALLING, IT’S ABOUT GETTING BACK  IN THE RACE!

If you fall the day is not done;

Get up! Finish what you’ve begun !

So when you fall down,

Don’t stay on the ground!

Get back in the race — and RUN !

Astoundingly, Krüger resumed the race, from his last-place position – with Viking-like vigor reminiscent of Eric Liddell – and steadily and serially by-passed each of his 63 Olympian competitors until he had won the race, earning a Gold Medal for Norway.  Wow!

 PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — When Simen Hegstad Krueger [sic – the proper spelling is Krüger] slipped and fell on the first lap of the 30-kilometer cross-country skiathlon and found himself face down in the snow with two rivals on top of him, he figured his hopes at an Olympic medal were over.   He couldn’t have been more wrong.  “Here it is my first ever Olympic race, and it starts in the worst possible way,” said the Norwegian, who untangled his legs and his skis from the two Russian competitors he wrecked, grabbed his broken ski pole and stormed up the hill to get back in contention.

Starting from the rear, Krueger passed 63 other skiers to take the lead and win the gold medal on Sunday to cap an amazing comeback.  After Krueger crossed the line in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 20 seconds, he looked to the heavens and repeatedly pumped his fists in the air.

Norway swept the medals, with [Norway’s] Martin Johnsrud Sundby taking silver and [Norway’s] Hans Christer Holund getting bronze.  Sundby said Krueger’s return to the front of the field after crashing is an incredible testament to his perseverance. “I think we have a deserving Olympic champion,” Sundby said.  Holund said he would expect nothing more from a Norwegian skier in a sport they have dominated for years. “When you are skiing for Norway, there are a lot of guys skiing for that right (to participate in the Olympics). You should not give up, especially when you are in the Olympics,” Holund said. “It shows that Simen is a real strong guy — not just physical, but also mental.”

Just seconds after the mass start began and with skiers still bottled up in lines, Krueger appeared to slip in mid-stride and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground.  The two skiers directly behind him — Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russians competing under the Olympic flag — couldn’t stop quick enough and toppled over him in a heap.

Krueger told himself he needed to stay calm. He knew he couldn’t get back the 15 seconds he lost all at once.  It would take patience to get back in the lead pack and still have some energy left at the end of the race. “I had to try to keep those (negative) thoughts away,” Kruger said. “I knew it was going to be extremely hard.”  One of the Norway coaches gave Krueger a new pole — which is legal — shortly after the crash.

Krueger steadily moved through the field and eventually took the lead with 5 kilometers remaining.

On the eighth and final lap, Krueger made what Holund called a “daring move” to pull away from the pack.  He [i.e., Krüger] succeeded with the help of Norwegian teammates, whose plan coming into the race was for a team victory — meaning protecting the leader if he tried to pull away by not letting other top medal contenders like Swiss great Dario Cologna catch up. “If Simen had a seven-second lead and I tried to catch him and Dario was able to stay with me, and then Dario and [I] caught him and Dario has the best finish — that would not look so good for us,” Sundby said. “I think we all agree the plan was good for the Norwegian team.”

[Quoting “AP” / Soobim Im, “Norwegian Skier Simen Hegstad Krueger Crashes Early, Breaks Pole, Still Wins Gold Medal”, USA TODAY SPORTS, posted at https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2018/02/11/norways-krueger-wins-gold-in-skiathlon-after-early-crash/110314870/ (2-11-AD2018); updated ‎2-12-AD2018, 6‎:‎52‎ ‎a.m.]

Martin Sundby (L), Simen Krüger (M), Hans Holund (R)
[photo credit: Westdeutsche Zeitung]

Yet the stakes were even higher – much higher in fact – when two Norwegian patriots employed their superlative skiing skills to save the life of an infant king, Håkon IV Håkonsson, son of Håkon III Sverreson, who was himself son of the Norwegian king Sverre who is lauded within Norway’s modern (albeit unofficial) national anthem, Ja Vi Elsker, as follows:

Dette landet Harald berget med sin kjemperad     [this land Harald united with his host of heroes],
dette landet Håkon verget medens Øyvind kvad     [this land Håkon protected while Øyvind sang];
Olav på det landet malte korset med sitt blod     [upon the land Olaf painted with his blood the cross],
fra dets høye Sverre talte Roma midt imot     [from its heights Sverre spoke up against Rome].

[Quoting Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s anthem, Ja, Vi Elsker Dette Landet, verse 2.]

King Sverre Sigurdsson, a descendant of Norway’s Viking kings Harald Fairhair and Harald Hardrada (as shown in a footnote, below), ruled Norway during the Viking Age’s sunset years, and was constantly engaged in a jurisdictional and theological tourney with the Church of Rome’s ecclesiastical-geopolitical imperialism, providing a foretaste of the centuries-later conflict (of Scandian-Saxon nations with the Church of Rome) that today we call the Protestant Reformation. [See, accord, Karl Jonsson, SAGA OF KING SVERRI OF NORWAY (SVERRISAGA), translated by John Sephton (London: David Nutt, 1899; reprinted 1994 by Llanerch Publishers of Felinfach), at pages 2-233, 235, 237, 239-240, & especially 241-261 (“Anecdoton Sverreri”).

NOTE: “Tusen takk” to Col. John Eidsmoe, for repeatedly educating me regarding the heroic Birkebeiner skiers.]

Throughout King Sverre’s adventurous lifetime and turbulent reign, Sverre faced a fierce and bloody conflict with the Baglers (“Hoodies”, who affiliated with the hood-wearing monks of the Roman church, often allied with Denmark). King Sverre’s opposing faction was called the Birkebeiner (“Birch-legs”), because some of them were so poor that they wrapped and tied birch-bark around their legs as protection against Norway’s snow and cold.(1)

Providentially, King Sverre had studied Christian (and Roman) theology in the school of Kirkjubøur (and in time became an ordained priest) in the Faeroe Islands, before Sverre became Norway’s king (during his 30s).

Consequently, Sverre was not easily intimidated by the theological bluffing, sophistic arguments, or bullying tactics of the Bagler faction’s ecclesiastical “authorities”.

After a long and action-packed reign (from about A.D.1184 to March 9th of A.D.1202), King Sverre was succeeded by his son Håkon III Sverreson. Yet Norway’s king Håkon III survived his father by less than 2 years, due to being treacherously poisoned by his Bagler-affiliated stepmother (dowager queen Margrete Eriksdotter, daughter of Swedish king Eric IX), dying on New Year’s Day of A.D.1204. Håkon III was thus succeeded by his 4-year-old nephew, Guttorm, a grandson of King Sverre, from January to August (of A.D.12024) — then the boy king Guttorm died suddenly, another “inside job” assassination by poison.

Before his own assassination, however, the unmarried King Håkon III Sverreson had fathered an son – also named Håkon (thus Håkon IV Håkonsson) – who was born to Inga of Varteig (Håkon III’s concubine since A.D.1203), during the spring of A.D.1204, only a few months after King Håkon III’s death by poison. Thus King Sverre’s dynasty now hung on the life of his newborn grandbaby – as the rival Bagler faction wanted that royal baby killed!(2)

To make matters worse, baby Håkon IV Håkonsson — who was not yet 2 years old! (during the winter of A.D.1205/1206) — was then in Østfold, a part of Norway controlled by the Baglers, so baby Håkon needed to be safely whisked away to territory controlled by the Birch-legs, protected by a bodyguard of Birch-leg patriots. So the Beinebeiners headed toward Nidaros (i.e., Trondheim), in hopes of finding refuge at the capital city of the new Birkebeiner-allied king, Inge II Bårdson (ruled A.D.1204—A.D.1217) — but the Birch-leg patriots’ mountainous trek was vehemently interrupted by a fierce and prolonged winter blizzard.

photo credit: THE LAST KING (Norway-produced Birkebeiner movie)

Knowing their territorial vulnerability, and with no time to waste, baby Håkon IV was entrusted to the best two skiers, Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka.

Torstein and Skjervald — through hours of blizzard snowstorms — indefatigably carried baby Håkon (for about 5 hours, during daylight hours late winter/early spring) over montane snows from Lillehammer unto Østerdalen, and presented him to King Inge II for safekeeping.  (Håkon IV eventually succeeded King Inge II, in April of A.D.1217, 11 years later).

photo credit: THE LAST KING (Norway-produced Birkebeiner movie)

Those were violent times in Norway! — notice that King Inge immediately followed the truncated reigns of King Håkon III (who ruled less than 2 years) and boy-king Guttorm (who ruled less than 4 months), both of whom intriguing insiders had assassinated by poison.

Nowadays the amazing skiing of Birch-leg heroes Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka, with baby Håkon IV, is memorialized by Norway’s annual skiing event, Birkebeinerrennet (“Birkebeiner race”), a cross-country skiathlon conducted during March – about 35 miles, with contestants carrying a 3.5-kilogram backpack (to approximate the body weight of the not-yet-2-year-old infant Håkon IV).

Norway’s commemorative Birkebeinerrennet skiing event

[photo credit: Faster Skier]

Obviously, Norwegians take their skiing quite seriously.

><> JJSJ profjjsj@aol.com

[photo credit: Leader Telegram]

Lillehammer heraldry

REFERENCES

(1) In Norwegian, “birk” = “birch”;  “bein” = “leg”.

(2) The patrilinear ancestry of Håkon IV Håkonsson traces back to Norway’s famous Viking king Harald Hardrada, and from him back to Norway’s first nationwide king, Harald Fairhair: Harald “Fairhair” begat Sigurd Haraldsson, who begat Halfdan Sigurdsson, who begat Sigurd “Syr” Halfdansson, who begat Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, who begat Olaf “Kyrre” (i.e., “the Peaceful”) Haraldsson, who begat Magnus “Barefoot” Olafsson, who begat Harald “Gilli-Krist” (i.e., “Christ’s servant”) Magnusson, who begat Sigurd “Munn” (i.e., “the Mouth”) Haraldsson, who begat Sverre Sigurdsson, who begat Håkon III Sverreson, who begat Håkon IV Håkonsson [who was later known as Håkon Gamli (i.e., “the Old”) to distinguish him from his own son, Håkon V Håkonsson].  See the 2 genealogical charts on pages 235 & 237 in John Sephton’s translation of Karl Jonsson’s SAGA OF KING SVERRI OF NORWAY (SVERRISAGA), cited above.