Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What About Bill?

It is an amazing universe we live in. Despite the insanity created and maintained by us humans that seems never ending, nature knows nothing of it and cares even less. One can easily be absorbed in the mindless squabbling of the world, and while each argument and fight carries its own weight of importance, it is nice to separate from time to time and focus on the other complexities of our surroundings. God created a vast universe both large and small, and the variations in size seems as vast as the quantity of its makeup. From the micro-organisms to the swirling galaxies...from the particles of a rain drop to the fires of the sun. Each is different, endlessly complex and mesmerizing. The world around us can serve as a way to refocus our minds on the creation of God and how we are truely nothing without Him.

This is why I enjoy weather and watching it happen. At my last count, I appear to be the only person hoping that Hurricane Bill pays a visit to New England next week. But that's ok. If it comes, I suppose I'll be the only one to enjoy it. For me it's a chance to experience a piece of the power and wonder of God and the world He created. There are so many things on this world that are powerful beyond imagination. Volcanoes, floods, hurricanes... each, while distructive, are still fascinating to observe. Each is just another piece of the complexities of creation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Like So Many Dominos

Another domino falls. And another. At what point do people wake from their slumber? At what point do people realize that priorities as a whole have become woefuly skewed? At what point do people realize that their apathy toward God has serious consequences not only for themselves, but to many others around them? At what point do people realize that saying one thing and doing something else was onced called hypocritical, and still is? At what point does realization strike that if people do not seek God then he is not found?

And another...

The consequences build. How much must be lost before people turn back? Is stubborness worth the price? What does it gain?

And another...

It doesn't take much time, only a stubborn and apathetic people. Disarray comes quickly upon those who do not care. Which will be the last? How much will have to be rebuilt? How long will that take? I fear to ask any of these questions.

And another...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Emotional Christianity Revisited

One of the most problematic aspects of emotional Christianity is the lack of learning of actual Biblical doctrine. Far too many churches focus on the feel-good aspects of Christianity at the expense of true teaching of doctrinal Biblical principles and truths. Too many churches are too worried about not offending people, or how many people they can get in the door, or how much tithes are collected. They feel that if they can focus on making people feel good, all those aspects will improve. And who doesn’t like to feel good? And (as I discussed in previous posts) people don’t particularly like to work, and think and learn.

What has become of the hymns with four or five verses with serious depth? Am I saying choruses aren’t correct or are inherently wrong? No. I’m saying that compared to the old Hymns they are anything but equal. It is a small example of some watering down. Without a doubt the choruses are catchier than the hymns. They’re more up to date. Less old fashioned.

But sermons are also extremely important. It is here where there is found the meat. If this is watered down, what is ever learned (short of self-study)? The pastor is charged with teaching and guiding the people of the church. This is not accomplished by simply making them feel good.

There are serious consequences with this approach. One of the most serious is that it breeds ignorance. If one does not know what the Bible teaches or says, or has no understanding of Biblical doctrine, what chance will the person –or community- have of warding off false teaching? There are many ways Satan tries to lead us astray with false teaching. Even veteran pastors having been through seminaries fall prey to this. If this is so, what chance does a churchgoer have if they never learn anything? Well, they’ll be ignorant, but at least they’ll feel good about it.

The Bible says what it says. Often it can and does create an emotional response, but that’s from the depth of the truth as it is understood and realized. But if one is truly learning the Bible there will be a lot that we do not like either. Things that go against our natural inclinations and desires. But that doesn’t matter. It’s still true and demands our attention.

This wave of feel-good teaching is not only shallow. It’s dangerous. It’s so very easy to undermine a church of this nature, because no one knows otherwise. Unless America returns to a truth inspired learning of Biblical teaching, our culture will continue on its course of deterioration.

For the record, there are a lot of good churches out there, one of which I have the pleasure of attending. This is meant to draw attention to the others.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

And the Prank of the Year Award Goes Too...

Apparent hoax forces decontamination of KFC employees

By STAFF REPORT Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 Manchester Union Leader

Manchester – Three employees at the KFC store, 677 Daniel Webster Highway, were taken to a hospital Thursday afternoon for decontamination after an apparent hoax resulted in the release of a fire suppressant chemical.

Cook Mary McCarthy said the store manager, Sonia Gilbert, received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the corporate office, telling her to test the fire suppression system. McCarthy said that resulted in the release of a chemical powder in the sandwich area where she and a third employee, Fay Owens, were working.

As fire, health department and police investigated this afternoon, McCarthy stood outside the side door of the restaurant, wearing one jacket and using another as a skirt. Standing next to a pile of clothing on the ground, McCarthy said: “We had to strip out here.”

Police Sgt. Todd Boucher said officers went to the restaurant in response to a call about a naked woman standing in a doorway. He said the caller had told the employees to go outside and strip and urinate on one another.

Boucher said police are conducting an investigation into the incident.

District Fire Chief Michael Gamache said because the chemical powder is a respiratory irritant, employees needed to be checked and the restaurant needed to be cleaned and cleared to reopen by the City Health Department. He said it would not be reopened until at least Friday.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tokyo Zoo Penguins Get Giant Companion

Fri Apr 1, 2:40 AM ET
TOKYO (AFP) - Emperor penguins looked up in awe as Tokyo's main zoo unveiled its latest addition -- a giant penguin said to be suspiciously close in height and weight to a human.

"A great discovery!" blared the special news release by the Ueno Zoo, saying the Tonosama (Lord) Penguin was 165 centimeters (five feet, six inches) tall and weighed 80 kilograms (176 pounds).

As the cameras rolled, the real penguins rose their beaks and gazed up at the purported Lord -- but then walked away disinterested when he took off his penguin face to reveal himself to be zoo director Teruyuki Komiya.

The press release -- which stressed the newly discovered animal would be unveiled on April 1 -- said the giant penguin's favorite food was "white fish meat with soy sauce."


Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Truth vs. Your Truth

By its definition, truth must contain an absolute. This is illustrated by simply looking at the opposite of truth, which is, of course, Falsehood. A statement, an idea, a concept, an idiology, or anything is either true or false. It cannot be both. While a statement may contain elements of both truth and falsehood, you can break down each piece and evaluate the truth of the components.

To say, ''you have your truth and I have mine" is intellectual cowardice. I experienced this the other day in my Creative Writing class. We were critiquing someone's work (a piece that resembled a sermon). It was rather harsh in its tone, but at the heart of the piece was still truth.

And the professor said to him (the writer of the piece), "You have to be careful with this sort of thing so you don't offend people. People each have their own truth. While this may be your truth, it may not be true to someone else."

At this I simply could not hold my tongue, my words may have been harsh, but I'll let you decide that. I said, "The elements of this piece, while harsh, are core values of the Bible. Yes, there are pieces of the Bible we can sit here and theologically debate, but everything contained in his work is spelled out clearly in the Bible and is not a matter of 'your truth or mine'. It's either true or it isn't, and in the end you are forced with the choice to either accept it or turn your back on it."

It was the first time I ever made a professor speechless! I would have enjoyed that moment had it not been for the nature of my rebuke. I should not have had to say those things. It's like pointing out the obvious and at a college (a place of "higher learning") I would have thought we would have moved past such ideas.

However, in America's attempt to become more "open minded", the world of Academia is attempting to redefine the word truth. While it has always been understood that 2+2=4, there are even those who would accept 2+2=5 because that is the "student's truth". Granted, I understand these cases are rare and extreme, but it is an idea that is permeating the culture nontheless in more ways than one.

Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one cometh unto the Father but by me." You cannot take that statement and say "well, that is your truth". That is a direct statement. A claim that is absolute. Either Jesus was correct -thus making any other way to Heaven false- or else He was a liar. It is one or the other. While people may feel good thinking there are many roads to Heaven, the Bible claims just the opposite. And in light of that, it completely destroys the concept of religion being "relative".

Truth is truth. Falsehood is falsehood. It cannot be both.

Simple as that.

reprinted from my college days

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to Pass an Immigration Test in the USA

Mujibar was trying to get into the USA legally through Immigration.

The Officer said, "Mujibar, you have passed all the tests, except there is one more test. Unless you pass it you cannot enter the United States of America."

Mujibar said, "I am ready."

The officer said, "Make a sentence using the words Yellow, Pink and Green."

Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said, "Mister Officer! I am ready."

The Officer said, "Go ahead."

Mujibar said, "The telephone goes green, green, green, and I pink it up, and say, 'Yellow, this is Mujibar.'"

Mujibar now lives in a neighborhood near you and works at a Verizon help desk.

Yep for sure, I talked to him yesterday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Watch Out For Stone Walls!

I've been wondering for a long time now; why do kids play outside a lot less than I did when I was a kid? There's been a lot of theories put out there, some blaming TV and video games... others blaming parents... and still others blaming the "lazy" kids themselves. Well, I'm going to throw my theory into the ring with everyone else. I doubt it'll be well received, but I think it's just as legitimate as the rest.

We're going to use my little brother and my old elementary school as our primary example here. But for the record, I know this is going on all over the place. When I was in elementary we would do many things at recess. Recess was one of the best times of the day. After all, we finally got to get rid of all that pent up energy that we couldn't express during class without fear of being sent into the hall. During the Fall and Spring we would play soccer, play on the playground, and play tag (or various versions of tag). During the winter months we would have snowball fights, make snowmen, play King of the Mountain (a game where everyone climbs a mountain of snow and tries to push everyone else off)... and of course, play tag still.

However, my little brother's recess experience has sadly been much different than mine. At some point a stray snowball hit a kid, caused him to cry and now snowball fights have been banned. But not only snowball fights. No, my brother and his friends are not even allowed to pick up snow. Naturally they are not allowed to play King of the Mountain. Soccer is often banned when kids get hurt. And --get this-- they are no longer allowed to RUN on the playground!

There's a part of me that wants to go back there and scream at these teachers, "Kids get hurt! I got hurt! And guess what... I'm still alive!" But in a world that is so paranoid of law-suits, I can understand where they're coming from in a weird sort of way.

But let's look at this from a different angle now. Where do kids learn to have fun playing outside? Well, if they're lucky enough to have friends in the neighborhood, they can learn from playing from them. But let's face it, in a world where people feel less and less safe, people are less and less secure about meeting strangers, let alone letting them play with their kids. So we must ultimately fall back on school and the recess experience for the majority of children in our country.

Now given the supreme paranoia on the playground, with all their limiting and binding rules, do we really expect kids to find playing outside to be as much fun as playing Sony Playstation? Sure, it beats sitting in class, but when they get home they go straight to the TV. Why? Because they have been conditioned since Kindergarten that there are many many rules to playing outside which makes it not nearly as much fun as a video game.

"Yes, but what about parents... they're not worried about lawsuits like a school is", you say. Yes, parents aren't concerned with such things. They're not going to sue themselves... but all you have to do is watch the news and you'll see they are equally ridiculous. I saw this one news story about this kid who went sledding into a stone wall and ended up hospitalized. The community's reaction to this was to ban sledding in that area!

Hey, how about telling your kids to watch out for stone walls!

Is it really any wonder kids prefer video games to the idiocy of teachers and parents these days? I know I would. When a kid is conditioned to associate playing outside with a million rules (half of which don't make sense), it makes perfect sense that they would rather sit inside playing XBox than having to worry, "will I get in trouble for picking up this snow?"

Originally written on Feb. 20th 2005

Friday, February 20, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Apathy Breeds Ignorance

Far too many of the problems around the world develop from a lack of understanding on any particular issue. For example, Venezuela just voluntarily voted to give Hugo Chavez the open door to dictatorship and socialism despite the fact that people living under dictators or socialist governments have always been miserable. Or people’s belief that our new President will see to it that our cars are always filled with gasoline and other goodies, as a cause to vote for him. Or embryonic stem cells will cure all our diseases, when they haven’t succeeded in curing a single thing yet. Or how a socialist economic policy can revive a capitalist system and still remain a “free market”.

Why do people believe these things? The simple answer is ignorance.

The longer answer is apathy.

Unfortunately we live in a “feel good” society. No one wants to work harder than they have to…even then it’s too much. Our affluence has breed apathy. And our apathy has bread ignorance. Is this unique to our time and culture? Probably not. However, people’s lack of curiosity and learning has consequences. For example, if the people of our country had any real understanding of what “nationalization” or “socialism” really means, they would never allow what’s going on in this country at this moment. However, not only do they not know anything about these matters, they don’t even believe it’s happening in most cases! The only reason for this is apathy which breeds instant ignorance. It’s not until reality slaps them in the face (and by then it’s often too late) that the apathy snaps and they begin to learn and act. It wasn’t until Hitler had demonstrated his evilness that (some) of the Germans began to dislike him, but by then they were powerless.

This ignorance is costly. Literally and figuratively. In our immediate case, it’s going to cost this nation more money than we can fathom to recover from the greater mess and inflation our government’s policies will inflict. It will also cause a lot more suffering; especially if the socialism marches on into other matters besides monetary policy. Socialism succeeds in making people equally miserable, which is evidenced in any socialist country you wish to examine. But most people don’t care to look. Instead they think with their feelings, wishes and hopes…their ignorance on the issues.

There are plenty of ways of getting informed, but all require work. But the work stems from a desire to know. If one is apathetic, then ignorance will always follow closely after.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Brilliance" Spoken

Benediction at Obama 's inauguration, Rev. Joseph Lowery:
'Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen'...


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