Joseph Herrin (10-05-2014)
Randy and Kathy Furman, disciples of Christ who dwell in the high desert of Arizona, shared a parable with me recently. Following is what they wrote.
Randy and I were sitting outside this morning, having a cup of tea, and considering the new plants that had sprung up in several places around our yard. There are tomato plants, watermelon plants and a variety of squash plants. Randy refers to them as “volunteers.” They just come up on their own.
Beautiful healthy young tomato plant with blossoms that hold a promise of fruit.
Watermelon plant with small yellow blossoms.
When Randy spoke of them this morning he said, rather wistfully, “but it’s too late. The cold winter will kill them before they have a chance to bear fruit.”
And then he compared them to believers who had waited too long before finally deciding to take root and grow in their relationship with Yahweh. The winter is fast approaching on all of us. We need to spend a lot of time in the Son, drinking in the water of His Word so that our roots will grow deep to anchor our souls to Him before the harsh winds blow. With the right protection, it is possible to extend our growing season long enough for a plant to bear fruit. Just so, those who take shelter in Him will find the nourishment they need to survive, blossom and fruit.
Be blessed, Brother.
Love, Randy and Kathy
When I read these words I was reminded of a news article I had come across just a short time before receiving this e-mail. The news article reported that the ship SS United States, which has been berthed in Philadelphia along the waterfront for the past 18 years (6+6+6) has reached a critical state. The Conservancy which has been seeking to find someone to restore the ship to its past glory are facing the prospect of having to sell her for scrap. The news article I read was based on a release posted to the website of the SS United States Conservancy that was dated September 24, 2014. It reads as follows.
SEPTEMBER 24 – MEDIA ADVISORY: SHORT ON TIME, FAMED SS UNITED STATES MAKES FINAL PUSH TO RETURN HOME TO NEW YORK
• Without Additional Charitable Support or Development Deal, A Decision To Scrap or Sell the Historic Vessel Must be Made at End of Month
• As Discussions with Developers andCity and State Officials Continue Conservancy Urgently Needs Additional Support
• 650,000 sq ft Mixed-Use Development and Museum Complex Would Create 2000 Jobs, Revitalize Manhattan or Brooklyn Waterfront
NEW YORK, NY — Time is nearly up to save America’s Flagship. With 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity hanging in the balance, America’s Flagship, the SS United States, is making her final push to return home to New York in time to avoid being sold for scrap. The SS United States Conservancy, the non-profit organization that owns the legendary 990-foot-long liner, has announced it will need to make a determination about the ship’s future by the end of this month unless resources are found in short order to help cover the vessel’s ongoing maintenance costs.
The Conservancy is urgently discussing with developers and city and state officials plans for transforming the world’s fastest ocean liner into an exciting hospitality, retail, event, restaurant, entertainment and museum complex. As was reported by the New York Times in July, potential sites for the ship are under consideration in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
But, it’s a tight timeline for the Conservancy, which has raised additional resources in recent months toward the ship’s upkeep and its curatorial programs. It must decide by the end of September whether to sell or scrap the historic ship, unless it has entered into a funded option with a developer or has attracted major new philanthropic support.
“We need someone with vision to step in and save the United States. We’ve made great strides in recent months, but what we need now is more time. This is an opportunity for a true hero to come forward and ensure the great potential of this project is realized. Discussions are underway with city and state officials to confirm that our plans meet regulatory guidelines and provide significant economic benefits, but the clock is ticking,” said the Conservancy’s Executive Director Susan Gibbs.
The ship has faced its end several times before. Most recently in 2011, the SS United States was just days away from being scrapped when a major gift to the Conservancy helped the grassroots organization purchase the vessel. Gibbs and her team are working overtime to generate another 11th-hour save.
The SS United States has long been a symbol of American power and innovation…
The Conservancy spends more than $60,000 per month to pay for the ship’s dockage, insurance and maintenance costs at her current pier in Philadelphia.
Back in May of 2013 I posted an article on the prophetic significance of this once great ship. If you have not read the blog posting, I recommend it. You can find it at the link below.
This ship is a symbol of the United States. It is more than 100 feet longer than the Titanic. It was, and remains, the fastest ocean liner to ever sail. Its four massive turbine engines could push the 990 foot length of the SS United States at speeds as high as 38.32 knots (44 mph).
The ship’s construction was partially paid for by the U.S. Navy with the agreement that it would be converted to troop transport in time of need. With the ship’s high speeds it could outrun any submarine of its time. It was also reported to be able to withstand a torpedo strike. The ship was in service from 1952 through 1969 (again 18 years), and was never used for troop transport. With the advent of transatlantic airplane flights, ocean liners fell out of favor. The idea was floated (pun intended) to convert her to a cruise ship, but no company was willing to take on the steep financial obligation to do so. The ship languished for years, and eventually began the process of being stripped. It was sent to Ukraine for asbestos removal, and at other locations it had all of its furnishings removed, as well as its huge turbine engines and its four massive propellers. The conservancy sold one of the propellers made of 61,000 pounds of expensive manganese-bronze to help pay her monthly fees.
Today the ship appears as a rusting hulk along the Philadelphia waterfront. It is a fitting parable of the moral, financial, political, and social condition of the nation whose government began in this same city.
SS United States
This once proud ship, the fastest ocean liner to ever sail the seas, had to be towed to its location in Philadelphia. Like the aged documents establishing a new nation, originally written and signed in Philadelphia, both ship and documents have lost all of their original luster and power. The Constitution of the United States is regularly disregarded by the American government, its guarantees of freedom from government interference and oppression have been gutted. The documents of this nation are like the museum piece that this ship has become. They are something people discuss, but which no longer are able to accomplish the purpose for which they were created. Nor do the people of America have the will to preserve what once was the pride of their nation.
(Don’t misunderstand me. I am not writing as an advocate of American patriotism, or a champion of America’s founding fathers, the majority of whom were Freemasons and adherents of the Enlightenment dogmas. Please refer to the writing titled Dragon Flood for more on this subject. I am sharing this only to establish how fitting an emblem of the nation of America this ship is.)
You may ask, “What was the verdict regarding the ship, since September 30th has now come and gone?” The conservancy posted the following E-mail Update.
September 30th Ship Status and Steps Away From a Key Goal
As previously reported, today was a key deadline for the SS United States. While negotiations are ongoing, we can report that today’s developments were encouraging, and we’ll be releasing further information in the days to come.
The Conservancy remains cautiously optimistic about the ship’s prospects as we head into October. Needless to say, we thank everyone for your patience and ongoing support while we continue to work through details.
Brothers and sisters, I believe what certain members of this Conservancy describe as cautious optimism is in fact nothing more than delusional hope. It is estimated by the Conservancy that it will take upwards of $300 million dollars to renovate the ship and convert it to usage as a museum/entertainment/restaurant/retail complex which they envision being located along the New York City waterfront. One article on the subject quoted a number of nay-sayers who are declaring that the Conservancy’s mission is doomed to fail.
“I think the conservancy has had its shot,” said Irvin Richter, founder, chairman, and chief executive of Hill International, a global construction-consulting firm based in Marlton. “They haven’t done anything with it…”
It seemed destined for scrap when its owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, offered it for sale in 2009. The conservancy was offered the first chance to buy but lacked the money.
The next year, a savior emerged: Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, now owner and publisher of The Inquirer, said he would donate up to $5.8 million to save the ship. The money allowed the conservancy to buy the vessel and keep it docked near Columbus Boulevard while redevelopment plans went forward.
Few doubt the conservancy has worked zealously – staging exhibits about the ship, publicizing its history, and raising money – or that those efforts might be for naught.
“I think they’ve done the best they can,” Lenfest said. “It’s a monumental task to raise that money to restore the vessel. They’ve tried with integrity, and they’ve tried very hard.”
He said he did not plan to put more money into the project.
The conservancy said that it had considered sites in Philadelphia, Chester, Miami, Baltimore, and Boston, but that New York offered the best option for rebirth.
Henwood rejected that argument.
“It’s not going to New York. It’s not going to happen,” said the head of Binnacle Group L.L.C. in Media. “New York is the most expensive, risky place in the world to do business.”
The language of these various articles lends itself readily to interpretation as a parable. There is great symbolism in speaking of the “rebirth” of the United States, and the statement “We need someone with vision to step in and save the United States.” Yet, even if a “savior” with “vision” does appear, the SS United States will not return to its former function or glory. It will be completely re-purposed. So too will America never return to her previous form of government, or once more be a nation that provided so much opportunity for men and women to strive for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” America’s future is both draconian and dystopian.
When I read the news article about this “deadline” for saving the SS United States I perceived that even now America is being weighed in the balance. Her fate is being discussed. Thus far a savior has not come forth. After years of effort, no one has deemed it to be a worthwhile effort to commit the huge sum of money needed to revive this decaying vessel. The handwriting is on the wall. Even as the Costa Concordia was recently towed to Greece to be scrapped, so too will the SS United States end up being broken apart and sold for a minute fraction of her original cost. All that was once valuable and precious in her has already been removed.
Returning to the parable observed by the Furmans, and understanding that America’s demise is not far off, it would be good for all who aspire to be disciples of Christ to consider whether they have been putting off for too long that spiritual and physical preparation necessary to bear fruit for the glory of Yawheh.
“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
At this time I am finishing up a work of many years as I complete the installation of the solar auxiliary power system in my bus/motorhome. With this in place I will be able to live off grid. In one sense I see this as symbolic of becoming disentangled from the world. I will have less dependence upon, and less involvement with, this world’s system of commerce, finance, regulation, and control.
The Lord had me begin these preparations back in 2009 when I led to purchase the bus. Work intensified in the last quarter of 2010 when I converted the bus to a motorhome. I understand this is a physical work (carnal in that sense of being related to the natural realm), but the Father has been leading me since 1999 to make spiritual preparation as well. He has directed me to a Spirit-directed life of faith where I am guided and supported by that which cannot be seen.
The Father spoke to me in 2008 when I began the Parables Blog, informing me that He had called me to be a pioneer and forerunner that I might guide a much larger group of believers through similar experiences. With this in mind, I have shared publically about both my spiritual and physical life. I believe He has had me share regarding my own spiritual and physical preparations for years in order to set an example before other disciples of Christ, and to stir them up to yield themselves to God and seek to know His will for their lives.
I am confident that those who are early adopters of a life surrendered to the leading of the Spirit will be in the most favorable position to bear fruit unto God in this day and the days to come. Some will be hindered in bearing fruit because they waited long before they put roots downward and began to sprout upwards as they reached toward the light and life that flows from the heavens.
“And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors.”
If you have been delaying, do so no longer.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
Addendum: Regarding the account of the Philadelphia philanthropist who gave a $5.8 million dollar gift to the Conservancy to rescue the ship from being scrapped in 2010, a possible interpretation is that the “Savior” has given the United States an additional four or five years to repent and make a new beginning. Five is the number of grace, and 8 represents new beginnings. However, no new beginning came forth in these added years and now the “Savior” says he will not give further to extend the time of final judgment for the United States.
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