¨Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.¨ Psalm 23.6
The Dependable Fruit and AROMAS OF GOODNESS, be aware of the difference!
By Tim Chicago, Illinois (Land of Presidents)
¨Goodness is the dependable fruit. It’s simple, hardy, and it complements all other flavors and occasions. Goodness—real goodness—resembles another kind of winter fruit: the citrus, which, though plenteous, is also widely imitated. Like the orange, lemon, and lime, the flavorful appeal of true goodness is easily faked in combination with other behaviors and thoughts. Many attitudes and actions conceal their rotten intentions with false aromas of goodness. (Looking for an example? How about this: unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation is made to smell like “liberation” from tyranny. Fill in the blanks with any number of aggressors and victims.) Yet because there’s so much phony goodness on the loose, it’s incumbent on believers to produce as much authentic goodness as possible. More than ever, the world thirsts for goodness; it can’t and won’t be satisfied with watered-down Tang. It needs full-bodied goodness it can depend on without reservation. We have the potential to bring genuine goodness to life.
Known for Our Fruit
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a daunting statement: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7.19-20) Obviously, the “good fruit” He speaks of is a generalization, but there’s no doubt “goodness” prominently figures among the good fruits. Furthermore, I’m prone to believe a life that doesn’t blossom and bear goodness in the right season is less liable to produce other good fruit. At the very least, it will not be sought after as a source of good fruit. We’re known for our fruit, Jesus says. If we fail to yield goodness, why would anyone be inclined to believe our other fruits—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5.22)—are any good? (I’m just saying…)
Followers of Christ must be extremely vigilant to make sure they don’t deceive themselves into manufacturing imitation goodness instead of nurturing the real thing. Goodness is an extraction of “godliness”—it contains the essence of our Maker’s nature. It loves unconditionally, forgives without qualification, gives without expectation, and hopes without proof. “Being good,” then, is being—behaving and thinking—like God. Goodness grows, lives, and thrives in the heart. “Acting good” is just acting. It produces nothing of nourishment or lasting value. Truly good fruit can’t be faked. And, as Jesus warns, trees producing anything other than good fruit get cut down and tossed into the fire.¨
Nigeria passes new heterosexist Bill as despotic and cowardly Bishop Pete Akinola, the selfproclaimed holy heterosexual and pompus ¨Lion¨ of The Anglican Church Nigeria, continues to hide his face...Akinola instigates crimes of persecution and hate against LGBT Christians/Muslims and others in Nigeria and abroad by declaring LGBT people/others are lower than animals and the children of LGBT Christians/others are HOOLIGANS (amongst other filthy and ignorant inhumane slurs)!
¨After postponing the Same Sex Marriage Bill in March 2007, the Government has now presented a new Bill “The Same Gender Prohibition Bill” which has now been passed by the Lower House of Representatives. This is horrendous that a democracy in 2009 can pass such repressive and bigoted legislation to criminalise what is effectively the private lives of LGBT Nigerians in and outside the country.¨
Bishop Pete Akinola of Nigeria, demonizer of fellow Christians, also leads a insidious campaign to nationalize/institutionalize fear and hate at every level of Nigerian society by abominating/demoralizing LGBT Christians, Muslims and others.
¨Whatever views people have on same sex relationships the fact is the Bill not only contravenes all international and African Union human rights legislation, it is also inhumane and has no place in a 21st century democracy.¨
·Thanks to Blacklooks (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to Religious News Service RNS (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing ·Thanks to African Union human rights legislation ·Thanks to Eliza Griswold ·Thanks to The Atlantic ·Thanks to ¨Gods Country" ·Thanks to The Times, U.K. ·Thanks to Colage ·Thanks to Wikipedia
The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Southwark Cathedral)
¨Long, long ago, very clever people decided that the human body, flesh, all material things, that all of these were in and of themselves, evil, intrinsically, inherently and always. So there was no way that the good, the pure, the sublime and, by definition, the perfectly good spirit could be united with the material. For these people, the dualists, the incarnation, God, pure spirit, becoming a human being was totally and in principle, and always, out of the question. What people thought was God become flesh in Jesus Christ, well, that was all just playacting, a charade. Could you imagine God the all-powerful, God the eternal, dying? Oh come off it! Get real! When this one was crucified, it was not really Jesus - God - dying. You and I may pooh-pooh all this superiorly and say, "How odd, flying in the face of facts" but aren't so many of us really closet duallists or worse, have we not sometimes been embarrassed with our physicality, when we have found it attractive to engage in the familiar dichotomies as between the sacred and the secular, the profane and the holy? When we have thought that Original Sin, must somehow have had to do with the facts of life, we snigger a little bit, wink, wink, as if when God said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply", God meant that they would do so by perhaps looking into each others' eyes!
And have we not heard so many, many times: "Don't mix religion with politics", so very much the philosophical position of duallists. And just look at the tangle we have got into about human sexuality, about gays and lesbians, etc. Now what follows is really in parenthesis. I hope so very much that you have got over the anguish of last summer and may I salute Canon Jeffrey John who acted with so much dignity and selfless generosity.
The Jesus I worship is not likely to collaborate with those who vilify and persecute an already oppressed minority. I myself could not have opposed the injustice of penalizing people for something about which they could do nothing - their race - and then have kept quiet as women were being penalized for something they could do nothing about - their gender, and hence my support inter alia, for the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.
And equally, I could not myself keep quiet whilst people were being penalized for something about which they could do nothing, their sexuality. For it is so improbable that any sane, normal person would deliberately choose a lifestyle exposing him or her to so much vilification, opprobrium and physical abuse, even death. To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as Apartheid ever was.
The God we worship has taken our physical material selves seriously because God declared about everything that God had created - matter and spirit, everything, not just that it was good, God said it was "very good". That is why we say in the Nicene Creed: 'maker of all there is, visible and invisible'. That matter is not recalcitrant, hostile and antagonistic to the spirit and so God could and did become a real human being, a real baby, belonging to a particular couple who have names, who lived in a real, a particular village, Nazareth, in an actual, real part of the world God created, belonging to an actual, real community with particular and specific laws, rules and customs.
So this baby's parents obeyed the law and brought the baby to be redeemed as the first-born male who belonged therefore to God. God took human history seriously and so fulfilled promises God had made earlier to a Simon and to a faithful widow, Anna. God became a real human being; God took on our humanity - why? Other clever people said God became a human being so that we could become God. The epistle of St Peter speaks daringly of us as partakers of the divine nature. In this Eucharist, we will mix water and wine in the chalice and the President prays a remarkable prayer: 'Oh God, who didst wonderfully create and wonderfully renew the dignity of man's nature, grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His divinity, who shared our humanity.'
Here God uses everyday, mundane, material things to communicate the very life of God, making Christianity, as Archbishop William Temple used to say "the most materialistic of all the great religions." Yes, we are made partakers of the divine nature, God became a human being so that we could become as God. The Orthodox Church makes far more of our so-called 'deification' than we and you might recall how in the epistle to the Ephesians, the author speaks of us as being those who are going to be filled with the fullness of God - yes, we have been created in the image of God, that is our destiny, our destiny to be God-like, God-like so that we are perfect, even as our heavenly father is perfect.
So in the Old Testament, God exalts God's people to be holy, "even as I your God am holy" and though this injunction occurs in the book Leviticus, which spends a great deal of time over the minutiae of cultic, ritual things, it turns out that this holiness that God requires of God's people has nothing to do - or very little to do - with cultic purity. No, it is to reflect the divine compassion and concern for the weak and the hungry and so the assertion is when you are harvesting, don't take up everything, leave some, leave some for the poor, be kind to the alien, for you see you were aliens in Egypt. How apt as we contemplate ever more stringent requirements for asylum-seekers and refugees. When you worship this God, if it does not make you see and feel like God, then that worship is a cult and for God it is an abomination, however elaborate it might be.
God will not heed your worship, your beseeching, for your hands are full of blood, the blood of your sisters and brothers killed in wars that were avoidable. Demonstrate your repentance by how you treat the most vulnerable: the orphan, the widow, the alien. When you are king over this people, and this God gives you God's righteousness, it is so that prosperity will prevail, will prevail because as king, you judge rightly, you judge rightly especially the poor with equity, you give justice to the poor, you deliver the needy when they cry and the poor man who has no helper. You will pity the helpless and needy and save the lives of the poor. How many of our governments would pass this stringent test: "how did you deal with the poor?"
And when God's spirit anoints you, it is so that you may preach the Good News, especially again to the poor, to preach the release of the imprisoned ones and to announce the year of the Lord's favour, the year of jubilee, the year of release, the year of the cancellation of debt - of heavy, un-payable, draining international debt.
To be partakers of the divine nature means we become more and more God-like, treating all with an even-handedness, even those we regard as evil. For you know, even the most evil, the Shipmans, the Saddam Husseins, Bin Ladens - we may not like it - but they remain God's children. This God, who lets God's sun shine on good and bad alike; who makes God's rain fall on all, for all, and we, who want to be God-like, are asked to forgive, even as God has forgiven us in Christ, forgive even that which we consider to be unforgivable.
To be like this God, who gives up on no-one, who loves us, not because we are loveable but that we become loveable only because God loves us, God loves us with a love that will not let us go, a love that loved us before we were created, a love that loves us now, a love that will love us forever, world without end. A love that says of each single one of us: “I love you, you are precious and special to me, I love you as if you were the only human being on earth, I love you and there is nothing you can do to make me love you more because I already love you perfectly.”
How incredibly, wonderfully, it is that God says to you, to me: "There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. I take you, I take you very seriously, I take you - you - body and soul, you the visible and the invisible of you, I love you, I love you, I love you."
¨Cults represent one aspect of a worldwide epidemic of ideological totalism, or fundamentalism. They tend to be associated with a charismatic leader, thought reform, and exploitation of members. Among the methods of thought reform commonly used by cults are milieu control, mystical manipulation, the demand for purity, a cult of confession, sacred science, loading the language, doctrine over person, and dispensing of existence. The current historical context of dislocation from organizing symbolic structures, decaying belief systems concerning religion, authority, marriage, family, and death, and a "protean style" of continuous psychological experimentation with the self is conducive to the growth of cults.
Purity Cult cleansing of two Gay men in Iran
The use of coercion, as in certain forms of "deprogramming," to deal with the restrictions of individual liberty associated with cults is inconsistent with the civil rights tradition. Yet legal intervention may be indicated when specific laws are broken.¨
Is Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Chairperson of The Anglican Communion ¨Covenant Design Group¨ and Primate of the Church of The West Indies (where brutal/deadly crimes of hate in Jamaica are the most numerous in The Western Hemisphere) authoring The Anglican Covenant as part of a Purity Cult effort?
Purity and Confession
¨Two other features of totalism are a demand for purity and a cult of confession. The demand for purity is a call for radical separation of good and evil within the environment and within oneself. Purification is a continuing process, often institutionalized in the cult of confession, which enforces conformity through guilt and shame evoked by mutual criticism and self-criticism in small groups.
Confessions contain varying mixtures of revelation and concealment. As Albert Camus observed, "Authors of confessions write especially to avoid confession, to tell nothing of what they know." Young cult members confessing the sins of their precultic lives may leave out ideas and feelings that they are not aware of or reluctant to discuss, including a continuing identification with their prior existence. Repetitious confession, especially in required meetings, often expresses an arrogance in the name of humility. As Camus wrote: "I practice the profession of penitence to be able to end up as a judge," and, "The more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you."
Three further aspects of ideological totalism are "sacred science," "loading of the language," and the principle of "doctrine over person." Sacred science is important because a claim of being scientific is often needed to gain plausibility and influence in the modern age. The Unification Church is one example of a contemporary tendency to combine dogmatic religious principles with a claim to special scientific knowledge of human behavior and psychology. The term loading the language' refers to literalism and a tendency to deify words or images. A simplified, cliche-ridden language can exert enormous psychological force reducing every issue in a complicated life to a single set of slogans that are said to embody the truth as a totality. The principle of doctrine over person' is invoked when cult members sense a conflict between what they are experiencing and what dogma says they should experience. The internalized message of the totalistic environment is that one must negate that personal experience on behalf of the truth of the dogma. Contradictions become associated with guilt: doubt indicates one's own deficiency or evil.
Perhaps the most significant characteristic of totalistic movements is what I call "dispensing of existence." Those who have not seen the light and embraced the truth are wedded to evil, tainted, and therefore in some sense, usually metaphorical, lack the right to exist. That is one reason why a cult member threatened with being cast into outer darkness may experience a fear of extinction or collapse. Under particularly malignant conditions, the dispensing of existence is taken literally; in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere, people were put to death for alleged doctrinal shortcomings. In the People's Temple mass suicide-murder in Guyana, a cult leader presided over the literal dispensing of existence by means of a suicidal mystique he himself had made a central theme in the group's ideology. The totalistic impulse to draw a sharp line between those who have the right to live and those who do not is especially dangerous in the nuclear age.¨
World War II principals and purity cult collaborators were Mussolini, Tojo and Hitler.
¨A cult is a group of people who organize around a strong authority figure--most often that person is attempting to expand their influence for the purposes of money or power.¨
For the past two days I´ve been posting on the subject of Purity Cults that have been spawned at The Anglican Communion and beyond. It seems Purity Cult recruiting is a result of emotional/spiritual instability, great EGO strivings for wealth/greed, religious selfrighteousness and ¨better-than-others-ness¨...endless demands/assurances for eternal salvation, pridefilled EGOS running riot or even secret sexual ¨longings¨ threatening ¨exposure¨ of lack of PURITY from within.
Cult recruiting is often done as the result of war-mongering and/or by the victimization/exploitation done to REAL HUMAN BEINGS during/aftermath of BLOODY REAL WAR (tribal, civil and international). Fear/hate and bigotry are also promoted amongst Cult leaders. The active demoralization and demonization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or even any other ¨difference¨ such as customs, religion, tribe, color, region, intelligence/lack of, or even physical/mental or spiritual ¨imperfections¨ too.
You Cockroach! You Slug! You Fagot! You Slimebag! You Heathen! You Godless Piece of Sh*t! You Sl*t, You Who*e, You Lunatic! You Sinner! You Fu*king Liberal! You Degenerate Queer! You ABOMINATION!
¨The ´Demand for Purity´ serves to lower a member's self esteem. More specifically--in many groups there is a demand for ´sexual purity´ people may not have known this when they first joined.¨
I believe many fearfilled family members, coworkers and loved ones/friends have been misled on the subject of LGBT Christians/others at Church and at everyday life. Sometimes generations of shame and blame have been used to torment LGBT family members to ¨fix¨ them...sometimes devastating economic threats and/or immediate physical outcasting from the family are used as tools for curing, so called, LGBT ¨abominations.¨
Often these pridefilled/selfrighteous threats, from bigots, family or not, lead to suicide or other forms of self-destruction, such as alcoholism or drug/sex addiction, for the victims of such brutal family and social abuse.
Misled by more-than-rightest politicos and some religious extremists, some of OUR family members and friends, have chosen to actively CULTIVATE the persecution and discrimination, legal or not, of LGBT people. We have seen illegal attempts, in our face, on television, in the News, on Talk Shows as ¨excluders and demonizers¨of LGBT people proclaim a not-so-subtle desire for a social/sexual orientation cleansing...a cleansing that is clearly perverted and often stems from personal religious/social and/or emotional instability...a need for immediate self-searching, the admitting of wrong done against others and sometimes even psychological treatment too might help the abusers of LGBT Christians/others. The instigators of fear, hate and CULT PURITY are a emotionally/spiritually troubled lot who aggressively and defiantly inflict harm on innocents...often gravely.
LGBT family, friends and everyday people have always been with you. We have listened endlessly to slanderous and hateful nonsense (mostly) generated against us as we sat next to you at Church, at school, at work and at play. We have heard and seen it all, in terms of filth and hate crimes, that have been spewn forth and been acted-out upon us by religious fanatics and their purity cult followers...
Bishop Pete Akinola, Despot and selfpromoted ¨Lion¨ of The Anglican Church of Nigeria
Religious cults with dangerous and immoral leaders who wish us persecution, imprisonment, injury and death...we have heard the same sort of everyday vile viciousness from thugs on the street and amongst associates with very bad, and insensitive, levels of judgment...we now have listened to the same type of hateful ignorant rantings at The Anglican Communion preached by honorless grandstanders, bigots and thieves.
We´ve listened, now, it´s YOUR turn to listen.
A Gay Horsethief is a Gay Horsethief. A Heterosexual Bankrobber is a Heterosexual Bankrobber. Both stealing horses and robbing banks, or plotting with others (sexual orientation unimportant) to do so, are crimes...no matter who does it, even if a Closet Lesbian or a Celibate Nun did it or a Rabbi with 12 Children or a Married Bisexual Accountant. Got it? That´s equality, that´s justice, that ought be REALITY...most religious folks/others would call thieving a sin (and a deadly one along with lieing for a native/ancient Inca).
Nobody is going anywhere. Nature is going to have to take it´s course...LGBT Christians/others must be and are responsible for their own actions (mostly) and so MUST BE heterosexuals (surely you read the news). The true character of a individual has NOTHING to do with sexual orientation (surely you read the news). Forget it. No matter what bigotted junktalk, twisted Scriptural selective slander or personal apprehensions or acute loathings YOU have subscribed to. Clear your head of needless, fearfilled and angry, anti LGBT inner chatter.
Being responsible and accountable, EACH ONE of us, in a mirrored innermost reflection before ourselves, our fellows and God represents GENUINE personal integrity. Being held personally responsible for ones tainted thoughts, viscious actions or loving acts/beliefs is the test of true self-worth and honorability. The days of damning and spewing PRETENDED wrongs by loud, thieving, grandstanding and often ignorant cultish hipocrites who judge/condemn OTHERS is nearly over.
Those of you who refuse to seek help, and reach out from underneath your obsessive and cultish anti Gay ¨sickness¨...well, I pray you´ll find strength and willingness to find a self-searching place. I suggest that you get authentic spiritual, and loving, guidance and the professional emotional help that you may need as soon as possible.
·Thanks to Fred, Lynn and Scott at Real Anglicans (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing ·Thanks to ¨Cults: Public Perceptions vs. Research¨ ·Thanks to End Bigotry In Venango County (at the right sidebar)
Renegade puritanstriving bishops and GAFCON excluders/demonizers of LGBT Anglicans/Christians and *others*...these men insist upon their VERY OWN, yet various and conflicting, versions of PURITY...none speak for my God.
Irregular Bishop Martyn Minns of Akinolan CANA Nigeria, nor Bishop Peter Akinola speak for my God.
¨A cult is a group of people who organize around a strong authority figure--most often that person is attempting to expand their influence for the purposes of money or power.
¨However, in order to achieve their goals destructive cults, as opposed to harmless ones--use a strong combination of influence techniques to psychologically control their members (Rhoads 1998).¨
The Reverend Donald Armstrong, evicted and accused of wrongdoing, at Grace and St. Stephens Church, Colorado.
¨Frequently they did not know they would be expected to become celibate until the group approved of a sanctioned sexual relationship. It is obviously often difficult to accept such a way of life. Before joining many members may have been romantically involved, engaged, or even married. If a new recruit expresses difficulty in complying with this demanding new lifestyle--subsequent harsh rebukes make him feel bad and negative about these seemingly personal flaws and failings.¨
Former Bishop Jack Leo Iker of TEC-USA diocese of Ft. Worth, Texas, does not speak for my God.
¨Through continually finding ways to lower a follower's self-esteem, often through a relentless and ever-increasing "demand for purity"--cult leaders can more effectively maintain their control and promote dependency upon the group/leader(s) for a sense of self-worth.¨
¨However, for cult recruiters the stakes seem higher than the material world--their frequent belief is that they are vying for souls and essentially providing salvation.¨
James Dobson does not speak for my God.
¨Many people join cults at a very young age when they are naive and ill equipped to face the cold realities and deception of the world. Moreover, when people are in transitional periods in their lives they are more vulnerable. That is--someone who is essentially in great shape psychologically may be approached during a major life transition or during a crisis.¨
The cult ILLUSION of ¨Purity¨ and ¨Light¨ at the end of the tunnel.
¨They might be recruited more easily after the death of a parent, after moving to a new and unfamiliar location or perhaps after a major relationship breaks up. We should not blame cult victims for their naivete or temporary vulnerability--certainly not when there is little education in our society about the dangers of destructive cults. Many people who have previously held that cult members must be weak or disturbed people--suddenly change their mind when a close friend or family member joins such a group.¨
·Thanks to Cany at Just Another Black Sheep (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to Desert´s Child, Katie Sherrod (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to The Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism ·Thanks to Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Church of England ·Thanks to End Bigotry in Venango County (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to Max Blumenthal for The Daily Beast ·Thanks to Lisa Fox, My Manner of Life (at the right sidebar) ·Thanks to The Colorado Independent ·Thanks to Stephen Bates, The Guardian, UK ·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing ·Thanks to ¨Cults: Public Perceptions vs. Research¨
ATTENTION Bishop Orombi of UGANDA: ¨The General Church, NOT THE LOCAL CHURCH, own the property in question¨...please vacate our buildings immediately and go back to Uganda and stop the WITCH HUNTS at all levels of society that YOU have instigated against LGBT Anglicans/Christians and others! You harm and deceive your fellow human beings and your home culture is rampant with criminal activity, civil war and corruption...heal thyself!
ATTENTION Bishop Venables of ARGENTINA: Please remove yourself from The Episcopal Church Buildings at The Dioceses of San Joaquin, San Diego and Northern California. Do not take anything with you as you scurry back to the Province of The Southern Cone(alone) where your failed ministry has little following and where your fear-hatemongering ¨takeover¨ campaign has failed there too.
Go home Orombi and Venables, repent, it´s your choice, Love Thy Neighbor and stop attempting to exclude other Christians at all levels of Churchlife...it´s illegal and immoral to steal.
·Thanks to Bishop Jon Bruno, Diocese of Los Angeles ·Thanks to The California Supreme Court ·Thanks to Walking With Integrity ·Thanks to OUR devoted and greatly trusted friend FATHER JAKE (and life partner Father Terry) ·Thanks to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and assistance from TEC ·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing
Greetings from the village of San Miguel, Sacatapequez, Central America on the very first early-morning-into-day of the year 2009.
We wish you spiritual, emotional and physical well-being in ALL that you do.
FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!
·Thanks to Jenn and John for their ongoing support and never-ending hospitality ·Thanks to Judy and Gene for Gumbo extraordinare ·Thanks to Juan Carlos C. Fuentes for lovely photos ·Thanks to Dorothy Johnson for the ¨way that we see things¨ ·Thanks to The Citizens of San Miguel, Sacatapequez ·Thanks to Our Friends and family, everywhere
“ That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn. ” — Talmud...
REAL HERO/REAL LIFE: Bishop John Shelby Spong
“I was simply interpreting a rising consciousness,” he said. “Whether it was race or women or homosexual people, the issue was always the same: fighting against anything that dehumanizes a child of God on the basis of an external characteristic.” Bishop John Shelby Spong (click on his photo)
IT GETS BETTER--Archbishop Desmond Tutu supports LGBT full acceptance and inclusion too!
¨Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical, the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act - the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reason have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?¨ Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The No Anglican Covenant Coalition -- COMPREHENSIVE UNITY
A VERY UN-ANGLICAN COVENANT (click on logo)
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