Antonio Zebedeo Abad, October 12, 2021
From heatwave to drought to sudden rains and cold weather, we’ve been on a roller coaster ride with nature. Coming out of Sol Duc at Olympic National Park, a huge tree fell in the stormy weather and blocked the road for hours. The Port Townsend ferry sailings were canceled suggesting a detour through Kingston, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and Clinton. The southern part of Whidbey Island was without power. Someone said to me, “What bad luck you’ve had!” I said, “I didn’t see it that way. It was the force of nature, and we adjust to what nature gives us.” Some people think they can control nature. That’s quite the contrary. They push the limits of building on a cliff and nature eats away at the cliff until the house comes tumbling down.
24 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”Matthew 7:24-27 NABRE
This ends the discourse of the Sermon on the Mount. We build our lives on a solid foundation of truth. Part of that truth is we are only one small part of nature. We do not control nature. Our day is not ruined by a rainy day. It is nature’s way of balancing the ecosystem. When we are out in the wilderness, the wildlife is not in our way, as we think when they come into the campground. We are in their way. We have intruded on their habitat. We have to accept that truth and forget who is really in charge.
I came from Southeast Asia where we receive 150 inches of rain every year, most of it falling during the monsoon and typhoon season from July to October. When I moved to Colorado for studies, I looked forward to more than 300 days of sunshine a year. After a year, I got tired of seeing the sun all the time. And where did the trees go? Well, they only receive 15 inches of precipitation every year, so there isn’t much to nourish the trees on the plains. I learned to appreciate the rain from where I came from.
The 300 days of sunshine meant much-reduced rain. That’s what was behind the words. I had a guest who so appreciated the trees of Western Washington but didn’t like the rain. Well, it’s the rain that makes those trees so beautiful. 80°F seawater year-round means some very warm weather year-round. Cool-weather year-round means frigid waters year-round. There is the other side of the coin that is part of the truth.
Truth. Wow, that’s a big 5-letter word with so much depth. In fact, I’m writing a multi-volume treatise on truth in daily life. Let me just share with you one topic.
Pope Benedict said, “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” The scroll at the bottom of his coat of arms as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger says, “Cooperatores Veritatis”, which means co-workers of the truth.Pope Benedict XVI “Truth is not determined by a majority vote” – Midwest Magellan
Let us not forget that the majority vote sentenced Jesus Christ to death on the cross. The real criterion of truth is principle. That makes the difference in the significance of the vote. Further, the votes are based on various criteria. One votes one way because they favor some platforms of the candidate. Others vote the other way because they favor other platforms of the candidate. Still, others vote one way merely because of personal whims. There is really no uniformity in the criteria.
In Ancient Greece, philosophers founded the science of logic. One of the fallacies of truth they identified is relying on the majority. That fallacy is named, Argumentum ad Populum, meaning, appeal to the people. Why should we reinvent the wheel when the Greeks already refined the discipline of logic in ancient times?
A more systematic voting system is first to determine which criteria are important and vote based on those criteria. In a much smaller group of people making decisions, this can be most effective.
So, you see, even just one topic on the truth has so many different facets we haven’t thought of that contribute to the whole truth. We have to work at attaining the truth and realize more of it as we mature. And when we build our stance on a strong foundation of truth, the storms can come and nothing will shake it down.