Friday, December 12, 2008

Yes, It's Bad

Yes, the blog is getting work done to it. That's why it looks so bad...

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Do You Represent?

Like I've said in the past, I am a member on a debate forum. I don't post on it very often because there are about twenty atheists for every one theist. If you say anything that sounds the slightest bit theistic, you will have about ten people picking apart everything you say within about five minutes. It's pretty hard to keep up with it all, and if you don't reply, they assume you've converted.

One thing I've noticed over and over is how they will pick on one thing someone says and immediately apply it to every person of that religious group. If someone uses incorrect punctuation, they'll start picking on that. If someone says anything that anyone can twist into being illogical, they'll pick on that (never mind the fact that atheists can be just as bad about it). One thing that really makes me upset, though, is how so many atheists will say that they're so tired of Christians telling them they're going to hell. So many Christians don't know anything more to say than, "Jesus died on the cross because you're a sinner. He loves you, so you should pray 'this pray' and believe Christ. After that, you need to obey this list of rules." Though there is nothing wrong with this, it misses so much. It talks nothing of our depravity from God and how Jesus is the one who fulfilled the Old Testament and ended estrangement from God. One of the biggest issues people have on the forum is why Christians think that they can force their moral standards from their 'holy book' on people who are "free?" Just recently, I saw this post:

"There are certain words that should be avoided by atheists, rationalists and free thinkers in their writings and conversations. They can, however, be frequently found in the writings of theists, the irrational and those who prefer not to think.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. I’m simply suggesting the most common words I encounter in religious and philosophical discussions. They reflect a certainty about reality that thinking people don’t accept. I’ll present them without comment, but please feel free to provide your own.

1. Truth
2. Absolute
3. Proof
4. Right
5. Wrong
6. Immoral
7. Unconditional
8. Unquestionable
9. Undoubtedly
10. Never
11. Always
12. Sin
13. Evil
14. Damned
15. Certain"

Though this may show how theists "reflect a certainty about reality that thinking people don’t accept," I think it shows even more how someone who is still estranged from God has a natural mind, and without the Holy Spirit cannot see what the world really is.

Lately, however, One of my biggest "pet peeves" is how they will go around looking for extreme beliefs that some Christians hold, and they will apply it to every single Christian. For example:

"Salvation Army
I never realized these folks had such an odd requirement. But I have no doubt they can produce a Biblical passage that supports their rule."

Of course, there is nothing that says that every single person (or that even one person) in the Salvation Army is a true Christian, but just because the Salvation Army is supposed to be run by Christians, they assume that all of its rules reflect Christianity. Unfortunately, this happens way too often. People will make rules that don't actually have anything to do with living into their identity as the children of Christ, and they will say (or show to others), "I do this because I am Christian." As soon as that happens, people will immediately assume that you represent all of Christianity, and they will assume that every single Christian believes that same thing. No wonder people think that Christianity is just a huge list of rules...

Do you live out the fragrance of Christ by living out of love, or do you live a life that people look at and see a rule book? If you live a life of love, people will see the person of Christ - they won't see a list of rules. They will see you living into who you are and being content in it. If you don't live into your identity, people won't see Christ. What will they see? You. You keeping a list of rules because that's what your "religion" requires of you. At that point, you might as well be apart of any religion - Hindu, Buddhism, Islam, you name it. There is something common with all of those religions - they all require you to keep lists of rules! Christianity is about living by faith and living by the law of love. No, don't mistake me for being antinomian. Living in faith and by the law of love will cause you to live in a way that truly shows your love for Christ and others.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hi, Ben -*chomp*-

Olga sends her greetings to you, Ben.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Recessive Genes Galore!

Go ahead and groan. It's another post on genetics. Yes, it is the sad truth, but I'll try to make this one short and snappy.

A couple months ago I took in a family of gerbils who had been dumped at a pet shop. There were three pups plus the mom and dad. One pup was lilac, and the other two were black. Both of the parents were black, and it wasn't really any surprise that they happened to have the gene to make a red-eyed gerbil. I figured I might as well take them in, considering I've sold so many other gerbils in the past. Their colors weren't particularly neat or highly sought after, but I figured I might as well do it since they were free. Here are the genetic codes for the parents:
black - aaC-D-E-G-Pp <---I know the parents carry recessive 'p's because the lilac pup that came in the litter had red eyes.
Nothing particularly exciting. Nothing very out of the ordinary.
If you don't want to end up with lots and lots of gerbils, you have to separate the female and male right before the female has a litter. Obviously, the male and female hadn't been separated, so she was due to have another litter. She had it. Six squirmy pups - four with black eyes, two with red eyes. I figured there were four blacks and two lilacs. Here is one of the black-eyed new-born pups:
At about five days, I started noticing that there seem to be a few different colors.
And then they started getting their peach fuzz:
They then started to look like gerbils at about ten days:
They finished getting their fur, and I could finally tell what colors they were:
nutmeg - aaC-D-ee-G-P-
black - aaC-D-E-G-P-
lilac - aaC-D-E-G-pp
sapphire - aaCc[chm]D-E-G-pp - sapphire is actually lighter than lilac, though it's hard to tell in this picture.
burmese - aac[chm]c[chm]D-E-P-
What the burmese will turn out to look like:
Maybe no one else gets all that excited about genetics, but I found it extremely fascinating to see that two black gerbils could produce all these colors - in one litter. Just knowing what their genes are, I know that they could have even more colors. Because of the colors of pups they had, I now know that both black parents have a lot of recessives:


Yes, it is true. Only four months and two days until Beth's birthday. No, I'm not saying "meh" to her birthday, I'm talking about the word meh itself.

Yes, you heard it, folks! According to World magazine, meh is becoming an official word! Indeed, this is time for celebration.

"Need a word for an expression of indifference or boredom? The new Collins English Dictionary published by HarperCollins now has an official way to say it: "Meh." The expression will find its way into the dictionary's 30th anniversary edition after gaining popularity on an episode of the television show The Simpsons in 2001. In the episode, Homer suggests taking a day trip with his children. Bart and Lisa are nonplussed by the offer. "They both just reply 'meh' and keep watching TV," said Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries."

There you have it, Beth. Your wish granted even before your birthday occurred.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Persecution still happens. Somehow in our protected little world the thought of it doesn't cross a lot of Christians' minds. It seems a thing of the past. When people think of persecution, they most likely think of missionaries getting eaten by headhunters or Christians being burnt alive in the jungles of Burma (modern-day Myanmar). What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that those things still do happen, and it has never stopped.

Here in America, the worst thing that could happen to a Christian is getting scoffed at by the media or to have someone call them a name. Somehow when this happens, Christians seem to think that it is something terrible and they put the name "persecution" on it. However, Christians in America would very rarely ever lose their job because of their faith, nor would they be put to death for their faith. I am very thankful for the protection that we do have here in America, but this easy way of living a Christian life tends to create a lot of false Christianity. These Christians would turn from their faith as soon as something better turned up or as soon as Christianity didn't seem to be in favor.

I sometimes wonder if you would be more blessed to live under persecution and to have to grow up in the faith through that way than to struggle against the stream of the Western World. There is a lot of persecution going on in the East today. I often find myself wondering if it is not more blessed to live under such persecution where Christians and non-Christians have such a sharp contrast and where Christians are forced to grow up in the faith because they have little or nothing. Wealth, riches, and freedom are often a stumbling block to Christians in the West. They someone think that they did something to deserve what they have instead of how it really is - God, through His grace, providing for us our daily needs.

My thoughts turn particularly to the persecution in India. Hindus have never been all that friendly toward Christians, but after a key Hindu leader was killed, Hindu activists assumed that it was the Christians' fault and immediately started persecuting them. Though the persecution is happening all around India to a certain degree, it is particularly bad in Orissa and Mangalore. Many people have been beat unmercifully, and many more have even been burned to death. Still more people have been put into prison, only to die from the bad conditions. Hardly anyone in the West knows about it, yet it has had catastrophic effects on many, many people there.

In no way am I saying that it is easy to live a persecuted life. It isn't fun to be tortured or to be put to death. These people do need support, and they do need the grace of God to make it through such hard times. Those are not the only people being brutally persecuted. China, as soon as the Olympic games were over, started cracking down on Christians throughout all of China. In Somalia Christians are being beheaded.

Those of us who have the freedom to be able to live a Christian life without persecution should be praying for and supporting our family in Christ. We should be praying that God would use the persecution to strengthen the body of Christ. We should also pray that by the grace of God, these Christians would stay strong in the faith - even in the face of death - and that God would use their circumstances to help them to grow up in the faith.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Folly of the Exclamation Point

The exclamation point.

Something used way too often by some people and used only when it is needed by others.

Using exclamation points is a dangerous trap for many people - especially when they want people to take them seriously. Some people use it anytime they would raise their voice - even slightly. Other people use it whenever they find something to be interesting. In the case of someone writing a paper about something they enjoy, the exclamation point would come after every sentence.
The problem with exclamation points? There are many.
  • It gets very irritating for the reader to realize that if they glance down the page, every single paragraph has an exclamation coming after the last sentence.
  • It starts to make the reader think the author is totally unstable both in emotions and in character.
  • It makes the reader think they're missing something important - why does the author think this is interesting enough to keep using exclamation points? Did I miss something?
  • Ever had someone try to make you excited about something that isn't interesting? You know how extremely bored you get? That's what it is like to have an author SHOUTING AT YOU and trying to get you to be excited over something that is boring.
  • Once the reader figures out the author doesn't seem to have a key with a period on their keyboard, they start shutting down and just get irritated by how poorly the author writes.
  • After this, the reader starts laughing about how amateur this author seems to be - no matter how hard a subject the author chooses.
  • The reader, finally so disgusted with the overuse of the exclamation point, slams the book closed. They then decide that the author's knowledge on the subject is inadequate.

Only one exclamation point per paragraph. Period.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Chiropractor or the Manipulative Osteopath?

There are several things that most people in the Western World seem to be addicted to: chewing gum, talking on phones, caffeine, staying up late and complaining about being tired the next morning, and getting their backs worked on. All the addictions up to getting your back worked on are brought upon your own self. When it comes to injured backs, however, there is nothing that can be helped. It seems to be somewhat hereditary, and it is painful.

Most people, when confronted with an injured back, head straight off to the chiropractor. Others, however, head off to their osteopath. So, what are the similarities and differences, and which one is better?

...try to rid you of aches and pains.

...also put an emphasis on trying to cure respiratory and digestive problems.
...try to keep a person's radiation exposure down by trying to get by with as few X-rays as possible.
...usually have to spend more time with a patient, but the patient doesn't generally have to go back for a second treatment after an injury.

...only concern themselves with aches and pains.
...greatly rely on X-rays.
...usually have to have their patients come back for several treatments per injury.

So, what is the difference? It's all in how they approach how to fix your back.

Chiropractics, on the one hand, move bones. When your back is injured, it is most likely because your spine is no longer properly aligned. Your spine is what supports everything, so that puts pressure in places there should be none. A chiropractic's approach just moves the bones. Unfortunately, the muscles and fasciae that surround those bones have all ready moved to their new location, so when the bones are moved, the muscles will actually just pull the bones right back to the injured location. Throughout each treatment, the muscles are slowly moved to where they need to be again.This is why it often takes several treatments to finally get the bones where they need to be.

Osteopaths, on the other hand, work on the actual muscles. They will work to bring the muscles to where they need to be and not worry so much about the bones. This causes the muscles to pull the bones to where they need to be. With the muscles all ready in place, there is really no need to worry that everything will "spring back." These muscles pulling the bones back in place often leave the patient rather sore, but the results are often much better.

So, for your next back injury, what will you do?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What? You mean this blog sometimes gets updated?

Looks like it has been about twenty-eight days since I've posted...

Believe it or not, I actually haven't gotten sucked into the black hole of being a non-blogger. In fact, someone has actually been pulled (miraculously) from that void.

That's non other than the only Rjentina! Becky, I've only known you for the past 15+, and you still take me by surprise once in a while.

But wait! There's more news in this realm of blogofying! A blog has also been resurrected (yeah, other than mine...)! The great Roozer is back to annoy us!

I'm getting the feeling that this is very random.

You can thank my new batch of gerbils for that... I'm still trying to catch up on sleep from their party they had two nights ago. You see, I went to Petco to buy (another) water bottle for the gerbils. While I was there, I noticed they had a whole litter of gerbils (plus Mom and Dad) up for adoption. Considering the fact I was all ready breeding, I figured I might as well take them and sell them with the rest of my gerbils. Big mistake. That was the noisiest night I have ever "slept" through. I'm not really much of a light sleeper, and I couldn't even sleep through them. First they pawed behind their water bottle, making a huge racket every time the glass bottle hit the glass cage. I took the bottle out. They went over to the box and started pawing in there. After another long while, I couldn't take it anymore. I took the box out. They then started jumping, hitting the top of the cage with a loud thump ever time. No, I didn't take the lid off. I decided I should put something in there before they suffered from brain damage from hitting the top so hard. I put a wheel in the cage. Another big mistake. Finally, I was so fed up with them that I wanted to kill 'em all. Instead, I stuck them in the closet with the door closed. I managed to get a few hours of sleep before The Beast started buzzing. They look so innocent until you try to sleep... At that point, they turn into ravenous giants trying everything in their power to keep you from sleeping.

We went to Breckenridge for a week. Considering most of you have probably been to Breckenridge, I decided to skip out on the "beautiful scenery" pictures.
Of course, my wondrous green pillow came along. Thanks to The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbookand my biology course, I am now terrified of hotel rooms and condos. Why? Germs! Thank goodness I had my green pillow to comfort me. Unfortunately, my pillow didn't do all it was supposed to do. It was okay to sleep on, but I kept waking up with my neck aching...of course, this might be because I was also terrified to move in my bed. I knew that the one place I was sleeping was clean, but I wasn't about ready to touch any of the other sheets, quilt, or the wall. Someday I've got to get over this... Our house was filled with many odd yet fascinating things...
And you stare into those eyes and wonder how anyone could be so cruel... Okay, enough of that. This guy was all ready dead -- and mounted. I tried to talk Becky into wanting one of these for our green room. Besides the obvious problem of it taking up most of a wall, I though it would look great.I had all these strange dreams of actually getting some reading done in Breckenridge. I don't know what possessed me, but I brought up five books to read. How much did I get read? Well, if you add everything together maybe a 150 pages?...
Every morning I got to wake up to this guy looking down at me...rather disturbing.
This dude was even more disturbing...
But most disturbing was this cat right next to my bed! How much worse could a vacation be?!?
Becky is taking lessons on how to do self portraits.
Ben is getting a little better at it...
Lots of games!
Well, I was supposed to win, but...

Becky looks like an ad for a casino - I look like some who has actually been playing at a casino.
Becky's toothbrush frequently attacks her. It's because our dentist buys his toothbrushes from the Zulu in Africa. This tribe always curses the color red because it's the color of blood. This attack was a little worse than the ones that have happened in the past. In fact, it was so bad that she had to push on her neck to shut off her trachea and esophagus in order the keep the toothbrush from going down. Ben and I finally had to pull on the toothbrush with all our strength to keep it from going down. We will be shipping this toothbrush back to them directly, stating we aren't completely satisfied with it.
I'm sorry to say, I don't think she'll ever quite be the same.
Our amusing magnet on the fridge. By the way, since when do we put apostrophes every time we add an s?
This house had luxuries so bountiful that I even got my own thermostat!
It's always nice to relax on the porch with a good book - in the middle of a snow storm.
And then I had the sad reminder of what I got to do the day we got home. Speechify.
Okay, enough vacationing.
I started Popper #40 this week! Yippy! All I have to look forward to is another etude book! I have to say that my etude book is actually the International Edition, so it doesn't look quite like this one, but it's in about as good of shape. I think my cello teacher has had his book for his whole cello-playing career. Every time he takes the pieces of it out of his drawer, he says, "As you can see, this book has been well loved." And I always think, "Well, maybe it's in that bad of shape because it's well hated..." I don't have very many warm, fuzzy feelings when I think of this book. More like a tingling thumb. I think I'll stick with Rick Mooney next time. His at least have cool titles.

And finally, a very mini lecture/soap box. Here's what happens if people don't know how to witness to their own generation:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Amazing Grace?

I came across this video as I was looking for a different video of Amazing Grace that I had seen in the past. Besides the singer singing sharp for most of the time, the words are, well, interesting. Very reflective of how our culture wants peace but doesn't know what the root of war is and doesn't know what the implications of having a world that gets along perfectly are. Try taking Christianity out of this, and you'll have a hopeless mess to deal with. If this is their definition of amazing grace, I'd hate to know what their definition of peace is...
Oh, and since when did Judy Collins write Amazing Grace? That was a new one for me...
Even though it's rather sad, enjoy getting a laugh out of this one.

Iraq War Anniversary Vigil

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Just wanted to say if you don't all ready, be sure to read the weekly updated Stick With It! cartoon. I've been getting a big kick out of Steve's cartoons - they kind of remind me of The Far Side. If you're having a bad week, this comic strip will make it that much worse...uh...better.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


"You're homeschooled? Oh...."

You immediately see the brand getting stamped on your forehead. You know suddenly know you get up at about 9:00 PM every day and walk around in PJs for the rest of the day. You know that you aren't as smart as before and that the random questions trying to prove how bad homeschooling is will start coming like bullets. You know you don't know how to be at all social, and you know you know absolutely nothing about pop culture. You know you wear the same thing just about every day - and you don't really care. You know that you do nothing all day and that you have lots of extra time to do whatever you want.

"Wow, it must be nice to be homeschooled," as they slowly back away.

Every homeschooler reading this will know exactly what I'm talking about. It's no secret how often homeschoolers get treated like this. In fact, there are a lot of inside jokes that homeschoolers pass around about such situations.

I'm so tired of it, though. Every time you're around someone who doesn't quite approve of homeschooling you constantly feel like you have to try to prove that you're not actually scum off the bottom of the bucket. While taking tours, tour guides ask what school you go to. As soon as they find out that you are homeschooled, they say, "Oh, that means you need to learn something." They then proceed to give your mom teaching material and start asking you a bunch of random questions that not even the "smart public schooled kids" would know. If you don't happen to know the same set of random facts as your tour guide, they attribute it to you being homeschooled.

The truth about homeschooling? We end up doing just as much school as those in a public school. On a regular school day, I start working at 6:45 AM, and if I don't have any distractions and only take a 1/2 hour for lunch, I get done at 5:30. These "regular" school days don't happen very often, however. I have plenty of stuff on top of it. I have a cello lesson on Monday, speech class and orchestra on Tuesday, I will soon have a class on Wednesday night, I have a class on Thursday night, and that only leaves Friday without anything extra. I'm not trying to prove what I do each day, but I'm just getting plain sick of the blank "wow-you-must-not-have-to-do-anything" stare.

And on top of that, they think that homeschoolers are anti-social. I think the only reason for this thought is that there happen to be more public schooled kids than homeschoolers. As soon as homeschoolers are around homeschoolers, they don't usually have much problem talking. Do notice that public schooled kids are good at talking to other public schooled kids, but they don't really have any idea what to say to homeschoolers.

I found this article someone had written who was against homeschooling. I just want to pick it apart a little bit.

News flash: Not everyone is qualified to be a teacher. A lot of parents can't balance a checkbook or find Iraq on a map -- let alone teach their young-uns Algebra & Geography. Just because you love little Johnny does not qualify you to be his teacher. It takes a good education as well as a love for children to be a competent teacher. The education and intellectual well- being of our progeny are too important to be left to rank amateurs. My mom and dad loved me but it was a 6th grade teacher that instilled in me a love of reading and writing.

True, but those who are willing to homeschool their kids are going to be the ones who will go to the trouble to learn their material. If they feel inadequate, they will get curriculum and other sources to use. Think of it another way, though. If a parent has eight kids to homeschool, think how many times the parent will have to teach a student the same material over and over from scratch. Homeschooling parents have got to be about the smartest people on earth. Think of it yet another way. If your parents are public schooled, they decide to homeschool you, and public education is against this, what are they saying about their own schooling system? That their students they're producing aren't smart enough to teach? Seems a little ironical to me...

Home schooling a small child stunts his emotional and psychological growth. It's at school that a child learns how to communicate with his peers, respect those different from himself and to work as a team to accomplish goals. No, matter how loving and nurturing a home, it can't replace a school as a crucible for social development.

Oh please... I have never yet come across a homeschooler who doesn't know how to communicate to their peers, let alone know how to respect others.

A dog that's been confined to a kennel for years will not make a good pet and a child who's been confined to his home during his formative years will find it extremely difficult to adjust to the real world. We don't need any more Jerry Dalhmers and Paul Hills let loose on our society.

Wow, it makes it sounds like we're chained to a tree or something. I think you would have to try pretty hard not to expose someone to the real world.

Most parents who home school their offspring are religious zealots. These impressionable youngsters who are captive to the rigid dogma of their parents are robbed of the wonderful diversity of ideas and cultures that thrive in our public schools. If the number of kids being home schooled continues to grow our democracy will soon resemble the theocracies of Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Isn't it our job to bring up our own kids to be Godly? Nothing about homeschooling robs a child of the diversity of ideas and cultures. You get that everywhere you go. Take WalMart as an example... Maybe even Colfax?

This is a rant. I have no great solution to the problem. I just wish the public could be educated a little about homeschooling.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Christianity, the East, and the West

My cello teacher and I have much the same interests. We both like history and philosophy, and we both like to discuss things. However, we both come from opposite ends of the spectrum. He is very "new-agey" and very much into the East. Every few years or so, he will head on off to India for several weeks and come back with the latest and greatest on Hinduism and Buddhism. Being very pluralistic, he doesn’t really have any problem with me believing God. To him, everything has their own way of getting to their goal, so he will willingly play along with whatever strange ideas I have. He will talk about God as a real, living being that has complete and sovereign power over everything, yet somehow, I know that he doesn’t happen to be talking about the same God that I am. We discuss things back and forth. I get pretty much one sentence to say everything that I want to say on the subject, and he will continue to take up the rest of the time. He may never realize it (and may not care to realize it) that he has been one of the most influencing people over my life. Not in a bad sense, but probably in exactly the opposite way he was trying to have an influence over me. He has been the one that has made me realize that I am old enough to know what I believe and why I believe it. He has been the one that has made me do a lot of study and thinking. He is very good with words and can pretty much put any idea of his into words. When I want to discuss something or try out my new idea on him to see if I can manage to say everything in one sentence, it becomes almost a competition with him to see who can say something more clearly. Being of a very logical mind (for how logical a natural mind can be), he doesn’t just like short little shallow answers to things. He truly wants to know what you personally believe and why. The little "Gospel Message" that so many Christians try to share with this generation just doesn’t quite seem to do it for him, and saying, "Jesus came and died on a cross to save you from your sins (even though you may think you’re a pretty good person) so that you could go to Heaven" just doesn’t quite make him jump up and down saying he wants to become a Christian. Not only has he heard it before, but it seems rather illogical. After all, just simply saying that Jesus died for sins (as if that’s the only reason he died for us) will make him just think, "Okay. I’ll just try to live a really, really good life, and if I goof up, oh well. Oh, and by the way, who is this guy named Jesus? I don’t think this is any different from any other religion. All they’re telling me to do is to conform my life to a way of living just like every other religion. Why should I choose Christianity over Buddhism?" And with his humanistic thinking, he would go on to continue with his Eastern religions. Because he thinks pretty logically, only logical answers that can be backed up will make any impression on him. In talking to him, I try really, really hard not to dig myself into holes (which he’s pretty good at getting you into) and to think logically, yet quickly. He’ll give you all the time in the world to think up an answer, but if you start to say anything (even one word) and then suddenly find yourself not really knowing what to say, he’ll tell you what he was going to say and quickly move on. End of opportunity to say anything. Through all of this, I have started studying quite a bit just to try to get my feet on the ground enough to say something that he won’t laugh at and find lots of problems with.

He really has gotten me to think about the East. Why is it that the East is scared of the West, and yet the West embraces the East? There are countless examples of eastern countries that refuse to admit Westerners (it seems particularly Americans) into their country. If you’re on this end of things, however, Eastern philosophy, religion, and its people are embraced. How could this be? In America, everywhere you go, you see books on its philosophies, religions, foods, cultures, and religious practices (such as yoga). I think that part of the problem goes back to America feeling as if they can’t get to any absolute that is indeed an absolute. This leaves an empty void and because nothing happens in a vacuum, they try to fill this void with something new and mystical. They move on to a religions where they are required to conform their life to a set of given standards in order that they might eventually find this truth that they they so earnestly are looking for. They want to do something. They want to conform to something that will make them feel as if they are accomplishing something and helping them feel their life is worth something. The East has found their way of spiritual accomplishment, and the West wants to find it too. Because of so much restriction in so many eastern countries, many of them have moved here. Many of these people after an amount of time will give up their Eastern clothing, food, and music (though in no way am I saying these things are bad), but religious ideas will be the very last thing to go. In a culture that is so open to Eastern ideas, they are not going to let it go. They know that they are feeding the fire, and they are not going to give up their religion. Why would the East want to keep away the Westerners though? Think about how our culture differs from theirs. The East is very big into tradition. America (and particularly America) doesn’t like tradition, especially after their heritage. They want to stand out, and they want to make advancements. In fact, America is a very proud country that doesn’t want any other country to out do their accomplishments. The East, however, is more laid back. Religion is their life and tradition. They have higher things to look for than earthly gain. However, tradition is the key. Since the ‘60s, America has broken away from Christianity being a tradition. In fact, the East and the West have taken two different paths. The West is science oriented and puts a big effort into advancement. Religion is looked upon as a weakness (though they fill it in with worshiping themselves and the universe). A person is measured by how much they have and what their income is. In order to have more of an influence, you must have more money and a higher position. The East on the other hand, has religion as its main priority of the day. They do a lot for their religion and gods. Family and tradition are a huge part of their lives, and whether they have a lot doesn’t really seem to matter. This is the reason so many people, tired of the daily rat race, will retire to the East where they can live without any worry of gaining more and can spend a lot of time feeling good because of what they are doing. As David Wells says in Above All Earthly Powers:

"Western preoccupation with the self and with what is therapeutic leads naturally into a disposition that is amenable to Eastern ideas, and Western moral disorder makes Islam (and Hinduism and Buddhism) look like a haven of moral sanity."

And is all of this going to stand up to some guy (in the eyes of a non Christian) named Jesus coming and dying for some "mistakes" that we could mend ourselves by following simple Eastern philosophy? No way. If you know the philosophies behind humanistic religions, it is quite easy to see the differences between humanistic religions and Christianity. Humanistic religions all have several things in common: they are built after our human nature (particularly the gods), they all require you to do something, and they all require you to conform your life to a given set of principles. This is quite opposite to Christianity which is about faith in a God who sent His son to restore the perfect relationship we had with Him before the fall. It is not about a set of rules, but it is about living in faith in light of who we are (the chosen sons of God). We don’t do anything. We be someone - the ones that His Spirit is daily conforming us to the character of Christ. Christianity can’t even be said to be a religion. Religion is conforming yourself to rules to reach a goal. Christianity is a restored relationship with God himself. If we understand this, we would (and could) talk about Christ to others in a way that would not make Christianity seem like any other religion floating around in this world. We must study to find answers to cultural questions and not ignore them. We must pray that God would help us to reach out to those in a way that would cause them to see Christianity for what it really is. As Luther says, if you can’t preach the true Gospel to those in your generation, you don’t know what it is about. They didn’t just all wake up one morning and decide to believe something that seems absurd to us. What they believe has been building up and leading up until now. Work and study hard to understand today’s generation and culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going Green!

I have finally repented and come to realize that the environmentalists are right. Green is the best. I have started reforming my life. It was a little difficult to make the first few moves, but now I'm starting to spend more money.
First I painted our new room green:
That weekend, I went down to Albuquerque and got a new organic cello. Of course, I was careful not to litter along the highway and not to disturb the path of the tornado on the way home.

That's the extent of my effort in that direction.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic National Convention, Go Home.

All I can say is that the media seems to be more excited about it than anyone else. They seem to think that this is Colorado's golden age. The truth is, I have only heard one person say that they're excited for it - and that was my cello teacher. Supposedly, Denver is supposed to benefit much from this whole convention, but I have heard very few people say that they might benefit from it. One family might benefit from it because they own a restaurant downtown. We benefit from having a zoo downtown because we got one quartet job. This job is for a feminist group's dinner, who will be protesting what the Democrats did to Hillary - not even something I want to play for. This morning, the newspaper added a whole section dedicated to the DNC, thicker than the rest of the newspaper put together. Isn't there anything else in the world worth talking about besides a bunch of Democrats have a week-long party downtown? What about world news? But no, they have to make a big deal about their Obamanable candidate actually coming to Denver! What news!

Media: Be quiet, and find something worth talking about.
DNC: Go home.
Me: Shut up and quit getting worked up about things that don't really matter.

End of rant. End of story.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

NASA Sponsors Course on How to Talk to Aliens

I found this article on Ken Ham's blog, and I kind of got a kick out of it.
Yes—it is true. If you’re an American, your tax dollars are being used by a government agency to teach a course to students on how to talk to aliens! This is serious stuff. We’ve never seen aliens, never had any messages from them, never heard from them. They have not visited earth, and we don’t know how to reach them. But we are using tax dollars for this blind-faith idea!
However, if tax dollars were used to teach students on how to talk with God, who stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ so we could see Him on earth, who gave us a whole book (the Bible) to reveal all we need to know about the universe, who did visit earth as a man, who tells us how to reach Him through prayer—well that would not be allowed! That would be called religion—and you know, the “separation of church” and stuff!

It’s okay to have faith in aliens—just don’t have faith in an infinite God who has communicated to us through His Son and through His written Word! The article on this begins:

English students at the University of Wyoming are being encouraged to consider the possibility that humanity might one day make contact with aliens and then not know what to say. “Interstellar Message Composition,” a creative writing class, is believed to be the first of its kind to engage writers in a potential cosmic conversation, say its founders. “We’ve thought a lot about how we might communicate with other worlds, but we haven’t thought much about what we’d actually say,” Prof Jeffrey Lockwood, the course leader, told ABC News.

There is so much talk going on about aliens, one wonders if this is all meant to prepare people for some great delusion!

Several AiG staff have been at the International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh, which ends tonight (Wednesday). This ICC event is held every 4–5 years, and AiG’s Andrew Snelling, one of the world’s most respected creation scientists, has been deeply involved once again. Dr. Snelling, with a PhD degree in geology from the University of Sydney in Australia, is the editor-in-chief of this year’s Sixth International Conference on Creationism (co-sponsored by the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Science Fellowship of Pittsburgh). Previous research papers for the ICC by Dr. Snelling have been awarded for technical excellence at two ICCs. I’ll have more about the ICC meeting in a future blog.

A friend of the AiG ministry passed away recently, Christian educator Les MacLeod of Santa Rosa, California. Les was a key person in setting up major events for me and other creation speakers in northern California (including at his Christian school, where he was a principal and a teacher). I recall these meetings as being very well attended, including one major conference in a large auditorium Les and his committee rented in Santa Rosa one year.
For more about his life (the service will be held today), go to:
Our condolences to Carol (his wife), children, and other family members—please pray for them today.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,