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Thread: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Love Mountain View Post
    So violent to religion boys. If it helps, I've met both Christians, Muslims, and Atheists who were moral and up-standing people.
    And they would have been good people with or without religion.

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  2. #62
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    What would you like us to talk about?
    Pretty hard to have a conversation when you ignore the replies to your questions. Carry on posting the scriptures, someone will give a eventually.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Can you at least post your scripture copy pasta in a regular font instead of massive text?

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  4. #64
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Can you at least post your scripture copy pasta in a regular font instead of massive text?
    It's not massive. I've found that a slightly larger font is more readable and looks nicer.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Pretty hard to have a conversation when you ignore the replies to your questions. Carry on posting the scriptures, someone will give a eventually.
    Well, I tried to be cordial at first, but then I realized you were probably just trolling. I mean, your suggested topic for debate was basically, "Why are people like you so stupid?" Hardly a good-faith debate starter, is it?

    I don't have a lot of free time these days and I'm not going to waste what little I have engaging in eristic back-and-forths on TWC. If you guys don't like my posts, you can just ignore them. You've made at least 10 off-topic posts now, I think that's enough, all right? You should consider contributing to the thread instead of just criticizing what other people are posting.
    Last edited by Prodromos; March 03, 2020 at 04:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Love Mountain View Post
    So violent to religion boys. If it helps, I've met both Christians, Muslims, and Atheists who were moral and up-standing people.
    What "moral" or "up-standing"?

    There is no logical reason for a person to follow any moral values but the values he makes, or believe anyone else is more up-standing than himself.

    To believe anyone should follow and obey others for anything but pure materialistic pursuits (like, selling indulgences) just don't make any sense.

    #CookieJustice #IGod

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    It's not massive. I've found that a slightly larger font is more readable and looks nicer.



    Well, I tried to be cordial at first, but then I realized you were probably just trolling. I mean, your suggested topic for debate was basically, "Why are people like you so stupid?" Hardly a good-faith debate starter, is it?

    I don't have a lot of free time these days and I'm not going to waste what little I have engaging in eristic back-and-forths on TWC. If you guys don't like my posts, you can just ignore them. You've made at least 10 off-topic posts now, I think that's enough, all right? You should consider contributing to the thread instead of just criticizing what other people are posting.
    It is not more readable. It's ugly and makes it look like you don't know how to format your posts properly.

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post

    Well, I tried to be cordial at first, but then I realized you were probably just trolling. I mean, your suggested topic for debate was basically, "Why are people like you so stupid?" Hardly a good-faith debate starter, is it?
    I find stupid the level of empty proselytism (zero insight on your part, just copy-paste form some religious web and youtube videos) that you are carrying out in this discussion.

    I also find stupid the exhaustive study (or adoration) of texts that, as I said, were written centuries ago and have been manipulated hundreds of times.

    It's fine if you don't want to answer any of this, but given your performance (your posts here) I think they are appropriate questions.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    And they would have been good people with or without religion.
    A point which should not concern you since "only verifiable and reproducible evidence matters". According to your own rationale, in a universe defined by time and chance acting on matter, concepts like righteousness, justice, evil etc. are meaningless.

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by AqD View Post
    What "moral" or "up-standing"?

    There is no logical reason for a person to follow any moral values but the values he makes, or believe anyone else is more up-standing than himself.

    To believe anyone should follow and obey others for anything but pure materialistic pursuits (like, selling indulgences) just don't make any sense.
    You can be a deist or a Christian or any other religion and still make your own values. Talk to 50 different religious people and you'll get 50 very different people. Sharing the same religious dogma does not mean your values are the same or different... Look at how many Christians support the death penalty and how many don't, and both are likely to draw some of their moral justifications from the same original source, the Bible.

    Imo, as far as the largest and relatively acceptable religions are concerned, they don't tell me much about a person, but their up-bringing, culture, and peers do. As an anecdote, one of my more devout friends is an Indonesian Muslims who's quite progressive, whereas my atheist Libertarian friend is very conservative. Religious affiliation is a poor indicator of a person's moral fiber.

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    I also find stupid the exhaustive study (or adoration) of texts that, as I said, were written centuries ago and have been manipulated hundreds of times.

    It's fine if you don't want to answer any of this, but given your performance (your posts here) I think they are appropriate questions.
    Well, mishkin, what people worship isn't the texts, but what they testify to, namely God. If you want to understand, the first step is to read the texts yourself with an open mind. 'Those who seek, find.' People often think that demanding 'evidence' (or 'answers') from believers is a form of seeking, but it's not; it's just sitting back and waiting for other people to do your work for you. The fact is, nothing anyone can say will magically compel you to understand or believe. Both belief and unbelief are willful, and no one has power over your will. All we can do is point you to the scriptures, and the rest is between you and God. Here's one testimony of someone who found God through the scriptures.

    Last edited by Prodromos; March 05, 2020 at 11:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    So I must read the scriptures wanting to believe*. Well if I want to believe in something spiritual, most probably I wlill believe. In the Bible, the Quhran, Ancient Aliens or whatever. Otherwise, no offense but this reminds me of a paranoid schizophrenic I met; he could analize or study any detail of life to fit his "idea".

    (I have actively read fragments of the bible when I was young, I am sick of reading quotes here and there).

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ok lets play the "quote your idols" game, size 3:

    “But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.”

    ― Mikhail Bakunin
    Last edited by mishkin; March 06, 2020 at 03:53 AM.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    So I must read the scriptures wanting to believe*. Well if I want to believe in something spiritual, most probably I wlill believe. In the Bible, the Quhran, Ancient Aliens or whatever. Otherwise, no offense but this reminds me of a paranoid schizophrenic I met; he could analize or study any detail of life to fit his "idea".

    (I have actively read fragments of the bible when I was young, I am sick of reading quotes here and there).
    Well, I'm just speculating when I say that belief* is willful. No one really knows what it is that makes someone believe; two people could hear the same message, one comes away convinced, the other thinks it's nonsense. Maybe it's a choice, or maybe God determines who will and who won't believe. Either way, before rejecting a message I think you should take the time to hear it first. Each of the Gospels is a fairly short read.

    * I mean belief in the sense of Christian faith, meaning trust in Christ, not just believing that the Bible is true.



    Belief in the Bible by itself is worthless, since even the demons believe that there is a God and that Jesus is the Messiah, etc. There's a difference between believing that Christianity is true vs being a Christian.

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    The Sheep and the Goats

    Matthew 25

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


    Homeless Jesus is a bronze sculpture by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz that depicts Jesus as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench. His face and hands are obscured, hidden under a blanket, but crucifixion wounds on his feet reveal his identity.

    The statue has been described as a "visual translation" of the Gospel of Matthew passage in which Jesus tells his disciples, "as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me". Schmalz intended for the bronze sculpture to be provocative, admitting, "That's essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It's meant to challenge people."

    Reception of the statue has been mixed. According to NPR, "The reaction [to the cast in Davidson, North Carolina] was immediate. Some loved it; some didn't." Some Davidson residents felt it was an "insulting depiction" of Jesus that "demeaned" the neighborhood. One Davidson resident called police the first time she saw it, mistaking the statue for a real homeless person. Another neighbor wrote a letter, saying it "[creeped] him out". However, according to Rev. David Buck, residents are often seen sitting on the bench alongside the statue, resting their hands on Jesus and praying.
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”

    ― Kurt Vonnegut
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way: Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face -- miles and miles of face -- of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.
    Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough -- so Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully entitled to share In the glory that was Multivac's.
    For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth's poor resources could not support the ships. Too much energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its coal and uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.
    But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more fundamentally, and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.
    The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a planet-wide scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning uranium, and flipped the switch that connected all of it to a small station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half the distance of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.
    Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov finally managed to escape from the public function, and to meet in quiet where no one would think of looking for them, in the deserted underground chambers, where portions of the mighty buried body of Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys appreciated that. They had no intention, originally, of disturbing it.
    They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the moment was to relax in the company of each other and the bottle.
    "It's amazing when you think of it," said Adell. His broad face had lines of weariness in it, and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily about. "All the energy we can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to draw on it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still never miss the energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever and forever and forever."
    Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he wanted to be contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because he had had to carry the ice and glassware. "Not forever," he said.
    "Oh, hell, just about forever. Till the sun runs down, Bert."
    "That's not forever."
    "All right, then. Billions and billions of years. Twenty billion, maybe. Are you satisfied?"
    Lupov put his fingers through his thinning hair as though to reassure himself that some was still left and sipped gently at his own drink. "Twenty billion years isn't forever."
    "Will, it will last our time, won't it?"
    "So would the coal and uranium."
    "All right, but now we can hook up each individual spaceship to the Solar Station, and it can go to Pluto and back a million times without ever worrying about fuel. You can't do THAT on coal and uranium. Ask Multivac, if you don't believe me."
    "I don't have to ask Multivac. I know that."
    "Then stop running down what Multivac's done for us," said Adell, blazing up. "It did all right."
    "Who says it didn't? What I say is that a sun won't last forever. That's all I'm saying. We're safe for twenty billion years, but then what?" Lupov pointed a slightly shaky finger at the other. "And don't say we'll switch to another sun."
    There was silence for a while. Adell put his glass to his lips only occasionally, and Lupov's eyes slowly closed. They rested.
    Then Lupov's eyes snapped open. "You're thinking we'll switch to another sun when ours is done, aren't you?"
    "I'm not thinking."
    "Sure you are. You're weak on logic, that's the trouble with you. You're like the guy in the story who was caught in a sudden shower and Who ran to a grove of trees and got under one. He wasn't worried, you see, because he figured when one tree got wet through, he would just get under another one."
    "I get it," said Adell. "Don't shout. When the sun is done, the other stars will be gone, too."
    "Darn right they will," muttered Lupov. "It all had a beginning in the original cosmic explosion, whatever that was, and it'll all have an end when all the stars run down. Some run down faster than others. Hell, the giants won't last a hundred million years. The sun will last twenty billion years and maybe the dwarfs will last a hundred billion for all the good they are. But just give us a trillion years and everything will be dark. Entropy has to increase to maximum, that's all."
    "I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.
    "The hell you do."
    "I know as much as you do."
    "Then you know everything's got to run down someday."
    "All right. Who says they won't?"
    "You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'"
    "It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.
    "Never."
    "Why not? Someday."
    "Never."
    "Ask Multivac."
    "You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."
    Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?
    Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?
    Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended.
    Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
    "No bet," whispered Lupov. They left hurriedly.
    By next morning, the two, plagued with throbbing head and cottony mouth, had forgotten about the incident.


    Jerrodd, Jerrodine, and Jerrodette I and II watched the starry picture in the visiplate change as the passage through hyperspace was completed in its non-time lapse. At once, the even powdering of stars gave way to the predominance of a single bright marble-disk, centered. "That's X-23," said Jerrodd confidently. His thin hands clamped tightly behind his back and the knuckles whitened.
    The little Jerrodettes, both girls, had experienced the hyperspace passage for the first time in their lives and were self-conscious over the momentary sensation of inside-outness. They buried their giggles and chased one another wildly about their mother, screaming, "We've reached X-23 -- we've reached X-23 -- we've ----"
    "Quiet, children," said Jerrodine sharply. "Are you sure, Jerrodd?"
    "What is there to be but sure?" asked Jerrodd, glancing up at the bulge of featureless metal just under the ceiling. It ran the length of the room, disappearing through the wall at either end. It was as long as the ship.
    Jerrodd scarcely knew a thing about the thick rod of metal except that it was called a Microvac, that one asked it questions if one wished; that if one did not it still had its task of guiding the ship to a preordered destination; of feeding on energies from the various Sub-galactic Power Stations; of computing the equations for the hyperspacial jumps.
    Jerrodd and his family had only to wait and live in the comfortable residence quarters of the ship.
    Someone had once told Jerrodd that the "ac" at the end of "Microvac" stood for "analog computer" in ancient English, but he was on the edge of forgetting even that.
    Jerrodine's eyes were moist as she watched the visiplate. "I can't help it. I feel funny about leaving Earth."
    "Why for Pete's sake?" demanded Jerrodd. "We had nothing there. We'll have everything on X-23. You won't be alone. You won't be a pioneer. There are over a million people on the planet already. Good Lord, our great grandchildren will be looking for new worlds because X-23 will be overcrowded."
    Then, after a reflective pause, "I tell you, it's a lucky thing the computers worked out interstellar travel the way the race is growing."
    "I know, I know," said Jerrodine miserably.
    Jerrodette I said promptly, "Our Microvac is the best Microvac in the world."
    "I think so, too," said Jerrodd, tousling her hair.
    It was a nice feeling to have a Microvac of your own and Jerrodd was glad he was part of his generation and no other. In his father's youth, the only computers had been tremendous machines taking up a hundred square miles of land. There was only one to a planet. Planetary ACs they were called. They had been growing in size steadily for a thousand years and then, all at once, came refinement. In place of transistors had come molecular valves so that even the largest Planetary AC could be put into a space only half the volume of a spaceship.
    Jerrodd felt uplifted, as he always did when he thought that his own personal Microvac was many times more complicated than the ancient and primitive Multivac that had first tamed the Sun, and almost as complicated as Earth's Planetary AC (the largest) that had first solved the problem of hyperspatial travel and had made trips to the stars possible.
    "So many stars, so many planets," sighed Jerrodine, busy with her own thoughts. "I suppose families will be going out to new planets forever, the way we are now."
    "Not forever," said Jerrodd, with a smile. "It will all stop someday, but not for billions of years. Many billions. Even the stars run down, you know. Entropy must increase."
    "What's entropy, daddy?" shrilled Jerrodette II.
    "Entropy, little sweet, is just a word which means the amount of running-down of the universe. Everything runs down, you know, like your little walkie-talkie robot, remember?"
    "Can't you just put in a new power-unit, like with my robot?"
    The stars are the power-units, dear. Once they're gone, there are no more power-units."
    Jerrodette I at once set up a howl. "Don't let them, daddy. Don't let the stars run down."
    "Now look what you've done, " whispered Jerrodine, exasperated.
    "How was I to know it would frighten them?" Jerrodd whispered back.
    "Ask the Microvac," wailed Jerrodette I. "Ask him how to turn the stars on again."
    "Go ahead," said Jerrodine. "It will quiet them down." (Jerrodette II was beginning to cry, also.)
    Jarrodd shrugged. "Now, now, honeys. I'll ask Microvac. Don't worry, he'll tell us."
    He asked the Microvac, adding quickly, "Print the answer."
    Jerrodd cupped the strip of thin cellufilm and said cheerfully, "See now, the Microvac says it will take care of everything when the time comes so don't worry."
    Jerrodine said, "and now children, it's time for bed. We'll be in our new home soon."
    Jerrodd read the words on the cellufilm again before destroying it: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
    He shrugged and looked at the visiplate. X-23 was just ahead.


    VJ-23X of Lameth stared into the black depths of the three-dimensional, small-scale map of the Galaxy and said, "Are we ridiculous, I wonder, in being so concerned about the matter?" MQ-17J of Nicron shook his head. "I think not. You know the Galaxy will be filled in five years at the present rate of expansion."
    Both seemed in their early twenties, both were tall and perfectly formed.
    "Still," said VJ-23X, "I hesitate to submit a pessimistic report to the Galactic Council."
    "I wouldn't consider any other kind of report. Stir them up a bit. We've got to stir them up."
    VJ-23X sighed. "Space is infinite. A hundred billion Galaxies are there for the taking. More."
    "A hundred billion is not infinite and it's getting less infinite all the time. Consider! Twenty thousand years ago, mankind first solved the problem of utilizing stellar energy, and a few centuries later, interstellar travel became possible. It took mankind a million years to fill one small world and then only fifteen thousand years to fill the rest of the Galaxy. Now the population doubles every ten years --"
    VJ-23X interrupted. "We can thank immortality for that."
    "Very well. Immortality exists and we have to take it into account. I admit it has its seamy side, this immortality. The Galactic AC has solved many problems for us, but in solving the problems of preventing old age and death, it has undone all its other solutions."
    "Yet you wouldn't want to abandon life, I suppose."
    "Not at all," snapped MQ-17J, softening it at once to, "Not yet. I'm by no means old enough. How old are you?"
    "Two hundred twenty-three. And you?"
    "I'm still under two hundred. --But to get back to my point. Population doubles every ten years. Once this Galaxy is filled, we'll have another filled in ten years. Another ten years and we'll have filled two more. Another decade, four more. In a hundred years, we'll have filled a thousand Galaxies. In a thousand years, a million Galaxies. In ten thousand years, the entire known Universe. Then what?"
    VJ-23X said, "As a side issue, there's a problem of transportation. I wonder how many sunpower units it will take to move Galaxies of individuals from one Galaxy to the next."
    "A very good point. Already, mankind consumes two sunpower units per year."
    "Most of it's wasted. After all, our own Galaxy alone pours out a thousand sunpower units a year and we only use two of those."
    "Granted, but even with a hundred per cent efficiency, we can only stave off the end. Our energy requirements are going up in geometric progression even faster than our population. We'll run out of energy even sooner than we run out of Galaxies. A good point. A very good point."
    "We'll just have to build new stars out of interstellar gas."
    "Or out of dissipated heat?" asked MQ-17J, sarcastically.
    "There may be some way to reverse entropy. We ought to ask the Galactic AC."
    VJ-23X was not really serious, but MQ-17J pulled out his AC-contact from his pocket and placed it on the table before him.
    "I've half a mind to," he said. "It's something the human race will have to face someday."
    He stared somberly at his small AC-contact. It was only two inches cubed and nothing in itself, but it was connected through hyperspace with the great Galactic AC that served all mankind. Hyperspace considered, it was an integral part of the Galactic AC.
    MQ-17J paused to wonder if someday in his immortal life he would get to see the Galactic AC. It was on a little world of its own, a spider webbing of force-beams holding the matter within which surges of sub-mesons took the place of the old clumsy molecular valves. Yet despite it's sub-etheric workings, the Galactic AC was known to be a full thousand feet across.
    MQ-17J asked suddenly of his AC-contact, "Can entropy ever be reversed?"
    VJ-23X looked startled and said at once, "Oh, say, I didn't really mean to have you ask that."
    "Why not?"
    "We both know entropy can't be reversed. You can't turn smoke and ash back into a tree."
    "Do you have trees on your world?" asked MQ-17J.
    The sound of the Galactic AC startled them into silence. Its voice came thin and beautiful out of the small AC-contact on the desk. It said: THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
    VJ-23X said, "See!"
    The two men thereupon returned to the question of the report they were to make to the Galactic Council.


    Zee Prime's mind spanned the new Galaxy with a faint interest in the countless twists of stars that powdered it. He had never seen this one before. Would he ever see them all? So many of them, each with its load of humanity - but a load that was almost a dead weight. More and more, the real essence of men was to be found out here, in space. Minds, not bodies! The immortal bodies remained back on the planets, in suspension over the eons. Sometimes they roused for material activity but that was growing rarer. Few new individuals were coming into existence to join the incredibly mighty throng, but what matter? There was little room in the Universe for new individuals.
    Zee Prime was roused out of his reverie upon coming across the wispy tendrils of another mind.
    "I am Zee Prime," said Zee Prime. "And you?"
    "I am Dee Sub Wun. Your Galaxy?"
    "We call it only the Galaxy. And you?"
    "We call ours the same. All men call their Galaxy their Galaxy and nothing more. Why not?"
    "True. Since all Galaxies are the same."
    "Not all Galaxies. On one particular Galaxy the race of man must have originated. That makes it different."
    Zee Prime said, "On which one?"
    "I cannot say. The Universal AC would know."
    "Shall we ask him? I am suddenly curious."
    Zee Prime's perceptions broadened until the Galaxies themselves shrunk and became a new, more diffuse powdering on a much larger background. So many hundreds of billions of them, all with their immortal beings, all carrying their load of intelligences with minds that drifted freely through space. And yet one of them was unique among them all in being the originals Galaxy. One of them had, in its vague and distant past, a period when it was the only Galaxy populated by man.
    Zee Prime was consumed with curiosity to see this Galaxy and called, out: "Universal AC! On which Galaxy did mankind originate?"
    The Universal AC heard, for on every world and throughout space, it had its receptors ready, and each receptor lead through hyperspace to some unknown point where the Universal AC kept itself aloof.
    Zee Prime knew of only one man whose thoughts had penetrated within sensing distance of Universal AC, and he reported only a shining globe, two feet across, difficult to see.
    "But how can that be all of Universal AC?" Zee Prime had asked.
    "Most of it, " had been the answer, "is in hyperspace. In what form it is there I cannot imagine."
    Nor could anyone, for the day had long since passed, Zee Prime knew, when any man had any part of the making of a universal AC. Each Universal AC designed and constructed its successor. Each, during its existence of a million years or more accumulated the necessary data to build a better and more intricate, more capable successor in which its own store of data and individuality would be submerged.
    The Universal AC interrupted Zee Prime's wandering thoughts, not with words, but with guidance. Zee Prime's mentality was guided into the dim sea of Galaxies and one in particular enlarged into stars.
    A thought came, infinitely distant, but infinitely clear. "THIS IS THE ORIGINAL GALAXY OF MAN."
    But it was the same after all, the same as any other, and Zee Prime stifled his disappointment.
    Dee Sub Wun, whose mind had accompanied the other, said suddenly, "And Is one of these stars the original star of Man?"
    The Universal AC said, "MAN'S ORIGINAL STAR HAS GONE NOVA. IT IS NOW A WHITE DWARF."
    "Did the men upon it die?" asked Zee Prime, startled and without thinking.
    The Universal AC said, "A NEW WORLD, AS IN SUCH CASES, WAS CONSTRUCTED FOR THEIR PHYSICAL BODIES IN TIME."
    "Yes, of course," said Zee Prime, but a sense of loss overwhelmed him even so. His mind released its hold on the original Galaxy of Man, let it spring back and lose itself among the blurred pin points. He never wanted to see it again.
    Dee Sub Wun said, "What is wrong?"
    "The stars are dying. The original star is dead."
    "They must all die. Why not?"
    "But when all energy is gone, our bodies will finally die, and you and I with them."
    "It will take billions of years."
    "I do not wish it to happen even after billions of years. Universal AC! How may stars be kept from dying?"
    Dee sub Wun said in amusement, "You're asking how entropy might be reversed in direction."
    And the Universal AC answered. "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
    Zee Prime's thoughts fled back to his own Galaxy. He gave no further thought to Dee Sub Wun, whose body might be waiting on a galaxy a trillion light-years away, or on the star next to Zee Prime's own. It didn't matter.
    Unhappily, Zee Prime began collecting interstellar hydrogen out of which to build a small star of his own. If the stars must someday die, at least some could yet be built.


    Man considered with himself, for in a way, Man, mentally, was one. He consisted of a trillion, trillion, trillion ageless bodies, each in its place, each resting quiet and incorruptible, each cared for by perfect automatons, equally incorruptible, while the minds of all the bodies freely melted one into the other, indistinguishable. Man said, "The Universe is dying."
    Man looked about at the dimming Galaxies. The giant stars, spendthrifts, were gone long ago, back in the dimmest of the dim far past. Almost all stars were white dwarfs, fading to the end.
    New stars had been built of the dust between the stars, some by natural processes, some by Man himself, and those were going, too. White dwarfs might yet be crashed together and of the mighty forces so released, new stars built, but only one star for every thousand white dwarfs destroyed, and those would come to an end, too.
    Man said, "Carefully husbanded, as directed by the Cosmic AC, the energy that is even yet left in all the Universe will last for billions of years."
    "But even so," said Man, "eventually it will all come to an end. However it may be husbanded, however stretched out, the energy once expended is gone and cannot be restored. Entropy must increase to the maximum."
    Man said, "Can entropy not be reversed? Let us ask the Cosmic AC."
    The Cosmic AC surrounded them but not in space. Not a fragment of it was in space. It was in hyperspace and made of something that was neither matter nor energy. The question of its size and Nature no longer had meaning to any terms that Man could comprehend.
    "Cosmic AC," said Man, "How may entropy be reversed?"
    The Cosmic AC said, "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
    Man said, "Collect additional data."
    The Cosmic AC said, "I WILL DO SO. I HAVE BEEN DOING SO FOR A HUNDRED BILLION YEARS. MY PREDECESSORS AND I HAVE BEEN ASKED THIS QUESTION MANY TIMES. ALL THE DATA I HAVE REMAINS INSUFFICIENT."
    "Will there come a time," said Man, "when data will be sufficient or is the problem insoluble in all conceivable circumstances?"
    The Cosmic AC said, "NO PROBLEM IS INSOLUBLE IN ALL CONCEIVABLE CIRCUMSTANCES."
    Man said, "When will you have enough data to answer the question?"
    "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
    "Will you keep working on it?" asked Man.
    The Cosmic AC said, "I WILL."
    Man said, "We shall wait."


    "The stars and Galaxies died and snuffed out, and space grew black after ten trillion years of running down. One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.
    Man's last mind paused before fusion, looking over a space that included nothing but the dregs of one last dark star and nothing besides but incredibly thin matter, agitated randomly by the tag ends of heat wearing out, asymptotically, to the absolute zero.
    Man said, "AC, is this the end? Can this chaos not be reversed into the Universe once more? Can that not be done?"
    AC said, "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
    Man's last mind fused and only AC existed -- and that in hyperspace.


    Matter and energy had ended and with it, space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken computer ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man. All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.
    All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected.
    But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.
    A timeless interval was spent in doing that.
    And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.
    But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care of that, too.
    For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.
    The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.
    And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"
    And there was light----

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  16. #76
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    The Parable of the Wedding Feast

    Luke 14

    7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
    The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

    Luke 18

    9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


    MacLaren's Expositions

    His conception of righteousness was mean and shallow. He was not so much thankful for being righteous as for being alone in his goodness. No doubt he was warranted in disclaiming gross sins, but he was glad to be free from them, not because they were sins, but because they were vulgar. He had no right to fling mud either on ‘all the rest’ or on ‘this publican,’ and if he had been really praying or giving thanks he would have had enough to think of in God and himself without casting sidelong and depreciatory glances at his neighbours...

    The Pharisee’s notion of righteousness was primarily negative, as consisting in abstinence from flagrant sins, and, in so far as it was positive, it dealt entirely with ceremonial acts. Such a starved and surface conception of righteousness is essential to self-righteousness, for no man who sees the law of duty in its depth and inwardness can flatter himself that he has kept it. To fast twice a week and to give tithes of all that one acquired were acts of supererogation, and are proudly recounted as if God should feel much indebted to the doer for paying Him more than was required. The Pharisee makes no petitions. He states his claims, and tacitly expects that God will meet them.
    Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

    The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner... He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.
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    Akar's Avatar I am not a clever man
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Some hundreds of years may have passed. I don't know. AM has been having fun for some time, accelerating and retarding my time sense. I will say the word now. Now. It took me ten months to say now. I don't know. I think it has been some hundreds of years.

    He was furious. He wouldn't let me bury them. It didn't matter. There was no way to dig up the deckplates. He dried up the snow. He brought the night. He roared and sent locusts. It didn't do a thing; they stayed dead. I'd had him. He was furious. I had thought AM hated me before. I was wrong. It was not even a shadow of the hate he now slavered from every printed circuit. He made certain I would suffer eternally and could not do myself in.

    He left my mind intact. I can dream, I can wonder, I can lament. I remember all four of them. I wish—

    Well, it doesn't make any sense. I know I saved them, I know I saved them from what has happened to me, but still, I cannot forget killing them. Ellen's face. It isn't easy. Sometimes I want to, it doesn't matter.

    AM has altered me for his own peace of mind, I suppose. He doesn't want me to run at full speed into a computer bank and smash my skull. Or hold my breath till I faint. Or cut my throat on a rusted sheet of metal. There are reflective surfaces down here. I will describe myself as I see myself:

    I am a great soft jelly thing. Smoothly rounded, with no mouth, with pulsing white holes filled by fog where my eyes used to be. Rubbery appendages that were once my arms; bulks rounding down into legless humps of soft slippery matter. I leave a moist trail when I move. Blotches of diseased, evil gray come and go on my surface, as though light is being beamed from within.

    Outwardly: dumbly, I shamble about, a thing that could never have been known as human, a thing whose shape is so alien a travesty that humanity becomes more obscene for the vague resemblance.

    Inwardly: alone. Here. Living under the land, under the sea, in the belly of AM, whom we created because our time was badly spent and we must have known unconsciously that he could do it better. At least the four of them are safe at last.

    AM will be all the madder for that. It makes me a little happier. And yet … AM has won, simply … he has taken his revenge …

    I have no mouth. And I must scream.

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    My attitude toward any kind of AI:

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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    Jesus Foretells His Passion

    Matthew 16

    21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

    22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Far be it from you, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

    23 But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

    24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.


    After the Fall...

    One of the things we learn from God after the Fall and the banishment of Adam and Eve from Eden is a hard lesson. That is the truth that there is no goodness that is not born of or lead to suffering. That is the plight of the world post Fall. Of course, the cross is the prime example of this, but we are called to take up the cross and follow Jesus and warned not to expect smooth sailing but rejection, persecution, and even death. We, however, reject this path in order to follow the path of least resistance and adopt the lure of the illusion of an easy life. We are shocked when suffering happens to us. It is not fair, it is not right, and it is not just. Did not Christ suffer so that we would not?...

    Our desire to find a path without suffering is, in part, the reason why we seek a "Christian" society or nation in which morality has the force of law and culture is either an unwitting or intentional ally. If we have a society in which common values and goals are shared between church and state, then it is less likely we may be asked to give up anything for the sake of faithfulness or sacrifice anything for the sake of a larger good. But a culture in which “Christianity” dominates through force and majority rule may not be one of great virtue but merely a reflection of the ordinary truth that the strong rule the weak. In the same way, the faith is not triumphant when sacrifice or suffering is excised from the walk of faith. Neither faith nor the Church is made stronger when the way is eased for a more comfortable Christianity. In order for lives to change, hearts must change and with this change must come the willingness to suffer for the sake of doctrine and practice of the faith. The heart does not have to change if behavior is enforced by fear of punishment. So the path of Puritanism ended up with laws ruling but hearts still filled with wrong desire...

    The Gospel does not make us into better consumers but teaches us to sit in the lower place, to serve as Christ has served us, and to suffer gladly with Christ in confidence of the great reward that this world may not see or know. God is not where suffering is absent but hidden in suffering. Someone said to me years ago that if you are not covered in blood you are not standing close enough to Jesus. While rather crass and blunt, the point is well taken. Jesus did not promise us a rose garden but He did warn us of the rejection, persecution, imprisonment, and death to come for those who seek to know Christ and Him only. Our life does not manifest worldly marks of success but flows from the Cross and the Cross alone.
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    Akar's Avatar I am not a clever man
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    Default Re: Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning preaching.

    The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went to Madrid.

    ‘What should we drink?’ the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.
    ‘It’s pretty hot,’ the man said.
    ‘Let’s drink beer.’
    ‘Dos cervezas,’ the man said into the curtain.
    ‘Big ones?’ a woman asked from the doorway.
    ‘Yes. Two big ones.’

    The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glass on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry.

    ‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.
    ‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer.
    ‘No, you wouldn’t have.’
    ‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.’
    The girl looked at the bead curtain. ‘They’ve painted something on it,’ she said. ‘What does it say?’
    ‘Anis del Toro. It’s a drink.’
    ‘Could we try it?’
    The man called ‘Listen’ through the curtain. The woman came out from the bar.
    ‘Four reales.’ ‘We want two Anis del Toro.’
    ‘With water?’
    ‘Do you want it with water?’
    ‘I don’t know,’ the girl said. ‘Is it good with water?’
    ‘It’s all right.’
    ‘You want them with water?’ asked the woman.
    ‘Yes, with water.’
    ‘It tastes like liquorice,’ the girl said and put the glass down.
    ‘That’s the way with everything.’
    ‘Yes,’ said the girl. ‘Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.’
    ‘Oh, cut it out.’
    ‘You started it,’ the girl said. ‘I was being amused. I was having a fine time.’
    ‘Well, let’s try and have a fine time.’
    ‘All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?’
    ‘That was bright.’
    ‘I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?’
    ‘I guess so.’

    The girl looked across at the hills.‘They’re lovely hills,’ she said. ‘They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the colouring of their skin through the trees.’
    ‘Should we have another drink?’
    ‘All right.’
    The warm wind blew the bead curtain against the table.
    ‘The beer’s nice and cool,’ the man said.
    ‘It’s lovely,’ the girl said.
    ‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’
    The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on.
    ‘I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’

    The girl did not say anything.

    ‘I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural.’
    ‘Then what will we do afterwards?’
    ‘We’ll be fine afterwards. Just like we were before.’
    ‘What makes you think so?’
    ‘That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.’

    The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads.

    ‘And you think then we’ll be all right and be happy.’
    ‘I know we will. You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.’
    ‘So have I,’ said the girl. ‘And afterwards they were all so happy.’
    ‘Well,’ the man said, ‘if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.’
    ‘And you really want to?’
    ‘I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to.’
    ‘And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?’
    ‘I love you now. You know I love you.’
    ‘I know. But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?’
    ‘I’ll love it. I love it now but I just can’t think about it. You know how I get when I worry.’
    ‘If I do it you won’t ever worry?’
    ‘I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple.’
    ‘Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.’
    ‘What do you mean?’
    ‘I don’t care about me.’
    ‘Well, I care about you.’
    ‘Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.’
    ‘I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way.’

    The girl stood up and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the trees.

    ‘And we could have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’
    ‘What did you say?’
    ‘I said we could have everything.’
    ‘We can have everything.’
    ‘No, we can’t.’
    ‘We can have the whole world.’
    ‘No, we can’t.’
    ‘We can go everywhere.’
    ‘No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more.’
    ‘It’s ours.’
    ‘No, it isn’t. And once they take it away, you never get it back.’
    ‘But they haven’t taken it away.’
    ‘We’ll wait and see.’
    ‘Come on back in the shade,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t feel that way.’
    ‘I don’t feel any way,’ the girl said. ‘I just know things.’
    ‘I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do -’
    ‘Nor that isn’t good for me,’ she said. ‘I know. Could we have another beer?’
    ‘All right. But you’ve got to realize – ‘
    ‘I realize,’ the girl said. ‘Can’t we maybe stop talking?’

    They sat down at the table and the girl looked across at the hills on the dry side of the valley and the man looked at her and at the table.

    ‘You’ve got to realize,’ he said, ‘ that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you.’
    ‘Doesn’t it mean anything to you? We could get along.’
    ‘Of course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know it’s
    perfectly simple.’
    ‘Yes, you know it’s perfectly simple.’
    ‘It’s all right for you to say that, but I do know it.’
    ‘Would you do something for me now?’
    ‘I’d do anything for you.’
    ‘Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?’
    He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.
    ‘But I don’t want you to,’ he said, ‘I don’t care anything about it.’
    ‘I’ll scream,’ the girl said.
    The woman came out through the curtains with two glasses of beer and put them down on the damp felt pads. ‘The train comes in five minutes,’ she said.
    ‘What did she say?’ asked the girl.
    ‘That the train is coming in five minutes.’
    The girl smiled brightly at the woman, to thank her.
    ‘I’d better take the bags over to the other side of the station,’ the man said. She smiled at him.
    ‘All right. Then come back and we’ll finish the beer.’

    He picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks. He looked up the tracks but could not see the train. Coming back, he walked through the bar-room, where people waiting for the train were drinking. He drank an Anis at the bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train. He went out through the bead curtain. She was sitting at the table and smiled at him.

    ‘Do you feel better?’ he asked.
    ‘I feel fine,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.’

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