Saturday, February 3, 2018

What Shall We Do With the Prisoners of Guantanamo Bay?

What Shall We Do With the Prisoners of Guantanamo Bay?
“When I initially learnt of my deployment to Guantanamo and the purpose we were going for, I was ready to go and face the world’s most dangerous men; these terrorists who had plotted and killed thousands of people in my country on 11 September 2001. I was ready to seek my own personal revenge on these people in whatever manner I could.

“Then the day came when these ‘world’s most dangerous men’ arrived, and they were not what I expected to see. Most of them were small, underweight, very scared, and injured. I was expecting these people to come off that bus looking like vicious monsters. . .”—(The above is from an interview by Brandon Neely as part of the Guantanamo Testimonials Project, run by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas at the University of California. To read the full transcript visit )

For the future of our country it is important to address what happened at Guantanamo Bay. In responding to the injustice of what was done there, cries of protest demanded that the camp be closed. President Obama in his campaign pledged to do just that. In fact, it was one of the first orders he signed after taking office. But closing Guantanamo Bay is proving difficult. What should be done with the prisoners?

Members of Congress are voicing their objection to any prisoners coming to their states. "Not Fort Leavenworth," said Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas along with 50 community leaders. "We don't want them around the United States," said Republican Speaker Harry Ried.
The New York Times, May 23, 2009, quoted a resident, Tom Baron of Canon City, Colorado, “An Area Packed With Prisons” .He said, "People here are good Christian conservatives." He thought that large numbers of Muslims--the family members and friends of inmates--would move into town if the transfer occurred. Property values would fall, he said, and some family members of terrorists might be terrorists, too.
"That would destroy this community," Mr. Baron concluded.

This impasse strikes me as being wrongly addressed . First of all, is it the place that is wrong or what has happened in this place—this prison that has become a worldwide symbol of injustice and torture? Conceivably, the prisoners could be moved, but the same thing could happen in a different place with a different name. And to move detainees to prisons within the United States would not necessarily guarantee better treatment. Our prison system is notorious—as investigations have proven. . (“We seem to have a gap between our cherished ideals about justice and the realities of the prison environment," said Nicolas Katzenbach, who served under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. "Despite these numbers and some compelling evidence of abuse and safety failures . . . there is little public knowledge about the nature and extent of the problems in our prisons and how to solve them.").

Secondly, to know what to do with the prisoners, shouldn't we know who they are and under what circumstances they came to be at this now infamous Bay of Guantanamo?

In 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld referred to Guantanamo prisoners as "the worst of the worst." Senator Pat Roberts who doesn’t want the prisoners in his state said, "These are people who are sociopaths and terrorists and killers and would stop at nothing to do harm to the United States." Are these correct evaluations of the prisoners—many of whom have not been charged or tried?

Among Rumsfeld’s “worst of the worst” are an estimated 60 children, 13-18 years old at the time they were brought to Guantanamo. Then there’s the British detainees who were released to the UK. They are now suing the US, saying they were stripped, shackled, beaten, tortured and intimidated with military dogs. They were made to give false confessions saying they appeared in a video with al Qaeda chief Osama ben Laden and Mohammad Atta when it could be proven that they were in Britain at the time. These men were tried in Britain and were totally exonerated.

A former Guantanamo guard, Chris Arendt from Michigan, united with them to expose the torture at the camp. He had joined the army shortly after September 11 when he was 17. Two years later he was sent to Guantanamo as a guard. Being disillusioned with what he saw there, he left the army and joined Iraq Veterans Against the War. “It was like sitting down with a bunch of brothers,” he said. Now, he feels compelled to speak about what he experienced at Guantanamo. Moazzam Begg, a former detainee speaking with Arendt, said the experience of being reunited with a former guard is “truly unique. We embraced as brothers.”

Michael Scheuer, of the CIA from 1999 to when he resigned in 2004, said,” By the fall of 2002, it was common knowledge around CIA circles that fewer than 10 percent of Guantanamo's prisoners were high-value terrorist operatives” ...

Torturing Democracy is an invaluable, accurate and thorough documentary of what happened at Guantanamo--it should be distributed widely. (I first saw it on PBS.) You can go directly to the web site and listen to it in its entirety. The transcript is backed up with specific citations, footnotes and links for researchers to build on.
How many Americans know that many of the prisoners came to the US through bounty hunters? To offer such payments in poor areas makes almost anyone fair game.

From Torturing Democracy:

NARRATOR: Tens of thousands of leaflets promising “enough money to take care of your family (and) your village for the rest of your life” 9 were dropped by psychological ops teams.

Javed Ibrahim Paracha: “Where is Arab? Where is Arab? Where is Arab? You get thousand dollar for one Arab. Thirty thousand, forty thousand, sixty thousand. And helicopter loud speaker announcing these things.”

NARRATOR: Any Arab in the region was at risk of being turned in as a terrorist.

. . .

SHAFIQ RASUL – Detainee #086: As soon as we were handed over to the U.S. military, they tied our hands behind our back and put sacks over our heads.

NARRATOR: Twenty-four-year old Shafiq Rasul10 was among hundreds of men who had been rounded up by a warlord in northern Afghanistan.

SHAFIQ RASUL – Detainee #086: We couldn't see what was going on. We couldn't see anything around. We didn't know where they were taking us. We didn't know what was happening. They kept shouting things like we were the ones responsible for 9/11. We killed members of their family, and they were going to take their revenge out on us. And they had rifles in their hands and they could have shot us at any time.

Words of Mohamed Mazouz – Detainee #294:11 “We were hauled like animals, one drawing the other in its walk.” 12
Words of Jumah al-Dossari – Detainee #261:13 “They started making us run towards the unknown. The prisoners started shouting and crying because of their severe pain. There were many young people with us, and the soldiers increased their insults and beatings.” 14
. . .
At Guantanamo Bay:
Colonel STUART COUCH: And so I walked down the hallway and the door was open. And I saw a detainee sitting on the floor. He was shackled. And the room was blacked out with exception of the strobe light. And he was just, he was rocking back and forth. . .There wan an Air Force attorney that was accompanying me, giving me the tour. And I just said, "Did you see that?" And he goes,” Well, yeah." And I said, "You know, I got a problem with that." And he goes, "Well, that's approved."

Narrator: Colonel Couch was not the only one troubled by the tactics Secretary Rumsfeld approved. FBI agents at the prison camp were keeping what they called a "war crimes" file--noting what they witnessed.
"I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."
. . .

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY (November 14, 2001): “We think it’s the appropriate way to go. We think it guarantees that we’ll have the kind of treatment of these individuals that we believe they deserve.”
RICHARD SHIFFRIN: That, of course, was premised on the idea that everyone we captured and detained really was a bad person. As it turns out, a large percentage of them were merely shepherds.
. . .

NARRATOR: In other words, the President has the power to suspend - or simply ignore - the fundamental laws of war. That includes Geneva and its guarantees of basic human rights to prisoners and civilians alike.

RICHARD ARMITAGE – Deputy Secretary of State (2001-05): Our views were well known in this matter. We were not on board.

NARRATOR: Richard Armitage served three combat tours in Vietnam.

RICHARD ARMITAGE: For the most part, the Department of State was left out of this discussion, I think precisely because we'd have no part of it.

NARRATOR: The State Department’s top lawyer called John Yoo’s legal reasoning “seriously flawed” 39 - and warned that if heading to the dark side meant violating Geneva:
“This raises a risk of future criminal prosecution for US civilian and military leadership and their advisers, by other parties to the Geneva Conventions.” 40

NARRATOR: The photographs of shackled and blindfolded prisoners provoked alarm – and an urgent letter from Amnesty International reminding Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that:
“The term ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ should be interpreted…to extend the widest possible protection against abuses…including the holding of a detained or imprisoned person in conditions which deprive him…of the use of any of his natural senses.” 46
(Press Conference, Department of Defense - January 11, 2002):
Q: How do you respond to charges – hooding, shaving, chaining, perhaps even…”
Secretary Rumsfeld: “What are the words?”
Q: “Hooding, shaving, chaining, perhaps even tranquilizing some of these people – violating their civil rights.”
Secretary Rumsfeld: “Uh, that – uh- that’s not correct.”
Q: “That you’ve done it?”
Secretary Rumsfeld: “That it’s a violation of their rights. It simply isn’t.”

. . .

MOAZZAM BEGG – Detainee #558: It goes beyond being scared now. You just want to sleep. They produced pictures of my wife, my children, and waved these pictures in front of me, asking me if I knew what had happened to my wife and kids that night. If I thought they were safe, if I thought I’d ever see them again. If I really cared about them so much, I would tell them everything.

NARRATOR: A woman began to scream in a nearby cell. Threats against a prisoner’s family were called “second degree torture” 62 during the Spanish Inquisition – and were commonly used by the Soviet KGB. 63
For two days and two nights, he heard the woman he thought might be his wife being tortured. . .

NARRATOR: During the eleven months Moazzam Begg was imprisoned in Bagram, at least two men in U.S. custody there died. 64
In Guantanamo, he was locked into a 6-by-8 foot cage where he would spend the next two years, in isolation. His nightmares were filled with the screams of a woman.

NARRATOR: Now, his interrogations would intensify. An hourly log – leaked from Guantanamo - narrates the harsh details.
He is forced to wear a woman’s bra. A thong is draped over his head – sexually taunting and humiliating – a Muslim man.
A leash is tied around his neck.
1115: Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog. Detainee became very agitated.
1300: Dog tricks continued and detainee stated he should be treated like a man. 106

NARRATOR: Nine hours later, while women are in the interrogation booth, he is stripped naked.
2200: After approximately five minutes of nudity the detainee ceased to resist…. He stated that he did not like the females viewing his naked body. 107

NARRATOR: Besides the physical coercion, an interrogator posing as a Navy captain sent by the White House told Slahi that his family was “in danger” if he didn’t cooperate, 150 that his mother had been imprisoned – and implied she might be raped in custody.151

Colonel STUART COUCH: If you tell me that Slahi gave up information because you told him, and showed him in a letter, that you’re bringing his mother to Guantanamo and that she could be abused by men, is anything that he tells you from that point, you know, is that credible?
. . .

Colonel STUART COUCH: God means what he says. And we were created in his image, and we owe each other a certain level of dignity -- a certain level of respect. And that’s just a line we can’t cross. If we compromise our own ideals as a nation, then these guys have accomplished much more than driving airplanes into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon.
Please go to the website and listen to the whole documentary.

Remembering what I learned in Torturing Democracy, I watched another powerful documentary, Children of the Taliban, shown on PBS Frontline
Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy undertook a dangerous journey to her native Pakistan to document how the Taliban are repressing young girls and recruiting children to carry out suicide attacks. Poor parents who cannot feed their children, let alone educate them, often allow the Taliban to do so.

From Children of the Taliban (transcript):
In one video, 25 children appear wearing the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, they rock back and forth reciting the Koran. . .
Housed in a bare compound, three young boys watch over the group holding automatic guns. Their teacher, dressed in brown military fatigues, paces the room reading from a book called, "Justifications for Suicide Bombing." Moving to a white board, he writes, "spy.Reasons for killing a Spy."

. . .In another video, three teenage boys talk about their desire to become suicide bombers. We meet Zainullah, who later blows himself up killing six; then Sadique, who blows himself up killing 22; and Masood who kills 28. We're shown footage glorifying their attacks. . .
"Suicide" schools run by the Taliban are preparing a generation of boys to commit atrocities against civilians. Last year, suicide attacks struck right across Pakistan, killing more than 800 people. Pakistan's war is no longer confined to the lawless Tribal areas along the Afghan border, it has moved to the cities. Children are being killed, but they are also being turned into killers . . .
(Please go to PBS and watch the entire documentary.)

As I watched Children of the Taliban, I thought of my grandchildren--a little boy like my four year old grandson, Philip, or Patrick or Jonathan or Robert--a little boy like my son, Jack, used to be. A little boy taken in his formative years and trained. He is told about being a suicide bomber and that this pleases god and that America is the Big Satan.” All of these little boys are some mother's child. So the little boy grows up and becomes what we think of as a terrorist and now is a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. How shall we combat this? I'm sure those who were tortured felt that what they had been taught was certainly affirmed. They had fallen into the Big Satan.

Before we know what to do with the prisoners, we must know who they are and how they got there. However, to get to know the prisoners is not part of the military agenda. Charge and trial being absent, many were just judged as terrorists. Chris Arendt, the Guantanamo guard, who joined the British detainees, said that he would talk to the inmates to learn about their lives. However, this was thought to be "fraternizing with the enemy". So he was given other responsibilities. If you don’t know them, how do you know they are enemies?

Brandon Neely said almost the same thing:
“I know that being in the position I was in, as an active duty Military Police officer guarding the most dangerous men in the world, that I was not supposed to really interact with the detainees. But it’s hard. Especially when you realize that some of these guys are no different than yourself. The military trains you not to think and just to react and not feel any compassion for anyone or anybody. And do what you are told. No questions asked.”
So what shall we do with these prisoners for whom we are responsible? These prisoners whom Congress as a whole does not want to touch our righteous soil? These prisoners for which are prisons are too fine? There are around 250 left at Guantanamo—50 of which have been cleared now by US authorities. But no one wants them. Where shall they go? Who will take them?

I advocate

Which includes:

First, "If your enemy hunger, feed him." Make sure every prisoner has adequate food and if their religion has certain dietary rules, comply. Make sure he has clean water to drink, a clean bed to sleep on, a place to wash, and can use the restroom in privacy. If he wishes, supply him with reading material, paper and pen,music. Make him comfortable. Make him feel he is among people who love God, who love freedom and democracy. In this way he may question his false training.
Pray for him--he doesn't need to know you pray for him. By the Spirit of God, watch for opportunities of conversation. He should know why he is there--tell him about 9/11. Get to know him. What is his background, his childhood--did he grow up in a school of the Taliban?

Some may think this is crazy naïve interrogation. Contrast it with what is described in Torturing Democracy.

Some having compassion, making a difference. . .”Jude

The man in Colorado said they were "good conservative Christians." Are they? What would Jesus do?

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. . .Matthew 5: 43,44

Wouldn't "a good Christian" look at this as an opportunity to show the love of Christ and win such a person to the Kingdom of God?

Closing Guantanamo Bay is not the first step--it is not the place that must be changed, but the treatment. The first step is enhanced interrogation, as I have described--which can begin immediately. The second step is that our consciousness as a nation needs to change. Yes, there are people of compassion. There are people who understand what has happened at Guantanamo Bay. But it is hidden from the majority of Americans if what is expressed by some of our legislators and some or our newscasters is any indication.

"I was in prison and you visited me. . ." Matthew 25

Here is our job description:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. . .Isaiah 61

Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. Psalm 109:16

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. . . Matthew 5:7

Who is a God like unto thee that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:18

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth; but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. . .He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. Proverbs

For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. James 2:13

These prisoners have been judged “the worst of the worst” without knowing them.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged." Matthew 7:1

"Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24

" He shall not judge after the hearing of the ear or the seeing of the eye but with equity shall he judge the poor. . ." Isaiah 11

Brandon Neeley:
After speaking with the detainees and realizing they had families who loved them, just as I had, I started to realize that these people are no different than me. Hell! I was older than some of the ones there.

I think everyone can agree that, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there are some really bad people. And there are a lot of good people there as well. But – innocent, guilty, black, white, Muslim, or Jew, no matter what you are – there is no excuse to treat people in the manner that I and other people did. It’s wrong and just downright criminal, and it goes against everything the United States of America stands for.

Since we started this interview President Barack Obama has said the detention facility in Guantánmo Bay will be closed within a year. That's great, but what are WE as the United States of America, the people who kidnapped and tortured these people going to do for them? Just send them home like nothing happened? In the USA if you are sentenced to prison and later on you are found not to be guilty through DNA or what not you are given compensation. Are we going to give compensation to these individuals that were so wrongfully held for so many years? We should. We started this mess and it's time we attempt to help this people move on with their lives. The sad part of this all is the people who are responsible. Former President George Bush and Former Vice President Dick Cheney will never be held accountable for the decisions they made. It's the detainees and the guards like myself that will have to live every day with what they went through, saw, and did while there.

What better could be done with an enemy that to make him a friend, and especially to make him a friend of God. . .It enables you to see unlimited possibilities in everyone and even in the most tragic of situations—J. Rufus Moseley

A holy person is concerned about the suffering of other people.
July 24, 2009
U.S. admits it has no case against teen held at GuantanamoWashington--The Justice Department conceded Friday that it lacks the evidence to hold a teenage Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant after a federal judge last week ruled that his confession was inadmissible.

In a hearing last week, U.S. District Jude Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled that Mohammed Jawad's confession to Afghan officials was inadmissible because it had been extracted through torture. She also questioned whether the Justice Department had any evidence to proceed with a trial to determine whether he can be held as an enemy combatant.

Huvelle called the case an "outrage," and told Justice Department lawyers that their case against Jawad had been "gutted".

"Without his statements, I don't understand your case," she told Justice Department lawyers. "Sir, the facts can only get smaller, not bigger. . .Face it, this case is in trouble. . .Seven years and this case is riddled with holes." . . .

Comment written about the above article: August 2, 2009
What do you call German SS officers who wrecked havoc on US troops? My grandfather was an SS officer who spent 6 years in a US POW camp. He always talked about how humanely he was treated. And he was personally decorated by Adolf Hitler for something he never wanted to elaborate upon. Same goes for the Japanese, even the Japanese commander who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor was treated as a VIP in custody with his private interpreter present at all times. So why are Afghan kids held in custody for many years and maltreated like that. It seems that the US is creating its own enemies.

President Barack Obama ordered the closure of Guantanamo by January, but the administration has struggled to come up with a way to either release or try detainees.

New York Times, May 22, 2009: Obama Would Move Some Terror Detainees to U.S.—backs detentions without trials if needed. By Sheryl Gay Stolberg—Washington—Despite stiff resistance from Congress, President Obama said Thursday that he intended to transfer some detainees from Guantanamo Bay Cuba , to highly secure facilities inside the United States. He also proposed “prolonged detention” for terrorism suspects who cannot be tried , a problem, he called, the toughest issue we face. . .(He speaks of detainees who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or evidence is tainted.)

"In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists," -- Dick Cheney

“We think it’s the appropriate way to go. We think it guarantees that we’ll have the kind of treatment of these individuals that we believe they deserve.”—Dick Cheney

In a comment to Chris Arendt’s testimony, Mark Read Pickens wrote:
Let me see if I've grasped the theory. Someone in Afghanistan has a personal enemy. He captures that guy and sells him to the U.S. The U.S. imprisons the guy indefinitely. And this makes us safer.

Guanatanmo Bay—the very words now evoke injustice and torture indicative of a shameful part of our present history—why not transform this bay into a haven of redemption, justice and hope—an example of what we really are and want to be as Americans?

Behind the Walls of Guantanamo Bay

The bay of Guantanamo is said to be beautiful, sheltered by hills and mountains. In my imagination I try to picture it. Kicking off my shoes and letting them rest in the sand, I walk along the shore letting the water make little splashes. A bird circles overhead and there’s one resting standing on one little leg. This scene of peace is a place where the sun rises as though nothing has happened. It sets—sometimes in glorious fire. I love sunsets and used to take pictures of them in Sarasota’s Siesta Key in Florida where my father lived.

Where is the prison? Can it be seen from the shore—perhaps if I walk around the bend? As I stand in this place of beauty hearing only the sound of the lap of the water or the call of a bird, at the same time not far are walls holding hell. A place where prisoners—-fathers, uncles, brothers, sons-- are tortured having been neither charged nor tried. And by America the Beautiful. Can it be? Not My Country Tis of Thee!Many were sold for bounty given by my government. “The leaflets fell as snowflakes in winter in Chicago,” said Donald Rumfeld. Leaflets? Yes, leaflets promising from $5,000 to $25,000 for members of the Taliban and al-Queda—such money as you could not make in Afghanistan working your whole life. These promised bounties led to black market and abductions in Afganistan and Pakistan. And this is how many detainees found themselves behind the walls of Guantanamo’s prison

I didn’t expect to be writing so much about this subject. Having seen both Torturing Democracy http://w and Children of the Taliban by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy , (Frontline, PBS)I felt a need to write something linking them. However, as I did so in the course of writing, I felt led to do more and more research. The more I learned the more passionate I became. We must overturn this. As soon as I finished writing the previous blog, What Shall We Do With the Prisoners of Guantanamo Bay? (Please read if you have not.) I found, My Guantanamo Diary by Mahvish Rukhsana Khana. I know I was meant to find it—a diary to make you cry. It tells the stories of individual prisoners making them real with names and not just detainee numbers.

The author is an American lawyer born to Afghan immigrants. When she heard of the illegal detainment of the detainees, she felt she had to do something and applied to be a translator. She visited Guantanamo nearly 30 times, and also made trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan to substantiate the stories of the prisoners--sometimes visiting the families of some of the prisoners.

In her Author’s Note she writes:

The U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay stands as a challenge to our
nation. It challenges our readiness to do the right thing in times of
crisis, the times when it’s most difficult, to adhere to our
founding principles and to follow the rule of law. What lies at the heart
of the Gitmo debate are the beliefs upon which the United States of America was
founded and for which it has long been celebrated: the conviction that no one
should be imprisoned without charge and that everyone has a right to defend him
or herself in a fair and impartial trial. . .

While I believe that Gitmo may hold evil men as well as innocent
ones, I also believe that only a fair and full hearing can separate the good
from bad. .I can honestly say that I don’t believe any of the
Afghans I met were guilty of crimes against the United States. Certainly some of
the Guantanamo detainees were, just not the men I met. . .

She further writes:

Most of the prisoners I met spoke of harsh beatings, being stripped naked in
front of females, sleep deprivation, extremes of cold and heat, stress
positions. 80-year old Haji Nusrat, who is a paraplegic, spoke about
injuries to his arm during one particular beating. . .Some of the men I’ve
profiled in my book speak of sexual humiliation, multiple full cavity searches,
disrespect toward their holy book, restrictions on religious

(Her testimony agrees with that of ex-guards. (See my previous blog and Guantanmo Testimonials.)

One prisoner asked in his journal, “Is America really in a position to be establishing democracies?”

Colonel Stuart Couch said after visiting the prison, “God means what he says. And we were created in his image, and we owe each other a certain level of dignity—a certain level of respect. And that’s just a line we can’t cross. If we compromise our own ideals as a nation, then these guys have accomplished much more than driving airplanes into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon.” (See Torturing Democracy.)

From The New York Times, August 25, 2009:
Investigation Is Ordered Into C.I.A. Abuse Charges:By Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane

Washington—Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a veteran federal
prosecutor on Monday to examine abuse of prisoners. . .Mr. Holder chose John H.
Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who has been investigating the
C.I.A.’s destruciton of interrogation videotapes. . .

He said that he agreed with President Obama's oft expressed desire not to
get mired in disputes over the policies of former President George W. Bush but
that his review of the reports of the C.I.A interrogation program left him no

“As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the
law,” Mr. Holder said in a statement. “Given all the information currently
available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of
action for me to take.”

. . .Although large portions of the 109-page report are blacked out, it
gives new details about a variety of abuses inside the C.I.A.’s overseas prison,
including suggestions about sexually assaulting members of a detainee’s family,
staging mock executions, andintimidation with a handgun and power drill. .

Dick Cheney presents another view. As though on cue, last night as I was late writing this paper and before I turned off the computer for the night, I saw this headline:

Dick Cheney blasts CIA Interrogation Probe-- Lara Jakes.

WASHINGTON (Aug. 30) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney says politics are
driving the Justice Department's decision to investigate whether CIA
interrogators abused terror suspects detained after the Sept. 11
"It's clearly a political move," Cheney said in an interview aired
on "Fox News Sunday." "I mean, there's no other rationale for why they're doing

(No other rationale? I mean, compassion, human rights and justice, American values, The Geneva Convention? None of these could be possible motivations?)

Cheney called the techniques "good policy," saying he was comfortable in cases
where interrogators went beyond what they were specifically authorized to do.
The CIA report found they included cases of interrogators threatening a detainee
with a handgun and an electric drill. . .
“I’m very proud of what we did in
terms of defending the nation for the past eight years successfully,” Cheney
said in a recorded interview.
"I just think it's an outrageous
precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized
look back at the prior administration."
. . .Attorney General Eric Holder
said in comments last week. "In this case, given all of the information
currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible
course of action for me to take."

Having just finished reading My Guantanamo Diary on this very day, I found the views of Dick Cheney especially, yes, “outrageous”! The contrast was so extreme, I had to stop and pray very loud in tongues, to relieve my strong emotion. There must be an investigation! In AOL's poll 58% gave Dick Cheney a thumbs up! Clearly people do not know the truth!

Matthew Alexander, a soldier in Iraq, in his letter to the President through Amnesty International wrote:
. . .I witnessed with my own eyes, while supervising over a thousand interrogations, a majority of foreign fighters state that the number one reason they came to Iraq to fight was because of our policy that allowed torture and abuse to occur at
Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. These foreign fighters killed hundreds, if not thousands of American soldiers. Torture and abuse did not keep America safe. It cost us lives.

How could Mr. Cheney even suggest that we should be grateful for these polices—that the present administration should copy these policies—have the same policies?

No, not my government! We must stand and denounce that which is not us and purge it from us!

What seeds have been sown these past eight years? The vibrations and energy from these prison policies are even now circling the globe and hurting us as a nation. We must stop the momentum, turn it around, and show the world we are once again Americans and champions of justice and freedom. They must know we are divorced from these policies.

There is One who knows all secrets behind the walls—who is guilty and who is innocent—who did what and why they did it. He also answers prayer.

The ground is full of blood. Events done in a place affect that place until they are cleansed. I am reminded of a prophetic opening from the journal of George Fox, founder of the Quakers. He wrote:

I was commanded of the Lord to pull off my shoes of a sudden; and I stood still,
and the word of the Lord was like a fire in me; and being winter. . .as soon as
I came within the town, the word of the Lord came unto me to cry, “Woe unto the
bloody city of Litchfield!” . . ..As I went through the town, there
ran like a channel of blood down the streets and the market place was like a
pool of blood; this I saw as I went through it crying, “Woe to the bloody city
of Litchfield.’ . . .And so at last I came to a ditch and washed my feet and put
on my shoes, and when I had done, I considered why I should go and cry against
that city and call it a bloody city. . . But after, I came to
see that there were a thousand martyrs in Litchfield in the Emperor Diocletian’s
time and so I must go in my stockings through the channel of their blood in
their market place. So I might raise up the blood of those martyrs that
had been shed and lay cold in their streets, which had been shed above a
thousand years before. So the sense of this blood was upon me, for which I
obeyed the word of the Lord. And the ancient record will testify. . .

What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:9) God asked this of Cain after he murdered his brother Abel.

So God hears the cries and sees the blood of the prisoners. He sees the wives and the children, the brothers, the grandparents who agonize at home wondering if they will ever see their loved ones again.

So what must we do? We need redemption and before redemption is repentance. Thank God, there is a time from the sowing of seed to the reaping of it—thus space for repentance. And so, Dick Cheney, just because we have not yet seen the reaping of the whirlwind on our soil, it does not mean that the seeds of such violence have not been sown. Who would be so foolish as to trust in your way of safety? What you have advocated has put the people of our nation in grave danger and given us a sense of shame about our government. Now Gauntanamo Bay is an international symbol of injustice and torture.

We must be co-creators with the Creator—hands and feet and mouth through which the love of God reaches out to a suffering world. We must not linger for the cup of iniquity to be full and spill out over our land. The prophetic eye sees what is in the spirit world and will manifest in the physical if the everything remains the same. We cannot leave this situation as it is. All around is the crescendo of gathering storm waiting to erupt. Through our media, the Internet, talk shows, on our streets, people carelessly spewing out judgments demonizing people without investigation. I walked into the corner diner. The TV was on. That was when I first learned of what was happening in the town meetings. People yelling and screaming not allowing any discussion or debate. I later learned that talk shows and websites had urged, “Become a part of the mob! . . .Pack the hall. . .Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early. . .Get him off his prepared script and agenda. . .Stand up and shout. . .” A mob no longer thinks and is certainly not what we need. Prayer is what we need. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah)

So this is our democracy? We know more about the protests than we do about the contents of the health bill. It doesn’t take much of a prophetic eye to see that this is not only the sowing of bad seed but the manifestation of it.

He that answers a matter before he hears it, to him it is folly and shame. Proverbs

If you would convince me of error, you must
first demonstrate you heard what I said. 
Charles Finney

One night coming home on the subway, the car was filled with the impassioned voices of young people speaking of REVOLUTION! They had these papers (15 pages) entitled, REVOLUTION. With great fervor they were speaking of wrongs done by our government (many of them true) and the coming revolution. I got one of the papers. I told the girl, “I’m going to pray about this.” She said, “Pray to who?”.

I looked at the paper. It was chilling. As I turned the pages, I could see it is no small organization represented. Everywhere they have headquarters and branches and they intend to spread their message to every corner. Bookstores and events listed—New York, Boston/Cambridge, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Seattle, and Houston. The advertisements reviewed many books.and websites. I read:

It is a system of capitalism—imperialism. . .a system in which U.S. imperialism
is the most monstrous, most oppressive superpower. . .a system driven by a
relentless chase after profit, which brings horror upon horror, a nightmare
seemingly without end. . .torture and rape . .wars, invasions and occupations .
.assassinations and massacres. . planes, missiles, tanks and troops of the USA
bombarding people in faraway lands while they sleep, blasting their little
children to pieces. . .

I noted that many of the things they said were true, but I wanted to object, ”Think of the good things of America—not just the bad. Think of. . .” There was no time to say anything. “Come to our bookstore,” she called as she ran with the others to the next car.

Maybe I will. I will listen and maybe I will be able to give Another Plan and redirect this zeal—maybe even for one person.. They are working so hard, giving their time and their youth for a plan that will never work. It’s sad that they haven’t seen anything else that attracts them.

We cannot neglect Guantanamo Bay—we cannot forget the prisoners in our nation’s care. Even if we are selfish—we cannot forget--not just for their sakes, but also for our own and the sake of our children. Needed is the power of strong words:

Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. . .But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. Jeremiah 22:3-5

For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, . . Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, . . .behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. . .Jeremiah 7:5-8

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully and I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 29-31

And I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against those that oppress . . .the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not. . .Return to me and I will return to you. . .Malachi 3:5-7

They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? Psalm 94:6-9

I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not I searched out. Job 29:15, 16

(I know this is a lot of verses, but each one has something unique that makes it hard for me to eliminate it.)

Job said that if he didn’t understand a cause, he searched it out—he investigated it to find the truth. Contrary to what Dick Cheney says, the CIA investigation. is just, proper and necessary. There is so much confusion and we must know the truth. Though important as other matters are—health care, etc—we cannot just push Gauntanamo Bay (and the other prisons involved) in a corner and expect to go forward. As God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth, And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:9,10

Before we can build and plant, sometimes we must first uproot, pull down and destroy. What needs to be uprooted and destroyed? Whatever in us that has allowed this great tragedy to be done with American hands. Lies, not listening, false accusation, greed, not caring about the poor and the one who has no helper. Truth and justice must come forth so that we can build and plant with integrity and compassion.

Just a few weeks ago while I was staying with my daughter, Rebecca, my son-in-law, Matt, came out in the morning and told us of a dream he had just had. A meteor hit the earth. A blind was pulled down between him and the meteor. But what kind of protection was the blind, he thought. Just because you can not see something, does not mean it is not there. Let’s pull up the blind and see what we face as a first step for finding wisdom to know what to do. Please, President Obama, investigate. Truth can bear examination. To get things right in the future, we must know what went wrong in the past.

My one year old grandson, Noah, looks up with such a trusting face. “Of such is the kingdom of God. . . “ All the little trusting faces. With God’s help, we must do our best redeeming the time.. “Follow me,” Jesus said..

The Prince of Peace shine upon us and our children and grandchildren—and the children and grandchildren of the world. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace . . “

Guantanmo Bay—the very words now evoke injustice and torture indicative of a shameful part of our present history. However, it is not the place, but the treatment received in this place that is at fault. The longer we wait to acknowledge the truth and do something about it, the greater will be the price we as a nation have to pay. May we uproot the wrong that was done in this place and turn it around to plant and build and multiply it as seed for good—that the suffering of those who suffered here be not in vain.. Is redemption possible? This symbol of torture be transformed—this bay be a haven of understanding, justice and hope--an example of what we really are and want to be as Americans.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices;
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Stand on your feet,
O hear the angel voices!

The bay—do you hear the sound of children playing? Let’s run down to the shore and join them!.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

“The presence of the Holy Spirit means more than the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures
—inspiration must be immediate and continual.”
William Law

Howbeit when She, the Spirit of truth, is come, She will guide you into all truth: for She shall not speak of herself; but whatsoever She shall hear, that shall She speak :and She will show you things to come. John 16:13
If by "gender" is meant grammatical gender, the gender of "Holy Spirit" varies according to the language used. Thus the grammatical gender of the word "spirit" is masculine in Latin ("spiritus") and in Latin-derived languages, as also, for instance, in the German language ("Geist"), while in the Semitic languages such as Hebrew ("רוח"), Aramaic and its descendant Syriac, it is feminine, and in Greek it is neuter ("πνεῦμα"). If speakers of a particular language were to confuse grammatical gender with physical gender, they might then think of the Holy Spirit as malefemale or of neither sex, but such confusion does not of course affect the reality of the gender or lack of gender of the Spirit.

Sometimes a truth comes with such strength that you want to shout it everywhere—the secret of the ages! Such a truth is this—what a resolution of conflict if this could be understood!
“The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” (II Corinthians 3:6). This is the battle of the ages, which battle continues to rage--to be led by the Spirit or to follow religious forms. It has been said that there is no hatred like religious hatred and more blood has been shed in the name of religion than in any cause. In these cases a knowledge of scripture becomes not an asset but a liability causing people to ignore in their hearts what the Spirit would teach them as they observe religious dogma.

It was the religious leaders—who knew the Scriptures—who were the enemies of Jesus. Their objections were scripturally based, they thought. They felt he did not properly observe the Sabbath, etc. It was the children and the unlearned that recognized Him.

Many today may feel if they had seen Jesus in the flesh teaching and performing miracles, they would have certainly been one of the believers—never would they have been like some of the religious leaders. But would you have believed?

We may think that nothing could be higher than having Jesus in the flesh instructing us. However, Jesus taught the disciples that when He should be glorified and come again in the fullness and power of the Spirit, this instruction would be far greater. The Spirit would be ever present to comfort, lead and teach us.
Through the centuries there have been those who understood.

Robert Barclay (1648-1690):
Christians now are to be led inwardly and immediately by the Spirit of God, even in the same manner as the saints were of old. He then that acknowledges himself ignorant and a stranger to the inward in-being of the Christ in his heart, doth thereby acknowledge himself whatever he may otherwise know or believe of Christ, or however, much skilled or acquainted with the letter or the holy scripture, not yet to have embraced the Christian religion. For take but away the Spirit, and Christianity remains no more than the dead carcass of a man, when the soul and spirit has departed, remains a man.

Seeing then that Christ hath promised his Spirit to lead his children, and that every one of them both ought and may be led by the Spirit, if any depart from this certain guide indeed, and yet in words pretend to be led by it, into things that are not good, it will not from thence follow, that the true guidance of the Spirit is uncertain, ought not to be followed; no more than it will follow that the sun sheweth not light, because a blind man or one who willfully shuts his eyes, falls into a ditch at noon-day for want of light; or that no words are spoken, because a deaf man hears them not; or that a garden full of fragrant flowers has no sweet smell, because he that has lost his smelling does not smell it.

From these revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints have proceeded the Scriptures of Truth. Because they are only a declaration of the fountain, and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principle ground of all truth, and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. Yet because they give a true and faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be esteemed a secondary rule, subordinate to the Spirit, from which they have all their excellency and certainty; for as by the inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify, that the Spirit is their Guide by which the saints are led into all truth; therefore, according to the scriptures, the Spirit is the first and principal leader.”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
When Andrew Murray discovered what William Law had written concerning the inward workings of the Holy Spirit, he was compelled to write, “I have never found anyone who has so helped me in understanding the scripture truth of the work of the Holy Spirit.” Murray agreed with Law that “the promise of the Holy Spirit is the one secret of the power of Christ’s church.” (Bethany Fellowship)
I do not know where to find anywhere else the same clear and powerful statement of the truth, which the Church needs at the present day. . .no where have I met with anything that brings the truth of our dependence on the continual leading of the Spirit, and the assurance that that leading can be enjoyed without interruption, so home to the heart as the teaching of this present volume. . . The one need of our churches, of our life, and our work, is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit. . . That God may visit His Church, and fill all His saints with His Holy Spirit, is my fervent prayer.

Andrew Murray in introduction of William Law’s The Power of the Spirit, selections from the Writings of William Law.

William Law (1686-1761)":
All this is expressly declared by Christ Himself, saying unto them, “I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away;” Therefore Christ taught them to believe and joyfully to expect the coming of a higher and more blessed state than that of His bodily presence with them. For he adds, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come”: therefore the comfort and blessing of Christ to His followers could not be had till something more was done to them, and they were brought into a higher state than they could be by His verbal instruction of them. “But if I go away,” says He, “I will send Her unto you, and when the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth is come, She will guide you into all truth;She shall glorify Me: for She shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16)

( With greater revelation I have taken the liberty to use "She" above--though William Law did not.
"Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On Her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on  Her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, 
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
Isaiah 66:12,13

"She shall cover you with Her feathers and under Her wings thou shalt truth. . ."
Psalm 91
"Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. . ."
Isaiah 49:15

I was just going to put these verses in without references--but then thought I should put the references in.  I opened to "Mother" and "Mothers."  Our holy Mother is helping me.
Back to William Law.)

What poor divinity knowledge comes from great scholars may be sufficiently seen from the quotations taken from Dr. Warburton’s sermons. It stands thus: “By them (that is, by the writings of the New Testament) the prophetic promise of our Saviour, that the Comforter should abide for ever, was eminently fulfilled. For though His ordinary influence occasionally assists the faithful, yet His constant abode and sure illumination is in the sacred Scriptures.” Dr. Warburton’s doctrine is this, that the inspired books of the New Testament is that Comforter, or Spirit of Truth, and illuminator, which is meant by Christ’s being always with His Church. Let us therefore put the Doctor’s doctrine into the letter of the text, which will best show how true or false it is.

Our Lord says, “It is expedient for you that I go away, or the Comforter will not come; that is, it is expedient for you, that I leave off teaching you in words, that sound only into your outward ears, that you may have the same words in writing, for your outward eyes to look upon, for if I do not depart from this vocal way of teaching you, the Comforter will not come, that is, yet will not have the comfort of My words written on paper. But if I go away, I will send written books, which shall lead you into such a truth of words as you could not have, whilst they were only spoken from My mouth; but being written on paper, they will be My Spiritual, heavenly, constant abode with you, and the most supreme illumination you can receive from Me.”

Christ says further: “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of Himself, for He shall receive Mine, and shall show it unto you; that is though you cannot be sufficiently instructed from My words at present, yet when they shall hereafter come to you in written books, they will give you a knowledge of all truth, for they shall not speak of themselves, but shall receive words from Me, and show them unto you.
It must be evident to every reader that this absurd, and even blasphemous, interpretation is all the Doctor’s own.

The true value of scripture is an outward Guide to God’s inward Teaching: As Christ’s teaching in the flesh was only preparatory to His future vital teaching by the Spirit, so the teaching of Scripture by words written with ink and paper is only preparatory, or introductory to all that inward essential teaching of God, which is by His Spirit and truth within us. Every other opinion of the Holy Scripture, but that of an outward teacher and guide to God’s inward teaching and illumination in our souls, is by making an idol-god of it: I say an idol-god; for to those who rest in it as the constant abode and supreme illumination of God with them, it can be nothing else. For if nothing of divine faith, love, hope, or goodness, can have the least birth or place in us, but by divine inspiration, they who think these virtues may be sufficiently raised in us by the letter of Scripture, do in truth and reality make the letter of Scripture their inspirited god.

That which the learned leaders did with the outward letter of their law, that same do learned Christians with the outward letter of their gospel. Why did they so furiously and obstinately cry out against Christ, “Let Him be crucified”? It was because their letter-learned ears, their worldly spirit, and temple-orthodoxy, would not bear to hear of an inward Saviour, not bear to hear of being born again of His Spirit, of eating His flesh, and drinking His blood, of His dwelling in them, and they in Him. To have their law of ordinances, their temple-pomp sunk into such a fulfilling Saviour as this, was such enthusiastic jargon to their ears, as forced their sober, rational theology, to call Christ, Beelzebub, His doctrine, blasphemy and all for the sake of Moses and rabinic orthodoxy.

Christian doctors reproach the old learned Rabbis, for their vain faith, and carnal desire of a glorious, temporal, outward Christ, who should set up their temple-worship all over the world. Vanity indeed, and learned blindness enough?

But nevertheless, in these condemmers of rabbinical blindness, St. Paul's words are remarkably verified, namely, “Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.” . . .What the Christian doctors advocate is that very outward Christ, and that very outward kingdom, which the carnal religious leaders dreamed of, and for the sake of which the spiritual Christ was then nailed to the Cross, and is still crucified by the new-risen Pharisee in the Christian Church.

And so the natural man goes on preaching, and the natural man goes on hearing of the things of God, in a fruitless course of life. And thus it must be, so long as either preacher or hearers, seek anything else but to edify, and be edified in, and through the immediate power and essential presence of the Holy Spirit, working in them.

The Law was given by Moses; but Moses had a veil upon his face, the Law was a veil, prophecy was a veil, Christ crucified was a veil, and all was a veil, till grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit.

The empty letter-learned knowledge which the natural man can as easily have of the sacred scripture and religious matters as of any other books or human affairs, this being taken for divine knowledge, has spread such darkness and delusion all over Christendom, as may be reckoned no less than a general apostasy from the gospel state of divine illumination. . . What scripture of the New Testament can you read that does not prove this to be the gospel state, a kingdom of God, into which none can enter but by being born of the Spirit, none can continue to be alive in it but by being led by the Spirit, and in which not a thought, or desire, or action can be allowed to have any part in it, but as it is a fruit of the Spirit?

But as Christ’s teaching in the flesh was only preparatory to His future vital teaching by the Spirit, so the teaching of Scripture by words written with ink and paper is only preparatory, or introductory to all that inward essential teaching of God, which is by His Spirit and truth within us. Every other opinion of the Holy Scripture, but that of an outward teacher and guide to God’s inward teaching and illumination in our souls, is but making an idol-god of it: I say an idol-god; for to those who rest in it as the constant abode and supreme illumination of God with them, it can be nothing else. For if nothing of divine faith, love, hope, or goodness, can have the least bit or place in us, but by divine inspiration, they who think these virtues may be sufficiently raised in us by the letter of Scripture, do in truth and reality make the letter of Scripture their inspiring god.

All this is expressly declared by Christ Himself, saying unto them, “I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away”’ therefore Christ taught them to believe and joyfully to expect the coming, of a higher and more blessed state than what of His bodily presence with them. For He adds “If I go not away the Comforter will not come”’ therefore the comfort and blessing of Christ to His followers could not be had till something more was done to them, and they were brought into a higher state than they could be by His verbal instruction to them. “But if I go away,” says He “I will send Her unto you, and when the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth is come, She will guide you into all truth; She shall glorify Me” . . .He commands them not to bear witness of Him to the world from what they did and could in a human way know of Him, His birth, His life, doctrines, death, sufferings, resurrection, etc., but to tarry in Jerusalem till they were endued with power from on high; saying unto them, “Ye shall receive power, after that he Holy Ghost is come upon you. And then shall ye bear witness unto Me. . .
. . .nothing but the Spirit of God can worship God in Spirit and in truth.
William Law

Centuries have gone by since Robert Barclay and William Law and yet the truth they taught is still obscure—like a hidden secret. What a freeing discovery to treasure and hold dear! Yes, the glorious secret of "Christ in me, the hope of glory," ever with me, guiding me. I don’t have to be boxed in with verses, dogma and ritual. What freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to “rightly divide the Word”—“to guide into all truth” right now at this moment.

From “Taking Communion with Muddy Feet,” by Sheilah Hill

Note: It's been awhile since I read this--It speaks to me anew--I feel its power and don't want to ever again neglect these truths--this salvation. I weep to read it. These saints of old, Andrew Murray, William Law, Robert Barclay "being dead yet speak."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lady Liberty Quality of Life Brigade and Shining River Press

Mission Statement:

            Shining River will go all over the  world, singing, dancing, laughing, leaping from sea to shining sea, gathering beauty, wisdom, understanding, instruction and knowledge from many pens, musicians, composers, poets, artists, teachers, carpenters, gardeners, etc--some from the distant past, some from the  emerging present, some from the budding future. We shall return to The Garden!

"Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."--Jeremiah 31:12


            She gathers together the outcasts” (Psalm 147:2) to make Polk County a world class example for mental health and prisoners.  The Brigade will have dental for everyone and musical instruments.   A plan of  recovery--not Big Pharma Making Mental Patients.  Psychiatric is at the top of health care expense.  Recovery will greatly reduce cost.  We will have respite houses for those in altered states of consciousness (see Lakeland Ledger comments to mental illness articles blog  below)  We will make banners (Song of Solomon 6: “awesome as an army with banners”)and restore furniture, write books, art, music, etc.  The income will more than take care of the expense.  Grants will flood in for such a program.  What if we believed in redemption?


"Psychiatry has no label for delusions of grandeur that come to pass." 

--Dr. Ronald Fieve, Mood Swing

"For with God nothing shall be impossible."


Recovery is the will of God.  I am VERY ENCOURAGED FOR AMERICA.   The greatest liability America has is this distortion of truth, lies, jumping to judgment.  I see this shortly to blow off of center stage and then what is already in the wings to come forth—so many wonderful people doing what they have been put on this earth to do!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow! “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and not learn war anymore.”  “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace. . .”the angels sang.


            Many victorious battles have been won by music. Examples: Psalm100, Psalm 149; 150; II Chronicles 20; Acts 16:20-24, Nehemiah 6, I Samuel 16:23; II Kings 6:8-23; Judges 6-8;Joshua; Psalm 46; Luke 2:13,14.  Biblically, we are told over 500 times to “Praise the Lord” and 400 times to “Fear not.”  Security is in the Secret Place—God’s 911 #-Psalm 91:1 “She who dwells in the Secret Place. . .”—Memorize Psalm 91. Read  aloud for 10 days. Shut Bible, stumble through, see where you missed. Repeat. For children who can’t read, after 10 days leave out words—start with Psalm 23 or Psalm 100. End of month it’s in your heart.

                The greatest progress needs to be made in the human heart.” –President William Jefferson Clinton


The Meetinghouse, Shining River, 1400 Old Bartow Eagle Lake Rd. #4110, Bartow, Florida 33830, 863-409-7071;  Go to Web site and click on recent thoughts blog for comments on Lakeland Ledger articles on Mental Illness and the Baker Act—present condition in Polk County.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mother Emmanuel and Lessons of Forgiveness


Mother Emmanuel and Lessons of Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not mean condoning wrong.  Forgiveness is release to God.  At first it may not be a feeling but an act of the will.  I will forgive.  I pray God to give me the grace.  Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.  They do not know what they do.” 

 The people of Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston are an example for our nation as they demonstrated how powerful is forgiveness.  They told Dylann Roof they forgave him and prayed for his soul. The music, and the speeches of the four hour funeral of Rev. Pinkney were inspiring and uplifting, revealing how God can bring good out of tragedy.  “God works in mysterious ways,” President Obama said. He spoke of God’s grace—something we don’t deserve or earn—it is just given.  He sang, “Amazing Grace”, the church joining him.   If you did not see this, I pray you will. (C-Span, June 26, 2015)

What if we, as a nation, had responded this way to 9/11? Some of the victims said, “Not in our name will you wage endless war, invade countries, bomb civilians, kill more children.”  With such methods have we not recruited more terrorists?  As a nation, we need forgiveness and God’s grace.


Monday, March 30, 2015

They Turned the World Upside Down

They Turned the World Upside Down
Holy Troublemakers

Over 20 years ago I was at Christian Retreat near Bradenton at my father’s invitation.  He lived in Sarasota and loved Christian Retreat.  He had arranged for all his kids to go free--I am the eldest of 6 and the only one who took him up on this.  There were no rooms available except The Executive Suite—so that is what I was given—The Executive Suite—it was beautiful with  kitchen, living room, besides bedroom. A remarkable experience happened to me there—see Why I Wrote Taking Communion With Muddy Feet. 
      On the last day of August I have my daughter's car and I'm taking a nostalgic journey to Christian Retreat.  She had given me googled directions—which leads the back way—good roads but hardly any cars on the road—so I can enjoy the country side and observe the little towns and houses along the way. I love this!  

             Near the end of my journey I come to a very small town, Parrish.  I look at my google directions and I'm puzzled--did I miss a turn?  I have the distinct feeling, however, that "I am in the right place at the right time."   

      I look around for a place to inquire.  I stop at a little gas station store--however, the two Mexican young men smile, but can't help me.  Down the road--a church--lots of cars.  I'll go there. 

        As I walk  into the vestibule, I hear the pastor reading from Acts these words, "They turned the world upside down! 

   The words are electrifying!  God said those words right then--it was "the proceeding Word" !  

             I open the door and someone hands me a bulletin.  I tell a man, George, that I need help--directions.  This nice man comes out into the vestibule and tells me how to go--very easy. I give him my book, La Verde de la Vida. 

       Then I ask him where the restroom is.  (When you go by the Spirit, it is important to pay attention to your body--if you are thirsty, sleepy, hungry, need to use the restroom--this can lead you to the right place.  One time I went past a store--I was both thirsty and needed to use the restroom.  I had prayed to see a lady.  There she was--right in front of me in the checkout line .  As we were standing there,  the register broke so we had plenty of time to talk.) 

          Anyway, George tells me,  “Go to the next building, through the double doors. . .”.  As I go in the next building, the  pastor's  message continues over the intercom.  It was the same message so strong inside of me that I had unsuccessfully  tried to share here and there—with some churches, etc.   It was wonderful to have this rapport.  I  thought, I must hear the rest of the message.   So I went back to the vestibule and sat down and listened until he was finished--tears were in my eyes to hear God's heart and what was on my heart that the people  of  the Bartow church and other places just didn't seem to receive.  The first time I went to the Bartow church, I gave the pastor my letter about the Refugee Children at the Border. He did nothing with it.   I was looking for a Spanish church--My book has a Spanish name. 

You can listen to this message on line:  Holy Troublemakers:  August 31, 2014 

Parrish United Methodist Church 

            It was around 9:00 when I left--service at Christian Retreat 10:00 so I have plenty of time--just about 15 minutes to Christian Retreat. 

Below is a Kenneth Hagin sermon I listened to this morning.  I didn't mean to post it to you, but I was posting it for someone else and it came out.  When Faith is weak and you think all is lost
Holy Troublemakers

            The next day, September 1, 2014,  after I have been at Christian Retreat,            

for some reason, I open to E.M. Bounds book on The Power of Prayer.  I was startled to read:

 August 30 entry: 


“Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore,

to send out workers into His harvest field.”   Matthew 9:38 

      God can work wonders if He has a suitable man.  [woman] People can work wonders if they let God lead them.  The full gift of the Spirit which turned the world upside-down would be useful in these days.

     People who can stir things mightily for God, whose spiritual revolutions change the whole aspect of things, are the universal need of the church. 

     The church has never been without these people.  They are the standing miracles of the divinity of the church. Their example and history are an unfailing inspiration and blessing.  We should pray that such people would increase in number and power. 

    I pray today, Father God, that men and women who can stir things mightily for Your good purposes will increase in number and power in the world.  Amen.