02-02-2017 Letters and Commentary

Since mid-2011 some unexplained sounds have been coming from skies worldwide. Deep groaning and growling sounds. Sometimes including vibrations, very loud and persistent, they have been dubbed “Earth groans”. They seem to be linked to some sort of electromagnetic phenomena in the sky and in the earth itself. Also reported in some deep caves, they first sounded over Kiev, Ukraine.

Explanations have been sparse. Hand-waving dismissals such as “normal”, or “only distant thunder”, offered by “scientific authorities” provide obviously inadequate answers. Claims that the deep sounds are “apocalyptic” are also questionable (though we cannot dismiss that idea either without adequate evidence for or against). Whatever the cause(s), the sounds can be very powerful, haunting, and impossible to ignore.

What would it mean if they actually were “apocalyptic”? It would suggest that history is progressing toward conclusions.

The meaning of “apocalypse” is “revelation.” The title of the last book in the New Testament is usually either “Revelation”, or “The Apocalypse”, depending on the version. Noting that the first few verses of Revelation self-describe it as “The revelation of Jesus Christ”, our “Apocalyptic events” would be events leading to the fuller revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ. That would be a good thing, not a bad thing.

Some identify the sky groans as a dramatically audible modern evidence of Romans 8:22: “… For we know that the whole creation groans…” Surrounding verses explain why it groans: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God”. That word, “revealing”, is again, “apocalypse”.

Jesus will someday come back and culminate history with the creation of the New Heaven and the New Earth. He always keeps His promises, and the groaning Earth, whatever the natural cause(s) may be, reminds us to be ready.

Social Security celebrates Black History Month

Throughout the month of February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. African-American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over a century.

Honoring our shared history and reflecting on the past is one way we can remember that in America, we believe in freedom and democracy for all. Another shared belief is that we all deserve a comfortable retirement, free of economic hardship. This is part of securing today and tomorrow.

Social Security has the tools to help you plan for your retirement and to apply for benefits online. We also provide disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they can also receive payments.

If you or anyone you know is disabled, they may qualify for disability benefits. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age. You can see if you meet our strict disability definition and apply for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html.

Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more about Social Security survivors’ benefits at