Friday, December 26, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Many people have decided not to go to church because they have seen Hypocrisy there. In response to this, I've heard it said "Just because the mouse is in the cookie jar, this does not make him a cookie.", so also "Just because someone goes to church, this does not make him a true Christian."
Since I tend to interpret a lot of things on Blogs Politically, I felt moved to add that Just because someone is a Republican, this does not mean that he necessarily cares about the poor.; or put another way, Just because someone is a Republican, this doesn't mean that he's a rich snob that does not care about the poor.
But then again, perhaps this same thing could be said about the Democrats as well. Just because someone is a Democrat, this does not mean that he necessarily cares about the poor., nor does it mean that he doesn't care and is controlling or lazy.
Griper seemed to think that I was changing the subject from Christmas to Politics, yet what is true in every day life is also true in Politics. Christmas is about love for our fellow man and this includes love for those who have different opinions than ourselves within Politics.
We are to love without Hypocrisy. This means doing it for the right reasons and it also means not judging those around us. There are several verses that come to mind in relation to this. I have listed some of them below...
"1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1-2, NIV
"21) You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22) You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23) You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?" Romans 2:21-23, NIV
"3) So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?" Romans 3:3, NIV
"41) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42) How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite; first take the plank out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42, NIV
Getting back to the Political side of this, some Democrats care more about either control or the desire to be taken care of and some Republicans are guilty, just as they have been accused, of caring only for the well being of the rich and not the poor. We need to be careful, though, that we do not Stereo Type each other. Some Republicans do care and others do not and the same exact thing can be said about the Democrats.
It does no good to deny the Hypocrisy and Selfishness that can exist on both sides. We all need to ask God continually to search our hearts and purify us of all wrong motives.
It does no good to Stereo Type. It does no good to behave in ways that justify these Stereo Types. It does no good to judge and point fingers. It does no good to scream and vent our anger. It does no good to refuse to compromise on anything at all.
This comment is aimed at who ever is listening. Republicans; Democrats; I'm talking to both of you! Would you please both just knock it off!!
Fortunately, there are good and sincere people in both parties and these are the ones who need to work together for the good of the whole country and all of mankind.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
For the inspiration of this Post, I have a new comer to thank that just happened to drop by one of my earlier Posts through a Google Search. His name is Cenk and the page he visited is "Shay's Day - Inspirational Story". I guess that it's not so much what he said that inspired me, but the fact that he visited and commented on an earlier Post and thus got me thinking about that Post again. In doing so, I was reminded of something that I thought of saying relating to the subjects of Handicaps and yet never did say it until now.
The story in the linked Post is about baseball and the reaction of a couple of kids to a handicapped boy, yet sometimes on my blog, I like to compare everything to Politics and even though I never did that with this Post, now that Cenk has caused me to revisit it, I have remembered something that I always wanted to say and never did.
In the world of Politics and Capitalism, there are all sorts of Handicaps. Some are severe enough to earn a person Disability Payments. Others just cause people to not do quite as well in the job world as someone else with a higher IQ or with certain God Given skills that assure their success as long as they put out the necessary effort.
I became very keenly aware of this reality when I was in College. With my slow reading and inability to multitask, I had to study more hours than most to achieve the same results. The fact that I graduated with a degree is no less than a miracle. The average class load is 16 Units, but every single time that I tried to handle that much, I ended up dropping back down to 12 Units because that was all I could handle. Consequently, it took me 5 years to complete the goal, instead of only 4. Many students take on full time jobs while going to school. This was not even an option for me because I simply do not posses the mental capacity, nor the energy required. I was often physically sick as it was, even though my schedule contained less than many other students.
I'm not saying that success does not take human effort, cause it does, yet there are those in our society for which massive amounts of effort does not pay off the same as for someone else.
Some people would use this reality as a justification for Socialism. I don't agree that Socialism is the way to go, nor do a agree with those who make a career out of welfare, yet I am sympathetic enough to those who are weak in some ways that I do not agree with some extreme Republicans who seem to want the Government to be so small that Government Assistant Programs are almost non-existent.
I always remembered something that my father once said in relation to getting assistance, or in this case, I believe it was Educational Scholarships. He said, "If a person is poor, he will be O.K. because he will get the Scholarship. If a person is rich, he will not need the Scholarship because he can afford to pay the Tuition, but if the person is Middle Class, he is really screwed because he can neither get the Scholarship, nor Afford to Pay the Tuition."
Actually, this works the same way with Handicaps. If a person is severely Handicapped (or at least enough to be defined as Retarded/Mentally Challenged, Maimed in some way or so Emotionally Disturbed that it is Diagnosed as a Psychiatric Disease), he can get Disability. If a person is not Handicapped at all (or is actually Significantly Gifted), he will not need the Disability, but if a person is only mildly Handicapped (or not quite as Smart, Efficient or Energetic as the rest), he is screwed because he can neither get the Disability, nor Succeed in a Capitalist Society.
I believe that the above linked story about Shay is not just about how we treat those who are handicapped in some obvious way, but also about how we treat anyone who is weaker than ourselves, such as some of those who are poor. Are we willing to help them or do we just judge them automatically as lazy before we've even taken the time to hear their story?
One of my most Favorite Posts that is listed on the right is the one "Lessons for the Strong and the Weak". In this Post, the Strong are told to be Humble, Don't Judge and Give to the Poor, and the Weak are told to share whatever talents they have no matter how small, don't lose heart and don't give up.
I told you of one of my weaknesses, now I will tell you of one of my strengths. I have the ability to sing. Oddly, my brother can't even carry a tune. Not only do I sing, but harmony is second nature to me. The difference between me and my brother is not because someone taught me to sing and he was deprived of the same training. I wasn't even taught how to do harmony. I was doing that as a child and it was second nature to me.
What I found really strange later was not that I had this ability, but that other people didn't. I'm really amazed at times how common it is to walk into a room or a church where people are all singing in unison and once I add a harmony, I'm the only one doing so. How odd it is that God wouldn't pass this Gift around more than He has. This really puzzles me, yet I tell you the truth. It wasn't through effort that this ability has occurred.
Another thing that frustrates me is how rare it is to find an energetic, highly efficient person who actually realizes that they have a God given Gift.
And then there is a highly common phrase that people throw around that isn't even accurate. I'm sure that many of you have heard and possibly even said "If I can do it, anyone can." Well, what if I was to say that "If I can sing Harmony, anyone can."? This sounds like a humble statement, but really it is not because it denies that there is any God given Talent involved and assumes that the credit goes to our efforts and our efforts alone. When this really gets confusing is when Talent and Effort is combined, yet even if the Effort is significant, this still does not negate the reality of the Gift.
I guess the one verse from the Post, "Lessons for the Strong and the Weak", that keeps coming back to my mind in relation to the Strong is 1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (NIV). This Scripture could not possibly ever be repeated too many times, for it is something that we so continually forget.
Another thing that is worth repeating is what I said earlier about the story relating to Shay. I believe that the above linked story about Shay is not just about how we treat those who are handicapped in some obvious way, but also about how we treat anyone who is weaker than ourselves, such as some of those who are poor. Are we willing to help them or do we just judge them automatically as lazy before we've even taken the time to hear their story?
In closing, I'd like to thank Cenk again for commenting and bringing me back to one of my earlier Posts.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Much has been said about the aging of the President of the United States during their terms in office. Below are just a few examples (Pictures on the left were taken their first year in office. Pictures on the right were taken during their last year in office):
George W. Bush
And now with state of the art computer imaging software, we can look into the future and see what our next potential president will look like after his term in office:
and even his wife.....Michelle
Monday, November 17, 2008
Perhaps I shouldn't keep returning to this subject, yet it seems to be the easiest subject to write about off the top of my head without an enormous amount of thought and effort.
The thing is that when I'm not posting to my own blog, it is because I'm distracted by conversations on other blogs and if I was to ask myself the honest question about how much exposure I'm getting, is it really my own personal hit count that contains the accurate answer to that question?
If when I do not post to my own blog, it is because I am visiting and posting elsewhere, than the actual answer to the question of how much exposure I am getting has more to do with the number of hits to the blogs that I am currently conversing on. After all, isn't it possible that when ever I am not posting to my own blog, but instead posting to another blog that has more hits, than in this case, I am getting more actual exposure when my hit numbers are low because I'm conversing elsewhere. Since the people who visit other blogs are often different than the ones who visit my blog and since the people on one blog that I visit are different than on another blog that I visit, perhaps when I visit is when I get more exposure, not when I post on my own blog.
This is a very interesting thought and it brings me back to something that I keep saying, which is that the hit counts on ones blog are not an accurate record of any given person's actual exposure on the web, nor is it an accurate record of what kind of an impact that person is having on the world.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
My feeling of unrest this morning was in relation to Righteous Anger and Passion and the whole question of when our Anger and Passion is self-directed and when it is God-directed. I sense very strongly that one of my primary purposes for being in the Blogasphere with the rest of you is for the sake of trying to urge you all the remain as God focused as possible.
Now, there is such a thing as Righteous Anger and it simply isn't true that Jesus was never angry. Let's take a look at the one time in which the Bible mentions His anger.
"12) And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13) And said unto them, 'It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.'" (Matthew 21:12-13, KJV)
"15) On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16) and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17) And as he taught them, he said, 'Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations' ? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.''" (Mark 11:15-17, NIV)
"45) And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46) Saying unto them, 'It is written, 'My house is the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.''" (Luke 19:45-46, KJV)
What exactly is the message here? Was He just upset that they were doing financial business in the Temple, which was supposed to be a place set aside for prayer, or was it because they were charging too much for the merchandise being sold? Generally when someone who is selling something is called a "thief", it is referring to high prices and the gouging of the public, in which case, the one record in the Bible of Jesus' anger had to do with protecting the poor, not protecting the rich.
It seems a little odd that I keep finding myself writing on the poverty side of the issue even though I'm a Republican. Another obvious question that comes to mind is whether Jesus is delivering a message to individual business men to stop gouging the public, or is it a message to Governments, giving them permission to step in and put a price freeze on things when such gouging takes place. I honestly don't know the answer. Biblically speaking, it is unclear.
I've been racking my brain lately for Bible references that relate to how a Government should be run. One thing that came to mind was how the Lord directed Joseph when he was in a high place of authority in Egypt, just under the King. The Lord revealed to him that there would be 7 years of plenty, followed by 7 years of famine, and instructed him to set aside extra grain during the years of plenty. Interestingly, the grain was not later given away, but sold and the result was the Children of Israel ended up selling themselves into slavery in Egypt. Why did God allow this to take place?
Since God did not do anything to stop this, it would seem that He was in support of Free Enterprise, yet later he sent a deliverer, Moses, who demanded that the Pharaoh "Let My People Go!". What's with that? If the slavery resulted from Free Enterprise, than why should the Pharaoh later give the people back their freedom?
So what sort of direction in the Bible has God given to Kings? A lot of times they were directed to go to war. I guess I've leave that one alone for now except to say that the Israelites always sought God's blessing before going to war and if it was not given, they did not go to war.
I think of King Solomon and his Wisdom and the story that comes to mind is the one in which King Solomon settled a dispute between two women over a Child that they both claimed to be theirs. The story is interesting.
"16) Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 17) And the one woman said, 'O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 18) And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 19) And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. 20) And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21) And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.' 22) And the other woman said, 'Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son.' And this said, 'No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son.' Thus they spake before the king. 23) Then said the king, 'The one saith, 'This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead.' and the other saith, 'Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.' 24) And the king said, 'Bring me a sword.' And they brought a sword before the king. 25) And the king said, 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.' 26) Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, 'O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it.' But the other said, 'Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.' 27) Then the king answered and said, 'Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.'" (1 Kings 3:16-27, KJV)
I guess the real point of this story was that Solomon was a wise King, yet what's interesting in relation to Government was that in this setting the King took on the role of a Judge. It is difficult, though, to find any direct instruction as to how Governments should be run. I just pulled out an example from the Scriptures of the role of one particular King, yet this probably has more to do with the culture of the day than with any specific instruction from God. Fortunately, Solomon was a wise King, which is quite a lot more than I can say about the Supreme Court Judges in our country that currently have far too much power.
When I was considering the idea of whether or not the Bible has anything to say about Government, the other Scripture that came to mind was Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark...
"13) Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch Him in his words. 14) They came to Him and said, 'Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15) Should we pay or shouldn't we?' But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. 'Why are you trying to trap Me?' He asked. 'Bring Me a denarius and let Me look at it.' 16) They brought the coin, and He asked them, 'Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?' 'Caesar's,' they replied. 17) Then Jesus said to them, 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.' And they were amazed at him." (Mark 12:13-17, NIV)
The point being made is that the coin was made in Caesar's image, but that people are made in God's image, so as far as Jesus is concerned, it would be of no Eternal Consequence if all of the money were given to Caesar and the hearts of the people were given to God, or another way of putting that is that our money is not what is important. What's important is the condition of our heart towards God, so if the Government wants the money, so be it. What is important is our heart condition towards God.
Perhaps I should return to the bottom line again and it is this.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV)
I quoted this in a previous post entitled "Blogging Fatigue/Sometimes God has Different Plans". Before I close, I'd like to quote one more verse.
"1) A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2) In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves." (Psalm 127:1-2, NIV)
So why don't I just close with this point... All the Political Passion in the world is not going to make one bit of difference unless God's people get on their knees and seek God for direction. This message must be important, because God keeps asking me to repeat it.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
As to the subject of this post, the Lord was speaking to me in relation to two of the songs that we sang this Sunday. The first was "Come, Now is the Time to Worship". The words of this song go like this...
Come, Now is the time to Give your Heart.
Come, Just as you are to Worship.
Come, Just as you are before your God. Come.
One day every tongue will confess you are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those,
who gladly choose You now.
I also explained what that coming means. God wants us to come and sit at His feet. Not only does He want us to "Come" and Worship Him, as the song suggests, but He also wants us to come and spend time with Him in the form of Private Devotional Time, involving the Reading of Scripture and also Prayer. To truly "Come", we also need to be willing to listen to what He has to say.
This, by itself, probably could have been enough of a post, yet God spoke to me again during worship in relation to another one of the songs. This time it was in relation to the song entitled "More Love, More Power". This one goes like this...
More Love; More Power; More of You in my Life.
More Love; More Power; More of You in my Life.
And I will Worship You, with all of my Heart.
And I will Worship You, with all of my Mind.
And I will Worship You, with all of my Strength.
You are my Lord. You are my Lord.
And I will Seek Your face, with all of my Heart.
And I will Seek Your face, with all of my Mind.
And I will Seek Your face, with all of my Strength.
You are my Lord. You are my Lord.
Too often our Relationship with God is a one sided Relationship, in which we just want God to do for us, but we are not willing to also do for Him. No Relationship should be so one sided and especially not our Relationship with God.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Well, God finally gave me a break and I'm so glad that I checked our Email today because one of the Emails was exactly the sort of thing that I needed in order to post something relating to the Election. In this Email, a friend of ours sent the following link.
The Rise of the United Socialist States of America USSA
This is just the sort of thing that really scares me about Obama.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I keep coming back to the similar subject of numbers within churches. There are some churches that draw large crowds. Often these are churches that stress Evangelism. They are led by pastors whose gift is Evangelism. They grow quickly in numbers and have lots of new converts to the Christian Family.
Often these churches do not have enough leadership in order to take care of all the discipling that is needed. The focus is on Evangelism and not discipling. The numbers are impressive, but the depth of growth and faith among them is not and some even fall away. I talked about this in more depth in my post "Why do we Blog?".
I remember reading once about a minister that was discouraged about his numbers and also jealous of this other minister that had a huge church. It seems to me that it might have been Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but I'm not sure. Instead of the Lord blessing him with larger numbers, he was asked to pray for the growth of the larger church that he was jealous of. Reluctantly, he obeyed. What made it even worse was that the prayer for this other church was answered.
This minister's smaller church was near by and continued to only grow at a snails pace. Eventually, though, as this larger Evangelistic church grew, some of it's members began to seek council from the minister at the smaller church. Like is so often the case, the larger church lacked the leadership required to handle the load of the rapid increase in their numbers.
Hungry for Discipleship and something more than just the basic Gospel Message taught over and over again, those who wanted something deeper than that overflowed into this other minister's church and his church began to grow as well; never as fast as the larger church, but it was a growth that represented not just an introduction to the faith, but a greater depth and growth.
The principle here is illustrated in one of Paul's letters to the Corinthians...
"6) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8) The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own labor." (1 Corinthians 6-8, NIV)
So what does this have to do with Blogging. Well, different bloggers have different gifts. Just as in the Church "One Plants and Another Waters", so also in the Blogosphere, one plants the seed of a new idea into the hearts of many and than another picks up the job by trying to weed out all the obstacles that are blocking people from accepting the idea.
The second of these jobs is more intense and requires much time and thought. The second of these jobs involves a greater depth that is not accepted by and does not draw all of the crowd.
As one last thought, I ought to add that influence goes out like the ripples from a pebble thrown in the stream. As I am often influenced by people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as by many of you, and my blogging is influenced by you all. As you influence me, you influence how I write and than what I write influences how other bloggers write, which influences what other people write, which influences all that is available on the Web to read.
Interestingly, when ever I pray and ask God to do this or that in our world, God ends up assigning me at least part of the job. For example, I asked him once to give energy to all the bloggers on the web that are writing about what is true. Since I don't have the energy to do the whole job myself, I need God to give energy to all others that are doing it as well. Considering that prayer, is it any wonder that aside from my originally thought that I'd be blogging about Politics and the fact that God seems to keep drawing me away from that and into more Spiritual Subjects; that aside from all that, I am also drawn often to the very subject of blogging itself? As soon as I submit this post, I will be able to say that I have done more posts on this subject than any other subject. Why the subject of Blogging? Well, because this is one way in which I can encourage other bloggers and "give energy" to them to continue presenting what's true.
When you think about it, there are two ways to influence the world. One is to directly influence someone and play a part in changing their mind on something. The other is to influence those who influence. In a lot of ways, the second of these contains more power.
Friday, October 24, 2008
In order for me to keep up with this level of Efficiency, I have to make all the same sacrifices and me even more so, because I am a slow reader. Aside from my reading speed, the other main difference between me and highly Efficient Bloggers is that they think that the price they pay for Efficiency is worth it, but I do not. That which is Sacrificed just plain isn't worth it to me, so instead, I just keep plodding along, at my own slow little pace, and hope that a few loyal followers will still come by.
It's like the story in the Bible about Mary and Martha.
"38) As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. 39) She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40) But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 41) 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, 42) but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
I've used this story often in order to remind myself that when I have company, it is more important to spend a little undistracted time with them, than to plan an extremely complicated meal that keeps me in the kitchen. Even the house work, if left to the last minute, like I so often do, causes me to feel tired when the company arrives. It is so easy to forget our priorities.
The other thing that this passage is about, though, is about spending time at Jesus' feet, in both Bible Reading and Prayer. This is more important than all of our busy, Efficiency Goals and even than our Ministry.
Another important lesson relates to a few words that I put in Bold Print in the above passage. When we are interacting with people, we need to listen and not just talk and we need to try to do so very intently, without distraction. When we pray, this is true as well. We need to listen to God and not just make our requests. This involves the Reading of Scripture and also moments a quite reflection, in which we stop complaining and requesting and just listen to that still small voice inside of us; the Holy Spirit; God's Voice.
So how does this relate to Blogging? Well, first of all, time spent in Bible Study and Prayer is more important than our Blogging. There are other non-Blogging priorities that we need to tend to as well. We also need to seek God's direction in our Blogging and not just do it from our own strength or even from our own passion. This is why we need to Listen Intently to God, Without Distraction and than after this is accomplished, then we can Blog.
It's very interesting how so often when I try to write about politics, I get writers block and I'm not able to return again to the blogging until a give in to writing something Spiritual. Isn't that the strangest thing? It's as if God Himself causes the writers block, in order to get me back on track again.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
In what is now the last comment on the previous post, BB-Idaho was talking about "getting bruised up a little in the political blog arena, with the Election coming up and most folk uptight."
Your frustration with politics at this time is interesting. I've actually been annoyed with God a little over how my life has been going since we got our puppy. I've been thinking that it is such bad timing with the Election coming up and all.
I even asked God just before the puppy arrived to please send one that would fit with His plan, not only in relation to what ever life lessons we need to learn, but also in relation to not being too much of an interruption to something that I have considered a ministry, such as my blogging.
Since I prayed this prayer, I have to trust that what ever happens is what God wants, yet I've been so frustrated because what was sent to us was an extremely difficult puppy that requires a lot of our time and causes me to feel almost too tired to blog. I've been very frustrated and have been asking God why. Why at a time in which it would seem that blogging would be all that much more important, has God allowed me to be experiencing this distraction? I haven't had much time to blog or to visit blogs. My hit count is way down to the point at which there are only a small handful of people coming by and looking at my blog. I want to thank those who still do come by and tell you how very greatly I appreciate you.
And yet from the above comment, it seems that one of my most loyal supporters is almost pleading with me to not post about politics. How odd and yet, you know what? It just goes to show you that sometimes what we think is really important is not what the people who we are interacting with really need.
Perhaps just before an election is not the best time to sway people's basic political views anyway. If I thought that there might be some undecided voters reading my blog, that might be different, yet for the most part, I get the feeling that Bloggers in general are rather opinionated people who are difficult to sway. What mostly appears to be happening on Blogs is that those who feel passionate about something have the chance to vent their feelings and they draw others to their Blogs who feel the same way that they do and are also venting. I wonder, at times, how much actual persuading is going on.
And as for me, I ask God for guidance and he distracts me with a difficult puppy.
The bottom line is this...
The Bible says "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
Perhaps the key to effective communication both politically and otherwise is Humility, Prayer, Seeking God, Purity, Honesty and Sincerity. Unfortunately, Passionately and Obsessively expressing our views doesn't usually produce the effect that we would like it too.
Monday, October 13, 2008
After reading this very precious story, you may also be interesting in the comments because they tell the actual outcome of the baby fawn and also go in an interesting direction.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Susan Jacoby's "The Age of American Unreason"
BB submitted this link in relation to a discussion on Evolution verses Intelligent Design, yet I fail to see the connection, for there is no mention of the subject in the Linked Page.
I sort of agree that there is often an air of "Public Ignorance" in our country, as well as "a Culture at odds with America's Heritage" and "with Modern Knowledge and Science", yet I would define "American's Heritage" as the Morality of the Founding Fathers, that was mostly based on their strong Belief in God and grounded in Christianity and would define "Modern Knowledge and Science" as ALL of science, including that which has been introduced by those who support Intelligent Design.
The "Anti-Intellectual Tendencies", as well as the "Anti-Rationalism" that this Link speaks of is just another way of describing what I have heard called "Post-Modernism", which among other things, involves a mistrust for both Science and also Objective Thought. The Subjective is respected more than the Objective, yet unfortunately, truth can not be found completely by just exploring a few examples from a few individual lives.
The description of TV and Videos that is made in the Linked Web Page reminds me of how I studied recently of how so many of the current action shows change from one screen to the next so rapidly that it has a Hypnotic Effect that has a tendency to shut the brain off, allowing very little room for the viewer to think rationally about what he or she is seeing on the screen.
I'm not sure what is meant by "Junk Thought" on Blogs, though not requiring students to obtain "a thorough grounding in American and World History, Science and Literature" is obviously a negative and "Disdain for Logic and Evidence" is a negative as well.
Yes, we have Poor Education and yes, we have "a lazy and credulous public, increasingly unwilling or unable to distinguish between fact and opinion". I even agree that we have an "Anti-Rational Government".
I was glad to read that Susan Jacoby describes "Dumbness" relating to both the Political Right and the Left, for I would agree with that.
Interestingly, I agreed with all that I read, with the exception of one Stereo-Typing Phrase and I also do not see how this is relevant to the discussion of Evolution verses Intelligent Design. The subject is not at all mentioned in the Linked Page and in order to make it relevant, one would have to add another Stereo-Typing phrase implying that those who support Intelligent Design are guilty of all that is mentioned on this Linked Page and to that I would have to say that I do not agree with the accusation, but than again, the subject of Evolution verses Intelligent Design was not mentioned at all in the Linked Page.
Please take the time to read the discussion below my post Equations we Live By/Gen./Evolution v. Intelligent Design, as well as the others under the Label to the Right, "Science and Research".
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I remember mentioning one time in the comment section of another Post, the whole scientific fiasco relating to Abortion and Breast Cancer. Perhaps I should get the Brochure on that sometime and do a complete Post on it, but for now, I just think that what I've already said in the comment section of a previous Post is worth repeating. The non-italics is what I've added to it today.
"No matter what the issue, if it is political, than there is research supporting both sides. BB-Idaho actually left a Link in the comment section on one of the below Posts supporting the 'Safe Sex' program."
I hadn't done the necessary research when he left this link, yet the next Post down, below this one, is at least in part, a response to that and illustrates very well how Abstinence, since it is also taught within Christianity, is Under Attack.
"It's just like the issue of Abortion and Breast Cancer. There is research that says there's a link and research that says that there isn't.
"A group of people who study research collected a bunch of the available research and analyzed it, applying high standards as to what was good quality research and what was not and they found problems with the research that supported no connection, yet most of the research that supported the connection passed the test.
"Unfortunately, all it takes in order for those who want to deny the connection and keep this issue in the 'Controversial Mode' is for them to keep repeating their faulty research results and this is listened too, whether there are problems in the research or not."
Aside from Abstinence Education and the Connection between Abortion and Breast Cancer, I've seen this same scenario going on in the Evolution verses Intelligent Design Debate. If one takes the time to listen to what is actually being said, the arguments in favor of Evolution are full of false accusations against those on the other side, such as the discussion that took place on one of the Posts at the "Bring It On!" blog, which came across to me as more accusations between the participants, than actual arguments offered.
Bring It On! - Academic Freedom Legislation: The Creationists Back Door?
Now that I've visited the site again, I've realized that there are duplicate copies of a lot of my initial comments. That's because I kept trying to submit these comments, but was given no message about them being held for moderation. They appeared to just disappear, but apparently, they all went through. Oh well.
If you want to review the Evolution verses Intelligent Design discussion that took place on my blog, just click on the Label for it to the right. Griper did a post on the subject as well and the Link to it is below.
The "Good News" Declared
Friday, September 26, 2008
First, I'll start with the "Executive Summary" that starts the linked article. The link below is to a Technical Paper, written by a group of professionals for the "Medical Institute for Sexual Health", in response to a couple of Articles that were published in the January 2006 Issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. The first is entitled "Abstinence and Abstinency-Only Education; A Review of US Policies and Programs" and the second one is entitled "Absinence-Only Policies and Programs; A Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine". Both of these were written by a team of authors headed by John Santelli and the Position Paper simply restates the arguments presented in the Review Article.
The authors of these articles claim all sorts of crazy stuff about Abstinence Education Programs, but offer very poor arguments to support their claims. They claim that Abstinence programs threaten Fundamental Human Rights to Health, Information and Life and that such programs are Unscientifically, Ethically and Morally Problematic. These authors are critical of any Educational Policies that are in any way influenced by Morality and accuse Abstinence Proponents of being primarily concerned with Religious and Moral Beliefs, whether than Public Health. They also accuse such of using Morally and Culturally Specific Definitions of Abstinence. They claim that Educational Policies that have Moral Components are Unscientific and that Abstinence Policies are in conflict with Public Health Principles, yet they have no evidence to support this point of view or opinion.
In the paper that I have provided a link to below, the authors respond to all of these accusations and show how the articles that they are responding to contain Serious Omissions of key areas of research that don't support their point of view; Misrepresentations to the point of acutually stating that a source says something that it does not; Deviations from Accepted Practices or Nonstandard Research Methods, Opinions Presented as Facts and Faulty Logic, such as concluding that the failure to prove an affirmative is proof of a negative. They say that the Scholarship is lacking in rigor, that their Key Points are based on Non-Peer-Reviewed Sources, that they site a lot of Secondary and Tertiary Sources, whether than Original Ones and Opinion Pieces and Editorials and On-line News Magazines, whether than Scientific Articles. They fail to inform the readers when their key point are supported by Non-Peer-Reviewed References and some of their Declarative Statements are not Referenced at all.
One interesting contradiction that was pointed out was how in the First Half of the Review Article, the idea of "Moral Beliefs" is rejected, yet in the Second Half of this same article, they talk about Human Rights in relation to "Ethics". This contradiction is an Unsound and Misleading, yet Clever, Plausible and Subtle Argument or Reasoning (Definition of Sophistry), or as the authors of the linked article put it, "The authors initial rejection of 'Moral Beliefs' and their later adoption of 'Ethics' as a guiding principle for sex education is the height of Sophistry."
In the Linked Article, one of the first things that the authors do is define a few terms including "Moral" and "Ethical", to show how similar these two words are, in that, part of the definition of "Ethical" is "Conforming to Moral Standards".
I don't want to leave this page in the Linked Article (Page 4) without mentioning that they mentioned the limited scope of this one particular study involving only one of the 50 states, which happened to be Texas. This caught my eye since one of my commenters to a previous Post also gave me a link to a Texas Study that showed Ineffective Abstinence Programs, yet it is not logical to conclude that the presence of one group of Abstinence Programs that doesn't work proves that none of the Abstinence Programs work.
The "Definitions of Absinence" section of the Linked Article (Page 4) is very good.
Later in the Linked Article, they state that "Despite having previously rejected Moral considerations to inform public health prevention messages, throughout the last 3 sections of this article, the authors tout internationally recognized Ethical obligations as the ne plus ultra of public health decision making. They appear oblivious to the fact that Ethics has to do with Conforming to Moral Standards or to professional standards of conduct."
The other word that the authors needed to define was the word "Virgin", for in the articles they were responding to, the word "Virgin" was claimed to be a moral term, yet a recent PupMed search of the term yielded 197 articles, so it is obviously a "Medical Term" and is defined in very simple, morally neutral, terms in Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary.
Gee! How in the world are we supposed to study the Medical affects of having sex or not having sex, if we keep removing words from the Medical Dictionary just because they are occasionally also used in relation to Morality? That's absurd!
One more point that comes to mind is a couple of Research Studies that were Omitted from the Evaluation done in the Articles that were written opposing Abstinence Programs. Starting with the Chart on the page marked page 9 at the bottom and reading on to the first 6 paragraphs of page 10, it is explained why "The Absence of even a remote allusion to these studies by Santelli et al is particularly Inexcusable." This is especially true in light of their statement that "Based on our review of the evaluations of specific AO(sic)E Curricula...in actual practice the efficacy of AO(sic)E Interventions may approach Zero." In response to this, the Authors of the Linked Article have said that "The conspicuous Omission of the Articles, coupled with the authors' Hyperbolic Declaration, demonstrates Systematic Misrepresentation of the Evidence."
There were many more good points made in the linked article. I've only had the time to touch on a few. Here is the Link.
The Attack on Abstinence Education: Fact of Fallacy?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The potty training seems to be taking awhile, we've had Shasta now since a week prior to Yesterday and he still occasionally peas in the house, but I've noticed that he sort of does it when he's excited, so I guess it's not such a good idea to get him too wound up while in the house. The problem is that he has lots of energy to burn off. During the day, we can take him for walks and let him run in the yard, yet we keep him in at night because of the animals (Raccoon, Bear and Mountain Lion). He's way too small yet and thus, could be a target for such animals, so at night, we have a real problem. He can't run outside cause of the animals and he can't run too much inside cause it might make him pea in the house. If we discipline him and insist that he remain still, he may sleep too much during the day and than be too hyper at night, when it's time for bed. I'm not sure what the solution is. Oh well. I know it'll get better in time.
If you want to read more about our adventures with our dog, Shasta, there is more in the comment section of the next post down, as I'm sure there will also be in the comment section of this one. One of the things I was writing in one of my comments below the next post down, though, was about how the beauty of Alaskan and Siberian breeds (sled dog types) does not come without a cost. The long hair requires brushing. The floors require vacuuming. The high energy requires exercise and the stubbornness requires a lot of patience and persistence. I personally think that it is worth it, but there are some people I know that do not agree.
When I wrote out the title of this post, I was thinking about how the dog training books claim that puppies feel best when they are on some sort of a schedule. This probably is true. If the puppy has a normal "scheduled" play time, maybe we would be able to plan our lives better around his more quiet nap times, for he does sleep a lot. I just need to learn how to make use of the times in which he does.
Monday, September 15, 2008
His name is Shasta. He is nine weeks old today. He has been so much fun.
We picked him up from the airport around 11:00 AM on Friday. He was a little scared and reluctant to come out of the travel cage at first, but once he did, he took to us really fast. In fact, he followed us everywhere.
At least one of our first impressions of him was "Imagine that! A Samoyed that actually comes when called!", for that was quite a contrast from our earlier Samoyed, Casper, that was so scared when we first got him that he ran away from us and we had to earn his trust. Casper turned out to be a very good dog, yet he was such an independent sort and wouldn't always come when called.
Shasta, the new one pictured above, was just the opposite at first and came across as a little clingy, yet as time has passed, and he has gotten more used to us, he is already becoming more and more independent, has began to take off on his own and explore and as he does that, I am beginning to see that typical Samoyed stubbornness emerge. Samoyeds are a little independent, stubborn and difficult to train, but that's part of their charm. They are very gentle and friendly and would never hurt a fly, as I can see, this one will be as well.
The other first impression that we had was that he didn't seem to have quite the energy level that we expected. Our other dog, Casper, just loved to run and was so incredibly fast it was unbelievable. Samoyeds are sled dogs and love to run. I guess Shasta was tired and a little shy around such a new environment, but that is changing as well.
When we first got him, we had to teach him how to go up and down these two small steps over a retaining wall in our yard and also up into the house. He liked it outside and didn't really want to come inside, though he is going to have to be a house dog because of the warmer climate in California. We are up in the mountains, making the weather cooler than in the valley's, yet it is still quite often in the 90s and it even breaks 100 degrees 2 or 3 days out of the year. Samoyeds are winter sled dogs and have very thick fur.
Friday and Saturday, Shasta mainly just trotted and only occasionally broke into a run when he was chasing us, yet yesterday, he was picking up speed and ran without needing to have anything to chase. Yep, he's a Samoyed alright. He was just taking his time getting started. He slipped on the dirt a few times, he's still just a puppy. He runs much better on the grass. I'm sure he will pick up both his energy and speed as he grows. It's so fun watching him learn.
This is so much fun and we are so in love with our new little friend.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The information on the below chart is really scary, especially in relation to Obama's plan in relation to taxes. He is going to totally ruin our economy.
2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE COMPARISON TALKING POINTS
Favors new drilling offshore US
Will appoint judges who interpret the law not make it
| || |
Amount of time served in the US Senate
Will institute a socialized national health care plan
Supports abortion throughout the pregnancy
Would pull troops out of Iraq immediately
Supports gun ownership rights
Supports homosexual marriage
Proposed programs will mean a huge tax increase
Voted against making English the official language
Voted to give Social Security benefits to illegals
CAPITAL GAINS TAX
0% on home sales up to $500,000 per home (couples). McCain does not propose any change in existing home sales income tax.
28% on profit from ALL home sales. (How does this affect you? If you sell your home and make a profit, you will pay 28% of your gain on taxes. If you are heading toward retirement and would like to down-size your home or move into a retirement community, 28% of the money you make from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income from their homes as part of their retirement income.)
15% (no change)
39.6% - (How will this affect you? If you have any money invested in stock market, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money earned on taxes if Obama becomes president. The experts predict that 'Higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains would crash the stock market, yet do absolutely nothing to cut the deficit.')
Single making 30K - tax $4,500
OBAMA (reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)
Single making 30K - tax $8,400
- 0% (No change, Bush repealed this tax)
Restore the inheritance tax
Many families have lost businesses, farms, ranches, and homes that have been in their families for generations because they could not afford the inheritance tax. Those willing their assets to loved ones will only lose them to these taxes.
NEW TAXES PROPOSED BY OBAMA
New government taxes proposed on homes that are more than 2400 square feet. New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren't high enough already) New taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity) New taxes on retirement accounts, and last but not least....New taxes to pay for socialized medicine so we can receive the same level of medical care as other third-world countries!!!
You can verify the above at the following web sites: