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Procter & Gamble and urban legends

October 1, 2019 Leave a comment

procter-and-gamble-logo

Proctor and Gamble’s logos…

As I get older, I often think of urban legends and how often even Christians are fooled.

This first example isn’t one of those, but it makes me chuckle.

Recess time in sixth grade at Maddera-Flournoy Elementary School in Beeville, Texas, in 1985 was a great place where all kinds of crazy urban legends were cultivated. Except, in our days of innocence, we didn’t know they were fake, what the term “urban legend” meant, or even what the term “innocence” meant. If asked, I’d say “innocence” is what a person pleaded when they didn’t commit a crime.

In the group I hung out with, one kid came up to us with this crazy story. All the “family” members of Texas Chainsaw Massacre were captured, tried, convicted, and executed. Executioners lined them up and then fired M-60 machine guns at them, killing them all.

“And when the grandpa’s head spun away after it was shot off the body, he kept mouthing the words, “Revenge…REVENGE!!!” the kid said.

Of course, it was all fake. Dad had told me that TCM occurred somewhere near Poth, Texas, but I later learned he was joking. The movie actually was filmed outside of Austin and the story itself based not on a group of Texas cannibals who liked to barbecue the innocent, but loosely on Wisconsin murderer/body snatcher Ed Gein. He never was executed for his crimes: Gein died in 1984 after having been declared mentally insane and ordered placed in a mental hospital.

And then, sometime around high school, another the second example. This one riled many Christians.

“Don’t buy Procter and Gamble products!” someone said. “I heard the president of Proctor and Gamble was on The Phil Donahue Show. He confirmed that he’s a Satanist and that 10 percent of his profits go to the Satanist church.”

Some of us even saw the bearded, starred, sinister-looking P&G logo and it confirmed for us the rumor.

Of course, the rumor took on a life of its own. Before long, the P&G president was on the Donahue show wearing all black, along with goth lipstick, black fingernails and black hair, and placing a curse on any professing Christians as he said, “Yesssss…I AM a Satanisssst…25 percent of my earnings to my masssster, Sssssatan himself! Hail Satan!!!”

Churches soon started boycotting P&G with some even placing on the bulletin board a list of P&G products. Some wondered, after the boycott, what would they have in the way of cleaning and laundry products?

And then, reality hit.

P&G, which later changed its logo, denied any connections to Satanism. Phil Donahue released a statement saying nobody from P&G had ever been on his show and even listed what had been on his show on the day suggested.

Through my own research I later learned that while it has different branches with varying beliefs, overall Satanism is actually an atheistic faith. Some on this planet do worship Satan. However, Satanists (according to the FAQ on their official website) don’t believe in Satan, nor do they believe in God or in an afterlife. If there’s a deity they do believe in, it’s themselves.

As a Christian, I do believe in God and in the existence of Satan. I often think Satan laughs himself silly over how incredibly gullible humans can be, particularly Christians. The rumor, according to old news stories, apparently started out of products distributor Amway, ostensibly out of an effort to weaken P&G’s brand name so it could complete against the Cincinnati-based conglomerate. P&G even sued four Amway distributors and won a settlement. Apparently when Proctor and Gamble heard of churches showing lists of the company’s products to boycott as to avoid rendering unto Satan what belongs to Satan, they decided it was enough.

If only Christians would do as much research as they are commanded to diligently search out truth in the Scriptures.

The 2020 presidential election will soon be upon us. As an independent conservative, I know whom I’m voting for. However, I’ve seen new rumors on the internet. One states that—gasp!—Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s real surname is Herring and not Warren. It also says that fellow candidate Pete Buttgieg’s real surname is Montgomery.

Just a little research shows that Warren’s maiden name is Herring and the maiden name of Buttgieg’s mother is Montgomery. Nothing to see here, folks.

If you’re going to be passionate about a viewpoint, make sure it’s factually correct.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian for almost 38 years. He’s not as dumb or naïve as he used to be, but he feels he still has much to learn. Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

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Free from the law

August 20, 2019 Leave a comment

Despite more than 30 years as a Christian, I could never quite process that and understand exactly what it meant. Finally, thinks clicked, thanks in part to a long-time mentor.

The Bible gives many types of laws: Noahic Law (you can now eat meat, capital punishment is in order), Mosaic Law (ceremonial for sacrifices, dietary for what Israelites could and couldn’t eat, moral for things they were prohibited to do, various laws, some of which are still applicable today). The different prophets also gave laws.

Jesus came and discussed the law in a new light. Paul talked about how Jesus’ sacrifice freed us from the law.

The purpose of the law, I finally realized, is to show that we can never measure up to God’s standards of holiness. And because of that, we’re sinners.

By becoming Christians, we are no longer bound to the law. However, there are laws we obey because we love God and want to serve Him and become closer to Him.

If there’s one law to obey, it’s Matthew 22:35–40. Jesus said we were to love God with all our heart, might, mind. We were then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus then said all other laws and the prophets hinge on this commandment.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

The greatest commandment: love

April 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Sometimes people will ask me, “What is Christianity in a nutshell?”

In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about that. What is the great commandment of the law? What is the commandment that Christianity centers around?

Verses 37-40 explain: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It all centers around love. It’s a verse you could spend years pondering.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 37 years, and while Jesus teaches us to love everybody, I must admit there have been some whom I’ve had to take remedial classes to learn how to love. A few select customers I dealt with when I worked at a gas station. A certain Christian employer in Michigan. Politicians in general.

I’m not alone. Alvin Dark, a former Major League Baseball shortstop who also enjoyed success as a manager, became an outspoken Christian. He once mused, “As a Christian, God has taught me to love everybody. But the last ones I learned to love were the sportswriters.”

Alvin_Dark_1953

Richard’s Two Shekels guesses that Alvin Dark made one request about his mansion in New Jerusalem: “Father, could you put any Christian sportswriters on the other side of town? And please don’t give them my address.”

Love, of course, is an action verb and not just an emotion we swell up with when around our children or our significant other. I tell people that True Christianity hinges on helping people without strings attached for no reason, rather than looking at the situation, rubbing one’s hands together as if concocting a sneaky scheme and quietly asking, “What’s in it for me?”

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

 

Christians and taxes

December 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Today, I had a phone conversation with one of my favorite people in the world. I won’t publicly identify him, but I will say this: Christianity needs far more believers like this man. I also won’t go into details about our chat, but I will say this: one of the topics of discussion was Christians and taxes. It brought to mind people I’ve heard of who’ve gone to prison because they’ve conscientiously decided not to give Uncle Sam his due.

As always, we’re left to wonder: WWJD?

As far as I can tell, Jesus mentioned taxes twice. In Matthew 17, the Jewish authorities asked if Jesus and His followers paid the “temple tax.” Jesus seemed to think this was actually unnecessary. However, to avoid offense, he had Peter pay it anyway using money from the mouth of a freshly-caught fish.

Then in Matthew 22, the Jewish authorities (who hated paying taxes to Rome), hoped to catch Jesus in a contradiction by asking him if tribute should be paid to Rome. The idea was if Jesus said not to pay taxes, word would get out and the Romans would possibly arrest him for advocating anarchy or not paying one’s fair shekel.* If Jesus said taxes should be paid, it would undoubtedly anger many of the Jews and possibly even those who liked Jesus.

Jesus, knowing that, asked to be shown a coin. After being told it was Caesar’s image on the coin, He said: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

I take these examples to mean simply this: while there might be some exceptions, pay your taxes. Unless you want the IRS to be able to travel to your house of place of business from memory, don’t protest by not paying.

* Yes, pun intended.

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Jesus Christ, savior, practical joker

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I am very convinced that, on a few occasions, the disciples yelled, “Jesus!”

No, not to take His name in vain, and not to call out to him when in a storm, in quicksand or because they were trying to get his attention. Instead, here are two examples:

Peter, at a wedding, takes a drink of wine–only to discover that it’s turned back into water.

Matthew, when looking for a lamb to slaughter for a meal for Jesus and the 12, stares in shock as the lamb says in perfect Aramaic: “PLEASE don’t eat me. I taste BAAAAAAAD!”

In both cases, the reaction was likely: “Jesus! Would you PLEASE stop doing that?!”

In both cases, I imagine our Lord doubled over, laughing.

Jesus probably also told His fair share of jokes. (“So the Rabbi tells the rest of the Sanhedrin, ‘That was no Samaritan woman! That was my WIFE!'”)

I see it this way: Jesus had a very busy schedule. There were no planes or cars, so He walked most places–save for riding on donkeys or other animals. He probably got very little sleep and had days where he had to: teach, teach and re-teach the disciples; deal with the Pharisees and other religious leaders who refused to see the obvious about Him; heal the sick, provide food for those needed; screen potential disciples; comfort the heartbroken, and on, and on, and on.

What better way to boost morale among His disciples and relieve stress by having a sense of humor?

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

How should you read the Bible?

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

I can describe “how” in two words:

In context.

Those on the right who quote passages in Leviticus to condemn homosexuality should also be aware of passages that describe what we’d consider odd, inexplicable Mosaic laws dealing with slavery, sex and what animals were fit and unfit for food (if you love bacon, guess what–it would’ve been considered unclean).

Those on the left who quote passages in Acts to justify socialism or communism should also be aware of what the Bible says about not eating if you haven’t worked or those who take for themselves what others have earned.

I do believe the Bible is God’s Perfect Word, but I also believe that some rules God gave at various times were exclusively meant for those times and those particular circumstances.

For now, as I read, I consider the audience, the customs of the times and whether the command qualifies as an absolute from God or something He chose for that time.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily represent those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Honey vs. Vinegar

April 19, 2013 Leave a comment

“You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Anyone know who said this? Drop me a line at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. I’m curious.

I don’t know if this is a scientifically-accurate statement, but here’s what it’s trying to say: you can get a lot more friends and influence a lot more people by being polite than by being rude.

I am reminded of this verse from Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

A Christian friend who is suffering a lot right now told me of teaching once at a Christian school and how one person at the church tore into her on a problem instead of sitting with her, asking and listening. It wounded her greatly.

I also think of one Christian employer I had who could quote lots of scripture and was well-loved by people at the church. He also is the most rude, condescending person I’ve ever met in my entire life. And considering all the atheists, agnostics, wiccans, hedonists, and other alternate lifestyle types I’ve know, that is indeed beyond sad. Beyond pathetic. It is inexcusable. He was a man who apparently saw no need to be nice because he knew everything. I prefer humility, myself.

Many other Christians out there are hurting because too many “wise” older Christians have chosen vinegar instead of honey. It’s one thing to practice righteous indignation when needed, but it’s another thing to be unnecessarily rude or angry.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.