Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beach Bums

After three days of trying to figure out how to spend every waking hour with two boys out of school, and no swim lessons this summer, I realized we needed to get away from the house.

The morning was spent in a rush to eat breakfast, pack more bags than a mule could carry into the Grand Canyon, corral two boys hyped on pre-beach excitement, and be ready to leave by 9 am. Somehow I managed.

We met up with some friends--L. and kids-- and we caravaned our way to the beach, the drive reaching its peak as we traversed the Sunshine Skyway bridge; a towering suspension bridge providing a beautiful vista of the Gulf and Tampa Bay. The drive was so scenic that I only heard the "how much longer?" question once.

Once at the beach, the kids gleefully threw down the supplies they had helped me drag across the pavement carry and dashed for the foamy waves rolling across the sand; feet kicking water, toes squishing sand, bellies tight with laughter. They had reached Heaven. I quickly slathered them in SPF 500 and sent them on their merry way while I wrestled a beach umbrella into the sand...only to have the wind rip it out and make me chase it like the idiot I am.

Four hours of relaxing fun. No fighting. No impromptu wrestling matches (other than with the beach umbrella). No arguments about whose turn it is to play computer games. Relief for me. Food for seagulls. Happy times for all.

Belittled Vocation

In the course of discussing what future occupations lay before my offspring, we had several startling insights. Intuitive Monkey will be busy balancing the demands of football, archaeology and entomology(the study of insects). When I asked how he was going to do all of that, he shook his head and assured me that he wouldn't be doing them all at the same time. What was I thinking?

The Rationalist didn't go into his career choices but posed a question to me.

"What did you study to do for a job when you were in college?"

"I studied English."

"What?! But you're not a Spanish-speaker, you already know English!"

"Well, studying English in college is not about learning how to speak it. It's about how to write it, reading important books that others wrote, and sometimes teaching it."

He gazed at me skeptically as I continued.

"Think about it this way. You speak English, but you don't know every English word there is, do you?"

"Well, yeah I do, " he said defensively. "I read at a fourth grade level!"

"So you know every word there is to know?"

"Uh huh...except for all the bad ones. I don't know all of those yet!"

At this point, all I could do was shake my head and laugh. At least he has something left to aspire to.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Atheism and Being Human

Evidence.

That is what atheists want; scientific evidence that God, and the supernatural exist. We Christians flounder about trying to come up with examples from the natural world to show the intricacies of nature, and convince atheists that natural selection is a poor way to explain the massively complex universe around us. We are bound to fail in this manner.

We cannot succeed in conveying "evidence" to atheists, because they have declared themselves the arbiters of what they will consider as evidence, and what they are unwilling to allow in the conversation. It is like a little boy wanting to belong to a club whose members find every reason not to allow him in. First, he needs a blue jacket. He gets one, but it is cerulean, not royal blue. He replaces it with a royal blue jacket, but now the buttons are 2 centimeters too large. He buys yet another jacket, but this one's stitches are too close together. Once more he returns with a blue jacket, but this one was made in China and they require a jacket made only in Belgium. Finally, exhausted from trying to meet a standard that is being controlled by those who don't want him in the first place, he walks away, leaving the club members in their tight little group.

Arguing with an atheist, from a scientific standpoint, is very much like this. You can point out A, B, and C in scientific studies and breakthroughs, but the response will be something like, "Well A was a study done by someone who might believe in God, so it's biased. B might indicate Intelligent Design, but the study was done in such and such a country whose standards are not quite the same as ours. C seems perfectly fine, but it is only one study and doesn't line up with other two that we like better." And so on, and so on. No matter what you bring out, it will never be enough.

Theoretically, atheism might seem intellectually appealing to its proponents, but the problem with atheism, is that no one actually lives in its sphere of thinking. Atheists go home and their everyday lives are much the same as the rest of the world's. They look for love, raise their children, and look for fulfillment in their careers, hobbies, or interests. Unlike what some would insinuate, atheism does not make one a Machiavellian monster, though surely they have their share, as does any group. And that is what is most interesting about atheism. Within the denial of God's existence, there is an implicit indication that there is no Moral Law to which people must ascribe. No God means No Rules. Yet, whenever engaging atheists in discussions, they seem to constantly rely on a set of Moral Laws.

Over and over they will cry for evidence. Why? Because they do not want to believe in something false. They have a quest to seek after Truth. In some ways it is a noble quest, being willing to release all things that might not be true, in order to live in truth. However, if there is no God, and therefore no Moral Law why are they so intent on living "truthfully"? There is no innate goodness in living "truthfully" because there is no "good." Why be outraged when people teach religion? How is it any different than someone teaching a particular dance step, or the way to paint a beautiful picture?

They will say that they want people to be free. They want to be able to live without the crushing oppression of religion. They will slander religious proponents in the most scathing ways, calling them hypocrites, bigots, and power-hungry maniacs, because they feel that humanity has suffered horribly under religious belief.

From whence comes this "moral" outrage that seethes in atheists? After all, if there is no Moral Law, then injustice and suffering lose their meaning. Why should a human care if people are oppressed or murdered? Do we care if a pack of wolves eviscerates a caribou? If people are simply more evolved animals, than the only Law to which they must answer is that of self-preservation. It would not be wrong to eradicate a people and take over their lands if not doing so meant your family would die. There would be no sense of right or wrong.

Completely frivolous comparison:

On Star Trek, the Vulcans were always portrayed as being highly evolved because they acted only out of logic, not emotion. I always wondered at the portrayal of this concept, because if people lived only out of logic, the world would be a very scary place and Vulcans would be a very evil people--albeit imaginary ones. Logic, in and of itself, would do anything to acquire the goal at hand. As long as the mission is accomplished, who cares how one gets there. Pure logic is about efficiency and ease. It makes more sense to cheat on an exam and get an A, then it does to study and get a B. It would be illogical not to cheat. Therefore, Vulcans should be morally untrustworthy and devious.

Of course, atheists are not Vulcans, their ears aren't pointy enough...and their blood is red, not green....and they've never traveled at warp speed.

Despite the claim that life should be lived purely on rationality and logic, it is impossible. The things that most people live for are completely beyond the scope of scientific logic. There is a push to try and explain away innate morality, intelligence, and self-awareness as nothing more than evolutionary necessities, but that simply doesn't hold water. Morality does not exist outside of God. Arguments can be made about the survival of the species and the need for order, but those also imply that the survival of the species is somehow good, worthy, and more important than the individual--a very morally, altruisitc view.

In some ways, the more atheists fight for Truth, the more they reveal about the reality that there is a Truth to fight for...a way of living and thinking that is right, and a way of living and thinking that is wrong.


Very familiar ideas to those of us who believe in God.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Total Body Disintegration Now Available In A Variety Of Flavors

I came across this story while perusing the news and upped my husband's life insurance policy. It turns out that soda is very, very bad for your cells and DNA.

Despite his otherwise healthy appearance, he has been consuming large quantities of poison soda. When his cell membranes disintegrate and he lies on the floor, a mushy pool of amino acids, I will sadly tell him, "I told you so!"

A Cheesy, Rhyming Ode To My Husband

A not-so-serious attempt to immortalize my husband in very bad, rhyming couplets! ;-)


The warmth and love my heart had felt,
as you changed our broken vacuum belt,
and replaced the leaking toilet flapper,
dressed in clothing oh so dapper,
reminded me of who I chose,
to face the many highs and lows,
upon the unknown path we tread,
with kids and bills and constant dread,
of home repairs and busted lights,
of long, hard days and sleepless nights
love alone our binding tether,
the duct-tape of our lives together.

Please don't revoke my English degree! Poor Shakespeare is ripping his ears off in his grave.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Strengths?

My senior year in high school I was part of a Junior Achievement group for my economics class. We worked with a local businessman in putting together a project for our class to raise money. It was supposed to be a lesson in small business. I don't remember much about the project, or how much money we raised. I don't even remember the name of the businessman, or what his specific position was, but I do remember one thing he said: "A person's greatest strength is also their greatest weakness."

I have seen that proverb play out many times in my life.

When faced with the downfall of Christian leaders, those unknown to me and those known intimately, I have pondered that statement. The same charismatic personalities that draw people to themselves, like a bright light attracting moths, seem destined to be burned by their own brightness.

The desire to make people happy and appease them, at it's best leads to a connected, effective leader; at its worst it cripples the leader and puts him/her at the mercy of the congregation's whims. Those motivated to do something great for God can move massive amounts of people to action, but often lose their way amidst the riches and adoration poured out upon them. Those who have a sympathetic heart and an ability to feel the pain of others, can succumb to relationships that are outside of healthy boundaries.

I suffer from the same paradox of strength. Being a good judge of a character has rescued me from many possible catastrophes, along with God's grace, but is a depressing ability to have as I realize that most people, myself included, are sorely lacking.

My prayer is that God would remove the cynicism, that is so rightly earned, and replace it with faith that He can overcome our weaknesses and our strengths.

What's the strength that you posess that is also a vulnerable spot?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Reminders Of My Age

Old, Eighties power rock blaring on the radio as we pull into a parking space.

The Rationalist: "I really like that song!"

Intuitive Monkey: "Yeah..me too!"

Me: "I used to listen to that song when I was your age."

Intuitive Monkey: "WOW! That song is reaallly old!"

Apparently, I have one foot in the grave, and it's wearing a pink, canvas, Converse sneaker.

Confusion In Christianity

The front page of our local paper has devoted recent headlines to exposing problems in a large church, in our area, that has a very famous husband and wife team. She is on Christian TV constantly, they have done an infomercial together, and there are various other places where you might come across their faces.

Televangelists always evoke a cringing feeling in me, especially those of the "health and wealth" type. I feel bad as I think negative thoughts about them, trying to remind myself that God can use all kinds of people and ways to reach the lost, yet suspicion and misgiving lurk beneath the surface of my thoughts.

It is hard to reconcile all that is done in the name of Christianity with actual Christianity. Very often, the truth gets invaded by half-truths and outright lies, resulting in a tangled mess that the average Christian is left to pick through, looking for the thread of truth that still remains, uncorrupted and pure. If simply picking out correct doctrine and practices were all that there was to it, even that would be manageable. However, for every doctrinal issue there are groups of people attached to them. Refuting error quickly becomes refuting people, which quickly leads to defensiveness, hurt feelings, anger, and accusations.

How do Christians form a cohesive community in the face of bad doctrine, charismatic personalities, and the fragility of being flawed humans?

I'll be writing several posts exploring my own experiences and questions about this over the next few days. Feel free to chime in.

87 Days

This was the first morning, in a long time, that I haven't had to be up by 6:30 am, groggy-eyed, stumbling around in the kitchen, looking for something to scrape together for breakfast for two boys who must have circadian rhythms that shoot adrenaline through their systems at the first glimmer of dawn. Instead, I slept 'til 7:00. Half an hour makes all the difference.

School is out for summer. Those words strike fear in many stay-at-home moms. Long hours that must be filled, hopefully without the necessity of letting them deteriorate 60% of their brains by watching endless hours of TV. It can seem a little daunting.

Despite the treacherous terrain of two small boys + lots of free time, I'm looking forward to his summer. Intuitive Monkey starts Kindergarten in August, and I will officially have accomplished my goal of being home at least until they were school age. This is the home stretch and I want enjoy every moment of it. Trips to the beaches, bike-riding, a few camping trips, and visiting relatives with a pool--that's what most of this summer will be.

87 days to spend with children who are becoming people that I actually like to do things with.

It'll be gone before I know it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blog Linking

I had my first request to exchange links with another blog.

It fills me with mixed emotions.

Initially, I was flattered, patting myself on the back that I was so witty and thoughtful and good-looking and perfect in every way. I mean, who could not want to link to me, right? There are probably thousands of bloggers just dying for the chance to be associated with me. They just are too intimidated by my overwhelming, blogging brilliance to actually approach me. We must give the people what they want. Millions are languishing without the chaotic, random, and utterly mundane writing featured here. They need a Wheat Among Tares infusion...STAT! (i don't really know what stat means when they say that on medical shows...it seem to mean right now ...but then why not say now?...less letters, same amount of syllables....is it just an ego trip to indicate that now is too common to be used by someone who has spent $100,000 dollars on a medical degree?....but anyway)

So, I guess I will venture into the whole linking blogs, please come visit my site, notice me, notice me, notice me neuroses that was bound to overtake me at some point. Why fight it? It's for the good of the people.

Then, I started thinking about how I would decide who to link to. I don't want a free-for-all here. I came up with a few preliminary rules.

1. No links to blogs about how to murder your family in their sleep.
2. No links to blogs whining about the unfairness of unrequited, teenage love. Especially if you're not actually a teenager yourself....because then instead of simply being whiny.....you're creepy.
3. No links to blogs that are clearly written only when the medication wears off.
4. No links to blogs about how the government is secretly in cahoots with the face-sucking aliens that are covertly running the world from the confines of Area 51...sorry Rosie. (see #3)
5. No links to blogs in which the blogger seems unable to put together a sentence without using f@#! at least 100 times. (see #3)
6. If naked people are prominently featured...sorry..no link...unless it's really funny...nope, not even then.
7. If your blog is really just a series of long, depressing ramblings about your hate for the world and everyone in it...no link. (see #3)
8. If you secretly mock me on your blog...no link...I have family for that.

So, if your blog can make it through the gauntlet of strict guidelines set forth in the above rules, leave me a comment and we'll see what we can do.

*said blogger makes no guarantee, warranty or promises to feature prospective bloggers. offer expires 5/23/2009. Rules not applicable in Hawaii, Uzbekistan, and Greenland.
No purchase necessary....though one would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seven Years In The Making

Seven years ago, I passed out from a seizure brought on by eclampsia. Luckily, it happened as I entered the Emergency Room with your father, although luck had nothing to do with it. God had protected you and me.

You entered the world almost seven weeks early, only 3 pounds and 8 ounces of tiny humanity. I was not awake to see your tiny hands and feet, to count your number of toes, and wonder who you looked like as I gazed at you. That first day of your life has been completely erased from my memory by the wonders of general anesthesia and blood pressure that had sky-rocketed to astronomical heights.

You arrived in dramatic style, sure to let us know what was to come. God watched over your miniature body. Three weeks in the NICU, yet you were completely healthy. I cried the first time I saw you, not out of worry, but out of gratefulness that you were safe, that God had kept you guarded in his hand.

As you grow and become ever more the person you were meant to be, I pray that God will continue to guard your heart and your steps.

We love you! Happy Birthday!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Aaack...Another Home Repair We Can't Afford!

We have repaired this washer at least 3 times at the cost of about $100 each time. Now, the same thing is wrong with it again, no agitation, no spinning...the motor is shot.

So, even though I don't have the readership of A-list bloggers, what the heck, maybe someone will happen across my blog and be willing to help us repair, or purchase a new washer. After all, we certainly don't have the money to fix it right now.

So, donate to the cause. If you do, I'll send you a new pair of socks, freshly laundered, all for the low donation price of $15.00. Or, if you want to donate to keep my family from smelling soiled and dank, but don't want to just donate money, then check out my business Earthen Vessel Designs and buy some beautiful jewelry for someone you love, or like, or can stand to be in the same room with....heck, buy it for someone you hate for all I care. Just help me fix the piece of junk I have, or help me on my way to a new one! :-)

The state of our cleanliness depnds on it!

And yes, I am for real. We really do need a working washing machine.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Party Guests

Luke 14:16-24

Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'

"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'
"Another said, 'I have just bought five oxen and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'
"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in the poor, the crippled, and the lame.'

" 'Sir,' the servant said,'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'
"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in , so that my house will be full. I tell you not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' "


Many guests were invited; they all made excuses not to come.

We had a similar happening here this weekend. My son invited 19 of his classmates to a birthday party and no one came. This was not a huge surprise. Over the past nine months, my son has been invited to several parties for his classmates. He has gone to each one. Every time I take him, we are usually the only ones who show up. Sometimes one other person from his class might be there. Luckily, there are usually relatives of the birthday child or neighbors that are at these parties, except for the very first one we went to in the fall. We were the only ones to show up to that one; no relatives and no neighbors because the family had just moved here.


So, we did what Jesus taught in this parable. We hunted up neighbor children, that hadn't originally been invited, and asked if they would like to come over to The Rationalist's party. Right then. In that moment. With no preparation. We went to the "second string" because the starting players hadn't shown up. These children weren't "second string" because there was something wrong with them or we disapproved of them. My son simply didn't have as strong of a relationship with them. He only sees and plays with them every once in a while, as opposed to his classmates that he sees and interacts with every day. We have a small house and could only invite so many people. I thought 19 was quite enough, even knowing that many wouldn't come.


Like the master in the parable, I was a little peeved at the original invitees. We had offered them a chance to come and partake in a fun day with food, cake, games, and fellowship. They were all too busy to avail themselves of our gracious offer. Yet, we found others who were willing to drop whatever expectations they might have had for the day and spend it with us. They woke up that morning, expecting nothing, only to be surprised by a fun day full of treats and good times.


We lived out one of Jesus's parables.


It gives me a new view of those who are too busy to take the gracious gifts He offers and those who are ready to come; expecting nothing, yet gaining everything.

Friday, May 18, 2007

PMS is a B@#*h

Especially, when you're supposed to be getting the house spotless for an upcoming birthday party in T-minus 20 hours, for which you still have to pick up the cake, decorations, ...and oh yeah...some presents for the actual birthday person, and there looms a distinct possibility that no one will actually show up for this party--for which you are going to have to go through all this effort....AND... that makes you mad for your son who has attended many classmates' birthday parties, usually being one of only two people who show up to these other parties....AND....even though you know that it's just hormonal fluctuations making you insane, irritable, and reducing your thinking capacity to that of a 98 year-old, Alzheimer's patient who is on Valium, it still isn't enough to stop the crazy monkeys creating chaos in your head.

*sigh*

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Childhood Remembrances

Ahhh.....The Classics.

As I picked up the Rationalist from school, he began to excitedly tell me about this new game he learned. His eyes twinkled and shone as his smiling lips poured out the juicy details of his latest educational achievement.

Rationalist: " OK.. you say someone's name and then you say someone else's name...like 'so and so' and 'so and so.' Do you understand?"

Me: "uhhh...I'm not sure. Explain it to me."

Rationalist: "OK....'so and so' and 'so and so' are in this tree...you see?"

Me: "mmm hmm"

Rationalist: "Well then you go.... ," pause for thinking "You go, 'so and so' and 'so and so'.... sitting in a tree....K-I-S-S-I-N-G...first comes love....then comes marriage....then comes a baby in a baby carriage!" breaking into mischievous laughter

Ah yes....childhood poetry at its finest.

26 years later and that rhyme is being used as much as when I was his age. Who says you can't rely on oral tradition for accuracy?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is Atheism Stuck In The Present?

I can't seem to escape atheism lately. It's on my TV, in the magazines I read, and proliferating online.

While blog-surfing the other day I clicked on a link that gave no indication that it was an atheist blog. Reading through the posts and comments was interesting, and I responded to one of them. One of the other commenter's statements set a tangential thought through my brain. He was expressing frustration that, when discussing atheism and evolution with non-atheists, things always come back to Ultimate Origins. He wanted the conversation to take place from The Big Bang and go forward from there. Well, there are a lot of reasons why that is simply ridiculous. You can't argue scientifically from a set of assumed facts that you haven't justified. I addressed some of my thoughts about The First Cause problem for atheists in an earlier post.

However, thinking about this commenter's remark, I realized the atheists' aversion to the past and the future. That may seem a silly assertion to make when considering atheists' attachment to evolution, the geologic record, and The Big Bang theory. After all, isn't the past the point from which most of their arguments are made?

Yes and no.

They do rely heavily on what they believe about the past formation of Earth and Life on Earth, but their arguments do not address the true beginning of the past--First Cause. Dwelling on the beginning of all things is uncomfortable because they have no scientific explanation for it. Instead, they begin to join the conversation in medias res.

So, why do I say that they also have an aversion to contemplating the future? It seems another silly statement when considering atheistic contributions to science fiction and speculations about what might happen to Earth and humanity in the future. They seem to look forward to the continuing evolution of man.

Yes, but the future is not solely about what will happen, but about where things are going. Evolutionists believe that natural selection is a process that is random and operates with no forethought or intelligence directing it. In this view, mutations and adaptations are meant for the here and now, not preparation for a different set of circumstances that will occur 50-100 years later. There is no "gearing-up" for the future of a species. To admit that mutations take the future into consideration would be to admit that something, other than physical matter, was operating. The ability to predict a set of circumstances that hasn't yet occurred, requires forethought and higher intelligence. While atheists would concede that humans possess the ability to speculate and accurately predict some future events, that is seen as a higher function that has evolved within us. If we go back into the past and try to assign that higher function to lower life forms or to a cellular level, evolutionists would be quick to attempt to obliterate such thoughts.


The past and the future are what give events meaning. The fact that we started somewhere, and are headed somewhere else, is what defines the Journey. But, of course, atheists would deny that there is any meaning to humanity's journey. Meaning implies purpose. Purpose implies intention. Intention can only come from a higher intelligence. Thus, to dwell too profoundly on where everything came from and where everything is going, would be uncomfortable for those who are assured in their own hearts that there is no Higher Intelligence.

Any opinions about this?

P.S....I am an evangelical Christian, but all of my posts about Atheism are being dealt with purely from a point of reason. I am not quoting Scripture, or trying to prove anything from the Bible, simply because it would be meaningless to someone who doesn't even believe there is such a thing as God.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Future Politician

Awww...isn't this a cute picture of Intuitive Monkey's construction abilities?


No, it's not. It is actually a symbol of rebellious defiance of parental authority. Really.

Intuitive Monkey loves Tinker Toys. He constructs endless robots, spaceships, and these things that he calls "x"-men and "y"-men. They fly through the house, waging inter-galactic war zooming and crashing into each other for hours on end.

Having spied the disaster that we like to call the play room, I knew that dozens of Tinker Toy constructions covered every square inch of floor space.

Me: "Monkey, I want you to clean up all the Tinker Toys in the play room."

Intuitive Monkey: "Do I have to take them apart? "

Me: "You can keep two of your favorite things together, but the rest you need to take apart and put in the box."

Monkey, lower lip trembling: "But there allllllll my favorites!

*crying, pleading, begging for mercy from me*

Me: "No, you can only keep two. Take everything else apart and put it away!"

Intuitive Monkey sulks off, planning my soon-coming, "accidental" death.

*10 minutes pass*

Monkey: "Can I be done cleaning up now?"

Me: "Did you clean up the Tinker Toys?"

Monkey, smiling sweetly: "I made two gigantic robots, so I don't have anything to clean."

My five-year-old had found a way to completely thwart my intentions while, at the same time, perfectly obeying my instructions. A true politician.

I couldn't be mad at him. His solution was too ingenious not to be appreciated!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Renaming My Children

No. I am not renaming them in real life. Usually, I refer to them as either j1 and j2, or as oldest one and youngest one.

Very Clinical.

Almost as if I am running a secret laboratory, brimming with brightly colored fluids bubbling and brewing away....and these two boys just happen to be my experimental subjects. And, I guess in some ways they are. I get to try my hand at perfecting various mothering techniques, forming and shaping their ids with my shaky, clumsy parental lobotomies as I swing from loving mother to woman in search of the nearest exit from the crazy train.

But, I digress.

So from now on, I will hereby refer to the offspring of my loins as..........

um.

I got nothin'.

Let me think.

What two words or phrases would encapsulate the very essence of these strange beings??

Still got nothin'.

*crickets chirping*

*days passing by in time-lapse photography*

*polar ice melting and flooding Florida*

OK! I've got it!

J1 is now renamed The Concrete Rationalist.*

J2 is now renamed Intuitive Monkey.*

* all names subject to change based upon the future whims of said "mother."
No claims, guarantees, or promise to consistency shall be enforced.

E.T.

Curled up on the couch, lights out, TV on; we watched E.T. with the boys. (the movie --not Entertainment Tonight)

J1: "He looks like a Grandma!"

uh huh...I don't think I'll be sharing that little tidbit with his grandmothers. They might take offense at being compared to a 3-foot-high, squat, wrinkly space alien.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Grass Farmer Extraodinaire

This is what I am dealing with; a barren wasteland. Yet, my hope springs eternal as some of the grass seed, that I have so faithfully drenched with hundreds of gallons of water, has sprouted and has begun to appear on the face of the ground like green stubble--Five O' Clock shadow, the humble beginnings of a lawn.

Atheism and Proof of God...Part 3

Last night, I woke up around 3:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I goofed around on the computer for a few minutes and then laid down on the couch, turning on PBS. Ahhh PBS. What would I do without you? Your documentaries always have the calm, soothing monotone, of a gentle, male voice. I have gotten my best naps accompanied by various nature shows and scientific explorations. While awake, they are very fascinating; if drowsy, they are a one-way ticket to drool-inducing sleep.

Maybe the timing was coincidence, but there before my eyes was, A Brief History Of Disbelief, a show I had caught the last five minutes of just a couple of days ago. Considering all that I had already been pondering this week, it was like a nudge to my mind. The film is an exploration of the evolution of atheistic thought and development narrated by Jonathan Miller. It's fascinating.

I couldn't possibly post about all of the thoughts I had concerning Jonathan Miller's commentary--there were just too many.

Here's a brief rundown of things that I want to address in more thought-out posts:

  • Is atheism the exclusive domain of "intellectually superior" white men? The most important thinkers quoted in the series were exclusively well-off, white, European men. Not much for the diversity of thought--this is only a minor thought that I had regarding the development of atheism.
  • The assumed facts that are a starting point for atheism. There was a very interesting quote by Richard Dawkins, regarding natural selection and genetic mutations that really sent me over the edge, not for its outrageousness, but for its sheer illogicity from a supposed rational thinker.
  • The place of intelligence, consciousness, and purpose in atheistic thinking. Despite all the "scientific" spin on atheism, this is really the heart of what most people must confront before embracing this philosophy.
  • The role of evil and suffering in the world. Of course, volumes could be written on this subject alone. However, Miller made a claim that disbelief is so embraced today because of the relative comfort that science has given us. We are more in control of our lives than before, and therefore do not need any gods to alleviate our suffering.
  • The focus of atheism aimed against Christianity as opposed to other belief systems. Atheism's venom is almost always aimed solely at Christianity.

There's a lot more swirling in my head, but it will take more time and research than I usually put into a blog post. So, I think that I will post sporadically on this subject as I cobble together the main point I'd like to make in a more refined way.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nightline and Proof of God...Part 2

While thinking more about the debate between "The Rational Response Squad" and the dynamic duo--Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort--I had a few more thoughts.

I am not sure if this is a word for word quote, but Kelly of the RRS at some point said,"I would rather burn in hell than serve a megomaniacal God." This statement was made in the context of one of the most common atheistic arguments against God and religion: Great atrocities and genocide have been committed in the name of God. Atheists feel that since horrendous things have happened at the hands of religious leaders and movements, that religion must therefore be false and hateful.

Well, I definitely am not going to deny that terrible things have occurred throughout history at the hands of religious people. Yes. It has happened.

However, once again let's use the atheists' own arguments and logic to examine their beliefs. If genocide is a point of exclusion for belief, then we should run screaming in horror from the atheist point of view.

Stalin: communistic atheist in USSR
death toll during his reign: at least 20 million--though some say that number is actually low

Pol Pot: communistic atheist in Cambodia
death toll during his reign: about 2 million

Hitler: crazy, whacked-out "suspected atheist"--Suspected is in quotes, because though Hitler occasionally used the Church and spoke in "religious" themes, the general consensus is that it was all part of his manipulation and propaganda to get the German population to accomplish his will. Much of his inspiration came from Nietzsche, an avowed atheist.

death toll during his reign: at least 6 million Jews, 5-6 million others

What is even worse about these facts is that all of these people were murdered by atheistic regimes in less than 50 years.

So, let's not kid ourselves about the implications of belief systems. The truth is that power-hungry people will use any excuse to accomplish their goals. They might cloak their motivations in religion or atheism, but either way, it doesn't prove that there is no God. It only proves that great evil can dwell in the human heart, a given premise in Judeo-Christian thought.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nightline and Proof of God

Despite the fact that I should have already been in bed, I was still awake last night at 11:30 watching Nightline.

Part of the program was a very truncated presentation of a debate between "The Rational Response Squad," a self-appointed group of atheists that have come up with The Blasphemy Challenge--a website that encourages people to deny the existence of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit--and Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, christian evangelists-- actor and author respectively.

The debate took at least 90 minutes, but I think ABC only showed about 5 minutes of it.

Trying to prove that God exists to an atheist is really an exercise in futility. By the time a person boldly declares themselves an atheist, they usually have their minds made up; otherwise, they would simply call themselves agnostic or say that they don't "think" that there is a God.

But anyway....

Ray Comfort's main point, featured on the show, was that creation itself is an indicator that there is a God. He held up a painting, stating that the painting itself is proof that there was a painter that created it. The painting could not exist without the painter. At this point, Brian Sapient tried to discredit this point by saying that if creation warrants a Creator, then who created God? Who is the creator of the eternal being?

What bugs me most about atheists' thinking is that it is so often illogical and hypocritical in its application. For instance, asking who created God and of course not being able to get an answer that makes any sense to the human mind, an atheist will very smugly think that he has struck a fatal blow to religious belief. ("Haha! You can't tell me where God came from! That must mean He isn't real and you are just an irrational idiot!") However, people of faith already know that they can't understand the paradox of God's eternal existence and nature, so this question is not a real challenge to their faith.

What smug atheists often fail to do is to use their own logic on their beliefs. If you believe there is no God, and that matter is the only guiding force in the Universe, you must still reconcile those beliefs with the Beginning Of All Things. The Big Bang, physics, and evolution are fine ways to try and observationally look at the material world and create a framework for understanding, but they too must try and explain the Beginning. The question that atheists can't explain, any more than Christians, is where it all came from. If we rewind everything back to The Big Bang--a time in which every atom that exists was compressed and contained in a tiny space no bigger than a period--you still have to ask.......where did matter come from? If it wasn't created, what was there before The Big Bang? It is the atheist version of "Who created God?"

They can't explain it any more than we can.

This inability to explain where matter came from also trickles down into the theory of evolution. Evolution is based on the assumption of life starting at a bacterial, micro-organism level, and over billions of years, producing very complicated organisms. Yet evolution still cannot explain how inert matter and atoms were imbued with life. How does a chemical, primordial soup transform into a living form, focused on "surviving." Survive what? If chemicals suddenly sprung to life, how could they know that there would be "death?" How does a one-celled organism fear no longer living when only moments before it was an inanimate molecule?

Bah!

An atheist cannot answer any of these questions. Their belief system is full of holes and requires as much faith as any Christian's. The difference between the two is that atheists are loathe to admit the inconsistencies in their thinking. They cling tightly to their versions of truth, science, and rationality, but seem to lose all rationality trying to explain the First Cause of everything. They don't understand the why and how of the universe any more than a simple believer.

Science is their God. The only problem is that Science is not perfect and the emperor has no clothes.

**afterthought**

Isn't it interesting that the focus of The Rational Response Squad is focused solely on Christianity? Their blasphemy challenge has nothing to do with Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.

Also, why do atheists always seem to be so angry? Every time I encounter an online discussion or see something on TV, atheists always come off as extremely angry, outraged people. Maybe I'll post about it later.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A New Blog To Read and My Worst Nightmare

Sometimes, I surf through the "next blog" button on Blogger's navbar just checking out what other bloggers are up to. Usually, I get a bunch of nothing, but I happened across Jake's Life, a marine's blog about his current time serving in Iraq. I know several military families, but none who are serving in Iraq right now, so it was interesting to read through his blog and get a flavor for what the average soldier is going through.

Now comes the worst nightmare part. Apparently, there is something called a camel spider that lives in Middle Eastern deserts. Can I just say that I would rather be in downtown Baghdad, carrying a "Down With Mohammed" sign, than be anywhere near this.



My heart would burst from sheer panic if I saw this scurrying towards me.

Breaking News--Superman Retires!



5:15 pm--City Hall

Superman announced his early retirement from crime fighting citing a breakdown in contract negotiations and a loss of health benefits as a major factor in his decision.

Speculation and rumors surround the timing of his retirement. Unnamed sources say the loss of his right leg has greatly impaired his ability to fly in a straight line, leading to numerous collisions with skyscrapers, power lines, and an occasional NBA basketball player. Others point to Superman's newly receding hairline as evidence of a secret tie to his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, who established the International Hair Institute for Men with the billions he stole from the World Bank last year.

Minutes after Superman's announcement, offers began to pour in from industrial companies. The Nevada Association for Wind-Farming presented a hefty compensation package to him for the use of his Super-Breath abilites. Johns Hopkins presented an offer to name Superman as head of the Radioloogy Department. His X-ray vision is said to be more accurate than current technologies.

When asked about his future plans, Superman was quoted as saying, "I'm going to Disney World!"

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Got Water?

Typical water bill--$65-$75.

What this month's water bill will probably be--$459,465.34

It seems the most essential ingredient to being a succesful grass farmer is an unlimited supply of water. I am expecting the water company to call me at any moment asking if we have an undetected leak, a new pool, or if we decided to try our hands at producing meth.

"Keep top 1/2 inch of soil moist. Do not let it dry out."--Those are the instructions on my fancy grass seed. If I lived up north that would be no big deal. Here, in the 90-degree Florida sun, I am having to divert the Colorado River through subterranean channels, city pipes, and my pea-green, rubber hose.

If you go to the Grand Canyon and it's dry as a bone, blame my tiny back yard.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Grow Already!

I have spent the last two days being sweaty and dirty. Yuck.

Our backyard is a pitiful mess that has slowly turned into nothing more than a sandy pit. Between the dog chasing squirrels and cats that tease her from the top of our 6 foot privacy fence, and the drought conditions for the past few months here in Florida, it has become a useless space.

Wednesday, I leveled out the barren wasteland and watered it down. Yesterday, I drug my little monkeys to Lowe's to buy supplies to begin my grass farming adventure. As I contemplated the million types of seed and fertilizer, they proceeded to climb on bags of topsoil, put their noses in flowers, and generally irritate me. I know they are young. I should be patient. I don't want to be the unhinged mother griping at her kids in the store--and yet, it comes to me so naturally.

I gulped down my irritation, paid for everything, and headed home $40 poorer. The boys helped me clear out some weeds in the yard and then I went to work.

I spent hours last night raking, grading, fertilizing, planting seed and watering the yard.

I have tried to repair the yard before. Once, I bought plugs of grass that you plant sporadically throughout the yard, and as they grow they spread out and complete the lawn. Shortly after spending hours putting about 40 in the yard, my dog promptly decided that they were invaders and ripped every single one of them out of the dirt. She greeted me happily, tail wagging, as I surveyed the shredded remnants strewn about the yard.

"I saved our yard from the weird, green sprouts!"she seemed to say.

Last year, we bought sod and put it in a few, key places in the yard. I watered it faithfully for a month and then went to watering it only 2-3 times a week. It promptly dried up and died.

If this doesn't work I will officially paint my thumb black.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Too Cute


Why Christ Is Offensive

He demands everything. He exposes everything.

Persecuted Church and Martha's Distraction both recently had posts about the persecution of Christians in Turkey. "Martha" linked to this letter that explains, in great detail, the martyrdom of three Christian men this past April. Be sure to scroll down to read it.

Reading the account of the horrible murder of these men, and the response from their communities, sickened and outraged me. Unfortunately, it is all too common in many areas around the world.

What had these men done that was so terrible? They had chosen to follow Jesus. They had turned away from Islam and, in so doing, had become outcasts within their own communities. They had not protested against the government, perpetrated violence against their neighbors, or even been disrespectful to people. They simply believed in Jesus.

Why did a simple religious belief fuel such hatred against these men?

Very simply, they were offended, deeply offended by the scandalous implications of Christianity. Whenever people encounter the gospel for the first time, there is a shock to the system. Without saying one word to people about their own lives and enumerating the various sins harbored in the confines of their souls, people can become angrily defensive. You cannot escape the implication and conviction that somehow, you have failed. You are wrong.

People don't like that. There is no more politically incorrect thing to do than to tell someone, in no uncertain terms, that they are flat-out, completely wrong about something--and not only are they wrong about what they are thinking, but they have acted badly and sinfully.

It's a hard pill to swallow.

Most Christians don't present the message of Christ in such stark, harsh language. The days of fire and brimstone have long since burnt out in most churches. However, even if the gospel is presented in a loving, gentle way, the effect is the same. To believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation implies that all the other ways are wrong.

Just as Adam and Eve tried to hide their nakedness from God, humanity is always scrambling to cover over their own unseemly parts. Removing the fig leaves that we have placed about us reveals us for what we really are. After all, who wants to be naked in front of everyone? Certainly not me.

Choosing Christ means forsaking everything else. If your allegiance is to Jesus, everything else must fall away. Cultural beliefs, family traditions, and community expectations all come far behind the single priority of serving Christ.

Luke 14:26-27

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and
children, his brother and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my
disciple
.


Jesus doesn't want us to "hate" our families in the sense of doing them harm. Yet, when we are faced with a weighty choice between what God wants from us and what other people wish for us to do, God must always come first. In the United States that isn't a problem. We might be mocked a little if we don't go party with our friends, or follow social norms, but we would rarely face true persecution.

In places hostile to Christianity, allegiance to Christ before all else is tantamount to sedition and considered subversive. After all, how can you control someone who answers only to God? In places where totalitarianism reigns, an unwillingness to sacrifice one's soul to the state in all things, marks a person as a possible revolutionary.

Jesus warned us of this dangerous reaction to the gospel.

Matthew 10:22

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.


and also

John 3:20

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

It would seem to set things up for an us vs. them mentality,but we always remember:

Matthew 6:27-28

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Matthew 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.


Why?

Because....

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.


May God be with the families of these men. May He also help us to pray for those who have taken their lives.

Lost and Heroes---indulging my sci-fi/fantasy craving

Wow...Last night's Lost was pretty creepy. Locke's father finally gets his due, but I wish Sawyer had chosen to spare him at the last minute. Sawyer's the bad boy that you know you shouldn't like, but you just can't help it. Every time he gets close to redemption, the writers make him do something shocking and apalling. It's starting to annoy me.

Heroes--even though the *set in the future* storyline doesn't further the current storyline, it was still good. Syler and Peter duking it out at the end, in a battle of accumulated super-powers, was a nice touch. Why does Peter have a giant scar across his face? Shouldn't his super-healing power have prettied him up by now?

Even though they're on different networks, I think they should do a crossover episode. We'd find out that Syler is really Ben's long-lost son sent to take over the world in order to repopulate it with mutated Others.

Yes, I sometimes watch too much TV.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Always A Bridesmaid....Great Supporting Characters

Last night, while watching Gilmore Girls, my husband and I compiled a list of shows in which the supporting characters are better, and usually funnier, than the actual leads. This was sparked by the neurotic, machiavellian, steamrolling character of Paris on Gilmore Girls. I love her!

This is what we came up with:

Arthur from King of Queens--Jerry Stiller Rocks!

Andy from According to Jim

Marshall from Alias

Robert from Everybody Loves Raymond---my favorite character on the show.

I'm sure there's a whole lot more. I'll add them as I think about them. If you have a favorite supporting character let me know!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Life Of The Mind--Cliff's Notes

Random things I am currently contemplating but would take too long to blog about:

1. The balance between the idea of the vast God of the universe--unknowable, unfathomable, and beyond simple comprehension--and the God who strolls through the Garden of Eden looking to chat with His creation--the God who chooses to walk among men, break bread with them, and call them His friends.

2. When both kids are finally in full-time school this August, will I go back to work? If I do, will anyone want to hire a woman in her thirties who has spent the last seven years living in a cocoon of home life, trying to raise two boys without having to go on Prozac or developing an online gambling addiction in order to cope?....maybe I shouldn't put that on the application.

3. Have I forgotten my purpose in Christ? Has being so intensely focused on my home life, and somewhat isolated, made me forget about the difference between me and the new life I have and the way the rest of the world operates? I occasionally forget that most everyone else is living by a different set of rules.

4. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Overheard Conversations..2

Background info: We had ridden a few roller coasters at a theme park with the boys.

J1: "Do you remember riding Cheetah's Chase?"

J2: "Yeah...that was so fun!"

J1: "It was kind of scary. Remember that big hill we went down so fast?!"

J2: "yeah...it felt funny. It made my peepee scared!"

J1 and J2.....hysterical laughing.

I never heard anyone describe that internal feeling you have as you plummet down a steep hill that way....but I guess it makes sense.