Thursday, September 28, 2006

Three-Years Worth of Growth

I've recently had an emotional blow that was three years in the making. But amazingly, I have a different attitude toward it than I would have three years ago. As I wrote to a friend:
It's also rather interesting to me that I am "giving credit" to God for this whole three years. The person I was three years ago probably would have blamed God for the way these three years have turned out. Now, I want to praise him for the exact same events I would formerly have blamed him for. I want to shout it from the housetops that God was active in my life, pulling strings, leading gently, slapping me upside the head. I can't however point to any objective evidence and say "See what a great thing God has done", and yet, there's a nebulous sensation in my spirit telling me that's exactly what has happened. It doesn't cut the hurt of the "loss" any ... but it makes the hurt worth it.
God is alive and well on Planet Earth.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

BankOfAmerica is Anti-God

The title might be a bit inflammatory, but over the past few months I've really come to believe that God is very concerned with issues of fairness, especially as this relates to how the Have's treat the Have Not's.

I was driving back from Houston (Hi Christa! :-) bye christa.. :'( ) earlier this week and tuned into the Clark Howard radio talk show. Here I learned the story of Matthew Shinnick. I'll let Clark tell the story (
How the Bank of America blunder went down
By now, you’ve probably heard the story of the San Francisco man who was arrested and jailed when he tried to verify the validity of a check at Bank of America branch. Clark found out about this story and talked with the man, Matthew Shinnick, who has spent about $14,000 in legal fees to clear his name. It all started when Shinnick posted two bicycles for sale on Cragislist and received a check from a man for more than the cost of the bicycles. He went into his bank to see if the check was legitimate and verify that there was money in the person’s account. He was told it was a valid account and so he cashed the check. At that point, BOA employees called the police and Shinnick was arrested on fraud charges because the check was actually a phony. He had no idea that the real criminal had used the name of a legitimate company to fake a check. So, Matthew sat in the bank branch for hours while police figured out what to do and then spent the night in jail. Once he got out, he wanted to clear his name legally so the arrest would not come back to haunt him. He had to hire attorneys to do this and it cost him nearly $14,000. He then went to Bank of America and asked that the bank cover his fees because it was the bank’s error. But so far BOA has refused. This kind of treatment sends the message that banks only care about their bottom line and nothing about their customers. It's unacceptable and it's time to fight back.
Apparently some of Clark's listeners took up the challenge. According to, $14 million has been pulled out of the bank by former BoA customers. If I were a customer, I myself would close my account.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Creation Corner

I found some of my old floppy disks of the 5.25" variety (which should indicate the age of these things). Apparently even way back then I was interested in informing others of creation-oriented information. Although I'd modify the following somewhat now, it is interesting to me to see what I was writing then.

Creation Corner
Almost everyone has heard at one time or another that "Evolution is a fact." What may be surprising is that creationists agree with that statement, provided that a clear definition of "evolution" has been made.

There are two types of evolution: macroevolution and microevolution. Macroevolution is what is generally meant when someone mentions evolution. It is the idea that a single cell evolved over millions of years into the many different forms of complex life we see today, including humans. This is also known as vertical evolution, for it involves an upward change from the simple to the complex.

Microevolution is the variation that we see within a basic kind. For example, some basic dog kind, a mutt if you will, has evolved over the years into the wolf, the coyote, the dingo, the huge St. Bernard, and the tiny Chihuahua. Another example is the basic human kind which was personified in Adam and which has evolved into Blacks, Whites, Reds, Yellows, Shorts, Talls, etc. This is also known as horizontal evolution, for it involves great variation all around the basic kind without any upward change from the simple to the complex.

Microevolution is a fact. It is demonstrated again and again in both the field and the science lab. Creationists have no problem accepting microevolution as fact. They do however object to the idea that macroevolution is fact. Many high school textbooks proclaim that (macro) evolution is fact and then trot out examples of microevolution to prove it. Most students are familiar with the textbook examples of the evolution of the black and white moths, or of the horse. But both of these are examples of microevolution. It is bad science to make a leap of faith from factual microevolution to theoretical macroevolution.

For thousands of years animal breeders have been trying to produce stronger, healthier, better animals, whether that means fatter cows or faster horses, and what has been demonstrated time and time again is that there are limits to how much change an animal type can undergo. Over the past 50 years or so, scientists in the lab have been breeding fruitflies to see how far evolution can go, and again, although they get all sorts of variations on the basic fruitfly, they all remain fruitflies. There are definite limits to biological change.

The textbooks may claim that there are no limits to variation, so that new species can evolve from current ones, but the actual scientific data indicates otherwise.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Grab for it All! (Not)

When you grab all you can get, that's what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.
-- Proverbs 1:19

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Side You've Never Heard

In the Creation-Intelligent Design-Evolution controversy, all you ever hear from the mass media is a pro-evo slant or a strawman caricature of the creation/design view. In order to balance the view (and thereby make you more educated than the average Joe on the street about these issues), take a look-see at these sites:
Telic Thoughts
ID: The Future
Evolution News

Friday, September 08, 2006

You Are Who You Are

Ken Archer summarizes an insight of Pope John Paul II:
You are who you are, not what you would be if the system was different.
"[Archer's mentor] Willard says the intersection between his philosophical and devotional work can be found in the simple question: Who are you going to become?"

"If I were richer, I'd be more giving...".
"If I had more time, I'd exercise...".
"I'd always be in a better mood if my job wasn't so terrible...".

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Governance by Sex

I was reading an article the other day about the city of London "disciplining" some London firemen who refused to hand out flyers at a Gay parade. Someone commenting on the story, a Stewart Cowan of Stranraer, made a comment that struck me as a sharp observation. He wrote:
When a man’s conscience can be overruled by the sexual whims of another man, we are all in deep, deep trouble.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Buttered Bread

I was just in a conversation in which the old joke came up about strapping a piece of buttered bread to the back of your cat so that you can create a perpetual motion machine.

Then I got to wondering how anybody ever thought of the idea of buttered bread always landing on the buttered side when it falls. I mean, once the bread falls to a dirty floor, does it really matter which side of the bread lands? Were you planning on eating the bread anyway?

I suppose you might, if you're an adherent of the 5-second rule. But I also suppose that whoever thought up the idea of the bread landing buttered-side down must believe that the butter somehow decreases the 5-second rule to a short enough time span that you can't recover the bread in time for eating it.

Which I guess is why, for insurance sake, you should always strap your bread to the back of a cat before buttering it.

Bible Literacy

As I think about the lack of Bible knowledge in this country, I realize that even the education children do get, perhaps at Sunday School, etc, tends to be choppy and disjointed. The big picture is seldom presented.

So here's the big picture in a nutshell.

God (named "Yhwh", which seems to be related to the verb "being" and might be thought of as "essence", or as Yhwh and Y'shua put it, "I AM [THAT I AM]"), created the cosmos, in six literal days, about 6000 years ago (as per clocks on the surface of the Earth; as per a clock on the outer reaches of the universe, perhaps billions of years ago, even though those edges are younger than the 6000-year old earth - gravity-time-dilation effects can be fun!).

The original creation was perfect; no death, no disease, no killing. Lions played with lambs. Dinosaurs frolicked with humans. Mosquitoes didn't suck blood. Weeds didn't produce painful grass-burrs.

But God allowed humans the choice to believe Him, or not to believe him. The first human pair, Adam and Eve, chose not to believe Yhwh, and acted against his one and only commandment, not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. (It's highly unlikely that fruit was an apple; it was probably a type of fruit that is now extinct.)

When they chose to not have faith in what God had said, and ate that fruit, the cosmos was thrown into a death spiral, and ever since then things have been broken and heading for ruin. This is why Grandma has cancer, and your baby brother has Multiple Sclerosis, and your dog just died of old age, and a stingray stabbed Steve Erwin in the chest and killed him.

God was essentially driven out of close contact with this cosmos because it had become poisonous to him. But he wasn't totally absent; he made appearances here and there. After about 16 and a half centuries of the world getting uglier and uglier, he "rebooted" the Earth with a global flood, which essentially turned the Earth inside out, burying billions and billions of plants and animals and turning many of them into fossils (largely buried in order according to their ecological zone: sea-bottom dwellers first, then fish, then edge-of-the-water critters, then slower moving land-dwellers, then faster and larger land-dwellers, followed by the most agile and/or smartest and/or flying beings). (Evolutionists interpret this fossil record as billions of years of "change" from sea-bottom dwellers to smart beings, because they refuse to consider the possibility of this Great Flood.)

But God warned Noah of the coming flood, and Noah, along with his wife, his three sons, and their wives, built a floating box, big enough to take on representatives of the air-breathing land-dwelling animals. He didn't take a sabre-toothed tiger and a puma and a tiger and a lion and a house cat; he just took a couple of "cats" (or perhaps seven cats or seven pairs of cats, depending on if cats are "clean" animals or not). After the flood, these cats had enough genetic variety in them to breed small cats and big cats and medium cats and mountain-loving cats and long-toothed cats and etc. (Evolutionists today see this variation-on-a-theme and assume that the variation does not have any limits, so they figure that a cat could eventually vary into a totally different, non-cat, type of creature. Of course, thousands of years of animal breeding have not demonstrated this; decades of lab research have not been able to accomplish this; the fossil record does not support this; the Bible teaches limited variation, but only within a "kind"; genetic studies indicate that variation is limited; but these evolutionists don't let the data stop them from insisting that their view is true and that any other view is unscientific and anyone who even questions evolution must be some sort of stupid, flat-earth-believing rube from back-woods Hicksville.)

So the population of Earth, both human and animal, survived the Flood. But conditions were vastly different. Before the flood, the environment was such that rain and rainbows did not occur. People (and other organisms) lived to long ages. Dragonflies grew to have meter-wide wingspans. Etc. Now, after the flood, lifespans of people gradually dropped to about a tenth of what it was before. The hydrologic cycle changed. Seasons changed. Dinosaurs no longer could thrive in the environment, and basically became extinct (except for the occasional Komodo "dragon" today or mythical dragons reported from all cultures).

After the flood, Noah's descendents failed to spread out like God had told them to do, and started maturing their technology at a faster pace than their culture could absorb. So God broke up their tech-fest by suddenly confusing their language in the city of Babel. All of a sudden, different people could no longer talk to each other, so people started grouping together with others they could understand, and moved off into their own little niche. In this way, the human population spread out from Babel, and different people-groups started to form. And just like the cats who had long-toothed children and short-toothed children, the humans had tall children and short children. Some of the short children got together and married (yes, in those earliest days after the creation and again after the Flood, brother married sister, cousin married cousin; the genetic damage had not gotten bad enough yet in our DNA to cause problems from close-kin marriages). Some of the darker-skinned kids got together and married. Some of the more book-learning-minded kids got together and married. Some of the more sports-minded kids got together and married. And some of their kids wandered to other family groups, and learned their language, and married into those groups, thereby spreading the short/dark/sports-minded/whatever genes around some, but mostly over time the short group lost the genetic information for tallness, and the blue-eyed group lost the genetic information for brown eyes, etc. (Evolutionists point to this variation among humans as "evolution", but notice that new genetic information has not arisen out of nothing; instead existing genetic information has been lost out of the group's gene pool. This is just the opposite of what evolution needs.)

Yhwh then picked a man named Abram, and promised to bless the Earth through his descendents. Later Abram's name was changed to Abraham, and he was the father of the Israelite nation. (Israel was the name of Abraham's grandson. Jacob was originally the grandson's name, but later in life his name was changed, just as his grandfather's name had been changed years earlier.)

Israel had twelve sons, each of whom became the ancestor of an Israeli "tribe".

Generations later, a man named David, of the Israeli tribe of Judah (Judah was one of the sons of Israel), became King. He's the King David you hear about so much from the Bible.

Generations later still, in the town of Bethlehem, a descendant of David was born named Yeshua. (In our culture we would normally pronounce this name as "Joshua", but we tend to pronounce it as "Jesus", as our culture adopted the Greek pronunciation which is more like "Yaysoos".) This baby was unique, in that he inherited the biological cell of humanity from his mother, along with her half of the DNA programming that runs that cell, but he got the other half of his DNA from Ywhw himself. Thus, Baby Jesus was human, yet also God. Somehow, in this way, he did not inherit the damage, the "sin" if you will, that the rest of us inherit from Adam. Jesus was free from the Curse. (Note that "sin" is used in two ways in the Bible; one way means "imperfection" or "broken-ness"; the other means "action or inaction that leads to guilt". Babies are born with the first type of "sin" and thus need saving from death, but not the second, and thus do not need "saving from sin". Thus they don't need to be baptized until they reach the mental stage where they can actually choose to "sin".)

At approximately the age of 33, Jesus stirred the pot sufficiently among the religious leaders that they deemed it necessary to put him to death. Not having the political ability to do so themselves, they pressured the Romans into doing it for them, and the Romans dealt out death in a very cruel way; crucifixion on a cross.

Jesus could have sidestepped this death, as he, as mentioned, is God, and had the power to do so. But the whole reason he came to Earth was to die. In some way, his death undoes the curse that Adam brought into the cosmos. When Jesus allowed himself to die on that cross, he purchased back the cosmos from certain death. (And by choosing to do so in a cruel way, he demonstrated that we are valuable enough to him to go through the worst kind of torture for us. Many people would take a bullet for someone they loved; but would they take extreme torture, especially if they had the ability to end the torture with just a thought, at the cost of that loved one?)

Then three days later, Jesus rose up from Death. He had conquered Death completely, and promises to all of us who believe in him to free us from the death-grip that is currently on this cosmos. In the meanwhile he has returned to his heaven, away from the poison of this fallen world. He's not quite ready to redeem it and us just yet.

We still live in the broken world. It has been purchased, but it has not yet been redeemed. We, and the cosmos around us, are groaning in anticipation of the redemption promised by Jesus. Even though our bodies wither and grow old and diseased and die (at which time our spirits go to live with Jesus), one day Jesus will return, bringing us in our spirit form with him. Then our spirits will be reunited with a raised, renewed, like-new-before-the-Curse body, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Those believers still alive will have their bodies changed instantly, so that they also will be like-new-before-the-Curse bodies.

The Earth will be consumed in fire, just as it had earlier been consumed by the Flood. After that, the details get hazy, but there seems to be some sort of new Cosmos to replace this broken one, probably similar to how we get new bodies to replace our broken ones.

And I don't know what life will be like there and then, except to say it'll be awesome. Beyond imagination (and I'm sure you can imagine a lot; I know I can).

And that's the gist of the Bible.

While we're waiting on the return of Jesus, we need to be transforming our culture into one that gets along with each other, and looks out for each others' benefit rather than just looking out for "Number One". This is what God wants; he wants peace on Earth; good will toward humanity; love, one for another, helping each other with our burdens, feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, eradicating poverty. God wants his house-rules to be in effect here on Earth; he wants his reign to extend over all nations; he wants the Kingdom of God to absorb all humans, but not in a political way, but rather in a heart-mind philosophy-led way. He wants his will to be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

If you want to be part of the eternity-long paradise, and want to be free eventually of disease and blindness and baldness and stinky armpits, and want to make the world into a peaceful community of one-another-ness, you can join the movement.

You've heard the basic story; if you believe it (and are willing to stand up for this belief publically), and are willing to steer your life away from selfish pursuits that hurt others (such as alcoholism or cheating on your spouse or stealing or even the more innocuous playing of the lottery (which has as its basic, underlying goal the making of many small losers out of your fellow humans in order for you to gain)), then you can admit to this belief and decide to make this life change, and begin your new life by being immersed in water ("baptized"), which is essentially the "official signing of the contract" to become a Christian. (Many Christians would downplay this contractual event, but the conversions and teachings in the Biblical book of Acts demonstrate its integral role in conversion).

That's the story; I'd love to have you consider it seriously, and act on it to become a fellow believer.


I'm certainly no great scholar of the Bible, but as I read comments on the web on various stories, I'm continually stunned by the ignorance of the basics of the Bible and Christianity in this United States of America.

I would not expect non-Western nations to have basic Bible knowledge, but when Westerners don't know the basics, I'm just stunned to realize how far our country has drifted from its more Biblical roots, just in the past half century or so.

This spurs in me the desire to teach basic Bible literacy to this nation. I believe our country would be better off with that kind of education.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Have I mentioned....

that I really like my guitar?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Just Ribbin' Ya

This is from one of those email lists that float around the 'Net:

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings.

Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs.

Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and she said, "Johnny, what is the matter?"

Little Johnny responded, "I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife."

Sin Damages the Earth

Yhwh turned rivers into wasteland,
springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
because of the evil of the people who lived there.

Psalm 107:33-34

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Circumcision: It's not just for Jewish men anymore

I'm pretty sure I was raised to avoid thinking of baptism as being the "Christian circumcision"; at least that's what my brain tells me I "should" remember, although I can't actually remember learning that.

Nonetheless, the other day I read this passage:
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism....
Col. 2:11-12

Seems to me that makes it pretty clear that baptism is the "Christian circumcision".

Maybe I'm just wrong about what I think I was probably taught.


In trying to find this passage just now using, I came across another interesting passage:
We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!
Rom. 4:9-10

Putting these two passages together, it would seem that righteousness by faith is credited prior to baptism.

However, I'm of the mind that the New Testament makes it clear that it is at the point of immersion that one gains a new life, has his sins washed away, dies to the old life, etc. So I think perhaps my leaning now is to believe that God may very well credit righteousness at the point of faith/decision, but that it's not "official" until immersion, and we have no business teaching otherwise.

But, what do I know?