Monday, January 31, 2005
Desensitizing the Spirit
This double life of outward Christianity and hidden sin distorts reality and brings confusion.Darkness of mind signifies the lack of light in a person's thinking. The more a person gives himself over to the power of sin, the harder he grows toward God. He may still attend church, sing all of the songs of worship, and even enjoy some good preaching, but there is a thick callous around his heart that keeps him from feeling the Holy Spirit nudge him toward repentance. The more a person sins, the thicker that callous grows.
The sin of pornography is a crafty beast. Unlike many other sins (smoking, drug abuse) it doesn't cause outward physical harm. This makes the hidding of it so much easier. Pornography also enjoys some societal acceptance. This leaves the addict to hide behind the "everyone does it" or "I'm a man, what can you expect?" statements.
Because of this I believe pornography is one of the hardest sins to battle for a Christian. To be able to ask for help from God (anyone who has battled this will know that it takes more than self-decipline) the person has to know in thier heart that it is wrong and is killing their communion with God. But the excuses slow this process, many times to a complete halt.
The danger is, as All Things Possible points out, eventually the sin gets cocooned in denial and is never dealt with. All the while the Christian's heart becomes becomes harder and darker until all joy has left and all areas of their life scarred.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Pearls Before Swine
Razorskiss has a post today regarding his clash with some secular blogs. He ends with this statement:
But anyway. The comments section is a gold mine of distortion and twisting of the Christian faith, incidentally. If you can stomach it. It’s some interesting stuff to look at, if you’re interested in seeing how people who hate Christianity think of us. It also gives you lots of links to other sites that are anti-Christianity.
What was I saying about “going out to defend"?
Here’s your chance. Get crackin.
I did follow the link provided and read the comment section. What I got from it is that they are people who have heard and understood the Gospel, but have chosen to reject it, even make satire of it.
I know that I'm supposed to tell the Gospel to the world, but if they reject it I don't believe that I have any responsibility to "evangelize" to them further. As far as defending the faith, these people don't appear to be threatening anything outside of good taste.
Paul went to Athens and told them of the Gospel on Mars hill. None chose to believe and, as far as anyone knows, he never returned. The heart must be made ready by God to accept the Gospel or it won't catch root, no matter how beautifully we deliver it.
Giving Them the Purple Finger
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The Yoke of Christ
"We, the Christian community, have become the Pharisees, with our official and unofficial lists of what a "good Christian" should be (don't drink, don't smoke, don't watch The Simpsons, whatever...). You could probably write out a list of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" from your own experience. Some biblically defensible, but really, bottom line, a thick coating of man-made junk laid over the top of "I love you. Come to me. Rest. You are forgiven.""
I couldn't agree more. When a Christian's advice for healthy, Godly, living becomes demands that are to be met for salvation, then they have become a Pharisee.
We should remember that we are loved by the father. Love, not fear, sparks our desire to serve God and keep his laws.
34 Things Happen...
Iraqi Elections Tomorrow
May the God that created all of us, keep them safe.
Friday, January 28, 2005
'A bad case of fleas'
The act of war deliberately and thoughtlessly wounds, poisons and handicaps the life-sustaining womb of all mankind. The Earth reacts, as any living thing would, when attacked. Earthquake, tsunami, flood, tornado, hurricane, mudslide, and resulting loss of life may be the natural emotional response.
We must behave responsibly and live peacefully or we may all be "shaken" off like a bad case of fleas.
Millie Mitchell Fort Collins
Thursday, January 27, 2005
A Rebuttal to the USS Lincoln Story
Tsunami and the Navy
Soldiers for The Truth ^ | January 20, 2005 | "Ed Stanton"
It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived
off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the
Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. Iâ€™d like to say that this
has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has
been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more
difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called
aid workers who have invaded our spaces.
What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in theLincolnâ€™s
wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I usually do,
expecting to see the usual crowd of shipâ€™s company officers in khakis
and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging
rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to
What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned
the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back
including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded
baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a
bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in
uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like
tourists on their way toDisneyland.
My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of
trifling do-gooders overnight.
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N.
strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to
one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of â€œNice
china, really makes me feel special,â€ in reference to the fact that we
were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep
from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the
reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so
that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the
fact that he had no business being there in the first place.
My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day
as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to
escort a group of them. It turns out that they had come toIndonesia to
â€œassess the damageâ€ from the Dec. 26 tsunami.
Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the
damage was total devastation. When they got toSumatra with no plan, no
logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw
themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them
in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was
about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States â€œstingyâ€
with our relief donations.
As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked
SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day
to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in
great part to ferry these â€œrelief workersâ€ from place to place every
day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night.
Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief
workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their
guardians by default.
When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and
asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the
fellow replied, â€œWe arenâ€™t paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you
In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling
around reporters and various low-level â€œVIPs,â€ which further wastes
valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to
dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and
his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News.
Another camera crew was from MTV. I doubt if weâ€™ll get any good PR from
them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had
to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor ofPhoenix, Ariz.,
one day. Everyone wants in on the action.
As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage
our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is
smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they donâ€™t want
their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two
weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.
To add a kick in the face to theUSA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian
government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for
routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the
lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts
as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into
international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos
have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.
What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject
everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it.
An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick
she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of very demanding
skills and they are highly perishable. We train hard every day at sea to
conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air
support and many other missions â€“ not to mention taking off and landing
on a ship at sea.
Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier
landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship.
Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to
being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we
are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the
Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get
our pilots off the deck.
In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more
dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already lost one helicopter,
which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload
supplies from the C-130s. There were no relief workers on that one.
Iâ€™m all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this
mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was supposed to be
home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here. American
taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and
getting no training value out of it. As a result, we will come home in a
lower state of readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while
supporting the tsunami relief effort.
I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After all, this
is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my doubts.
Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S.Navy officer currently serving
with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group.
Today's Top 10
Modern Day Apostles?
I agree with the possibility that apostles could be around today, but I also believe in tongues, prophecy, healing etc. so to me this is no stretch. However, I also believe the bible is complete and there is to be no adding to it (or taking away from it).
This is something that I am very poor at. I'm most comfortable with the doors shut, blinds drawn, and answering machine on.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
A Question on Charity
However, nature really does abhor vacuums. That, or nature loves the sound of a ringing phone (always 5 min. after we finally get our son to sleep). Because the calls have started-up again.
This time it's not a pitch from a monotone telemarketer telling me about the joys of Master Card or MCI, but from "charity" groups. Specifically, in the span of 3 months I have received calls from the Firefighters, FOP, Paralized Vietnam veterans, some other veteran cause, and some other police union.
Now I have nothing against charity. I give to a number of different causes and only wish I could give more. Also, I gave to all those who called without hesitation. What bothers me though is three fold:
-The first is with the calling. I know it may not be as successful, but mail me a solicitation like everyone else. In other words, get in line, your needs are no greater than those of the other causes I support and they have never invaded my home with their requests.
-Secondly, I don't care if my pledged amount is lower than your lowest suggested amount to give is. Sheesh, who are you to tell me how much I should be giving in the first place?
-Lastly, all who have called, although I haven't specifically looked this up, are a government affiliated cause. Meaning that likely they are receiving support via everyone's taxes in some way. I'm sure that it's not enough to cover all the gaps, but is it so dire that you have to bother folks at home?
The only thing they will ultimatly gain with these tactics are to take the blessing away from the giver and give charites a bad name.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Nothing New Under the Sun
More than any other book in the bible Ecclesiastes is able to talk to the modern man. We have an incredable standard of living in the west coupled with an incredible amount of vapid "stuff" meant to bring us happiness and fulfilment, but doesn't. Because of this we have all become a bunch of Soloman's. Wise but jaded, wealthy but hungry.
" I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind."
Who in America today wouldn't understand that verse?
The more words, the more vanity, and what is man the better?
That one, I should take to heart.
Best Exercise There Is
A little Pregnant
Really? If, from what the author is suggesting, "biology" means evolution then I guess I missed that meme. In what chapter is the garden of Eden, tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and Eve being made from the rib of Adam, found in evolutionary science? And what bible verse is it that records the magical transformation of one organism into another and another, and another etc., over billions of years?
What ever the page they are both reading from is, isn't in the bible. These "theologians" have de-evolved the the first sections of Genesis into nothing but a good story and have bought into the "goo to you" religion. The facts are, after all, overwhelming, where as God-well he's just so unfactual. After all, how dare God not be subject to the scientific method! We humans have processes, proper channels, and developmental strategies for everything. How can God ask us to believe in life being brought about by his word, what load mumbo-jumbo.
The article then states this:
"None of the six creative verses (in Genesis) describe an out-of-nothing, puff-of-smoke creation," he says. "All of them amount to a command by the creator for the earth, the soil and the water of this planet to bring forth life. And that's exactly what natural history tells us happened." (Miller has written a book on the subject: "Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution.")
On the surface this sounds plausible. The "days" of the creation could mean any amount of time and not the literal 24 hours. Also, God could have brought about life through the evolutionary process instead of by "puff-of-smoke creation". However, to accept the first part of this one has to accept the rest of it. The rest of it is if life evolved then there was no Adam, Eve, garden of Eden and most importantly, no fall of man. If there was no fall of man then Christ died for nothing and the very foundation of Christianity crumbles to dust.
So one pinch of yeast puffs-up the whole loaf or, as the saying goes today, you can't be a little pregnant.
Monday, January 24, 2005
God The Logician
There are two classes of laws that God has created for creation - determinative laws and normative laws. Normative laws can be responded to - obeyed or disobeyed - while determinative laws cannot. If I jump off a building, I can't respond to God's physical laws by choosing not to fall. I can, however, choose not to jump off in the first place. Normative laws are generally what most people mean by morality, but they also include things like whether we decide to use good arguments or bad arguments while thinking.
What really piqued my interest though is this statement:
I claim that we should take the same view with regards to all of the laws that God has created. This is a more controversial claim, especially if we were to include the laws of logic in with the laws that God has created (which I do).
You know a person by their actions more than any way they look or anything they say. I believe the logic of God, when it comes to the redemption of man, says much about what kind of God we have and how he thinks.
There was a chasm between imperfect man and perfect God in relation to his laws. Man was utterly cut-off from God's glory with no hope of renewal. How did God bridge this? He did what seems illogical. He went through the process of taking human form, living among the cut-off, and then finally dying a most miserable death in order to pay a ransom for our souls.
Why didn't he just forgive us and be done with it? There had to be a penalty paid for breaking his law. Then why didn't he just destroy us and be done with it? Because there was a way to pay that penalty. God could no more break his law by not applying the penalty for our transgressing it, as he could give up on man while there was still a chance to redeem us to the law.
To man this doesn't make sense. To see victory in what appears to be failure, hope in the doom of a cross. None of what I'm typing is new revelation, but to me it proves the existence of God. Only a God could think this way. No man, or group of men, could've come up with that kind of logic.
-McDonald's now has 600 restaurants in Chinese cities, and Kentucky Fried Chicken has 1,200. 41% of Chinese people eat in fast-food restaurants at least once a week, compared to 35% of Americans.
-Sales of Swiss Army Knives fell 50% after Sept. 11 attacks, when air travelers could no longer carry them in pockets and purses.
-95% of the people killed in natural disasters are in poor countries.
-An average American's chances of dying in an earthquake are 1 in 131,890. The odds of dying in a flood are 1 in 105,512 and from a lightning strike, 1 in 83,930 (unless you live in Clearwater, FL. Lightning strike capital of America). It's far more likely you'll die in a car accident, where odds are 1 in 247. Your chances of commiting suicide are 1 in 121.
This refers to the new book ,"The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln" by the late, and gay himself, sex researcher C.A.Tripp.
So what hard evidence does Mr. Tripp have to support his findings the our 16th president was, in fact, the lover of the unfairer sex? Well, there's this:
Sunday, January 23, 2005
If I Ever Got a Tattoo...
...This is what it would say.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Dobson vs Squarepants
Why bring up the cartoon at all since it's only the vehicle for the message that is at issue. This only makes Christians look like a bunch of paranoid fuddy-duddys.
What needs to be answered is This: How can we protect our children from being presented with a view that homosexuality is a normal variation in man like skin color or height?
Answer: We can't. That particular train has left the station. Our children are going to get presented that message somehow, somewhere.
What do we do then? Approach this the same way you approach the teaching of evolution, drugs, sex etc. Give the children a solid knowledge of the Bible and pray, a lot.
"Truth, by definition, cannot, once obtained, be compromised. It is truth not opinion. It is God who establishes truth, not journalists or scientists. Truth and wisdom are precious and should not be yielded cheaply or lightly. What light you have should be worth dying for or you really have no light at all."
I agree, somewhat. But let us not forget that we are weak vessels and the eternal truth of the Gospel will survive regardless of our personal strength or frailty.
Is the light of the Gospel worth dying for? Yes. However, it is a hard thing to know if one would be capable of dying for something. Certainly Peter thought he would stand a Christ's side until death, but was unable to carry this out. Did Peter have no light at all? Elijah ran from Jezebel for fear of death, was he filled with only darkness?
I Wish I'd Said That
"Thou shalt not kill." Why, in the opinion of jerks, is it wrong to kill a baby but all right to kill a baby that's so little he hasn't been born yet? And why do the same jerks who favor abortion oppose the death penalty? We can imagine people so full of loving kindness that they can accept neither the abortionist nor the executioner. We can even imagine people so cold-hearted that they embrace them both. But it takes a real jerk to argue in favor of killing perfect innocents and letting Terry Nichols live.
Friday, January 21, 2005
I would like to say a few things about the reviews:
1. We are really no different than we were a century ago. We're still arguing over much the same things.
2. We are basically a very conservative country that likes to stay to ourselves. We had to make adjustments in response to certain events (the great depression, WW I and II) but our core beliefs are still the same.
3. Democrats and Republicans have basically switched hats on a lot of things. Democrats are now the reactionary isolationists with Republicans having the Wilsonian foreign policy aspirations.
4. The History channel put a lot of weight in how good a president was by how much he did. So Coolidge got pooh-poohed and the Roosevelts could do no wrong. However, I believe that what a president doesn't do is far more important than any government growing exercise they enact.
Micheal Moore's Bodyguard
Dear Moorewatch Editors:
Our firm employs Patrick Burk. Fox News has now removed the link for this story from their home page; their original story contained several errors (below). We want to be certain you are aware of the appropriate corrections. I know that Fox News editors must rely upon others when preparing their stories, and I offer with no judgment that their story titled “Michael Moore’s Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge” contains several errors, including its entire headline. Please correct the errors in your story below as soon as possible, because, as you are aware, the errors reach an ever-widening audience with each passing minute - and will predictably be picked up by other news agencies. Our full-time employee, Patrick Burk, is not “Michael Moore’s bodyguard.” Accordingly, the headline in the Fox News Web site story is false and misleading. If you believe Patrick Burk was ever assigned to protect Michael Moore, or any number of other public figures, you might accurately report that “A bodyguard who was once assigned to protect Michael Moore...” You could as accurately say “A bodyguard that was once assigned to protect President Clinton,” because Patrick Burk has also been assigned to protect President Clinton in the past - but you wouldn’t be accurate if you said “President Clinton’s Bodyguard.” Patrick Burk is not Michael Moore’s bodyguard, nor was he protecting Michael Moore or in any way involved with Michael Moore on Wednesday night, when he (Burk) was checking in at JFK for a flight to Los Angeles. When checking in for the flight, Patrick Burk voluntarily advised United Airlines that he was transporting an unloaded, locked firearm in his checked luggage, precisely as regulations require, and not “carrying” a weapon, as your story inaccurately reports. Advising the counter ticket agent is a routine procedure for police officers and security professionals. In this case, a Port Authority officer decided to arrest Patrick Burk on the charge that he is not licensed to carry a firearm in New York City. The Fox web site headline contains an error not present in the story. The headline indicates that Patrick Burk was arrested on an “airport gun charge.” He was not. The charge involves having a firearm without a New York City License to carry it. On that note, Patrick Burk was not carrying a weapon on his person (only locked in his baggage), and the police do not allege that he was carrying a weapon on his person, as your story implies. Police, security professionals, sportsmen, and citizen gun owners who fly on the Nation’s airlines are legally bound to advise the airlines of firearms in their checked baggage - and the firearms are transported just like any other baggage. The Fox News story also says Patrick Burk was carrying “an unlicensed firearm.” Please correct that error. Patrick Burk’s firearm is legally registered to Patrick Burk - it is not “unlicensed.” Patrick Burk is licensed to carry a firearm in several States, and a court will determine if any charge is appropriate for Patrick Burk in this matter, which involves New York City. Though I realize a Michael Moore connection would be of interest to your web site, Patrick Burk is not Michael Moore’s bodyguard, and has never been employed by Michael Moore. An important note for you is that Patrick Burk is not a public figure and even the smallest inaccurate detail that is widely disseminated could predictably interfere with his ability to pursue his profession. Patrick Burk is a former Marine who served with distinction in an elite and specialized Marine unit, and he protected, among others, then-President Clinton. Our firm (www.gavindebecker.com) provides protective coverage for public figures and others, and Patrick Burk is a leading professional in his field. I highlighted in red below the specific errors where they appear in the Fox News story. Please let me know that you have received this email, and if you need further information or need to reach our firm, please call (redacted), and ask for (redacted).
Gavin de Becker
There's plenty of good reasons to criticise the man, this just isn't one of them.
Soothing the Savage Beast
Since I see patients with this diagnosis a lot, I will give my opinion on it.
First of all, there is such a thing as ADHD . It's usually not a problem until the behavior begins to affect the child's school performance. My part usually begins when the parents bring the child in complaining that he (and it's usually a boy) is failing at school and disrupting normal class functions. The parents have generally adapted to the way the child acts at home, so this isn't as much of an issue. However, it can be if the dynamics in the home change, such as a sudden absence of the primary caregiver through death or divorce.
All children have some difficulty focusing on a certain task for very long, but with these kids it's extreme. They are generally bouncing off the walls 5 minutes into the visit. Somewhere along the way they are seen by a child psychologist and Ritalin (or one of the other agents in that class) is prescribed.
The medicine usually works well. The child is able to focus, they seem more content and their grades improve. Everyone is happy, but does that mean it's right?
School, like society, demands a certain amount conformity if the individual is going to suceed. I don't hold it against the parents, or the medical provider, for taking action when there is action to take. Who can watch their child struggle and not intervene?
Would it be best to let the child "grow out of it" on their own? In a perfect world, yes. But, in the real world we aren't afforded the luxury of time. The child will find themselves repeating years or being transferred to "special schools" long before they are naturally able to deal with ADHD. That is very traumatic to a child's psyche. One that they may never be able to recover from.
So would Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn be put on Ritalin if they lived today?
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Acts, Just Like Me
I see that the early Christians, many who had walked with Christ himself, were imperfect sinners just like me. I never saw them as perfect to begin with, but I always had this nagging thought that they had a better salvation than I did. That they had some kind of direct line to the heart and mind of God that is disconnected today.
I thought that Pauls statement in Romans and Timothy were simply words from a humble servant. Surely a great apostle who saw Christ himself never had to battle the natural man that is always wanting to go his own way, always wanting to sin.
I see now that he was simply dealing with the same problems I am now, he was just working out his salvation.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
It Happened Again
What's that? Gene Simmons, Mr. blood-dripping spit-fire himself will be the next star judge? I gotta see this!
In The Ghetto
It's an interesting idea that has been brought up at Evangelical Outpost as well.
It will be interesting to see if it takes off and, if it does, what kind of bird it will be.
I already link to other "Godblogs", not in an attempt to form a community but, because they have posted something that interests me.
"Private administration (of healthcare) is really more efficient than than public. Moreover, the key to eliminating waste and perverse incentives is to get all third parties out of the majority of medical encounters-not to make a federal case out of every single episode of medical care. True insurance is a method for indemnifying subscribers for a catastrophic loss, not a bill-paying service."
Americans are expected to save to pay for cars, vacations, and homes so why is health care any different. Just as one would need insurance coverage for major home damage they would also need this for possible major illness/surgery, that is what insurance is for. There are good health savings accounts available out there for little expense (depending on what type of coverage you choose and the amount of your deductible).
So what should be done now? The authors have some good suggestions:
"Ideas include replacing state mandates for covering particular services with a casualty model; two-way long term commitments to diminish adverse selection and the "death spiral"; and a better division of direct and third party payment. The caveat is that there is no single product that is ideal for everyone-only an optimum choice among available products for each individual. In a free market, a variety of products could develop, some still un-imagined. Avoiding the top-down command and control of the single payer, these authors would allow innovation to flourish."
There is a place for government in healthcare, but not as the administrator of services. Government could set standards and control oversight which it does in various other Fields. It's time to wake-up from the utopian dream of socialized medicine before it kills us all.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I choke back tears as I hear about the single mother or the broke drifter giving their dream that one final chance.
I grow weary with Randy's inability to make a decision and Paula's constant desire to be the "balance" of the two poles. Oh great, now they bring in B rate celebs. who have completely ruined the chemistry of the show. And for what? To lure the 3 people in America that don't watch the show to give it a try? Listen, if they aren't watching for the shear trainwreckery of it all I don't think the dude off Sugar Ray is going to close the deal for them.
Oh wretched man am I...
The Culture War is Over
Junod says the following:
The culture war is over even as the latest battle gets underway. Despite the results of the most recent election, conservatives can't win. Conservatives can't win because what they're defending is not the Judeo-Christian ethic, as they believe, but rather the moral equivalent of the 55 mile-an-hour-speed limit.
There is a danger grouping all conservatives together, or all liberals for that fact. Some would be found guilty of the above, but many would not. Why did I vote the way I did? Well, I imagine from the same desire as someone who voted opposite of the way I did, I thought it was in my best interest. The idea that there is some conservative Christian kabal out there trying to take away everyone's rights is certifiable. Just as certifiable as believing there is a liberal elite wanting the U.S. to be Godless and empty of morals.
Mr. Junod continues:
Liberals have become people who feel that they have a vote in the culture; conservatives have become people who look to politics to answer their sense of cultural disenfranchisement.
The fact is, the culture doesn't represent liberals any more than it represents conservatives. The culture is merely identified with liberals.
Of course "the culture" is not a picture on the wall or a ham sandwich, it's us. The culture is the way it is because we are the way we are. That's what you get in a Democracy with a market driven economy. If something doesn't suit us, it doesn't survive long (unless it's a governmental program).
Here comes the divide:
America is being divided by its extremes. Conservatives are moving toward religious nationalism. The culture is moving toward a kind of pornography. Liberals have been kidding themselves, thinking that the culture is on their side. The truth is, they don't have a side.
The Kind of pornography that the culture is moving toward is not necessarily sexual. It's omnivorous. It's a culture in which human beings are defined by their sheer utility-sexual, economic. or otherwise.
Again, you can't lump all conservatives together. Some conservatives are libertarians who do not even believe in God, some are isolationists (can you say Pat Buchanan), and yes, some are religious. But, even among religious conservatives there is a great diversity of thought. The overwhelming majority of conservatives are not moving toward "religious nationalism". Sheesh, most just want a government that doesn't treat their views with contempt and paranoia.
Oh, and with the pornographic culture thing. Just because our capitalist society rewards success and utility doesn't make it pornographic. Capitalism is neither inherently good or bad, it's what you make it.
Junod now addresses the liberals:
Liberals say they are for values of choice, freedom, tolerance. But when the culture is one of mercenary nihilism, conservatives have success convincing people that tolerance is not a value.
Learn to engage the culture as conservatives have- politically and morally, instead of merely as consumers.
The culture war is over even as the latest battle gets under way. Liberals will have a future when this statement makes them as uncomfortable as it makes conservatives.
This is very unfair, but not surprising. Conservatives are not tolerant? What is your definition of tolerance Mr. Junod? That may be the real issue here. You have shown no tolerance of the right. In fact you group all conservatives together and talk as if we're a virus that, even though we may not kill the victim (society), can cause terrible damage if left unchecked. Thanks, you've reminded me of why I voted the way I did.
Monday, January 17, 2005
I Know This Sounds Like Drudge Material...
Know Your History
IA has this to say:
"Two observations spring to mind. The first is that this is a crassly reprehensible act. Children of fourteen or fifteen are incapable of having well-thought-out opinions on either civil liberties or evolution, and the pedagogies their well-meaning but harmful parents are afflicting them with guarantee that they will never learn how to critically examine other positions."
If parents want to indoctrinate their children, or go to a church that does it, that's their right. It may be repugnant to some, but all of our parents indoctrinated us in some way (if they cared at all). They're the people we get our values from in general.
What bothers me are institutions that have captive audiences using their power to indoctrinate.
I Feel Better Now|
Sunday, January 16, 2005
You Gonna Eat That?
Daily Menu for the Three Saxon Brothers
Breakfast 24 eggs
3 pounds smoked bacon
Porridge with cream
and honeyTea with plenty of sugar
10 pounds of meat
Sweet fruit (raw or cooked)
Sweet puddings Cocoa and whipped cream
Lots of butter
They ate more at breakfast than I could eat all day.
It's Only a Picture
Now why would some in the medical industry be so upset over the increasingly popular use of 3D ultrasounds for non-medical purposes? Well, let's hear their side first:
...the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) reaffirmed its stance against ultrasound used for nonmedical purposes. Its "prudent use" statement says that the AIUM "strongly discourages the non-medical use of ultrasound for psychological or entertainment purposes."
The statement notes that although diagnostic ultrasound so far has not been found to have "biological effects" on patients, such effects could be identified in the future."
Fair enough, but most things can fall into the category of being possibly found harmful in the future so that argument is rather, shall we say, underdeveloped.
So what are some other arguments against non-medical use of fetal US out there?
Well they mentioned these as well:
"Copel says the task force will try to determine the point where physicians would cross the line from professionalism to "hucksterism" if their practices offered keepsake ultrasound products. "We don't want to look like we're practicing medicine out of the back of a wagon," he says."
I guess the people that come into the office with no complaints, but just want to see if their blood pressure and cholesterol are alright, should be turned away less I appear to be selling snake oil from a wagon.
"Some experts are concerned that Doppler or color Doppler ultrasound used during the first trimester might interfere with fetal organogenesis."
Maybe these "experts" really don't know this (which I doubt) but the child is usually around 28 weeks old before 3D US are used. This is the age that makes it most likely that a good photo will be obtained. Now there are places out there performing first trimester 3D US, but I don't know why. At that stage of development the parents aren't going to be able to get an idea what their child will look like (which is the reason most have it done). Outside of possibly limiting its first trimester use, I say this argument is a straw-man of the highest order.
The evil that dare not speak its name is that the abortion industry has been hit hard by the 3D US industry. The US proves that those "collections of tissue" are really babies. They are photographed smiling, yawning, and stretching just like us "real people". It's getting harder to defend abortion on demand, especially the grisly practice of late term abortion (the ability to end the pregnancy up until the point of delivery because the magic in the ether of the outside world hasn't made them "real" humans yet).
So some in the medical community have decided to try and shut down the practice of non-medical US on the most hypocritical of grounds, safety of the fetus.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Little Green Men of Faith
"Why would mainstream scientists suddenly decide that UFOs are incredibly, uh, credible? I think the reason is this: it's becoming clear that the discoveries of hard science actually support a religious worldview. The Big Bang implies a creation moment to all but the most intellectually slippery, and a creation moment implies a Creator."
The crazy aunt in the attic of modern science today is that, unlike in the past, scientist think they have a good bead on the way things are. Sure, they're willing to move a coma around in their thinking, but question foundational "truths"? Never! Of course that is the definition of religion, not science.
Scientist would rather believe in UFO's than have to reconsider some long held, and cherished, beliefs.
A Stupid Study...
"The study could help to reveal how faith is represented in the brain. Other projects will look into the conditions that make people susceptible to strong yet irrational beliefs, such as the age people are exposed to certain ideas and the frequency with which religious messages are reinforced."
"One of the fundamental reasons why religious beliefs have to be taken seriously is that they are potentially very dangerous... "
I guess eventually religious faith will be called a mental disorder and treated medically with drugs (antireligics?) and counciling, "Hi, My name is Bob and I'm a recovering believer..."
It's not religious belief that is dangerous but being taught, from childhood, to hate another group of people just because they're different.
Newdow claims, "...he had suffered injury because he was offended in hearing the prayer..."
Thankfully, he lost his court case.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Pyongyang television noted long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC.
Oh man, these people have the bomb...we're doomed.
Lost in Translation
Medicrazy: Part II
As I had stated in an earlier post, Medicare pays hospitals on a DRG (diagnostic related group) basis. Every diagnosis has an associated weight. The weight relates to how much reimbursement the hospital receives from Medicare. Usually, no matter how long a patient may stay, or what other complications arise, the hospital receives only that one payment (example: admitted for Hypertension then develops cerebral infarction during the stay, the hospital only gets reimbursed for the Hypertension diagnosis).
One diagnosis that has received much government attention is gram negative pneumonia (GNP). Due to the specific populations affected and the expensive antibiotics to needed to treat GNP, Medicare allows for a different DRG (79) and a higher reimbursement than with simple pneumonia (around 2,000 dollars more). That was the idea anyway, the reality is much different.
The government is always looking for ways to cut, what they call, "waste" out of Medicare and make it less costly. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is the Gestapo arm of Medicare that sniffs out fraudulent claims made by any institution that might bill Medicare for services provided.
The OIG, some years ago, mounted a crusade against what they believed was overbilling of GNP by hospitals. Interestingly enough, the OIG just happens to receive a percentage of the recovered funds to Medicare when "fraud" is found. Nice game, ain't it?
The list of DRG's at "risk" for being up-coded has since, not surprisingly, grown to include about 6-8 different diagnoses. So now we practice in this schitzophrenic environment where we treat for one diagnosis, but document another to avoid a review and accusations of fraud.
What the government realized, and exploited, is that many diagnoses are made clinically since there is no confirmatory tests available. Like with GNP and regular pneumonia, a clinician is rarely able to culture the causative organism (only about 20% of the time) so we decide what organisms to cover based on a number of separate factors (other diseases the patient has, age, Immune status, etc.).
The clinician may know that a certain patient's pneumonia is likely caused by a gram negative organism, may treat them with the more expensive antibiotics to cover the organism(s), but since no confirmatory cultures could be obtained, the clinician is playing with fire if they actually document their thoughts. In the end the hospitals have to eat the expense of treating a diagnosis they aren't allowed to bill for.
Quality of Life
There is no such formal standard for euthanasia in the U.S. (the Oregon assisted suicide law not withstanding). However, there is an informal protocol roughly adhered to by many healthcare providers in the U.S. It deals with resuscitation status (DNR, Partial code, Full code). What is said, we are all treated the same until breathing stops, and what is implied differ greatly. The devil is not in the details so much as it's in the delivery.
My point is simple, in general, DNR patients aren't treated the same as other patients. The DNR designation in their chart says to many "this patient has no quality of life" and they're better off dead. I hate the DNR status, not for what it is supposed to do, spare the terminally ill from futile resuscitation efforts, but from the reality of what it's become. DNR is the mark of Cain, without the promise of a curse from God if they're killed.
I can easily guess the code of a patient without ever looking at their chart simply by the reaction of hospital and nursing staff to certain orders I write. For example, I am treated with mild scorn for ever using the Critical Care Unit (CCU) to treat a DNR. This shouldn't be that way. I am to treat a DNR the same as any other until the point of death. But DNR's have no "quality of Life" (think, not quite human) and I'm just wasting precious space and resources on a lost soul.
Or maybe souless life would be a better term. Ah, now that's cutting to the heart of the rot I think. In our race to carve God out of everything, we've found that the sword is two edged. Without the view that all human life is equally precious because we are the image of the creator, we view life in degrees, we stratify who is most deserving to live.
Hitler must be smiling about now.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Everyone's a Critic
The article features different company bloggers like Microsoft's Robert Scoble. Who posts, "...on topics ranging from how a company programmer had fixed a security bug to the fact that his wife is becoming a U.S. citizen. Nothing too profound or insightful, yet scobleizer has given the Microsoft monolith something it has long lacked: An approachable human face."
This is how the authors describe the impact of Blogs: "Each blog adds to an inescapable trend fueled by the Internet: the democratization of power and opinion. Blogs are just the latest tool that makes it harder for corporations and other institutions to control and dictate their message."
Another featured blogger is Jeff Jarvis who said this when asked about the blogs impact on corporations: "There should be someone at every company whose job is to put into Google and blog search engines the name of the company or the brand, followed by the word "sucks", just to see what customers are saying."
All parties interviewed agreed that, if a company is going to blog, honesty will be a basic requirement or you will have no credibility in the blogosphere. Steve Hayden, vice chairman of the advertising giant Ogilvy&Mather had the best line in the whole article:
If you fudge or lie on a blog, you are biting the karmic weenie. The negative reaction will be so great that, whatever your intention was, it will be overwhelmed and crushed like a bug. You're fighting very powerful forces because it's real people's opinions."
JAMA states that "Unfiltered concludes that scientific evidence did not determine tobacco control policy, the power of the epidemic of tobacco-caused deaths in motivating action was common to all countries."
This finding did not sit well with the reviewers at JAMA, who appear to think the book's conclusion incomplete since there was no call for heads to roll inside the Tobacco companies.
Deciding to roll their own, the reviewers light-up this diatribe:
"The "Lessons learned" might have included a primer on Tobacco industry tactics, including infiltration of legislative bodies and influence on their actions, (and) efforts to undermine scientific evidence on adverse health effects of smoking... "
The reviewers conclude by snuffing out any confusion on what the next front in the War against (politically incorrect) vice is, with this statement:
"Those concerned with limiting obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease arising from unhealthful food consumption driven by multinational corporations will likely find many parallels in tobacco."
It appears the righteous among us on the left and right will continue their quest to save us from ourselves (and from rich, litigation ripe, multinational corporations) by any means possible. May I suggest avoiding the urge to crucify our good brothers, personal responsibility and individual freedom, in the process?
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
ID is not just lousy science, but lousy religion. I dislike it at least as much for religious as for scientific reasons. I dislike it, in fact, for the same reasons, or at least the same KINDS of reasons, that I dislike the "Left Behind" books & movies, and unbelievers telling me that natural disasters like the recent tsunami "prove" the non-existence of God. All that kind of thinking trivialize God.
The ID-ers' God is a sort of scientist himself, sticking his finger in to make things work when natural laws -- His laws! -- can't do the job. Well, if that's your God, I wish you joy of him. My God is much vaster and stranger than that.
Now there are different ID theories out there, but they all boil down to the idea that there was involvement of a higher being in the process of creation. It does seem like ID-ers' try to straddle a fence (that is really a chasm) between belief in biblical creation and abiogeneis/evolution.
There are some out there that are defending the biblical creation from a scientific standpoint. However, most of the scientific community views the universe as being billions of years old, man evolved from baser life forms (think ancient viral patriarchs), and if there is a God that started it all, he isn't willing to be subjected to the scientific method so he's not a factor in their thinking.
So it comes down to a matter of faith. I do believe that most of what is used to defend evolution and an old earth has more than one explanation. Any evolutionist will tell you that the supportive evidence is "overwhelming" (they love that word). That seems like cold comfort to me though.
In the end, if there was no Adam there was no fall and Jesus died for nothing. The fence that separates the two groups is truly a chasm that ID isn't going to breach.
A Question of Choice
School Choice: Nope, against it. We can't allow a withering-on-the-vine of public school education because allowing a failing school to, well, fail would be hurtful to the poorly educated children it is providing society. Also, there is the small issue of keeping the coffers full with teacher union money.
Healthcare: The fiasco of 1993 and Hillary care should let us know the Democrats want no choice available to the healthcare consumer outside of a centralized governmental provider.
Gun Control: The Democrats, as a whole, want to reduce the availability of firearms to Americans.
Taxes: The Democrats are against consumers having more of their money and to chose, individually, how to spend or save it.
Private property rights: Democratic support of the evironmental lobby has eroded the ability to own, and the old concept of, private property.
Abortion: I did say we would look at issues other than abortion. However even on their Baal-like worship of the voluntary termination of pregnancy, there is no choice for any party outside of the mother. The father has no choice. In the case of the underaged, the Democrats would like if, the parents have no choice. Healthcare, an institution that is built on protecting life, has no choice. Lastly, the child has no choice.
There are cetainly cases to be made on nearly all these points to support the Democratic position. But, just looking at the area of choice, the Democrats come away looking very sclerotic and monotheistic.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I had gone to The Bluebird Cafe one night to see this blues act. It was very dark, but not very crowded. I sat down across from some other guy to share his ashtray (back when I smoked) and the guy was John Prine. Very cool fellow.
Prine is not really folk and not really country, he is part of what is called Americana music. From the heart breaking "Sam Stone" and "Bruised Orange" to the sentimental "One Red Rose" and "How Lucky Can One Man Get", Prine is able to expose those aspects of ourselves that we thought we had kept hidden and protected from the world.
Prine introduces characters to the listener that we all seem to know in our real lives, from the girl behind the checkout counter to the guy/gal staring at us in the mirror every morning. No one is spared by his critical eye, they are seen with warts and all, but noone is demoralized either. One can tell that Prine must like the, sometimes messy, combinations of angel and vice that make us all very much human.
This Just In...
I don't know about our world, but I know what Mr. Williams is trying to tell us.
Willaims then does the usual Iraq piece where he only focuses on how many people died that day. At the end he reports that Alawi said some areas of Iraq may be too unstable for elections to be held but "after talking with president Bush elections will still be held in 3 weeks. "I wonder, could Williams be implying something here as well?
I am sooo happy we have an unbiased media to watch out for us little guys.
Do You Still Beat Your Wife?
Sonspot says an "Amen" to Gelernter, and then goes on to say that the Bible predicted America all along--that we are somehow a fulfillment of the string of prophecy beginning with Genesis 3:15 and going on from there. How Sonspot makes the jump from John 3:16 to us is not quite clear, although Sonspot claims
But, the promise of forgiveness and the truth of equality are like fire and heat, you cannot have one without the other.
This might be news to St. Paul, who writes that our peace with God gives us hope (Romans 5) and that no one hopes for what he already has (Romans 8). Paul's advice to slaves and slave-owners, both Christian, is also a curiosity in light of this inseparable link between democratic equality and the forgiveness of sins. It would appear, though, that Sonspot considers Jesus an American.
I'm reminded of the old joke about no matter what you answer when someone asks you if you still beat your wife, it will only make you look worse. I could say that Pes. Epi's conclusions from my review are erroneous, but I would be accused of running from my statements. I could argue over Epi's understanding of equality in sin and grace, but I would be accused of being defensive. I could even draw my own conclusion that Pes. Epi was responding more to what I am than what I said, but then I would be accused of paranoia.
In the end, all publicity is good, right? I'm new at this blog game for sure, but I'm learning.
Correction: The winner has not, in fact, been selected. However, this did allow me to respond in defense of my review (well, not really). My review is what it is. In fact, I just went back and re-read it and I, strangely enough, agree with every point I made.
Monday, January 10, 2005
Your Best Life Now: pgs 21-36
Again I would like to start by saying that, as a motivational speaker, Mr. Osteen is very good. His opinions on thought and behavior modification, and their ability to bring about consistently positive results in one's life, are right on the money in my view.
Also again, my issue with Mr. Osteen is two fold. His twisting of bible verses out of their original context in order to support his opinions, and his focus on selfishness and worldly things for happiness.
Am I the only harbinger of the bible's truths? No, I'm not. But we are not arguing over the meaning of a Revelations verse here, or even over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. These are verses where the meanings are generally agreed on. Well if they're agreed on sonspot who would fall for a false interpretation of them? People who don't know their bible, which is most people. Especially the kind of people who think they need this type of book.
I restart in Chapter 3 "God Has More in Store":
The bible promises that God will give us "a twofold recompense for our former shame." That means if you'll keep the right attitude, God will pay you back double for your trouble. he'll add up all the injustice, all the hurt and pain that people have caused you, the abuse and embarrassment, and He'll pay you back with twice as much joy, peace, and happiness.
I looked up the scripture quote, and the closest thing I can find is this,"Job 11:15 then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear." I could be missing the verse somewhere, but I think he is sort of quoting the Job story. Job lost everything and was returned twice as much of everything by the Lord after much suffering.
I don't want to put words in Mr. Osteen's mouth, but I'm going to anyway. Is joy, peace, and happiness the only impression he left the reader when he made that doubling everything statement? Was monetary gain not implied as well since he used a qoute from Job, who did receive monetary gain? And we are able to find peace with God with just a right attitude? I'm 3 chapters into a book written by the pastor of the fastest growing church in America, and not once has the Gospel been mentioned. Mr. Osteen is so driven to have the reader know all the great things God could give them, but has so far not mentioned the greatest gift he already gave.
Don't let anybody convince you that God wants you to barely get by in life. The bible says, "enlarge the place of your tent. Let the curtains of your habitation be stretched out. Spare not. Lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, for soon you will be bursting at the seams.
This is the verse:
2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes."
I'm not strong in the OT prophets, but I know that Isaiah was a prophet that dealt mainly with prophecy concerning Judea. And I believe this is a statement from God to Judea, that if they repent, this is what they will receive. In any event, it doesn't appear to apply in the way Mr. Osteen has used it.
I'll finish with this:
Many times, we pray almost as though we are inconveniencing God. We say, "God, would you please give me a bigger apartment? I don't want to bother You for too much."
No, God wants to give you your own house. God has a dream for your life.
"How could that ever happen to me?" you ask. "I don't make enough money."
Perhaps not, but our God is well able.
Does this part really need commentary?
Putting the Die in Diet
Weight loss is simple Thermodynamics. If you take less energy in than you expend, you loss, if not, you gain. Simple right? Well running the Boston marathon sounds simple, it's the doing it part that will leave you on the roadside sucking-wind.
I want to focus on the energy-in part first. I'm not a fan of any type of diet other than the simple food pyramid, with one exception (which I'll get to in a moment). The food pyramid can't be beat as long as you know what serving sizes are. People don't pay attention to serving sizes anymore. They perform the same function of calorie control as do the Adkins, south beach, Mayo, or any others do, but with a better balance of nutrients than the others.
There is one caveat that I would change about the food pyramid that Adkins and some others do get right. Get rid of the refined sugar. We were not made to digest refined sugar (the crack of the food kingdom). It's too hard on the pancreas to deal with dumping pure sugar into our blood stream. I know it sounds Draconion, but it's the truth. Try it, go 72 hours without sweets (if you're not diabetic) and see how you feel.
The energy-out (exercise) part is just as important as the diet. Exercise breaks down into 2 major parts: Aerobic (cardio. training) and Anaerobic (Resistance training).
I will be called a heretic in some circles, but aerobic fitness is the more important of the two. Noone ever died from a weak bicep, but plenty have died from a weak heart. Whatever aerobic training you decide to do, be consistent, your heart has a very short term memory. Most calories are burned during the exercise, not at rest. Aerobic exercise doesn't increase your basil metabolic rate much. And hey, have fun, it could be worse.
I cannot understate the need for resistance training in weight management enough. Not only do you burn calories while you lift, but the increase in muscle mass increases your basil metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories at rest. Even a very modest resistance training program will cover a multitude of dietary sins. Look around the web and find what particular exercises appeal to you, and if it's O.K. with your M.D., have at it. One note though, and again I will have scorn heaped on me for this, but take care of your back. If you chose any back exercises use proper body mechanics or don't even bother doing them. again have fun, it could be worse.
The World's Smallest Violin
Sunday, January 09, 2005
SoS hates to ride without The wiggles playing their horribly sickly sweet music on the DVD player in the car, so I have no relief there either. At first I thought these Aussies were alright, even kind of funny. Now I think they are the DEVIL!
Mark 12:14 (King James Version)
14And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we give, or shallwe not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny that I may see it. 16And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. 17And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
I'm sure many see where I'm heading, and I'm sure I'm not the first that has headed this way. However, I don't like what I'm about to say, not one bit. If there was any other conclusion that I could've stumbled upon, I would have. But this particular stumbling stone was unavoidable for me.
Let's start by asking, what is God's that we are to give? Everything is God's no doubt, but Jesus made a contrast between God's property and Caesar's. Why did he do this? Well, I believe the bible says God's kingdom is spiritual and lives in the heart of the believer and that, for now, the natural world is cut-off. The natural world will not be part of God's kingdom until the last day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
O.K., but homosexuality is a sin in God's eyes right? Yes, it is. Noone can come away from even a cursory reading of the bible and not know that. God views homosexuals as sinners, right? Yes, he does. But he views all the world as sinners in need of the saving grace through his son Christ Jesus. We have all fallen short. What does God want then? He wants us all to be saved through faith in Christ, period.
So if this isn't an issue of God's kingdom, but one of Caesar's (the world's), how do we handle homosexual marriage? Like we should everything else in the world, we start by asking this: What is the benefit versus the risk to our society?
I believe there is great risk in making homosexual marriage equal to heterosexual marriage. Homosexuals have higher rates of drug/alcohol use than heterosexuals. Homosexuals have higher rates of HIV infection and other STD's than heterosexuals. Arguably, homosexuals have higher rates of suicide/suicide attempts than heterosexuals. Why do I link to these unpleasantries? Because, if homosexual marriage is instituted then it will appear to be considered a normal alternative to heterosexuality. I'm not getting into the "being born that way" stuff. Being a nurse, I have known many homosexuals and nothing of their behavior has lead me to believe it's an issue in their Genes (but, maybe an issue in their jeans).
You know what though, similar things could be said about sex-outside-of-marriage, divorce, the legality of Alcohol, and even sky-diving. Ah, our hand has weakened my friends. Like I said before, if there was any other conclusion I could've come to...
I for one am not going to fold, I am going to continue to throw my penny in the pot and argue against homosexual marriage just like I argue against everything else that the bible deems harmful to the society, I think that is our duty as Christians in a lost world. But from now on, I continue with the knowledge that I'm playing with Caesar's money.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Your Best Life Now: pgs 7-20
First off, I would just like to say that I agree with Mr. Osteen that a person's thoughts and views of the world have a lot to do with the amount of success (or failure) they encounter in life. My beef with Mr. Osteen is his (mis)use of bible verses to support his arguments, and his approach to God as being some sort of good luck talisman.
I begin in the final sections of the first chapter "Enlarge Your Vision":
"Maybe God wants to improve your marriage, restore your family, or promote you at work. But that seed of opportunity can't take root because of your doubts."
"He can cause you to be at the right place, at the right time. He can supernaturally turn your life around. Jesus said, "If you believe, then all things are possible.""
I assume Mr. Osteen is referring to this verse:
He replied, Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
I have no issue with Osteen saying we should have faith that God wants good things for us, surely this is true. However, our faith should be directed towards God and his good and holy will, not towards what we believe will be best for us.
As a child I desperately wanted to see a tornado. I thought it would be the neatest thing to have one touchdown right in front of me. I would pray to God that he would make this so, and had faith that he would give me a great big tornado to see. I'm glad now he didn't answer my prayer, but at the time I was disappointed in him.
The faith of the mustard seed is talking about faith in God, who can truly move any mountain in our lives, not faith that God will give us whatever we want just because we want it bad enough.
On to the next and last section of this chapter:
"Get rid of those old wineskins. Get rid of that small-minded thinking and start thinking as God thinks. Think big. Think increase. Think abundance. Think more than enough."
Like I stated in my last post on this book, the wineskin verse refers to not being able to place the Gospel into the old Jewish law. The law can only expose sin, it cannot forgive it.
Osteen would have been clearer if he added two words to end his "think" barrage. Think big (for yourself). Think increase (for yourself). Think more than enough (for yourself). Why all of this selfishness anyway? If Christ thought this way we would still be dead in ours sins because he would've never been selfless enough to die on a cross for a bunch of no-counts like us. But this is where the axe falls isn't it? And all that falling has brought us back to where it began, like it always does. Back to God's will for us versus our will for ourselves.
(Correction: My wife said the birds are in fact Bewicks Wrens, not Goldfinches.)
I have no problem with Mr. Williams being paid, but they should've been upfront about this from the beginning. Gee Wiz, did they not think someone would find out?
Friday, January 07, 2005
Do they believe there was cheating involved in the election? Perhaps, mainly isolated on the left fringe. However, this is not about belief, but a lack of it. The Democrats desperately need know more about themselves. Not of the world, the Republicans, moral values, Social Security reform, or even the cost of tea in China. Also, The Democrats need to view themselves, not where they want to be or what they want to be, but where they are and what they have become.
This does sound simplistic I know, but in order for anyone to make a stand, or make a change, they have to be able to answer this question: What is it that I currently believe? Now that's what I call opening a big can of worms! However, being able to honestly answer this question will, all by itself, bring the Democrats halfway home.
The conclusion that Mr. Gelernter comes to is that Americanism, the belief of Americans that our country is exceptional (God having shed his grace on us) and should be used as a tool to spread our good fortune to the world through freedom and democracy, is an extension of our puritanical heritage. Mr. Gelernter concludes that puritanism did not disappear it only matured into the Americanism that many of it's citizens hold dear, and that much of the world hates.
Nothing like beginning from the conclusion, but I would like to focus on why America is exceptional. America is exceptional because the promise on which it was built is exceptional. The beginning of this promise reaches back to the fall of man, "Genesis 3:15 - And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." The promise moves through Abraham,"Genesis 17:4 - As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations." The promise then moves on to the Israeli people,"Deuteronomy 14:2 - For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." Finally, all of humanity has access to this promise,"John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
If all the world fell when Adam fell, and if all the world has redemption from the fall through Christ, then all the world is equal. Many Americans take this idea for granted, but for much of the world, I fear, it will always be a bridge too far. The history of Christianity in general, and America specifically, has been filled with a struggle to accept this very idea. We all want the promise, forgiveness, but the natural man in us all doesn't want the idea that is born from it, equality. Why? Why did God have to give us the commandments, or why did Christ have to tell us to love our brother? Because we are naturally fallen, cut-off, evil if you will. That is a hard thing to accept about one's self. But, the promise of forgiveness and the truth of equality are like fire and heat, you cannot have one without the other.
So regardless of our natural tendency toward us-and-themism, we as a people see ourselves as exceptional because of the promise of redemption that is available to everyone. It effects our view of who we are and who our brother/neighbor is. I don't think we act in hopes of making the world just like us, so much as we react from the truth of our equality. Many criticize this nation for believing that our way is best. To them I ask, what other choice do we have?