“Loving Thy Neighbour” – Pure Hypocrisy ?

The reason that ignorant or evil men
so haughtily abuse the Bible;
the reason that multitudes
find licence on a Sunday Morning
for festive religious antics,

is that people read a text from the old Bible
and make no effort whatsoever
to find out to whom the writer is speaking.

This is done by going to the beginning of any epistle,
and taking note of the salutation made by the apostle;
or noting what precedes the words being considered.

In the case of “Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself”
it is essential to note the Qualifier to the statement

– the type of person to whom it is directed:

“… love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind.”

Only THEN comes –

“… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

In such a person, the second part of the admonition
will have little difficulty in following the first.

This text of biblical instruction is quite clearly given to those
whose daily course of life and thinking
is directed towards God – and NOT towards furthering
their own vanity.

Those who PROPERLY seek their own good,
do NOT permit themselves excesses that are detrimental:

they will not inflict injury to themselves;
they will not gorge themselves on food, or drink, or excess
which will make them sick or damage their health;

they will exercise discretion
with regard to what is Good for them,
and what is (ultimately) Bad for them.

In other words, sober-minded, conscientious people
will be very careful about what they do
to their own minds and bodies.

“… as thyself.”

That same discretionary conduct
that a God-fearing man or woman uses
for their own well-being —
is to be directed equally, to our ‘neighbour’.

It Is NOT – as the eyelid-fluttering modernist would have it,
a command to overlook and ignore Evil;
or countenance behaviour which is selfish, malicious, careless;
or borne of apathy and laziness.

“Hey, neighbour, I should not have cursed
and screamed at you yesterday.”
“Oh, that’s all right.” comes the often-heard response.

NO — It is not “all right”.

A suitable reply might be,
“I am very glad to receive your apology”,
or, “I am relieved to hear you say that”.

“Love thy neighbour as thyself”
means that you treat a neighbour
as you would treat yourself:

happy and content to receive humble and reasonable conduct;
but reproving any and all excesses of greed or vanity.

You do not condone Evil, for the sake of (so-called) “Peace”.
To do that is to sanction and encourage evil
– in yourself or in someone else.

If you love someone, you do not stand idly by
and let them harm anyone else out of malice or selfishness.

( Many, these days, will –
but I earnestly hope that You would not. )

You love your fellow man according to the conduct of character
that he displays of himself.

You do not love a sadistic, brutal, vicious abuser
of other human beings.

Common Sense, surely ???

And yet, Common Sense is something that –
over the past thirty years of “Do not judge” humanism,
has all-but vanished from the human race.

You “love” such an individual by setting a moral example to him;
and making it as plain as suitably possible that you do NOT
condone his brutality. [ ie: the editorial on “Shunning” ]

You may forgive or overlook minor flaws through ignorance
( whilst still always setting the example of proper conduct
or knowledge to him ) – as you would in yourself;

but anything that arises from intentional ridicule or abuse,
No. That is NOT ‘alright’ or ‘okay’.

You love that person enough to tell him or her
that that remark, or behaviour is NOT agreeable to you.

You love a person “as yourself” when you do Not
ignore or despise them
because they either are not as refined as you;
or because they excel you in moral qualities.

Over the last thirty-five years, people
have declared themselves to be my … “friend”, who –
once they realise that my life is not spent
in the pursuit of trivial entertainment or novelties,
suddenly vanish — completely:

they cease having anything more to do with me.

I make them, a few have told me – “uncomfortable”.

“Your standards are too high” said a woman last May,
whose acquaintance with me had only been fleeting:
through our garden and nursery.

People who made appointments
or expressed an enthusiastic desire
to visit our nursery or gardens in 2013

… once a Facebook Page was put in place,
and they saw that we were “Plain Folk”
– ( Christians who lived what they professed ) –

failed to show – ever;
or even tell us that they were not planning
on keeping the appointment that they made.

The hypocrisy of people who would spout
“Love thy neighbour” at the drop of a hat –
until such times as they discovered
that you were a thorn in their own conscience,
is characteristic of ‘religious’ multitudes.

“Equal Rights for all” — unless that person
has a higher moral centre or conduct than me:
then, I want nothing to do with him —
is the observable conduct of people on the whole.

In such a case, one hopes that such people will return
with some form of apology, however circuitous;
upon which, they are readily forgiven
and peace and fellowship may begin, or be restored.

That – is to “love thy neighbour”.

Esteem people better than yourself – until they open their mouths
and reveal a decided lack of character. Even then,
one is not to be malicious, or treat them with contempt;
but maintain an example of sober-minded decency,
and hope to win them through your own example.

You do not despise those who wrong you,
but hope earnestly
that they will be smitten by their own conscience;
and will seek your friendship and company as a result.

“Loving others” does NOT mean
being a doormat for them to wipe their feet upon.

‘Tuning the other cheek’ does not mean condoning Evil.

The Lord Jesus Christ challenged the evil
when he was notably struck in the face:

“… one of the officers which stood by
struck Jesus with the palm of his hand …
Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil
bear witness of the evil;
but if well, why smites thou me ?”

There are limits – biblical limits, too.

Even then, it is an honourable mentality to
“count him not as an enemy,
but admonish him as a brother.”

What is the daily conduct of a genuine Christian ?

It is hard to improve upon the general summary given here:

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works;
in doctrine shewing uncorruptness,
gravity, sincerity,
sound speech, that cannot be condemned;

that he that is of the contrary part
may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”

( The last few lines presume a moral conscience which,
in this day and age, is a rare thing to find.
Your responsibility, however, is to do the right thing
and to leave the evil man to face God
on the certain Day of Judgment. )

Love thy neighbour means wanting the best
for every man and woman
within the same discretionary bounds as one uses
for his own well-being.

For those who have been malicious or evil, it means
being hopeful for, and always willing to receive,
an apology for past disgraceful conduct.

Remembering

( and never – as the self-venerating world would have it,
“forget and move on” )

one’s own shameful conduct and poor decisions,
is the best method, I believe,
for overlooking the indiscretions of others.

I can hate myself – very readily …

I hate the memory of every time that I spoke foolishly
or behaved selfishly with any other person in my life.

I would be mortified and filled with remorse to learn
that I had slighted any person: far from finding
any satisfaction in such a thing,
I would be deeply distressed to hear of it.

Human beings make mistakes out of emotion
or thoughtlessness. The honour comes
in recognising the fact and apologising,
or accepting apologies – as the situation dictates.

That person is not evil because he has insulted you;
but he is evil if he insults many:

there is a vast difference between occasional failings
that are ‘out of character’ –
and a regular course of selfishness and contempt of others.

One does not Condone or Excuse Evil,
but hopes for, prays about,
and is ever ready to forgive evil or injury upon,
an offender’s genuine and heartfelt repentance.

To IGNORE any one who sends an overture of friendship
and good will,
is to reveal the depths of bitterness and selfishness
that reside in my own heart.

In such a case, the one who has ‘wronged’ me,
now becomes the one who is being Wronged
By Me.

Genuinely desiring the best for a person,
and doing one’s best to overcome – using wisdom,
discretion, and refusing to ignore evil –
all contrary obstacles,

That, I would suggest, is what it means
to “Love thy neighbour”.

P Livingstone

Narrow-Minded …

Narrow-minded.
Always Complaining.
Never a good word to say about anything.

What a wonderful world this is.

“You are Perfect, just the way you are !”
has been the mantra for the last thirty years or more;
and the results are self evident.

No one has anything to learn;
No improvement to make;
Nothing that they should be doing differently.

Alas, I was not imbued at birth
with the Perfection that now typifies people
of all ages, throughout the ‘civilised’ world.

I am not perfect.
And I am just arrogant enough to imagine
that there may well be a FEW other people
left in the world who are … Not Perfect either,
just like me.

The Internet is like a pair of balances –

a moveable horizontal arm
with two saucer-shaped dishes hanging from thin chains;
the weight to be measured is placed in one dish,
and measured weights added on the other,
until the arm is once again horizontal.

Only with the Internet, the dish that contains
the self esteem of modern humanity,
is touching the tabletop;

while the other dish with the weight
of discernment and moderation,
sits aloft, all-but empty.

To state that the content of the Internet
is ‘skewed’ to the hedonistic,
is to state the matter lightly.

This Internet site – outrageously,
seeks to add a bit of weight to the dish
that has next to nothing in it
… for anyone who might also discern that things
are very much out of balance.

I used to believe that when people got older,
they began to regret the time they wasted –
with ‘partying’ … and ‘TV’ … and mindless,
empty amusements that kept them
from having a life that actually mattered:
that stood for something other than
the pursuit of things and easy living.

Hearing and reading the comments of older folk
on the Internet, I see that that is not true at all.

If anything the 60- and 70- years olds
are complaining that they did not get enough
‘partying’, ‘travelling’, and entertaining in;
and now want to dedicate the rest of their years
to cramming as much “fun” into life, as they can:
the same hedonistic aspirations
that they had as teenagers.

What was the old Puritan sentiment ?

“Many spend their lives getting an estate;
and leave it to their children –

who go to hell enjoying that estate.”

There are three times in life, when strangers
have focussed my mind,
wakened me to an unpleasant reality,
and even changed my personality.

The first was in 1969: We had just returned to school
in September, and the teacher – on the first day of class
said:

“Well boys and girls, we hear that the astronauts
went to the moon; how exciting.

And did you see – they went into space
… and there was no God there.”

She had not drawn breath after that statement
when little Philip Livingstone with his blonde curly hair
and baby face said:

“That’s not right, Miss! God is further than space !”

Poor Philip – was told to go to the headmaster’s office,
where he had to wait
until his Mum and Dad came to pick him up.

[ Funnily enough, at the end of that year,
we were moving away from the area,
and I would no longer be attending that school.
On the Last Day, I was walking to the cloakroom
when that same teacher called out to me.

Going into her classroom,
I stood beside her desk as she sat down in her chair.
From the pocket of her cardigan, she produced an envelope
and handed it to me.
“That’s for you to open in the car.
I hope you like your new home”, she said.

I thanked her, got my coat,
and took the envelope home,
where I handed it to my mother.

She opened the envelope …
read and then handed me, a little note
which said something to the effect of:
‘For your journey. Mrs B—-‘

Inside the envelope was £5. In 1970,
not an inconsiderable sum for a schoolboy.

That ‘September sermon’ of mine,
must have touched that teacher’s heart
after all. ]

In 1981, my world and personality shattered
when I was tossed out into the trash heap
of a beloved girlfriend’s life.

Even relating the mental and emotional torment,
saw not the slightest trace of compassion –
There was no – “I am sorry you took it so badly;
I never meant to hurt you like that.” – Nothing.

It made me vow to never treat people
like disposable trash; to speak out of concern,
and leave the consequences to God.

If people chose to keep me at a distance,
( or have nothing to do with me ) for having integrity,
that would be their choice; not mine.

Most importantly – a human being,
all-too-capable of failure,
I would never hesitate to beg forgiveness
of anyone I have wronged.

But it was the third time in life,
that I encountered a stranger
whose identity I never knew.

In the 1960’s, our home was
what could best be described as a “Puritan” household.
We were a family that lived as biblically-centred
as people could. At 12, I was reading from the
‘easier’ of the Puritans.

( I would be shocked, later, when, in 1979,
my Dad took us to an at-least-conservative,
but-bordering-on-the Pentecostal church,
strictly so that my brother and I could
make friends with people our own age. )

Growing up, there was never much said
of the Protestant Reformation and
– apart from John Calvin – I simply grew up
contentedly imagining these academics
as men who were ‘too intellectual’ for me.

A collector of old theological books,
I had finished scouring the musty shelves of a Dutch bookseller,
when I noticed a little ‘booklet’ – no cover, and just – well,
a very ‘cheap’ affair. A few bits of change from my pocket
added it to the volumes I took home that day.

I remember, some time later, settling into bed,
the rain hammering on the window, and opening
that little paper book.

I was shocked. What was this ?

The atrocious Webster spelling made the man American;
the writing noted (to the effect that) he had no “qualification”,
just a conscience … other than that, there was nothing about him.
If there was a name on the cover, I cannot say that I noticed it.

This plain, American man was … “railing” … about ‘Mr Calvin’,
and ‘Mr Luther’ … and ‘Mr Zwingli’.

He wrote about Calvin doing nothing to prevent the burning of Servetus
– the (real) discoverer of the human circulatory system.

He wrote of Zwingli, in Zurich, torturing people on the rack;
of drowning a man for insisting that baptism was by immersion only.

I must say, I was mildly outraged at this man’s obvious
out-of-context mis-understanding of these Protestant Reformers.

It was all a bit much.

I read three-quarters and – really now ! – had had
as much of these assertions as I could take.

I remember how … Uncomfortable … this man’s
cheap little booklet made me feel.

Lying there in bed, I gripped the book between my forefinger
and middle finger … and sent it – ( gently ) –
swishing across the room to land in the corner.

There was one chap who clearly mis-informed.
With that, I turned out the light, and went to sleep.

I remembered that book the following afternoon
and went into the bedroom to pick it up
to deliver it to the bin.

It had been most unlike me to ‘litter’ like that.

Still – it WAS an annoying collection of assertions.

I looked down at the booklet … ‘flapped’ it several times
against my other hand, and headed for the kitchen.

The thing was, I never made it out of the room.
At the door, I stopped; looked at that insulting little book
written by that arrogant American Nobody …

and put it back on the bedside table.

In fact, I put it back on the bedside table and made
exaggerated motions of “smoothing it out”.

As the evening passed, I could not get that thing out of my head.
I was in bed by nine, and determined to ‘have it out’
with this man and his brazen pronouncements.

There was no Internet then,
but I made use of the historical library’s large volumes.

It was hard to glean the depth of information that I needed;
but what I could glean … made me believe that man,
his booklet, and everything he said.

Within a year, I was taking up where that man left off.

I had to hang my head, and confess that
“The Protestant Reformers” had been, for me
… Untouchable. And Why ?

Because that was the opinion-by-osmosis
that I had formed in my young life.

That Man — that Narrow-Minded, Brazen Nobody —
woke me up to the very lessons that I had been learning
all my life up to that point:

The duplicity – the hypocrisy – of people.

And the ability – like that teacher of mine,
to admit when I was wrong … and say Thank You.

What that Man said, was ‘hard to take’.

But I did. I did ‘take it’.

And I am exceedingly grateful that he had the
… ‘arrogance’ … to wake me up,
and take my head out of the clouds of presuming
that my past assumption was The Truth.

So … when I composed articles for
theforgottenbible.org – in 2002;

or made attempts to ‘relate’ to the world at large,
as I did, here, in 2012;

or return this site – and myself – now,
to the way it was previously,

I am well aware that not one in a thousand
will find anything but “offence” in these words;

but I never forget the people – just like me –
who have written to tell me that what they read
bothered them …

… and then “changed my life”,
or answered deep questions that they had;
or explained, “I have attended church for 20 years
– and knew something was wrong;
I just did not know what, until now.”

That Unknown American Man changed me.
And I have changed people.
And for that, I am exceedingly thankful.

Am I “Narrow-minded” ?

As I have said often enough,
Provided you frighten, intimidate, or harm
no animal, child, or peaceful adult –
you live your life.

Worship the Modernist god; no God;
worship ‘science’; or trees; or marble statues:
you will give an account one day (I believe)
for the way that you have spent the time given you
in this world.

I offer thoughts for (some) people to consider.

Narrow Minded ?

In matters of Biblical Christianity,
and Human Moral Decency in this World –

You better believe it.

I care far too much about people
to sit idly by and say nothing,
while they squander the time given them in this world
in the pursuit of vanity, greed;
feel-good religion, and mindless entertainment.

And there just may be one person, still to visit,
who might be ‘bothered’ enough
by what they read
to summon the moral fortitude
to pause, and consider, and seek out
the Old Paths that are presented here.

P Livingstone

Atheist’s Guide: Discerning the Christian

Though the hell-hounds of Satan’s kennels
tear at each other,
yet, they will always join together in a pack,
to prey upon the Redeemed in this world.

Since the modern masses (from atheists to evangelicals)
use the Internet
to spew invective and violence
at those who are God-fearing and peaceful –

I thought it only fair and reasonable
that a Plain and thoroughly ‘old fashioned’ Christian man

might be permitted to present a few thoughts
to those who are fair and reasonable themselves.

What the world at large seems not to realise is that,
not all who claim to be ‘Christians’ … truly are;
the hypocritical conduct of religious multitudes reflects
– not on God … or the Bible … or biblical Christianity –

but on the questionable character of the person
who is raging in a temper;
displaying haughty self-importance;
or belittling the character of a gentle man or woman.

Note:

The vicious man
who wants to beat an animal,
will ALWAYS find a stick.

The thoughts below are intended to be read
by those who are neither Christian, nor Vicious,
and I trust that they may be of some practical use.

CHRISTIANS ( The Real Kind )

“Of your own selves shall men arise …”

In the Christian realm, the method employed by Satan
to deceive and destroy is – not through open violence,
but by means of subtle deception:

he counterfeits – presents a surrogate;
a Substitute that CLAIMS to be ‘Christian’
– but brings about the very opposite result.

The conduct and lifestyle of the hypocrite
will usually divulge him to be nothing more
than a “cleaned-up” ( ie. non-cursing ) lover
of the same things that captivate the masses
who profess no faith at all.

The desire for ease, and to be entertained,
will almost always be predominant.

Because they are their own god;
they will be personally offended – very easily.

Aggression, name-calling, excuses, and the ridicule
of godly men and women,
are as much a part of their character,
as they are of those who despise God.

The Christian, on the other hand,
will have the qualities that are exemplified
by Christ in the Bible; they are …

1. Humility

Pride, and a spirit of contention with anyone who is ‘different’,
are no hallmark of a Christ-like soul.

2. Meekness

A contentedness with any situation;
behaving with dignity as a representative of Christ,
in whatever condition arises.

3. Sober-mindedness

The sober-minded man or woman is constantly discerning;
– judging righteous judgment – in order not to be carried away
by every fanciful word, notion, or money-making scheme
of conniving men and women.

The Christian will believe Slowly – that is to say,
will not accept the glossy performance
of every religious showman who claims to be a ‘pastor’,
preacher, or teacher; ‘Reverend’, Professor, or Theologian.

He will faithfully withstand those who denigrate God
– while deluding and seducing followers –
with a counterfeit Christianity.

People imitate something, because they love it !

In the old Bible, God saves his people
FROM sin and the Ways of the World;

he does not save his people
to IMITATE sin and the Ways of the World.

4. Reverence in Worship –

“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints;
and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”

Reverence when (supposedly) coming into the presence of God
is a concept that the smug modernist dismisses in an instant:

‘We are not meant to be like ‘they’ were in the Old Testament”
is the usual excuse for the carnival atmosphere
and social club informality of the modern masses.

For them, God is “Relevant” … God changes with the times.

The Bible, on the other hand, says quite another thing:
“I am the Lord, I change not …”
is the notion that God has of himself.

( One of them, by the way … is Wrong. )

True worship denotes adoration, veneration.

This means that one is humble and lowly,
and bereft of any sense of complacency or ‘equality’
when approaching the object of worship.

This places an immediate check to the brash
presumption that characterises “worship”
in the modern Age.

Biblical worship is done with a contrite heart:
a heart rid of all desire for self-pleasing frivolity.

A Christian will refuse to elevate himself
( by unholy presumption ) above Moses, Joshua,
Ezekiel, the leper, John, or the ‘four and twenty elders’
who ‘fell on their faces’ in humility.

Biblical worship is done “in spirit” –
That is, it is not done in the carnal sensuality
of pleasing the emotions.

The VERY Characteristic that Christ used
to expose the religious hypocrites around him,

is PRECISELY the chief hallmark of modern “worshippers”
– they made a display of ‘outward’ things –
grandiose cathedrals … extravagant ‘churches’
… crowd-pleasing, public performances;

but ‘inside’ they were not washed from their filthiness.

This display of outward entertainment,
and eye-and-ear-pleasing performances
is PRECISELY what DEFINES so-called ‘worship’
that is directed towards pleasing and attracting men and women.

Those who are ‘of the earth’
love the things of the earth.

Their ‘worship’ is pagan – sensual,
appealing to the senses;
gratifying to pride and emotions.

Mary washed the feet of Jesus – with her tears:
It is an attitude that is at utter variance
with the light-hearted frivolity of “worship” in the present day.

5. Discernment [ Where the things of God are concerned ]

The genuine Christian notes that he or she
is, in the New Testament age, a ‘priest’ of God –

BUT recalls that, before the Old Testament priest
entered the Holy of Holies,
he first washed at the laver.

The Christian knows that he cannot trust his own heart,
but must be ever vigilant – against himself
and his own lusts and vanity.

A Christian will not continue in any course of deception:
his conscience will not allow it.

And as deception will not flow from a Christian;
it will never knowingly be received by him.

False doctrine, false ‘bibles’ false ‘worship’ –
anything that elevates man
and places him closer to a ‘level’ with God,

is an offense to the Christian – who will turn from it,
and calmly, and quietly … Walk Away.

Show the Hypocrite his error, and he will
be offended, argue, and vent every excuse
under the sun.

Show a Christian his error and –
( while he may need a night to think it through, )
– he will earnestly thank you for it.

A Christian has far too much respect for God
to condone anything, much less practice anything,
that is a presumptuous dishonouring of God.

Never forget that Abel
… was murdered by Cain,

who professed to worship the same God
as his brother.

Pride serves Self – Never God.

“This people honoureth me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.”

People may convince others;
and fool themselves with their hypocrisy:
but they will never deceive God.

And they need not deceive you.

Ignorance and outrage done in the name – The Name !
of “Christianity” have nothing whatsoever to do
with biblical Christianity; or the God of the Bible.

Remember that, in this conceited age of the “Instant Expert”,
there are Christians who are immature:
who may yet have much to learn,
and who may speak inadvisably – foolishly:

who will, one day, be ashamed to remember
their past conduct.

“To this man will I look, even to him that is poor
and of a contrite spirit and trembles at My word.”

“The meek will he guide in judgment:
and the meek will he teach his way.”

There are good and pious people
who are tormented by thugs for no other reason
than that they wish to live humbly
by the dictates of the old Bible.

Look carefully at the fruit,
and you will – most probably,

identify the tree.

P Livingstone

Peace on Earth … ?

As a child, I could never quite grasp
the proclamation that is always quoted
by the “Christmas” crowds, about
“Peace on Earth, Good will toward men.”

It was in the Bible,
but I never saw evidence of it in the world.

A little contemplation, however,
and all became clear.

As with any “error” or complaint voiced
about anything in the Bible,
the ‘fault’ lies with the ignorance
of people too intent on malice
to apply themselves to understand facts, or check the context
of whatever text it is that they are railing against.

Along, of course, with an inability to conceive
that any fault could possibly lie … with them.

The Old Testament relates the extent of
darkness and savagery in a world
in which one nation alone
had knowledge of Christ.

And even the bulk of that nation
– like religionists today –
lusted after the ways of the pagan world,

and incorporated them into their own
self-pleasing, surrogate religion.

The OLD Testament world was a place
where men ruled by no higher standard
than their own self-interest.

And as in any such nation, area, or household
where men have no higher standard than
“Me and Mine”, it was characterised by brutality.

The tragic reality that shocked me as a boy,
was that even the people of God were obliged to kill
those whose evil would, most assuredly,
have never permitted anyone unlike them
to co-exist in the same area;

and where even the influence of evil was so great,
that it tainted those who were in its proximity.

It was awful, lamentable, and vicious time,
in a world that was governed by devil worship,
child-sacrifice, and barbarity.

And then, there was that pronouncement
that was made at the birth of Christ.

The NEW Testament relates the account
of a world in which Christ is made known
– not to just one nation, but to all nations
of the earth.

The foundation of Peace On Earth
is now presented to a world that had
no other foundation before,
but tyranny, rebellion – and the misery
which ALWAYS follows as a result.

That promise of “peace”, then, follows those
who are capable of humbling themselves
enough to seek No Companionship with the evil
that characterised that Old World.

The biblical description of Isaiah

“… the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb …
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox”

illustrates the effect that Christ would have
upon human beings of all temperaments:

those who were once brutal, bad-tempered men
bent upon a course of wickedness,

will be transformed by this gospel
to be able to sit and talk peaceably
with those they would have once despised,
and preyed upon with malice.

The brutal will dwell peacefully
with those who are gentle.

THIS was the “Peace on Earth”
that was announced to those shepherds on the hillside.

Evil will still exist in the world – of course it will,
as the book of Revelation, in relating its account
of the world After the arrival of Christ,
makes very clear.

What had been confusing for a brief while,
was made clear through circumstances in 1967
that now, make me smile …

A recall a man from church with whom
I was familiar enough to have him ruffle my hair
as he said ‘hello’ every now and again.

But I remember the shock – the horror! – one day:

he had been reaching to pick something up
that had fallen on the floor –
in stretching his arm down, his shirt sleeve pulled up
and saw …

It was there ! — I saw it ! …

a tattoo.

I was petrified — Only Bad Men and Pirates had tattoos !!!

But there was one, on this man from church.

My face must have said everything:
the man pulled his sleeve down,
knelt down on one knee, and said:
“It’s okay.” I’m just me.”

And I saw the eyes when he smiled.
I was sure that they were sad …

and that, whatever type of man he HAD been,
he was not a That Man any more.

He put his hand out. I shook it
and smiled back at him.

I understood that ‘Peace on Earth’ promise.
Any man who fell at the feet of Christ
would be like that man: Friendly;

the Lion would become a Lamb –

And THAT … was the Peace that the angel meant
by “Peace on Earth, Good will towards men”.

Life, subsequently, forced me to see that
there will never be Peace
on an Earth that is filled with men and women
who seek nothing more than their own self interest.

The vicious are – as the biblical description has it,
those who bear a mark on the forehead:
– the evil is plain, and open, and obvious
for all to see;

Whilst others – the devious, the manipulative,
bear their ‘mark’ of evil in the hand,
where it may be concealed from open view,

– until, of course, such times as it is revealed
by hypocrisy, and treachery,
and the sad realisation of their victims.

It took me a while, as a little boy,
to understand the Peace on Earth promise,
when there plainly was little of it
in the 1960’s …

… which, of course, was a children’s nursery school
compared to the open depravity, profanity,
and self-centredness
that would characterise the world and its inhabitants
50 years later.

But in that time, I have been privileged to see
that that angel was right:

Wherever vicious men are moved –
by grace or providence, to humble themselves,
… there is peace.

Peace on Earth exists.

The appalling reality is however, that Peace
will never fill this world

as long as human beings are determined
to live to no higher standard
than the pursuit of their own self-interest, pride,
greed, and pleasure.

Peace has been offered.

But how few men and women there are
who want anything to do with it.

P Livingstone

“Missing Out” … ?

“Missing Out” … ?

“Don’t you think you’re missing out ?”

It was a question that I had to have clarified:
‘Missing out on … What, precisely ?’

“Well, you know,” the man at the coffee house said,
“Modern life – Stuff !”

I am clearly ‘out of place’ in the world today.

And while I find it a profound relief,
it seems to be a matter of polite resentment
for people who see how we live,
and (at least to us) lament that they do not do the same.

Some – I am sure, imagine that we are “missing out”.
Although on what it is they imagine we are “missing out”,
is beyond my capacity to take in.

Perpetual noise; being plugged into a machine
at every waking, opportune moment ?
I could not imagine living that way.

A better career … advancement … over-time,
a working mother – all to be able to buy a bigger this,
and a better that … I cannot understand it.

When people told me, years ago,
that there was ‘no other place like this’
on the Internet, I had a little look around.
And, I could not find anywhere, on any topic,
that was not featuring, referring to, or coveting
the acquisition of technological toys, or Hollywood,
or TV.

I am fairly certain that that is why
my trying to relate to ‘the world at large’
over the past 3 years, has been such a failure:
there is too great a gulf between their thinking
and mine.

No common ground.

When I was a boy, we had no central heating;
no bathroom; no TV. Water had to be heated
before getting washed in the morning;
and that came after going out to the coal bin,
before kneeling down on the hearth to get the fire lit.
The toilet was a brick affair outside in the back.

There was a washing machine –
a tub on legs with an agitator,
but clothes were ‘wrung out’ through the mangle
before being hung on the line.

Bread was toasted on the grill of the gas stove,
and everything was cooked or baked
in a regular oven.

And my Dad still got down on the floor
to build Lego, or colour, or look through an atlas
or encyclopaedia, or Children’s Bible with me.
And he always read me a bedtime story.

So, when I hear people today, saying
“I haven’t got the time” –

I shake my head with incredulity.

Ease – the ability to do things quickly,
with a minimum of effort –
breeds laziness, impatience, and arrogance.

When everything is easy and automated,
people become indifferent, bad-tempered, and careless.

Rather than scrubbing a kitchen floor
with Dettol and piping hot water,
a disposable cloth is fitted on the floppy, flat end of a pole,
and swept quickly over the floor.

Every pursuit, it seems, is looked upon
as something to ‘get done’
so that people can ‘move on’ to the next thing,
before being able to sit down in front of the TV.

It is a simple matter of observation,
over a prolonged period of years …

Ease affects the brain.

People become sluggish … careless … and impatient.
Cooking … Cleaning … Everything –
must be instant and easy.

And once that mind-set is established,
empathy, compassion, and courtesy
become foreign to the thinking capacity of that person.

People – even people! – are no longer “Worth the Effort”.

Folk “Unfriend” on a superficial whim, in an instant.
They “block” those who challenge them,
ignore people, and obsess about “privacy”.

Never a second thought – many, of the relief
they might have brought with just a simple
“I’m sorry, I never meant that to happen” ;
or moment’s regret from their neglect
of a mere word of encouragement.

I have not that type of callousness in me.
It would distress me to find that I had
broken someone’s heart;
I would have to beg their forgiveness.
People, to me, are very much worth the effort,
or I would not be on the Internet today.

But, obsessing about trends and fashions;
and ‘impressing’ with ambition and ownership.
No … I want no part of that world.

“I can’t be bothered.”

Why would I walk,
when I can drive a car?

Why would I put my personality into actually writing a letter,
when I can type on a machine ?

Why would I read a book,
when I can watch a video ?

The answer to all these …
is Laziness.

For me, laziness is slow suicide:
killing the mind with mental and moral sewage,
while the will is Indifferent;
the body, Indolent;
and the brain, Incapacitated for anything higher
than the pursuit of pride.

I wish that I could take people, and
make them see their world, as I see it.
And why – when they comment on wanting
what I have (or, do not have) …

do they not change, and throw away the dross
of the 21st century ?

In our home, we grow fruits on trees,
and take strawberries, blackberries,
raspberries, and blueberries,
from bushes in the garden.

What little bread we eat, is baked.
As is the dense ‘Dundee Cake’ that is a luxury
with a cup of tea.

It is impossible to compare any of these,
with the bland chemical stodge of the supermarket,

What foods we do buy, are almost inevitably located
around the perimeter of any grocery store.

We do not have more than a few tablespoons of sugar
for baking; and no salt – anywhere in our kitchen.
There is enough of it in the natural foods we use.

The subject of ‘taste’ is always mentioned
when my wife’s colleagues find themselves here
for a meal, or cup of tea.

There is – clearly – something in a simple life
that appeals to people who experience it –
even for an hour or two …

… and yet, they will never give up the modern pursuit
of ‘instant everything’, in their mad pursuit for “convenience”.

“Am I missing out” ?
No.
And from what I hear people saying,
they – not us – are the ones who are, truly,
‘missing out’.

People, it seems to us, spend their lives
looking for ways to beat or cheat –
“How can I get out of having to do that?” or,
“How can I make it easier on myself?”

while rushing madly through life in pursuit
of extravagance and entertainment.

When things become easy,
the mind becomes lazy.

And the person ceases to care.
About anything of substance.

“I don’t have the time”
means, “I don’t have the interest.”

If you care, you will Make the time.

Put the machines away –

Write with a pen.
Read from a book.
Have a conversation with a person.

I hope that someone reading these words now,
will stir himself, herself, to nobler things
than that which attracts the multitudes of today.

One woman made it clear that she envied
my outlook on life.

Yet made it clear that her family
would never abandon the sentiment of
“gimme, gimme this; and, gimme gimme that”
– that now runs the human mind.

There is a very popular illustration
– used by Plain-living folk around the world –
whenever people try to contrast
a simple life … with their own modern life:

‘How can you manage to live without the things I need?’
they ask.

And so, the illustration is used:

“You have a television in your home ?”
( It is rather, a calculated statement than a question. )

“Yes.”

“You believe it presents a good example of men,
and women, and life, for your children ?” I would ask.

“No.” ‘It is disgusting’, is the sentiment that most will add.

“In that case: when you get home”, I will ask,
“will you take your television to the town dump ?”

They pause … then, “No.”

“That,” I can then explain, “is the difference between us.”

That is the key to a Plain Life:
Refusing to allow depravity into the home.

For us … the People in the house

are more important

than … the Things in the house.

No … thing … will be allowed to so much as threaten
the moral decency of anyone in our home.

I have enough trouble ‘falling’ all by myself,
without needing any Thing
to facilitate my shortcomings.

For me, anything that is “popular”
with the multitudes of the 21st century,
is a threat to the decency and integrity
of a man, woman, or child.

Adopting that observation
as a general guideline for discernment,
will greatly help the contentment in our life,
to soon be contentment in yours.

I have never met a man or woman – who was ‘successful’,
who was not greedy for more.
People with “everything” … are never satisfied.
Never content with what they have.

Am I ‘missing out’ on the modern world ?

Yes.

And I do, very much,
want it to remain that way.

It may be, that you would be the same (?)

The Historians are Wrong

Sectarian bias and the vanity of tribal membership
seems to pervade the mentality
(with a few notable exceptions, such as
‘Reformed’ historian and pastor Leonard Verduin )
of those who undertake to write about “Church History”.

To maintain that “The Birth of Anabaptists”
began in 1525 – (something that is so commonplace,
it is almost a mandatory statement) – is absurd.

To infer that a visibly-discernible Christian life,
and the practice of Believer’s Baptism
– ( which is plainly taught in the old Bible ),
vanished from the face of the earth
with the last apostle;

and that it was ‘restored’ by … My People” …
is, to me, either blind, nationalist sectarianism
or unbridled arrogance.

In the islands where I was born,
there is more than enough written, historical testimony
to the Welsh Baptisers in A.D. 300 – and that is just one
isolated part of the earth! – as to make any inference
that Believer’s Baptism was re-discovered in 1525,
an utter absurdity.

What I will NEVER be able to fathom,
is how it was even possible for domineering Reformers
to use the brute force of State
to torture, imprison, and cruelly murder
Anabaptists, whose “crime” was to want to follow after
the example of Christ and the apostles.

After 40 years of some, perhaps, 5,000 pages a year
of Puritan and historical, theological reading,
I have encountered every excuse under the sun;
and not one of those offered exceeds the definition of
‘denominational vanity’ which is appalling
in any so-called ‘Christian’.

The bulk of humanity, generally, will ‘drop’ all association
with anyone who challenges them to think;
and deviates outside their “comfort zone”
of ease, apathy, and conceit.

The Anabaptists challenged the Reformers
to carry through with their ‘reform’ of the papal ‘church’
– to ‘keep going’.

And for that challenge, the Reformers
sought to Exterminate them.

While tribal successors of both camps
continue to nit-pick, accuse, ‘correct’, and bicker
amongst themselves
in a sad display of sectarian posturing.

The domineering conceit of Reformers
would not let them see the Christian walk
of the Anabaptists;

and the practical Walk of Anabaptists
would not let them see the doctrines of Sovereign Grace
that were defended by the Reformers.

Whilst I have never heard, or seen,
anyone mention it,

BOTH needed each other –
had they the humility and wit to see it.

Forcing ‘religion’ upon any man,
was no example of Christ, or any apostle;

and in this papal practice,
the Reformers were inexcusable
to anyone possessing even a pretence
of biblical Christianity.

To Reformers (and their modern-day fan-club),
I can only observe
that I shall never call that man ‘brother’
or that woman ‘sister’
who can justify the brutality of any man, woman,
child, or animal.

Sadism is as foreign to my character
as Satanism.

And I am not sure that those two
are not joined together
in some sort of unholy matrimony.

When The State resorts to ruthlessness;
and ‘officers of the law’,
to upholding unjust or brutal laws,
then that is tyranny –
and neither bullying nor oppression
have any affiliation with biblical Christianity.

Neither Christ nor his apostles,
ever forced (or enforced) Christianity,
faith, or conscience, upon anyone –
let modern “Reformed Commentators”
argue as they will.

Discernment is a wonderful thing;
but it seems evident that ‘joining a club’
takes less effort, and better gratifies vanity.

Multitudes today, strut around the earth

as “Reformers”,
or “Anabaptists” –

who display not the first trace of

Christ-like empathy towards others;

discerning severity towards the perversion
of religion by men;

or affectionate regard for those
whose conduct and conversation
betray a sober-minded humility
and quietness of demeanour
that is predominant
in a genuine Christian man or woman.

The fact of the matter (should I be the only man
on earth who maintains it), is that,
after a thousand years known as the “Dark Ages”
when papal Rome ruled the world:

the Reformers discerned the Sovereignty of God,

the Anabaptists, the duty of a (genuinely) Christian
man or woman.

Let blind tribal sectarianism and vanity of ‘club membership’
blind the eyes of whomever it will,

both Reformer and Anabaptist needed each other.

The appalling tragedy is that then,

as Now –

neither seem capable of recognising the fact.

P Livingstone

[ To a Visitor: Thank You so much for the encouragement of a ‘like’
now that I have decided to return to those articles and aspects
of my life that are significant to me.

Over the past 3 years, I specifically determined to ‘chat’
to ‘the world at large’ – offering secular topics, with application
that I hoped might cause people to pause and consider.

Spending three months repeatedly asking visitors to tell me
whether they wanted that format to continue –
met with silence.

In returning this site to the same as it was when I employed a man
to ‘put me on the Internet’ in 2003, I was utterly contented that ‘daily views’
would be “1” – indicating that the person arrived here … saw …
and immediately left.

I never ask anyone to agree with what is here:
just that they pause long enough
to consider the thoughts that are presented.

Thank you very much for indicating that there was something
of interest here for you. I do appreciate it very much, thank you,
and remain,
Yours very sincerely, PL ]

“Shunning” – A Response to Modern Media

“Shunning”:  Refusing to Condone Profligate Selfishness

[ Responding to Modern Media ]

Whilst the Internet
is perhaps the most efficient means
ever invented by man
to promote Ignorance,
display Malice,
and encourage Depravity,

it is nevertheless heart-breaking to see the extent
with which malicious humanity
go out of their way to degrade any one, any thing,
or any principle that seeks to promote
the use of a moral conscience
in the 21st century.

It is not right;
it is not fair;
and having a working conscience
will not allow me to sit here and ignore
perverted depictions of the Plain Life
that quiet, peaceful, timid folk, like myself,
seek to lead in this vicious, obscenity-saturated Age.

“Shunning” … Responding to Modern Media

I believe with all my heart,
that the MIND SET of quiet humility,
sober-minded modesty, and self control
that is required to separate from the world;

( to – practically – take up the name “Anabaptist” )
has largely been eliminated from a human race
that is loud, superficial,
and greedy for the world’s toys.

So, if evangelicals who merely attend
a certain denomination of church,
or have been born to a Germanic heritage,
not infrequently provide woeful example
of being what they claim,

then the routine travesty of presumptuous journalists,
ignorant humanists, and other armchair Instant Experts
who imagine themselves ‘qualified’
to report on any aspect of biblical thought,

is rarely anything but a grossly irresponsible,
highly unprofessional and – more often than not,
an absolute perversion of facts.

The problem – and the reason for this essay,
is that the general public Believes
whatever such people tell them.

“… and if he refuse to hear the church also,
let him be unto thee as an heathen man … “

“… and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed.
Yet count him not as an enemy …”

The Ban: “Shunning” … What is it?

[ Note: We speak here of biblical shunning.
I make no reference to the ‘shunning’
that is [ab]used by millennialist,
extra-biblical-visions-given-to-our-prophet
personality cults who forbid family contact. ]

Search out the notion of The Ban,
or “Shunning” – in what now passes for ‘The Press’,
and you will invariably find words such as
“bullying”, “cruelty”, “abuse”, “aggression” and “control”

vomited out in a knee-jerk reaction of Ignorance
by those who have not the first passing notion of the
intent and design of biblical ‘Shunning’
amongst biblical people.

A young man or woman could be killing themselves
by shoving heroin into their arms –
but woe betide (says the 21st century, humanist free-thinker)
that father, mother, or (genuine) friend
who might say or do anything that
‘damages’ that drug addict’s … “Self Esteem”.

Since God is now dead, the Family obliterated,
Respect for Elders a thing of the past;

young people, generally, are able neither to
read anything of length, spell,
or carry on an intelligent conversation;

and schools no longer even teaching children
how to write –

the only thing left to obliterate any last trace
of moral discernment from the world,
is to take Human Deification to a new level

by moving people past
turning their brains to soap
in front of a video screen of some description,

and having them condone
every single act of thoughtlessness,
malice, or evil.

A child is in the kitchen where her mother
is boiling potatoes on the stove;
she reaches up to touch the pretty orange thing
that is glowing underneath the pot;
the mother turns,
sees the tiny hand an inch from the burning coil,
screams “No!”, and slaps the child’s hand away.

Child Abuse.
Clearly.

Yes ?

Because THAT is precisely the humanist sentiment
of the 21st century.

No harsh words – no harsh anything,
because we must not damage anyone’s Self Esteem
in the mindless, modern race of profanity-spewing,
crude humanity.

“But that’s not the same thing!
A child does not know any better: the child will get hurt!”

The un-formed mind of a child;
the immature and arrogant mind of a teenager;
the crude, childish mind of anything under the age of say, 40 –

all are given an equal footing in the Anything Goes
age of the 21st century.

“You think you’re better than me !”

After 55 years as an observant, moral man
watching the systematic degradation of the human race
… Yes, sonny, I do.

People imagine that they are ‘smart’
because they have The Internet to “think” for them.

That mother yelled and struck the child’s hand,
because that mother knows what danger that child is in.

It is called Love.
Genuine Love.

NOT the syrupy sentimental hypocrisy
that characterises a race of creatures who
– in the 21st century, were raised to … “feel”
rather than to “think” –

“Well, I just feel that it should be like …”

Shunning is not about “feeling” –

It is about Thinking.

It is about having the Maturity and Genuine Love enough
to tell a beloved man, woman, boy, or girl
that you will NOT stand there
and watch

… while they go out and destroy themselves;
or embark upon a course of degrading others.

Shunning is having enough love to say:

“I will not sanction, by my silence,
the harm that you are about to do.”

That is Shunning.

Self venerating men and women
cannot bear to be under any authority
that places personal responsibility
and accountability on them.

This is why “churches” are now entertainment venues
filled with performers and stage shows
that are designed to entertain
and be appealing to the crowd.

Church is “relevant”.
Church is “fun”.

It is little wonder that Shunning then,
is seen as “bullying”, “abusive”, “control”
by self-venerating humanists
who are resolved that – since they will submit to no one,
neither should anyone else.

“Do what thou wilt
shall be the whole of the law.”

The philosophy of Alistair Crowley
is the philosophy of 21st century mankind.

The aim of Shunning
is to have a much-loved person
who has embarked upon a course of
headstrong independence (if not potential harm),

realise that their loved ones
will NOT countenance their behaviour;
but will rather, give them reason
to stop and reconsider
the course upon which they have embarked.

It is, if I may so say, a way of placing
the Way of the World
upon that person’s shoulders.

To let them experience the World,
without the accustomed moral support
of their family.

It is something that NO Anabaptist
– Amish or otherwise –
would ever enjoy.

If anything, the loving family that is wilfully deserted
by the son or daughter that prefers vulgarity, liquor,
drugs, copulation, and unrestrained hedonism
over them,
are the ones who suffer the most.

A savage punk beats an elderly lady
over the head with a lead pipe,
and the courts and Social Services
are more concerned with “rehabilitating”
the sadistic creature,
than they are with ensuring that he is
never unleashed to repeat his brutality
on some other helpless victim.

That is the world of the 21st century.

Shunning seeks to expose selfishness,
rather than condone it, or excuse it;
to have those who are rebellious reconsider,
and count the cost of pursuing a course
of self-centred thought.

You may think that the ‘husband’ who beats his wife,
brutalises his children, and half-starves his dog,
ought not have his Self Esteem damaged …

… if so, I do not share your sentiment;
and believe that such a sadistic brute
deserves a fair bit more than merely being shunned.

If you cannot understand that, have that creature
move into your house, and attend your church;
Perhaps, the practice of shunning
may come to have significance for you.

This Internet site is written to the mature,
thoughtful visitor:
it will not be necessary, then,
to state that human beings
can turn anything Honourable
into a perversion of tyrannical abuse.

There is a world of difference between
shunning the promiscuous woman
who brings a new ‘boyfriend’
to the church service every month;

and shunning the daughter who attends church
with the ribbons of her kapp (bonnet)
untied;

or has missed two church services
because she had the ‘flu.

And yet few there are – it seems – in the modern world
who have the maturity, intellect, and discretion
to differentiate the abuse of men,
from the intent of a biblical principle.

When an Amish mother is prevented
– by church decree –
from attending to her (shunned) daughter
who is in labour with child,
then, ‘the church’ has become the god,

“teaching for doctrine, the commandments of men.”

That much SHOULD be self-evident.

The Principle should not be difficult
to a thinking human being –

The congregation is not to include a profligate rebel
who has no concern whatsoever about whether
his or her conduct would serve as a corrupt example
to the young and the immature within the church.

Faced with such a self-centred individual,
the group are to protect those in their care;
from those incorrigible dissenters
who could not care less about others. )

The Christian is civil and welcoming to those
in the great, big world at large – yes;
but someone who is a part of that church,
is expected to know better – ( and does know better ),
yet refuses to conduct his or her life,
in accordance with the church membership.

In even a Pagan culture, if you want to be part of a club –
you follow the rules. Or leave.
Surely, that much is obvious.

Not a difficult concept to grasp.

The principle aim in Shunning
is to bring that wayward individual
back to the family … back to righteousness …

and back to a proper consideration
of God, the soul, and eternity.

Shunning aims to oblige the recalcitrant
to consider what is … truly … important in life.

It is caring deeply enough to say:

“We will not stand by and watch you harm yourself.”

“We will not remain silent and countenance the evil
that you are about to do.”

“We will not let your immoral or selfish example
introduce your depravity and carelessness
into our children’s minds.”

Any self-seeking hypocrite
can call himself a “friend” –
and say “Yes” to everything you want.

It takes true friendship
to tell someone
that they are wrong.

Shunning is, loving someone enough

to tell them … “No”.

P Livingstone