Mike Corthell

Mike Corthell
Editor & Publisher at Fryeburg Free Press MEDIA

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

George Washington Dollar CNoins: No Trust

''In God We Trust'' is Missing from this coin

Its been a long time since Americans have embraced a $1 coin, I predict the new George Washington dollar coin will fare no better than Susan B. Anthony. I haven’t really liked a silver dollar since they stopped making them out of silver.
Of course now, our coins aren't worth the metal they are made out of and they cost twice as much as their face value to produce. I suppose we need to keep those government employees busy at the US Mint, so keep on coining.
Besides, they keep seamstresses busy sewing patches into pockets.
The main reason I predict they’ll fail is because true Americans will find them defective — not the pretty gold-ish colored coin itself (I know, it isn’t really made of gold) but, the fact that the United States government is officially minting coinage that no longer says, “IN GOD WE TRUST” on it’s face.
In order to allow for “larger and more dramatic artwork”, the Presidential $1 coins moved the year of minting, the mint mark, the motto from the Great Seal of the United States, and the national motto from the obverse or reverse where they’ve proudly appeared, to an incused inscription on the edge where they are often unnoticed. Congress has reversed its previous specifications and instructed the US Mint to return the motto, “In God We Trust”, to either the front or back of the $1 coins “as soon as is practicable”.
I put my trust in fewer and fewer things these days — the United States government hasn't been on the list since I was a child. In God, however, I know my trust is well placed — and when it becomes time to replace the men and women in government who don’t understand that, I know I have a strong ally in my corner.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jesus Christ: Prophet or God? by Mike Corthell

''This article was inspired by a recent letter to the editor published in The Conway Daily Sun.''
- Mike Corthell

''What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.''
 - William Shakespeare
Sorry, Mr. Shakespeare, not in the matter of God.

The late C. S. Lewis, who was a professor at Cambridge University and once a non-believer, understood this issue clearly.

C.S. Lewis

He writes: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -  on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg  - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse."

Then Lewis adds: "You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He is the son of God. Muslims do not. And they do not claim to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as do Christians. They believe God did not create a Holy contract with Isaac and Jacob, but rather a covenant with Abraham’s firstborn son Ishmael. Muslims further believe that the Christian bible is a misrepresentation of the truth and that the Koran accurately and faithfully represents the true personality and will of God. 

'Chrislam' tries to make Allah and the God of Christianity the same Being. Worshipers of Chrislam use both the Bible and the Koran. And view them both as holy texts. During their worship services, verses are read from both books. According to followers, there are no conflicts between the two religions and both texts were accepted by the Chrislam adherents as true. But there are irreconcilable differences between Chrislam's two component religions. The Koran recognizes Jesus as a prophet only – just a man. Christians believe that Jesus, as part of the Holy Trinity, is fully God and not a mortal man as the Koran teaches.

There can be no merging of Islam and Christianity without destroying the foundation of Christianity (and vice versa). From Ephesians 2: ''...you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.''

"First, as I’ve already said, Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah....Colossians 2:9 - 'For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.'
- Rick Warren

While I believe in my heart that Chrislam is an apostasy at it's worst, a half-truth at best and that it is an abomination in the name of God, I also believe in building bridges between the Christian and Muslim communities as well as other belief systems.

Building bridges does not have anything to do with compromising my Christian beliefs either; it is about my behavior and my attitude toward people – all people. It is about truly loving them. Who cares how much you know about Salvation until they know how much you care about them and their human condition? Before people ask me, ''Is Jesus real, does he speak the truth?', they want to know if I am credible. Before people can put their trust Jesus Christ they must trust me and what I say to them. Enemies cannot be won to Christ, only friends – friends who admire your deportment and the kind of life you lead.

When I put my trust in Christ my problems did not disappear, in fact my life became worse but the way I dealt with adversity changed. I could See and I had a partner, someone to help me, someone all powerful, all knowing and with me all the time. And I knew this; the Light had come into my heart. The light allows us to see as we are seen; from John 3 ''...but whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.''
On becoming a Christian we become perfected in Christ, but we are not perfect. So, should I as Christians hate anyone? No, I should not. Should I ask, ''What would Jesus do?'' Yes, continuously in fact, because I am imperfect and absolutely fallible. Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things, would treat people with dignity and listen to them with respect. Even the best of us have trouble doing this and doing it consistently but we have to keep at it, keep trying – all of us – it is the only Way.

Edited version published HERE

Monday, May 6, 2013

Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

Mike Corthell

I love this -  It’s Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule, reflecting his famous quote; ''Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.''

What I like about Dr. Franklin’s daily schedule is it divides the day into thirds. (look closely)
He had only 3 blocks of time scheduled each day:
  • 3 hours for getting ready for his day (shower and breakfast, personal study, and prepare for work)
  • 4 hours for work
  • 2 hours for review of current projects and to eat lunch
  • 4 more hours for work
  • 3 hours for dinner and rest and wrapping up the day
  • 8 hours for sleeping
Dr. Franklin was a Freemason and as an entered apprentice he was taught to measure his time so that, of the twenty-four hours of the day, he might devote eight hours to the service of God and a worthy distressed Brother, eight hours to his usual vocation, and eight hours to refreshment and sleep.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Checkerboard Square

Mike Corthell, Editor & Publisher

“God is great, and good, and wise. Evil and pain and sorrow are temporary, and for wise and beneficent purposes…Ultimately, Good will prevail, and Evil be overthrown''
- Albert Pike

In the account of King Solomon’s Temple in the Bible, the ground floor is said to be made of pine or fir, depending on which translation of the Bible that you read (1 Kings 6:15). It is hard to imagine that pine or fir flooring would be particularly mosaic in nature. However, it can be agreed that the mosaic pavement represents the ground floor of King Solomon’s Temple in the Entered Apprentice degree because that ceremony symbolically takes place in that location.
While these facts may not be particularly intriguing, the symbolism of the checkered carpeting presents some interesting concepts.
Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry discusses the symbol of the the mosaic pavement

Checkerboard Flooring

So from this information, it can be understood that the concept of duality has played a part in Masonic symbolism since the early days of the fraternity. While duality is not often discussed in the ritual of the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite mentions this concept numerous times. The Rite makes the ideas of dualism, or opposition, in the universe an important part of its theme. Indeed, the ideas of the Kabbala and the Alchemists are used in the Scottish Rite to discuss this concept in several of the degrees.2
“The mosaic pavement in an old symbol of the Order. It is met with in the earliest rituals of the last century. It is classed among the ornaments of the lodge along with the indented tessel and the blazing star. Its party-colored stones of black and white have been readily and appropriately interpreted as symbols of the evil and good of human life.”

The lecture pertaining to the 15th Degree, Knight of the East and West, discusses the idea of duality or good and evil as a conflict. Pike writes “God is great, and good, and wise. Evil and pain and sorrow are temporary, and for wise and beneficent purposes…Ultimately, Good will prevail, and Evil be overthrown.”3
But while this idea of duality and the conflict between good and evil are cause for contemplation, it can be confusing to understand how they apply to our actions as Masons.
When thinking about the idea of duality and the concept of good and evil, black and white, sacred and profane, an image that immediately enters my mind is that of the Yin-Yang. While this symbol has become a sort of pop culture icon in recent times, its symbolism is deep and its meaning applicable to this subject. While it has numerous interpretations, the yin-yang demonstrates the concept of duality and balance.

Yin/Yang Symbol - Equal/Opposite: Duality

The synonym balance is an important term because of the position of the checkered carpet: the floor, where the foundation of the erect human body may be found. The Mason is taught to avoid irregularity and intemperance and to divide his time equally by the use of the twenty-four inch gauge. These lessons refer to the importance of balance in a Mason’s life. Therefore, the symbolism of the mosaic pavement could be interpreted to mean that balance provides the foundation for our Masonic growth.
Maintaining balance allows us to adhere to many Masonic teachings. By maintaining balance, we may be able to stand upright in our several stations before God and man. The Entered Apprentice is charged to keep balance in his life so that he may ensure public and private esteem. It is also very interesting that the concept of justice is represented by a scale which is balanced and that justice is described as being the foundation of civil society in the first degree of Masonry.
An Entered Apprentice writes: 
“The dualism of these opposites governs us in everything, and experience of it is prescribed for us until such time as, having learned and out­grown its lesson, we are ready for advancement to a condition where we outgrow the sense of this chequer-work existence and those opposites cease to be perceived as opposites, but are realized as a unity or synthesis.” - “The Meaning of Masonry”, chapter 3 
 I think that the checkered flooring is crucial to the understanding of good and evil, as if one side didn’t exist then the other wouldn't exist. This is why, within some Christian interpretations/denominations, the idea of “good” (i.e. God) created the idea of bad (i.e. fallen angels, such as the Devil). So, it’s not just in eastern philosophy/religion that we see a Yin/Yang type metaphor, but we also see it in Abrahamic faiths (such as Christianity) too.
Therefore going back to the flooring of Freemasonry, it says that in nature there are always going to be ups and downs, 'goods and bads'… and we have to deal with that. We have to keep on working towards that smooth ashlar.

There is a vast variety of symbolism presented to the new initiate in the first degree. It is very easy for the symbol of the mosaic pavement and its several meanings to be lost in the sea of information provided upon our first admission into the lodge. But a deeper look demonstrates that this symbol serves to demonstrate ideals which form the foundation of our individual Masonic growth, the Masonic fraternity, and even the entire human society. Living in balance makes us healthy, happy, and just. If our feet are well balanced, both literally and figuratively, we may be able to serve the purpose of the fraternity faithfully.
Mackey, Albert. An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences p. 494.,Hutchens, Rex. A Bridge to Light p. 18.,Pike, Albert. Morals and Dogma p. 274,Symbols and Their Meaning. Kjos Ministries.,ttp://www.crossroad.to/Books/symbols1.html.,http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2009/03/the-checkered-flooring.