Monthly Archives: May 2015

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE NOT SANCTIONED BY THE BIBLE


HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE NOT SANCTIONED BY THE BIBLE

Brother Dillard, This was posted by Religious News Service. Your Comments please: (Bro. C. M.)
Hi, Brother C.M.! Well, well, what a subtle twisting of truth! Lucifer is up to his old tricks. It is reminiscent of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. There is considerable truth in it, but twisted to make a horrible lie. That is what the serpent did in Eden, and what he continues to do today. I shall comment in paragraphs of rebuttal so labeled. I assume the entire article is an exact copy of what appeared in media. The article and my rebuttal appear next.

For those who look to the Bible to restrict marriage to one man and one woman, the primordial source is Genesis 2, the second account of the creation of humanity, in which God forms a man out of the dust and a woman out of the man’s rib. The chapter seems to set up what they now call “biblical marriage,” declaring (in the King James Version), “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

[Rebuttal] The author is knowingly wrong here. The primordial source is Genesis 1. Genesis 2 is indeed an expanded account but one that reveals God (Elohim) in the creation of a different office work (Jehovah-elohim) to deal with fallen mankind. It does indeed set up biblical marriage as it was then and has continued to be for the past 6,000 years or more. Note the affirmation of Jesus about this in Matthew 19:4-6

So how can this account be considered supportive of same-sex marriage?”

[Rebuttal] The answer to this question is simple. It cannot!

For starters, the Hebrew word “adam” that is translated as “man” means “humanity” or “human being” — in the genderless sense that was once common English usage (as in, “man is the measure of all things”). Thus, in Genesis I.26, God says, “Let us make adam (humanity) in our image.” Unlike English, Hebrew differentiates adam from the gendered word for man, ish.”

[Rebuttal] As far as I can presently determine, this paragraph is true, except the author intentionally omits that in Genesis One that it goes on to say that the “adam” (mankind) under consideration is specifically named: “Male and female created He them.” Eve is as much “adam” (Mankind) as Adam was. There was no cause to refer to Adam as “ish” because there was no other male human on earth.

“In Genesis 2, the person we know as Adam is repeatedly identified simply as ha-adam – the human. Thus, Genesis 2.18 has God saying, “It is not good for the human to be alone. I will make a fitting helper for him.” (“Him” because adam is a masculine noun in Hebrew in the same way that nauta — sailor — is a feminine noun in Latin.) Note that God does not say anything about procreation as the reason for instituting this human relationship. Procreation is the order of the day in Genesis 1 (“be fruitful and multiply”), but that injunction has nothing to do with marriage.”

[Rebuttal] The author’s comparison of “adam” and “nauta” is contradictory. The gender of words in ancient languages does not necessarily denote sex. But, “Him” is gender specific. “Sailor” is not. Again, the Genesis Two account is an expanded, more detailed account of Genesis One. It is not contradictory to Genesis One. The “Ish” (Adam) is called “Adam” (mankind) because there was no other human form in existence. Ish (a man) comes into play much later, when there were humans (plural) on the earth. The helper which God would make for Adam is indeed fitting inasmuch as the Hebrew word literally carries the idea of “according to his front.” The purpose is aptly illustrated in electrical connections. It takes a male plug and a female receptacle to transmit electricity. Similarly, in procreation that type of connection is necessary to transmit the species. This terminology can portray nothing less than conjugal relationships of procreation. It is an expanded presentation of what is meant in Genesis One “Be fruitful and multiply.” To say that this has nothing to do with marriage is outright silly. God consistently in every age condemns fornication and adultery.

But what about Genesis 2.24: “Therefore a man shall leave…”? Isn’t that a mandate for “biblical marriage”?

[Rebuttal] Yes it is! A marriage as a civil contract is of recent origin. Biblical marriage consists of mutual agreements and pledges plus a consummation. Such union of a couple is not consummated as a marriage except in the act of sexual intercourse. So it has always been, and so it is presently.

No. Although traditional English translations employ the prescriptive future tense, the Hebrew is simply the descriptive present, now using the gendered ish: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother, and cleaves to his wife, so that they become one flesh.” Genesis 2 is a just-so story, explaining why, at the time it was written, a guy would leave his parents and establish a new marital relationship.

[Rebuttal] The author is wrong again about biblical Hebrew. Yes, English uses tense of verb, but Hebrew does not use tense at all. All action is presented as complete or incomplete. The incomplete verb, as here, is understood as a continuing process. “Therefore shall a man (any man in any age) proceed to leave his father and his mother and (continue) to cleave to his wife.” It is a never-ending process as long as humans remain on the earth in the flesh.

In a word, Genesis 2 is all about the human need for permanent companionship — companionship of an intimate fleshly kind. Whoever wrote it would, I believe, understand exactly what the desire for same-sex marriage is all about — and why it is good.

[Rebuttal] Agreed to the last five words. Moses wrote it under inspiration of God. I am certain he understood quite well the horrendous sin of homosexual co-habitation – but why it is evil. After all, sin is the misuse of anything from its intended purpose.

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Why The Right Is Morally Superior to The Left


Dennis Prager Dennis Prager

Why The Right Is Morally Superior to The Left

May 26, 2015

Most Americans hold either liberal or conservative positions on most matters. In many instances, however, they would be hard pressed to explain their position or the position they oppose.

But if you can’t explain both sides, how do you know you’re right?

At the very least, you need to understand both the liberal and conservative positions in order to effectively understand your own.

I grew up in a liberal world — New York, Jewish and Ivy League graduate school. I was an 8-year-old when President Dwight Eisenhower ran for re-election against the Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson. I knew nothing about politics and had little interest in the subject. But I well recall knowing — knowing, not merely believing — that Democrats were “for the little guy” and Republicans were “for the rich guys.”

I voted Democrat through Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976. He was the last Democrat for which I voted.

Obviously, I underwent an intellectual change. And it wasn’t easy. Becoming a Republican was emotionally and psychologically like converting to another religion.

In fact, when I first voted Republican I felt as if I had abandoned the Jewish people. To be a Jew meant being a Democrat. It was that simple. It was — and remains — that fundamental to many American Jews’ identity.

Therefore, it took a lot of thought to undergo this conversion. I had to understand both liberalism and conservatism. Indeed, I have spent a lifetime in a quest to do so.

The fruit of that quest will appear in a series of columns explaining the differences between left and right.

I hope it will benefit conservatives in better understanding why they are conservative, and enable liberals to understand why someone who deeply cares about the “little guy” holds conservative — or what today are labeled as conservative — views.

Difference No. 1: Is Man Basically Good?

Left-of-center doctrines hold that people are basically good. On the other side, conservative doctrines hold that man is born morally flawed — not necessarily born evil, but surely not born good. Yes, we are born innocent — babies don’t commit crimes, after all — but we are not born good. Whether it is the Christian belief in Original Sin or the Jewish belief that we are all born with a yetzer tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ra (bad inclination) that are in constant conflict, the root value systems of the West never held that we are naturally good.

To those who argue that we all have goodness within us, two responses:

First, no religion or ideology denies that we have goodness within us; the problem is with denying that we have badness within us. Second, it is often very challenging to express that goodness. Human goodness is like gold. It needs to be mined — and like gold mining, mining for our goodness can be very difficult.

This so important to understanding the left-right divide because so many fundamental left-right differences emanate from this divide.

Perhaps the most obvious one is that conservatives blame those who engage in violent criminal activity for their behavior more than liberals do. Liberals argue that poverty, despair, and hopelessness cause poor people, especially poor blacks — in which case racism is added to the list — to riot and commit violent crimes.

Here is President Barack Obama on May 18, 2015:

“In some communities, that sense of unfairness and powerlessness has contributed to dysfunction in those communities. … Where people don’t feel a sense of hope and opportunity, then a lot of times that can fuel crime and that can fuel unrest. We’ve seen it in places like Baltimore and Ferguson and New York. And it has many causes — from a basic lack of opportunity to some groups feeling unfairly targeted by their police forces.”

So, poor blacks who riot and commit other acts of violence do so largely because they feel neglected and suffer from deprivations.

Since people are basically good, their acts of evil must be explained by factors beyond their control. Their behavior is not really their fault; and when conservatives blame blacks for rioting and other criminal behavior, liberals accuse them of “blaming the victim.”

In the conservative view, people who do evil are to be blamed because they made bad choices — and they did so because they either have little self-control or a dysfunctional conscience. In either case, they are to blame. That’s why the vast majority of equally poor people — black or white — do not riot or commit violent crimes.

Likewise, many liberals believe that most of the Muslims who engage in terror do so because of the poverty and especially because of the high unemployment rate for young men in the Arab world. Yet, it turns out that most terrorists come from middle class homes. All the 9/11 terrorists came from middle- and upper-class homes. And of course Osama bin Laden was a billionaire.

Material poverty doesn’t cause murder, rape or terror. Moral poverty does. That’s one of the great divides between left and right. And it largely emanates from their differing views about whether human nature is innately good.

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Dennis Prager’s latest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code,” was published this month by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com.

Copyright 2015 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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Josh Duggar, Atheists, and Pedophiles


Josh Duggar, Atheists, and Pedophiles

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By Tim Dunkin  May 26, 2015 | Comments| Print friendly |

By now, many readers have probably heard about the recent revelation that Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame, has admitted to molesting some young girls a decade ago when he was a teenager. The information about this came out recently when a heavily redacted police report from 2006 was released by In Touch Weekly detailing the incidents. Duggar has since apologized for the acts, even as the scandal has grown and the Duggar’s television show has been pulled from TLC.

I have no interest here in defending Josh Duggar or his family—even though he was a teenager, Josh still committed terrible crimes against several young girls, and it appears that his family was complicit in trying to cover up the series of incidents so that scandal didn’t brew. They all should have faced the consequences for their actions, which would most likely entail jail time, both for the molestation itself as well as the act of interfering with an investigation.  And while I firmly believe that God’s grace can cover all the sins of any who repent, at the same time, Scripture clearly teaches that we must face the earthly consequences of our actions—even when the perpetrator is a professing Christian who has repented and been forgiven. Jesus is not a “get out of jail free” card and treating Him that way for purposes of political expediency is an insult to the Saviour.

However, the radical Left has been making hay of the whole matter. The usual suspects in the internet kookosphere are practically salivating over reporting about the “anti-gay hypocrite” who got caught diddling little girls. Using their usual leaps of illogic, they’re trying to spread the guilt around to implicate all Christians, conservatives, opponents of “gay marriage,” and anyone else deemed an “enemy of progress.”

So it was when I recently came across a discussion on the Facebook feed of some atheist who is friends with a mutual acquaintance, the tenor of the comments was about what I expected. So naturally, I had to jump in. After a couple of go-arounds involving the usual silliness you expect when debating with atheists, I got down to the point and asked a couple of those “armor-piercing” questions that penetrate to the core of the dispute. I simply asked,

  1. Could any of them come up with a moral or ethical argument against child molestation that doesn’t ultimately derive from a biblical, Christian origin?
  2. If Josh Duggar were an atheist, could we credibly say that he was a “hypocrite” for having molested those girls?

 

Atheists purport to derive their own morality, and one which is “better” than Judeo-Christian moral views

The discussion following that was rather desultory, and neither of the questions were actually answered. One fellow tried to answer the first question by essentially arguing that atheists could argue against child molestation simply because it’s wrong—a rather circular line of reasoning that did nothing to actually answer the question (after all, WHY, apart from the common Christian heritage that still undergirds our culture, is it wrong?). My second inquiry was basically left untouched.

This exercise exhibits why trying to use “opportunities” like this so often backfires on atheists, and why atheists end up being one of the most disliked groups of people in the country. Atheists purport to derive their own morality, and one which is “better” than Judeo-Christian moral views, yet when you get down to the steel under the concrete, you find that atheists are merely scavenging parts of the common Judeo-Christian morality that has been a part of our country from its founding. One disputant, trying to draw the discussion away from atheism’s reliance upon Judeo-Christian morals and ethics, attempted to make the argument that you could argue against child molestation because of what it says in Hammurabi’s Code of Laws (ca. 1800 BC). But, unless she was raised on that particular document, or on the Roman Twelve Tables or some other ancient document, by her parents and within those cultures, she can’t make that case. If she was raised in American culture, then her moral ideas are largely distilled from biblical sources.

The second question, however, is the real problem for atheists. While the biblical record—the Law, the Gospels, and so forth – clearly teach against incest, clearly condemn fornication and uncleanness (of which molestation would form a part), clearly teaches the Lord Jesus Christ’s concern for the purity and faith of children, there simply is no independent atheistic ethic or moral against child molestation. Now mind you, I’m not saying that all atheists are positively for it, but without relying on Judeo-Christian morals, they can’t really make an independent case against it.

That’s why you can’t say that an atheistic Josh Duggar would be a hypocrite. To term someone a “hypocrite” requires that this person has held to some moral standard and then that they failed to meet it. Someone who doesn’t have any standards can’t be a hypocrite, however. What were they failing to meet?

But the problem extends further than the simple deficiencies of atheistic moral principles. We are increasingly seeing efforts to “normalize” pedophilia in this country, and the main impetus for this movement is coming from the decidedly secular side of the divide in this nation. While not all atheists are pushing for the mainstreaming of “adult-child relationships,” those who are pushing for this are mostly atheists and secularists.

There was a furor a couple of years ago when Richard Dawkins, one of the more prominent “New Atheists” who has taken the offensive against theism,appeared to be defending “mild pedophilia” because it “does no lasting harm.”  Peter Singer, the Princeton “ethicist” who has elsewhere argued for abortion up to the age of three years (i.e. toddler-killing), stated that “I don’t have intrinsic moral taboos. My view is not that anything is just wrong…” when he was asked by a reporter if he thought pedophilia was wrong. He then proceeded to explain that he is a “consequentialist,” which essentially means that if you like the consequences of your actions, then they are right, and if you don’t, then they’re not (the quintessence of the moral relativism that many atheists swear up and down that they don’t hold to).

Historically, other prominent atheists have been involved in seeking to normalize child molesting perversion, and homosexuals have been prominent among that community. Harry Hay, who advocated for statutory rape as well as pedophilia, was prominent in the American atheist community prior to his death in 2012. David Thorstad, a homosexual atheist, founded NAMBLA. Larry Kramer, who founded the well-known homosexual activist group ACT-UP, wrote in his book, Report from the Holocaust: the Making of an AIDS Activist,

In those instances where children do have sex with their homosexual elders, be they teachers or anyone else, I submit that often, very often, the child desires the activity, and perhaps even solicits it.”

An article in a 1995 issue of the homosexual Guide magazine stated,

We can be proud that the gay movement has been home to the few voices who have had the courage to say out loud that children are naturally sexual and…deserve the right to sexual expression with whoever they choose…Instead of fearing being labeled pedophiles, we must proudly proclaim that sex is good, including children’s sexuality…we must do it for the children’s sake.”

Remember, these are the folks that the Boy Scouts are all set to start letting into the tent with your sons.

“Mainstream” sources on the Left have increased the frequency with which they have been advocating for the normalization of pedophilia

Unfortunately, even “mainstream” sources on the Left have increased the frequency with which they have been advocating for the normalization of pedophilia, seeking to classify it as an “orientation” or a “disorder,” rather than a perversion and a sick crime. It’s almost as if secular society is actively looking for any and all taboos that it can overturn, no matter how filthy or perverse. I suppose we should be thankful they haven’t started trying to “normalize” bestiality yet. Oh wait.

To the extent that there is an authentic, genuine secularist/atheistic morality and ethics, it is this—if you like the results, then it is moral and ethical. If it feels good, do it. And it is the results of this morality and ethics that provide the real proof in the pudding vis-√†-vis Judeo-Christian biblical morality. The atheists can waste their time passing around their lists of “One Billion and One Big Buy-Bull Contradikshuns!!!!” and they can jabber on and on as much as they would like about God commanding the destruction of the Amalekites or instituting temporary debt-servitude in the Old Testament. But when you get to the end of the day, Christians were the ones fighting to end the gladiatorial games and chattel slavery and the like, while secularists and atheists are the ones today arguing for gay marriage and pedophilia and the rest of the sorry mess of perversion to which our society has been giving ear. If this is going to be the direction taken by the shiny secular society of the future, then I really, really can’t wait for Oswald Spengler’s “second religiousness” to come into its own.

So while Josh Duggar may be a hypocrite who needs to face up to the consequences of his actions, the radical “freethinker” community is really the last group of people who have any business pointing it out.

Tim Dunkin — Bio and Archives

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More Like the Master


Wordwise Hymns

Graphic Bob and Christmas Book (2)HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church.

Words: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (b. Aug. 18, 1856; d. Sept. 15, 1932)
Music: Charles Hutchinson Gabriel

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Another gospel song writer, George Stebbins, called Gabriel “the…

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Why Pamela Geller Is Hated


Dennis Prager Dennis Prager

Why Pamela Geller Is Hated

May 19, 2015

Pamela Geller — the woman whose group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, organized the Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas — may be the most hated person in America right now. She is certainly the left’s chief villain. And, sad to say, though few conservatives hate her, more than a few have condemned her.

The question is why?

Here are three reasons.

Reason One: The left Hates Those Who Confront Evil

The first and most important reason is a rule of life that I wrote about in a recent column explaining the left’s hatred for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

Those who don’t fight evil hate those who do.

This is a defining characteristic of the American left. That is why the left loathed President Ronald Reagan for labeling the Soviet Union an “evil empire:” He judged and confronted Communism, the greatest evil in the world after World War II.

Today, the world’s greatest evil is Islamism (the movement to impose Islam and its Sharia on society). Just as the left loathed anti-Communists, it loathes anti-Islamists, chief among whom is Netanyahu, the prime minister of the country that the Islamists most hate, the country that most confronts violent Islam — and not coincidentally the country the international left most hates.

But the left hates anti-Islamists generally, not just Netanyahu. They have successfully demonized anti-Islamists and even critics of Islam as “Islamophobes,” meaning anti-Muslim “bigots” and “haters.” Pamela Geller is now chief among them.

Reason Two: Moral Confusion

Geller and her group are widely labelled as “haters” and “Islamophobes” for caricaturing Muhammad. But the highly successful producers of the hit Broadway show that mocks Mormonism, “The Book of Mormon,” are not labelled “haters,” let alone “Mormon-phobes”. Similarly, the “artist” who created “Piss Christ,” the infamous photograph of a crucifix in a jar of his urine, is also not labeled a hater or a “Christiano-phobe.”

Why is that? Because neither Christianity nor Mormonism produces evil that needs to be fought. The Muslim world, however, is producing tens of thousands of murderers and millions more sympathizers; and those who criticize Islam and confront Islamism are hated because those who don’t fight evil hate those who do.

Another example of moral confusion is that Geller is accused of “provoking” Islamists to murder people. Even some conservatives have taken this position.

To best show this poorly reasoned logic, let’s imagine that some Mormons murdered members of the audience and some of the actors at a performance of “The Book of Mormon.” Who do you think The New York Times editorial page would have blamed — the producers of the show that mocked Mormonism (for “provoking” the murderers) or the Mormon murderers? The murderers, of course. Again, imagine that some Christians had murdered museum curators at whose museums “Piss Christ” had been displayed. Would the Times editorial page have blamed the “artist,” Andres Serrano, and the museum curators (for “provoking” the Christian murderers) or the Christian murderers?

Reason Three: Lack of Courage

America calls itself, in the final words of the National Anthem, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This description no longer applies — not only to the left-wing intellectual and media elite but also to the increasingly large segment of the American people that the left has influenced. Many Americans no longer cherish freedom as Americans always have and too many exhibit little courage.

Contrast American reactions to Pamela Geller with European reactions to Charlie Hebdo. After Islamists murdered 12 editors and writers of the Charlie Hebdo staff, millions of French citizens gathered to protest the murders and announce “Je suis Charlie.” There were very few French voices blaming Charlie Hebdo for “provoking” the murderers, or for being “haters.” And, it is worth noting, some of the caricatures of Muhammad published in the French magazine were truly obscene — unlike the caricatures produced by Pamela Geller’s contest which, so far as I’ve seen, were only caricatures and cartoons.

Likewise the month after the Charlie murders, courageous Danes organized a public event called “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression” to show support for Charlie Hebdo and for freedom of speech. That “provoked” an Islamist to murder two people and wound five police officers that day and the next. But Danes supported the organizers of the event.

And a German newspaper was firebombed after republishing some of the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons.

But in America, there were no comparable demonstrations on behalf of Pamela Geller. Instead, there were widespread condemnations. The New York Times editorial page even denied that her cartoon contest was done on behalf of freedom of speech. And hundreds of left-wing members of PEN, the worldwide writers’ organization dedicated to freedom of speech, vehemently protested the decision of the American chapter of PEN to give its Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo.

This combination — of the steep moral decline of the American left; the inability of too many Americans to reason morally; and the greater value increasingly placed on protecting (certain) people’s feelings than on protecting freedom of speech — is why a woman who did nothing more than organize a contest to draw cartoons of Muhammad may be the most reviled American alive.

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Dennis Prager’s latest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code,” was published this month by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com.

Copyright 2015 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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Today in 1856 – Mary Brown Born


Wordwise Hymns

Mary Haughton Brown was born in Canada. She later taught school in Connecticut for many years, as well as working in the Sunday School. She died in the influenza pandemic of 1918. She has given us the opening stanza of one gospel song. (Charles Edward Prior added two more.) Originally called Go, Stand and Speak (after the words of Acts 5:20), we know it now as I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.

Carrie Esther Parker Rounsefell wrote the tune. A tiny woman who lived in Boston, she traveled around in evangelistic work, accompanying her singing on a zither or autoharp. One day she was given the words of this song, and she immediately improvised the tune that is still used.

If you check the various rendings of the song on YouTube, you will see that words and tune are almost always claimed as a “Mormon hymn,”…

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Atheist Professor Becomes Christian.


James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

ord

Dr. Holly Ordway has published a book titled Not God’s Type, telling her personal story. She begins “I had never in my life said a prayer, never been to a church service. Christmas meant presents and Easter meant chocolate bunnies–nothing more.” But her views get hardened: “In college, I absorbed the idea that Christianity was historical curiosity, or a blemish on modern civilization, or perhaps both. My college science classes presented Christians as illiterate anti-intellectuals who, because they didn’t embrace Darwinism, threatened the advancement of knowledge. My history classes omitted or downplayed references to historical figures’ faith.” Still later, “At thirty-one years old, I was an atheist college professor–and I delighted in thinking of myself that way. I got a kick out of being an unbeliever; it was fun to consider myself superior to the unenlightened, superstitious masses, and to make snide comments about Christians.” (p.15-16)

Ordway was a trained…

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The World’s Toughest Job


The World’s Toughest Job.

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