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  #1  
Old 05-12-2017, 02:48 PM
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So, my question is not debating religion, or subscribing to any particular belief system. It does not invite that either.

In our age of cynicism and trial by media, how would we react to someone claiming divinity and producing the miraculous?

The most recent example I can think of is Sri Sathya Sai Baba - who was slated in various documentaries as allegedly being a trickster and rumours abounded of sexual misconduct. There are still millions who benefit from his benevolence and a legion of followers who give testimony to healing miracles and a plethora of signs and wonders.

If somebody walked the Earth today that had powers and wisdom beyond human comprehension - would we crucify them by media?

Would we listen?

Would we reject them, because it wasn't the god we were expecting?

Or are we our own gods now - so convinced of our intelligence that to respond with anything else but ridicule or cynicism would make us feel gullible?

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Old 05-12-2017, 03:27 PM
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First you'd have to substantiate they are legit and not another con artist.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:38 PM
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That's the bedrock of my question Moon - how would we do that?

Would you scan the media for reports exposing fraud? Would you be curious enough to go and find out for yourself?

Using Jesus purely as an example - people dropped their lives to follow him. I think we're a far tougher crowd to impress.

WHAT would convince you? Is it even in our natures now to supplicate to a greater will than our own?
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:21 PM
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Ask some scientists.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
Ask some scientists.


It's much easier than that...

To my knowledge nobody in human history has ever performed miracles live in front of anything other than a small (and therefore highly suspect) audience.

Today, we have massive instantaneous connectivity, and gloms of media with paid experts on staff to verify almost anything.

If someone were able to perform miracles like say Jesus was reported to, it would be pretty obvious if it were fake or real.

Of course, if it were real, the poor bastard would probably be whisked away by secret service and we might never see them again. So I guess: enjoy the fish and wine while it's still available.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:20 PM
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Yeah right. In the #FakeNews world you really think that? Lol
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
Yeah right. In the #FakeNews world you really think that? Lol


Yes. I would presume that this person could continue performing miracles until it was obvious what was going on.

Fake news is not so much fake for the sake of lying to people. It's to generate ratings. That means all the worlds news outlets would have be in some kind of collusion to go the way you're implying. But... they are working against each other, really.

I suppose if the guy just worked one miracle there would be debate. But Grace said a person with the ability to perform miracles with superior wisdom (or something like that).

That, today, would be beyond debate, short of the dude being whisked off to a black site somewhere in Pakistan or South America. And even then... if the guy were the real deal, he could probably escape.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:41 PM
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There will always be those who wouldn't buy it even if it happened in their living room. Conversely some people will believe anything.
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Old 05-12-2017, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
There will always be those who wouldn't buy it even if it happened in their living room. Conversely some people will believe anything.


Well, we could always just kill the hold-outs. Then we'd have a religion just like all the others. Only... it would be the real one😀
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by moonpunter View Post
There will always be those who wouldn't buy it even if it happened in their living room. Conversely some people will believe anything.


Seriously though, if a guy came to your living room and made your paraplegic son walk again normally, it would be hard to deny. And if he did this in a large children's hospital, most people wouldn't be able to deny it. There would be hundreds of records and eyewitness accounts, scrutinized by hundreds or thousands of individuals.

Okay... some hillbillies might not even hear about it, but I think the tide would be great enough to sweep even those dudes up eventually.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:55 PM
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Maybe you should put down the Cormac McCarthy and read more comic books. People with powers are very often not greeted enthusiastically. ��
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:45 PM
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BP, let's make up the scenario that you've had a terrible prognosis from the hospital. Something so far advanced that you have only a few months to live. Your wife has heard of someone who can heal, and through desperation and her love for you, she tracks this person down and begs them to come and see you. These are the only desperate measures left open to her, as the medical profession can do nothing more. This person preaches love and kindness. They don't court publicity or earn a dime through their ministry. This person is deeply touched by the love he can see your wife has for you -so he comes. He touches you briefly and claims you are healed in the privacy of your home. The next day, the hospital confirms your condition has gone. Your scan shows the dark mass has disappeared - and the hospital cautiously confirm you have a spontaneous remission - unusual, but not unheard of. The person who healed you says he has helped you because you and your wife are good people - and in return, you must help others in need.

Your story spreads verbally until a reporter hears of it. The reporter seeks out this person and presents his broken arm in a plaster cast, demanding it be healed to prove such supernatural powers. The man declines, because there is only a challenge in the reporter's eyes and not any of the love that he responded to with your wife's petition. The hack writes an article claiming the man is a fraud. This man continues to wend his way around the country, offering a simple message of love and asking people to follow his example. He declines to be interviewed. He refuses to be put to the test by scientists. He will only respond to pure hearts, and has nothing to prove to anyone else. He continues to reach select individuals, who, in return set about spreading his message themselves....

Meanwhile, you and your wife are still dumbstruck by the unearthly presence of this man. You tell your friends, who gently suggest that such remissions are possible and do happen occasionally - and there's no reason why you should suddenly throw yourself into such charitable works.... but this man told you he was divine, and you and your wife have no doubt about his claim because of the way he made you both feel.

What then? Would you change your life? Would you believe what your heart was telling you despite your friends' gentle appeals to reason and common sense?

And this isn't asked with a trace of challenge - i'm asking the same question of myself. This person looks entirely ordinary - blue jeans and a T.shirt. No robes, no beard,...nothing that responds to ANY religious icon. His whole message is love and humility, yet the World would probably demand thunderbolts and more demonstrable wonder than a David Copperfield show or a Harry Potter movie.

What would we need to convince us or change us?
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:27 PM
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Nicely laid out Grace.

I can't actually imagine having a terminal cancer or something, and then having someone cure it like that.

I can tell you it wouldn't change me because I am an atheist, but until it really happened, I have no idea what I would feel or do.

I suspect under these circumstances it would end much the same as it did with Jesus, no matter what I personally did.

I can tell you I wouldn't start a religion after the guy was killed or died.

Funny, this is exactly where The Motorcycle is going, so the ideas are fresh in my head.
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Old 05-13-2017, 02:52 AM
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Reminds me of what Pilate sings in his confrontation with Jesus in "Jesus Christ Superstar" --

"Prove to me that you're no fool, walk across my swimming pool..."

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Old 05-13-2017, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Nicely laid out Grace.

I can't actually imagine having a terminal cancer or something, and then having someone cure it like that.

I can tell you it wouldn't change me because I am an atheist, but until it really happened, I have no idea what I would feel or do.

I suspect under these circumstances it would end much the same as it did with Jesus, no matter what I personally did.

I can tell you I wouldn't start a religion after the guy was killed or died.

Funny, this is exactly where The Motorcycle is going, so the ideas are fresh in my head.


No, I can't imagine it playing out any other way either.

I think that people who are of faith would not associate this person with their preconceived idea of what their god looks like - and reject this person as a 'false god'.

I think people who have a prosperous life and pride themselves on their own autonomy would prefer to ignore messages of 'loving and helping their fellow man' - even if they unconsciously recognised this person as an exceptional being .

I think many would follow the flow of the common herd - if he was crucified by the media as being a charlatan, they would join the ranks of cynicism and ridicule just to fit in - be part of the smart crew.

I think existing religions would send their envoys to scrutinise him - and if his message in any way threatened their own religious hierarchy or conflicted with their espoused doctrine, he would be rejected.

I think any amount of abusing him would be considered 'a test of his divinity' - because he can save himself right? Y'know - he could flatten us with some celestial artillery if he is who he claims to be.

But...

What if someone else came? Someone who applauded greed and selfishness - who promises you more for caring less.

What if this person will happily oblige you with any show of power you want and indulge you with the material gain you strive for? All you have to do is abandon your ethical conscience .

What then?
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:08 AM
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It might play turn out another way. Really, anything could happen.

Some significant number of people might come to believe and given current technology, it could happen pretty quickly.

Even if the miracles were low key, we now have video evidence, and medical records etc. or even doctor's testimony etc. -- so some number of these miracles could be documented and verified.

Of course, there would be skeptics, some of them hostile. But there are also plenty of disillusioned people who want and need to believe in something -- and it might not take much to convince them. So you could potentially have millions and millions of believers and followers within a relatively short time-frame.

And what if there were more significant but meaningful miracles? Suppose our new guy appeared on a battlefield in Syria and rendered all the weapons useless. It doesn't have to be about loaves and fishes or random healings, does it?

And long as we're using our imaginations -- just because Jesus didn't save himself, doesn't mean our new guy would do the same, perhaps in some way that isn't particularly flashy.

People are people of course, so there would likely be all kinds of conflict and people splitting into factions etc. people misconstruing his message -- whatever that might be -- or using it to their own advantage.

Beyond that, what might happen would depend on whether or not this person has a plan or prophecy and what he might tell his followers they have to do to prepare. What's coming next and how soon? Jesus pretty much told everyone what was going to happen and why.

If it's all about just being good and kind -- he might not get a lot of traction, despite any miracle he performs. That's all been done in one form or another with limited success. People would want to know what's in for them in the long run -- some kind of heavenly reward etc. etc.

So yeah, I don't think it would automatically play out like it did for Jesus -- even if it might get very messy. I think there are a lot more variables to consider. Most of us are or want to be writers of some kind, so I'm sure we can come with some alternative story lines.

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Old 05-13-2017, 04:42 AM
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So, if this individual inexplicably delivers you from the brink of death ( or your child, or spouse) and your physiological response to this individual was entirely overwhelming - something you've never experienced before - would that make you one of the "disillusioned people who want or need to believe in something" ?

Would you decline to defend or support this individual, for fear of other people thinking you are one of the breed that you yourself can identify and define as "disillusioned people who want or need to believe in something" ?

Would you go to the media with your experience? Or stay quiet for fear of being considered gullible?

It could potentially ruin your reputation for being a measured intellectual if you uttered the words "I believe"...
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:46 AM
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...a message of love and tolerance renders all weapons useless Myers - it negates our need to make them or use them.
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Old 05-13-2017, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
So, if this individual inexplicably delivers you from the brink of death ( or your child, or spouse) and your physiological response to this individual was entirely overwhelming - something you've never experienced before - would that make you one of the "disillusioned people who want or need to believe in something" ?
I don't consider myself to be disillusioned. But I might believe or at least think pretty hard about it -- and not rule out that some miracle was performed. But these miracles aren't happening in a vacuum, are they? In which case it might take a few more of them to convince me.

Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
Would you decline to defend or support this individual, for fear of other people thinking you are one of the breed that you yourself can identify and define as "disillusioned people who want or need to believe in something" ?
But I don't think there's anything bad or wrong about feeling disillusioned and wanting to believe in something, so...

Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
Would you go to the media with your experience? Or stay quiet for fear of being considered gullible?
I might not go to them, but I might talk about it if asked. It all depends on how you present it. There's a way you could calmly relay events as they went down -- and people could decide for themselves. It also depends on how many people are coming forward. I might be reluctant to be the first, but there is safety in numbers.

Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
It could potentially ruin your reputation for being a measured intellectual if you uttered the words "I believe"...
Well, I don't have a "reputation for being a measured intellectual" -- so not a big problem.
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
...a message of love and tolerance renders all weapons useless Myers - it negates our need to make them or use them.
Sure -- but a good demonstration might help move things along.

P.S. -- you said this person has "powers and wisdom beyond human comprehension" -- so I'm going with that. But it seems like you are constraining him to someone with Christ-like qualities. Maybe this new guy is a bit more of a showman.

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Old 05-13-2017, 05:21 AM
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For now we will just have to settle for "Miracle Spring Water." I sent off for a sample and when it came in the mail I poured it in my dogs water bowl. Three days later he got a check in the mail from Purina!
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
Sure -- but a good demonstration might help move things along.

P.S. -- you said this person has "powers and wisdom beyond human comprehension" -- so I'm going with that. But it seems like you are constraining him to someone with Christ-like qualities. Maybe this new guy is a bit more of a showman.

Let's imagine my little boy suddenly shows a penchant for mutilating animals. Next door's rabbit has been slashed - our dogs howling in pain from a crude tail amputation executed with the kitchen scissors...

I could remove all sharp objects from the house, to stop him from doing it.

I could seek professional help to find out what the hell's going on in his head to make him behave this way because I don't want to stop his behaviour through constant policing - I want him to make the right choices through his own volition, not my authority.

I can set the example, as his mother, of love and compassion. I can try and teach him to love and respect animals by demonstrating these qualities myself. I tell him stories that explain the merit of compassion and kindness...

Trouble is, I can't give up or stop loving him, because he's my son.

My life is my demonstration. What else would I do?

Translating that back to signs and wonders - what showmanship would we want Myers? If a supernatural being conditioned my behaviour through demonstrations of power and the threat to use it if I didn't toe the line - would I love that being or just fear it?

I wouldn't be prepared to smite my own child with a thunderbolt - I love him. My patience is enduring. I want him to be like me - and not through threat but through a change of heart.

If there is a god, what would you have him do?
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Gaines View Post
For now we will just have to settle for "Miracle Spring Water."
Cheap comment from a capable mind Gaines...
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
Let's imagine my little boy suddenly shows a penchant for mutilating animals. Next door's rabbit has been slashed - our dogs howling in pain from a crude tail amputation executed with the kitchen scissors...

I could remove all sharp objects from the house, to stop him from doing it.

I could seek professional help to find out what the hell's going on in his head to make him behave this way because I don't want to stop his behaviour through constant policing - I want him to make the right choices through his own volition, not my authority.

I can set the example, as his mother, of love and compassion. I can try and teach him to love and respect animals by demonstrating these qualities myself. I tell him stories that explain the merit of compassion and kindness...

Trouble is, I can't give up or stop loving him, because he's my son.

My life is my demonstration. What else would I do?

Translating that back to signs and wonders - what showmanship would we want Myers? If a supernatural being conditioned my behaviour through demonstrations of power and the threat to use it if I didn't toe the line - would I love that being or just fear it?

I wouldn't be prepared to smite my own child with a thunderbolt - I love him. My patience is enduring. I want him to be like me - and not through threat but through a change of heart.

If there is a god, what would you have him do?
First of all, I was simply giving an example of larger, more significant miracle other than a smattering of individual healings. It could be something else -- take your pick.

Secondly, it could simply be a singular demonstration to get people's attention -- I wasn't saying all weapons would be rendered useless.

And that doesn't mean it wouldn't be combined or followed with a message of compassion and kindness.

It wasn't Jesus' MO to convince anyone with more flashy miracles -- but who's to say it couldn't be done effectively and in the right measure by someone else with "powers and wisdom beyond human comprehension?"

Like I was saying, there are a lot of variables to consider.

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Old 05-13-2017, 06:13 AM
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Oh -- and you looks like you are assuming that that this guy is asking or expecting people to love him or perhaps some entity connected to him. Maybe he just wants us to love each other?

Again, this sounds like you're talking about someone who is christ-like with a similar motivation or plan.

Is that a given in this scenario? Didn't seem like it in your O.P.

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Old 05-13-2017, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Grace Gabriel View Post
Cheap comment from a capable mind Gaines...
What were you expecting? Something profound or perhaps illuminating? Are you having a crisis of faith? Are you waiting for God to show up and cure the ills of mankind?

We have been creating weapons of mass destruction since the first monkey picked up a stick and cracked another monkey in the head. It's not going to change. No amount of love and tolerance preaching will stop it. Our basic need to covet often overrides our so called better angels.

Nature compels us. We respond either by action or thought or both. For a miracle worker to perform a real miracle, beyond what we could see or touch, that person would have to change our nature. It is the only lasting miracle of worth.

Your question, intended or not, is the age old question, is there a God? Check your premise. Rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad behavior. Heaven and hell.

Your fictional son is on his way to becoming a serial killer. Some people are just wired that way. It is their nature.

Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:23 AM
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And you should be able to drop in and make an aside here and there. Let's try not take ourselves too seriously.
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Gaines View Post
What were you expecting? Something profound or perhaps illuminating? Are you having a crisis of faith? Are you waiting for God to show up and cure the ills of mankind?

We have been creating weapons of mass destruction since the first monkey picked up a stick and cracked another monkey in the head. It's not going to change. No amount of love and tolerance preaching will stop it. Our basic need to covet often overrides our so called better angels.

Nature compels us. We respond either by action or thought or both. For a miracle worker to perform a real miracle, beyond what we could see or touch, that person would have to change our nature. It is the only lasting miracle of worth.

Your question, intended or not, is the age old question, is there a God? Check your premise. Rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad behavior. Heaven and hell.

Your fictional son is on his way to becoming a serial killer. Some people are just wired that way. It is their nature.

Good luck.

My premise is clearly laid out Gaines - HOW would we react nowadays to someone claiming divinity and producing the miraculous? I was kind enough to offer you a recent example.

You say that the only miracle of worth is "to change our nature" - an endorsement of most established religious perspectives. Also corroborates the view that love and compassion negate the need for weapons - thanks for that.

For those that don't subscribe to any faith - WHAT would make them turn their heads and believe that a being walking amongst us was divine? What would we need to persuade us?

Something like an unprecedented sweep of sudden soil fecundity in the barren lands of the starving?

Or testimonies from people who claim to have briefly died on the operating table and visited somewhere so beautiful they can't describe it?

Or a booming voice from the sky?

If a higher power could take care of the starving and desolate, we could cancel our subscriptions to Water-Aid and The Red Cross. Bring the charity workers home. We could stop worrying and stop caring because a great and benevolent one could take care of it all for us- no need to contribute or concern ourselves.

Don't ask me to check my premise when you clearly haven't read it or understood it.

In this day and age of cynicism - WHAT would convince us of the physical manifestation of a higher power?
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
And you should be able to drop in and make an aside here and there. Let's try not take ourselves too seriously.
He needs a slap - gets his brain and ego all fired up.
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Old 05-13-2017, 06:48 AM
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Default

Originally Posted by Myers View Post
And you should be able to drop in and make an aside here and there. Let's try not take ourselves too seriously.
He needs a slap. It gets his brain and ego all fired up.
__________________
GRACE GABRIEL
Reply With Quote
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