Raoul’s Two Cents: October 7, 2022
Warning: Spiritual stuff. Move on to the jokes if you want.
Wyne from Mandaluyong, Philippines sent me a video about the song Amazing Grace (it’s linked below) which was written by a reckless slave trader named John Newton in 1772. The oppression towards the black slaves was so bad that blacks were not allowed to use the white keys of a piano which explains why all negro spirituals only used note combinations of the black keys. Watch the video and you will see this demonstrated. Here’s one more trivia: did you know that most of the words in the song are just one syllable? It was designed to be so simple that anyone could sing it. Newton was converted into Christianity when he thought he was going to drown on a boat in the middle of a storm. But despite his genuine conversion, he continued to trade slaves for about 7 years.
This brings me to my point: The transformation from the dark side to light isn’t always instantaneous. True, there are cases where the change is dramatic but even the apostle Paul’s conversion required time for him to adjust his worldview. This period of growth varies from person to person.
It’s easy to judge us Christians — many expect us to be above all the usual temptations … easy to pull us back down to the debaucherous world we came from … easy for them because they themselves have no moral standards to adhere to. It’s even harder for celebrities, leaders, people who have influence. They need time alone to shed their old nature but they’re easy prey for the gossip columns. Of course this is not an excuse to continue doing wrong. I’m just saying — please be patient.
Near the end of the book of Luke Chapter 7, there is an account of a prostitute who gate crashes into a dinner where Jesus was an invited guest. She said no words but she spoke with her tears that fell on Jesus’ feet and she wiped them with her hair. She even applied expensive perfume she had saved and the aroma spread around the room.
Oh the self righteous backlash she got from the people around her. But Jesus defended her with these words — “a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” The corollary of course is “the person who has been forgiven greatly also greatly loves … has a greater capacity to forgive.”
If you only knew my shady past, you would probably reject everything that I say. Even now, I know I can do more good but pride and selfishness keeps getting in the way. That’s why when I hear the verses of that ancient song, I am reminded of my past and brought down to my knees:
Amazing (unbelievable) GRACE, how sweet (how wonderful) the sound (that it even exists).
That saved a wretch (a train wreck) like me (from a wretched, horrible existence and an inevitable terrible end).
I once was lost (I thought I knew it all) but now I am found.
I (realize now how lost my value system was from the truth) was blind,
but now, I see (things from God’s perspective).
Grace … undeserved blessings instead of punishment — what a wild and beautiful concept.
Joke of the Week
Thanks to Gary, a professional photographer based in La Habra, CA
Videos of the Week
Thanks to Wyne of Mandaluyong, Philippines for this brief history and vocal rendition of the classic hymn Amazing Grace.
Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA for this video taken from a drone finding its way to Chicago’s Wrigley Baseball Field.
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA for this flashback when men treated women and minoritires like 2nd class citizens, It’s surprising how politically incorrect their music is today. It’s still a fun unscripted, unrehearsed video.
Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA
Thanks to Dean of Vancouver, B.C.
Thanks to Rodney of Manitoba, B.C.
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre, CA
Thanks to Mike of New York
Thanks to Garie of Paranaque, Metro Manila
Here are some cartoons my good (and crazy) friend Terry and I did for Traveling Boy:
October 10, 2022 at 11:34 am
WOW,WOW,WOW! Amazing Grace is my all time greatest hymn. I’m so happy you shared the demonstration and it was explained why they only use Black keys. I did not know that. Thank you again and Amen.
October 10, 2022 at 11:35 am
Good Morning Raoul, That’s a awesome song, thank you Jesus. I know I’m saved by Grace.
October 10, 2022 at 11:36 am
Thank you for that blessing today❤️Amazing Grace
October 10, 2022 at 11:36 am
Thanks for that piece of history!
October 10, 2022 at 11:38 am
Hi Brother Raoul, Amazing Grace – one of my wife and my favorite hymns. When we went on a Tall Masted Sail Ship cruise in the Caribbean the custom of the cruise line, Barefoot Cruise, Wind Jammers; was to play Amazing Grace every morning when the sails were hoisted. We would take our coffee and fresh rolls that the cook baked every morning and sit out on the deck while the crew hoisted the sails. They would play different versions of the hymn while that feat was being accomplished. Black Gospel, Vienna Boys A Capello Choir, Dixieland – It was Amazing!
Look on the web for Gunhild Carlin, Jazz trumpet players rendition of Amazing Grace. Let me know what you see – and hear. The author of this was correct – WE ALL are saved by Amazing Grace. I am in the middle of reading Greg Laurie’s, “Alice, Dylan, Lennon and Jesus.” Very interesting. Wife and I just returned from dropping off some donations to Catherine’s Children’s Home in Rosarito, Mexico. God is good.
October 10, 2022 at 11:40 am
Thoughtful pieces. Here are some more trivia:
In 1748, his return voyage to England aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton had a spiritual conversion. He awoke to find the ship caught in a severe storm off the coast of Donegal, Ireland and about to sink. In response, Newton began praying for God’s mercy, after which the storm began to die down. After four weeks at sea the Greyhound made it to port in Lough Swilly, Ireland. This experience marked the beginning of his conversion to Christianity.
He began to read the Bible and other religious literature. By the time he reached Britain, he had accepted the doctrines of evangelical Christianity. The date was 10 March 1748, an anniversary he marked for the rest of his life. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling and drinking. Although he continued to work in the slave trade, he had gained sympathy for the slaves during his time in Africa. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: “I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards.”