The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.


Posted December 25, 2013

 

It’s a Life and Death sort of thing …

 

Life – that is.  As soon as we are able to rationalize the concept of death, we begin to realize that we are destined for it.  Sure, some of us – at times, and for a while – believe that we will outlive it.  But ultimately, we know that we are just kidding ourselves.  Like taxes … it really is unavoidable![i]  Your age, financial condition, good deeds, etc. - well, they don’t really matter!  It will happen!!

 

Kids that grow up in agriculture might come to this realization sooner than the kids that do not have the privilege to grow up in a lifestyle where caring for, and tending to, animals is a daily chore – the birth and death of animals (sometimes occurring at nearly the same time) is not an uncommon occurrence.  It is realized that it is a part of the natural cycle of things, the circle of life – if you will.  That is not to say that it is necessarily made easier, but it might just be that the “process” is more easily understood. 

 

I’ve thought quite a bit more about death in the past few years – Donald, Walter, Auntie Helen and Dad – among others, have ended this part of their journey’s during this time.  Some were to have been expected, while others were a complete surprise.  In thinking about, and researching this article, I found many references to reincarnation when I searched “Life and Death Circle” – but that wasn’t really what I was looking for … and I wasn’t necessarily looking for a theological explanation of death (though I did find some excellent articles).  I also found some blogs that explained why “Johnny” wasn’t a Christian anymore – not really looking for that either.  I guess what I was looking for was something that confirmed my thoughts that death is really just another part of life, and that the death of the body is just a necessary transformation to arrive at another stage of life[ii].  I have no idea what that stage will be … haven’t been there yet … and, quite frankly, right now, I don’t believe that I am in that big of a rush to get there!  Now this next stage might be the stereotypical “heaven” that we’re all aware of, or it may be something totally different.  I just don’t know …  I went ahead and read up on reincarnation and such - Saṃsāra or Sangsāra meaning "continuous flow", is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth, or reincarnation, within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, Yoga and Taoism.[iii] – and I will admit that I have always been curious about this concept, but, I’m just not quite convinced that this is the cycle (or circle) that I am thinking of.  Perhaps the circle that I imagine is a much larger circle and there is much more to the circle than any of us have any knowledge or concept of?!  

 

All of us reading this article are aware of the "Judgment Day", and I imagine that if all of us were sitting together in a room discussing this - that some of us would agree on our thoughts on what this means … but there would be some differences in opinions as well.  We often hear jokes about meeting up with Saint Pete, at the pearly gates, and about the different things that we are required to do, or say, in order to convince him that we should be allowed to get into heaven.  People have written songs about the time "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" and "When We All Get To Heaven".  But on what basis is that judgment being made?  Are we being judged now … when will that roll be called?  Are we talking about now, or, at the resurrection?  Typical theology suggests, to me anyway, that, at death – and as Christians – we are forgiven of all our sins and shall be welcomed into the afterlife.  Now, that’s all fine and good, it has certainly helped promote Christianity (probably more so when an individual recognizes their own impending death), and I fully agree and appreciate the overall premise … however, I still have to believe that we shouldn’t take advantage of this “get out of jail free” card that God has provided us!  I believe that we need to live our life in a manner that we can be (at least) mostly proud of when we are standing up there one of these days!!  I mean, if he repented just prior to his death, is Adolph really hanging around heaven?  (Hitler that is, not Coors!)  What about all those other REALLY bad folks in history?  I believe in forgiveness for a bunch of things, but there really are quite a few things that would be a pretty tough pill to swallow for anyone to forgive.

 

I really do want to believe that the “next life” (whatever shape that it might bring), and our role in it, will have a direct correlation with the type of life that we have lived (or are living) here.  I have to believe that there is a definite reason for our role and place in “this” life and that there will be a compensating reward (or maybe punishment) at a later time.  So, thinking this thing through – maybe the concept of accepting Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, in order to obtain that Everlasting Life might just be a tad bit more than just saying “Yeah, Dude.  You’re cool”!  Perhaps judgment started the day we were born (and as we all know, we are all born sin free) and then we start “racking up points”.  We get good points and bad points … in the end, Pete and his buds check our tally, along with our membership card, and make the decision.  You have to maintain your “membership” in the club, not just join and pay your annual membership fee.

 

Hmmm … deep thoughts for the New Year!  But maybe that’s what a new year is for!  God gave us his Ten Commandments as the ultimate guide for admission … but maybe ten is too many.  So, how about we just rely on what I have to come to think of as the “Ten Commandments For Dummies” – you may know of it as the Golden Rule[iv] … you know … “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”   Did you know that as a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term "Golden Rule”.  As a concept of "the ethic of reciprocity," has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.  It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal.  [same source]  You know, I am thinking that this can be a fairly easy deal to do at times … I don’t think that MY God is asking for perfection … I mean Jesus came to us and lived as a human for a reason … he wanted to check it all out.  Now, as I understand it, Jesus did drink wine, and I just have to imagine that a time or two, well … he drank too much … so, I think he can deal with that sort of stuff.  Also, we need to remember that oft quoted verse in John 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (KJV)  So, this tells me that OUR God is not a vengeful God!!!  So, I am thinking that there is a lot of hope for all (well, most) of us!!

 

So as you start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, or just simply start planning out the new year … keep that old Sunday School Saying in mind … you know that you know it!  I am thinking that we will come out just fine in the end … I look forward to seeing you on the other side … whenever it might come, and wherever it may lead us … Charge On!!!

 

Life is Wonderful!

Experience it All!!

Love to All and All the Wishes for A Wondrous New Year!!!

 

 

 

  

 

 

Zi Gong asked, saying, "Is there one word that may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?"  The Master said, "Is not reciprocity such a word?”

Confucius

 

 

As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.

Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

Its a Life and Death Sort of Thing






[i] “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”  Benjamin Franklin

 

[ii] It’s right there in the Apostles Creed: “I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” But everyone knows that in the end we all die. Death, not life, seems to be our destiny.

 

Christians do not deny the awful reality of death, but we do insist that death is not the last word. The last word belongs to God. The last word is not death but life, not suffering but shalom. These convictions make a difference in the way we approach our own death and the way we care for the dying.

http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/today/end-life/ 

 

 

[iv] This concept can be explained from the perspective of psychology, philosophy, sociology and religion.  Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others.  Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor as also "an I" or "self."   Sociologically, this principle is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. (For example, a person living by this rule treats all people with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group). Religion is an integral part of the history of this concept.

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Golden_Rule 

 

 

 

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