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Sunday, July 5, 2015


The most common Protestant numbering of the Ten Commandments:

The Catholic numbering of the Ten Commandments:

When I was studying the Catholic Church, but still trying to find errors, I came across her version of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment was: "I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange gods before me." The second commandment was: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." Aha! I thought: They did away with the second commandment! They worship graven images, and so simply just deleted the second commandment--"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image."

But there were still ten in the list. Deleting the second commandment threw the numbering out of order, and then I saw that the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," was split into two: "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife," and "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." Pretty tricky, I thought.

St. Augustine of Hippo, who
turned out to be my Patron Saint
when I joined the Church.
Well, it turns out to be St. Augustine who was "tricky" in the early years of the Church. This odd "Catholic" arrangement was his fault. He seemed to think that your neighbor's wife was different than your neighbor's goods, that the coveting involved two differing sins, and so numbered them as two separate commandments.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church simply states in paragraph 2066: "The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine, which has become traditional in the Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confessions. The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities."

It wasn't long before I learned that Catholics do not worship graven images or statues, as I had been taught in my Protestant upbringing. There is a great difference between veneration and worship. Veneration is a feeling of profound respect for someone or something, and, at most, a Catholic will look with veneration upon an image which helps them recall something sacred. Worship, though, is something Catholics reserve for God alone. (Catholics also venerate St. Mary; they do not worship her.)

And so St. Augustine put the first commandment in the proper perspective. He didn't take the second one out of context. I know of very few Protestants who would consider a man condemned who has crafted a beautiful carving of, say, a mare and her colt, now sitting proudly on a shelf in their living room. Read the "Catholic," Augustinian version of the first commandment in context: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them." It makes a lot more sense when understood has a whole. Sometimes, though, the commandment is shortened simply to, "You shall have no other gods before me," or something similar, and this is what had thrown me when I was anti-Catholic.

For a further explanation, from Catholic Answers, see Do Catholics Worship Statues? Catholic Answers is also a great resource for any other questions you may have concerning the Church.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015


    Jim Berg, an old friend of mine, now in his eighties, a local historian of Nooksack Valley in Washington State, who gave me my 1942 Elgin bicycle that he had bought from his sister who had bought it from my Dad, once asked an old-timer, Donald Swanson, how news was conducted in the valley around 1900. Mr. Swanson replied, "The world was one mile from the house. We knew everything. We didn't need to know anything beyond that."

    How nice that would be! I had a brief experience like that, the first time we came to the Ozarks around 1980. We were building a small, log cabin on the corner of a friend's farm, in the midst of a large Amish community. We had no radio, no newspaper, no TV. The only world we knew for two months went only as far as the horizon. I miss that.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015


Those who go to confession are used to examining their conscience, but seldom does anybody examine their whole personality. Thanks to Johnnie Lee Macfadden, wife of physical culturist Bernarr Macfadden, and her book Barefoot in Eden, you can do this. Rating myself in her chart turns out to be a very humbling experience. I have much to try to improve. Yet it's encouraging, even inspiring, and makes me want to don a suit and a smile and step out to show this world-gone-wild that it can still be done. To make society better, we must begin with ourselves, and the following chart is a good way to begin.


Rate yourself on each trait, in so far as you can do so, in your ordinary or habitual manifestation of it, not as you exhibit it in those special situations wherein you wish to make an especially favorable impression.

Each trait in the Rating Chart is defined in four degrees of excellence, as explained below. These degrees are indicated by the letters "a," "b," "c" and "d." Rate yourself on each trait, making note of which letter characterizes you most accurately.

"a" indicates the most favorable degree of each trait.
"b" indicates a favorable degree of the trait, but one in which there is room for improvement.
"c" indicates an unfavorable degree of the trait, one which requires considerable attention for improvement.
"d" indicates the least favorable degree, one which should receive immediate and concentrated attention for improvement.

1.  Usual Facial Expression
.....a.  Always alert, animated; usually pleasant.
.....b.  Usually alert, and not unpleasant; or alert, but non-committal.
.....c.  Fairly alert, but often repellent, glum, sullen or "grouchy."
.....d.  Dull; rarely shows any animation.

2.  Personal Appearance
.....d.  Usually careless, untidy; "dowdy"; attire often in poor taste.
.....c.  Frequently careless or untidy, but attire usually appropriate.
.....b.  Usually neat; shows fairly good taste in attire.
.....a.  Always neat; attire always in good taste; appearance always makes good impression.

3.  Conversation
.....d.  Talks too much--monopolizes conversation; habitually interrupts; or habitually disagrees--always starting arguments.
.....c.  Usually "ponderous"--often boresome; or never serious--always interrupting with facetious remarks; or always trying to "show off"; or forever using the latest popular slang expressions.
.....b.  Usually a fairly good and courteous conversationalist.
.....a.  An exceptionally good and interesting conversationalist.

4.  "Listening Ability"
.....a.  Always an attentive and courteous listener.
.....b.  Usually listens fairly well.
.....c.  Frequently interrupts, anticipates; pays insufficient attention to what other person is saying.
.....d.  Very poor listener; always interrupting--wants to get "own say" in.

5.  Acceptance and Use of Helpful Suggestions
.....d.  Rarely welcomed or used.
.....c.  Used occasionally, but not sought.
.....b.  Usually welcomed and tried if given by the "right" person.
.....a.  Always welcomed and tried; shows good discrimination in adoption.

6.  Open-Mindedness
.....a.  Generally quite open-minded.
.....b.  Reasonably so on most subjects.
.....c.  Usually strongly opinionated--rarely gives proper consideration to other person's views.
.....d.  Not at all open-minded--tenacious and obstinate of own opinions.

7.  Attitude Toward Associates
.....d.  Unsociable; often so to point of surliness; or snobbish.
.....c.  Aloof or retiring, but usually civil.
.....b.  Usually pleasant and courteous, but does not associate freely.
.....a.  Always friendly and sociable.

8.  Consideration for Others
.....d.  Usually lacking in consideration for others; highly self-centered.
.....c.  Frequently fails to consider others.
.....b.  Usually fairly considerate.
.....a.  Always very considerate of others.

9.  Giving Credit to Others
.....a.  Always gives credit where and when it is due.
.....b.  Usually willing to do so, but often not broad-minded enough to give it to persons disliked.
.....c.  Does so on rare occasions only, and then, grudgingly.
.....d.  Practically never gives credit to others--wants it all him-or-herself.

10.  Tactfulness (Diplomacy)
.....a.  Always tactful; has flair for doing and saying just the right thing.
.....b.  Usually shows fair degree of tact.
.....c.  Frequently shows lack of tact in speech or actions.
.....d.  Habitually lacking in tact; always saying or doing the wrong thing.

11.  Energy and Endurance
.....a.  Energy high and well controlled, with consequent excellent endurance.
.....b.  Energy and endurance usually fairly high.
.....c.  Both rather low; or energy fairly high, but expends in spurts with resultant periods of fatigue.
.....d.  Energy and endurance very low; "breaks" easily under long-continued effort or strain; or is downright lazy.

12.  Procrastination
.....d.  Habitually puts things off until the latest possible time.
.....c.  Frequently procrastinates.
.....b.  Usually procrastinates very little.
.....a.  Never procrastinates--always gives prompt attention to tasks and problems.

13.  Accuracy in Judging People
.....a.  Usually very accurate; an exceptionally good judge of people.
.....b.  Usually fairly accurate, but swayed somewhat by prejudices.
.....c.  Frequently inaccurate--strongly swayed by prejudices.
.....d.  Usually very inaccurate; a poor judge of human nature; gullible.

14.  Powers of Observation
.....a.  A very close observer, and thinks intelligently of things observed.
.....b.  A fairly close observer in business and work, but not so good in other matters.
.....c.  Generally a rather poor observer.
.....d.  Habitually a poor observer; pays little attention to people or events.

15.  Dominance-Submission
.....d.  Always submissive--never shows any aggressiveness or assertiveness.
.....c.  More submissive than dominant in most respects; or, usually dominant, but also domineering.
.....b.  Rather dominant in most respects, but rarely domineering.
.....a.  Strongly dominant, but never domineering.

16.  Emotional Control
.....a.  Exceptionally good.
.....b.  Emotions usually under good control and rarely lower efficiency.
.....c.  Rather poor; often lowers efficiency.
.....d.  Very poor; moods (high temper, sullenness, or depression) generally impair own work and affect others unfavorably.

17.  Impulsiveness
.....d.  Very impulsive--always "going off half-cocked."
.....c.  Frequently acts on impulse.
.....b.  Occasionally acts on impulse, but usually deliberates on important matters.
.....a.  Rarely impulsive--always gives careful consideration to matters of real importance.

18.  Naturalness
.....a.  Always perfectly natural--never shows any affectation.
.....b.  Usually unaffected, but occasionally acquires mannerisms which are not natural.
.....c.  Frequently shows some degree of affectation, but not very objectionable.
.....d.  Habitually shows great affectation--always trying to appear to be something different than he/she is--apes manners of others who impress him/her.

19.  Egotism
.....d.  Very egotistical--always "knows it all"--can't be told anything--if he doesn't know it, it isn't worth knowing.
.....c.  Frequently egotistical regarding own special knowledge, experience, accomplishments, etc.
.....b.  Usually shows little egotism.
.....a.  Shows no egotism whatever, but does not lack self-esteem.

20.  Courtesy
.....a.  Habitually courteous to everyone.
.....b.  Usually courteous, but tends to grade degree to importance of person addressed.
.....c.  Frequently lacks courtesy; or overdoes it to extent of fawning or "mushiness."
.....d.  Rarely shows any courtesy; acts as if thinks it a sign of inferiority.

21.  Patience
.....d.  Shows very little in any respect.
.....c.  Frequently impatient over trifles.
.....b.  Fairly patient in most respects.
.....a.  Exceptionally patient in all respects.

22.  Deceitfulness
.....a.  Never deceitful in any way.
.....b.  Usually sincere and straightforward, but occasionally twists facts to own advantage.
.....c.  Frequently deceitful in small ways, or tells half-truths to create false impression.
.....d.  Habitually deceitful; unworthy of important trust or confidence.

23.  Poise
.....d.  Has very little; decidedly self-conscious; easily flustered or excited.
.....c.  Lacks poise in many situations.
.....b.  Usually fairly well poised.
.....a.  Always well poised; never flustered or embarrassed, or excited in emergencies.

24.  Will Power (Determination)
.....a.  Possesses in high degree.
.....b.  Shows considerable--probably more than average.
.....c.  Shows little evidence of it; apparently lacks ability to "drive" self.
.....d.  Decidedly low--easily influenced--no "drive" whatever.

25.  Persistence
.....a.  Very great; sticks until thing accomplished or proved impossible.
.....b.  Usually fairly persistent.
.....c.  Rather low; frequently does not stay with task until finished.
.....d.  Very low; jumps from one task to another without finishing any--"scatter-brained."

26.  Acceptance of Constructive Criticism
.....d.  Resents criticism of any kind, whether open or implied; becomes sullen under it.
.....c.  Is easily discouraged by it unless very tactfully given.
.....b.  Usually accepts in right spirit and tries to profit from it.
.....a.  Always welcomes it and profits from it.

27.  Ambition
.....d.  Apparently has very little, if any.
.....c.  Shows some, but not of high order.
.....b.  Shows considerable (and worthy) ambition.
.....a.  Very ambitious; shows marked desire to advance financially and socially and to increase knowledge.

28.  "Mixing" Ability
.....a.  Exceptionally good mixer.
.....b.  Mixes well with most people, but not equally well with all classes.
.....c.  Rather poor mixer; inclined to be retiring or shy.
.....d.  Very poor mixer--prefers to be alone.

29.  Criticizing Others (Fault-Finding)
.....d.  Habitually finds fault with others.
.....c.  Frequently criticizes others and habitually does so behind their backs.
.....b.  Usually criticizes very little and then in friendly fashion.
.....a.  Rarely criticizes conduct and does not criticize work unless can suggest better method of doing it.

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