Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, September 21, 2007

Orwellian Magic

I wonder if I have this right. Iraqi leaders want the US State Department headed by Condi Rice to find a new security company to guard their diplomats in Iraq because the current contractor somehow mysteriously wound up shooting to death somewhere between eight and twenty people in downtown Baghdad last weekend. So according to The Guardian, September 20, 2007:
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who is on a trip to the Middle East, told journalists that she wanted to "work with the Iraqi government to make certain that this sort of thing doesn't happen".
Now forgive me for this, Condi, but that doesn't seem like an appropriate statement. Maybe you should have said make certain that this sort of thing doesn't happen again, thus admitting that it actually did happen this time. That's appropriate. But it would at this stage of the game be magic to make what has happened disappear so that your version of this statement would make some sense.
But maybe it's a misquote. Or maybe it's just me since I suspect that the White House is working overtime right now trying to find a way to make this incident go away, vanish from our collective memory in a truly Orwellian backflip. It's happened plenty of times before.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Every once in awhile I cuss. Usually there's something unusual that provokes it, something unusually disturbing. It seems unusual to me that of all the things I could do to earn eternity in Hell, cussing is one of the big ones. Christians are supposed to believe that cussing blasphemes God. You know, "Don't take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." That's even one of the Ten Commandments. It's a biggie!!
I've always been suspicious of that. I'm not suspicious of the seriousness of that commandment. It makes sense that this taking the name of the Lord in vain could be a significant deterrent to having a close relationship with the true God. What I am saying is that cussing isn't what that commandment is talking about. Despite the best efforts of "Christians" to make it appear that God was instructing His people not to cuss, I think He was saying something else completely, something far more significant, something Bible thumping Christians do all the time and don't want to admit is wrong.
Cursing and swearing are words that the Bible uses to mean something other than what we call cussing. A curse is when spiritual power is used to make something evil happen to someone. Swearing means making a pledge using the name of God to back it up. Neither of these uses refers to cussing. The Bible warns against using spiritual power for evil means. It also warns against making pledges in the name of God. Both of these things are serious offenses but both are things that Christians do routinely.
Strong's Concordance gives a clue in the definition of the word "vain" as it is used in the commandment. Strong's defines that word (Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary word number 7723) as false (-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense then to think of that commandment as God telling his people not to use the Lord's name in a self-serving lie? In other words, don't say that God supports something that is selfish, something He doesn't actually support? For example, don't claim that God wants America to be a strong imperial power. Another example might be don't claim that God commanded his people not to cuss, not to use profanity. Was profanity an issue when the Israelites were being led by Moses to the Promised Land? Was that the reason for that commandment? It doesn't seem likely.
Using that commandment to demonize cussing simply masks the real meaning. Masking the real message in the Bible uses God's name in vain.