Saturday, October 31, 2009


Lots of specific instances recorded in the book of Numbers.

People counted. Fighting men numbered(men 20 years or older that can fight = approximately 600,000). Levite tribe numbered by clans and assigned tasks associated with moving tabernacle. The following is my way of trying to remember which clan moved which part of the tabernacle. Kohath-all holy of holies articles(ark of covenant) and articles within the tabernacle(table with showbread, lampstand, stand with burning incense) I call this the heart, Gershon responsible for all fabric on all walls around all sides of tabernacle, I call this the skin, Merrari responsible for all posts and the bases they rest in to support the cloth walls and overhead cloth, I call these the bones. Kohath-heart, Gershon-skin, Merrari-bones.

Second passover takes place a year after the Exodus.

Passover regulations are readdressed.

Cloud of fire(manifestation of God's presence) leads the people.

People complain and fire of God consumes some.

People whine about no meat "only" manna. God sends quail and then judges the people.

70 elders get Moses' spirit(including two who remain in the camp).

People are judged with a plague.

Miriam and Aaron bad mouth Moses. Miriam gets leprosy as judgment. Moses begs for mercy for her.

12 spies sent.

10 spies lead the people into unbelief and rebellion.

God decides noone over 20 at Exodus will enter the promised land.

Next day people decide to go up without God and are slaughtered.

Regulations about no difference between Jew and alien sacrifices.

Regulations about difference between accidental and willful sin.

Story about man working on Sabbath and being sentenced to death.

Questioning of authority....

Korah's rebellion questions authority. God judges Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families(ground swallows them up).

THE NEXT DAY!!! -- people rebel
God judges with a plague and 14,700 die.

One staff from each tribe is taken including one from Aaron. Aaron's staff buds and blossoms overnight to further establish God's authority rested on Aaron and his line.

Aaron, priests, and Levites given regulations about their care for temple and offerings.

Sacrifice of Red Heifer regulations.

Also in Numbers are the jealousy test for husbands who suspect their wives of unfaithfulness.
The account of Moses disobeying and being told he would not enter promised land.
Fighting and defeating people east of Jordan.
Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and 1/2 tribe of Manasseh claim land east of Jordan as their inheritance, but they take solemn oath to fight with their brothers on west side until they have conquered the promised land.

That's alot but I've missed a lot. As I said at the beginning, Numbers has a lot of specific events to learn about and consider. I always thought of Numbers as similar to Leviticus (thick with info, but not so much with historical info)but that is not true, Numbers is extremely thick with historical narrative.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One year wake up call

We are swiftly approaching the one year anniversary of that day in 2008 when we in America decided that the dynamic duo of Obama and Stuart Smalley could save the day. What exactly may lie ahead in the course of the coming year is quite honestly chilling. But first let's recap shall we... during the last year, we have passed well over 1.5 trillion(1,500,000,000,000) dollars in bailout funds (half of which was accomplished by our beloved Bush and his peeps). This is three times the amount that it took to fund Iraq and Afghanistan for the entire time we had been there up to this point(6 years or so). This has put our country perilously close to the international equivalent of bankruptcy because even the U.S. Gov has to pay someone. We must either print more money(devaluing our own dollar), borrow more money from the Chinese, or tax the people of the U.S.A. a bit more and more and more. The Obama administration has chosen doors one, two, and three.

Now, what lies ahead, you ask?? Well kids, the fun has just begun! In spite of the fact that roughly half(depending on whose stats you believe) of current healthcare costs are already being paid through government (or by taxpayer funds), we have been told that Obama and the dems sense a desperate need to saddle the taxpayers with a much, much bigger tax burden to "fix" our horribly broken healthcare system. Also, to see a preview of what "fixing" our horribly broken healthcare system looks like, please note the wonderful job the government has done "fixing" what was our horribly broken housing market. Roughly half the mortgages in the U.S. are currently underwritten by the U.S. government, 70-90% of all new mortgages during the last couple of years are underwritten by the U.S. government, and foreclosures are at all time high. Ra ra sis boom bah, goooooo Uncle Sam. Without going into detail, let's just consider some of the other purchases Obama has been making for us(the taxpayer). He has gotten us a couple of primo American auto companies(Chrysler and GM), multiple banks, and an awesome American Investment Group to help us manage all our new acquisitions. That's just the beginning. He has his eyes of the prize of American energy next, and if you think Obama's just another one of these greedy capitalist just all about the bling for him and us. Think again. In December, at the World Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, he is poised to begin a process of amazingly generous charitable donations to all the of the world on our behalf so that we don't have to feel guilty any more about all this wealth that we have.

Ok, the rant portion of this post is now over. Hopefully, it was somewhat enjoyable to some of you, and Lord knows it was therapeutic for me. :) Now for something a bit more constructive. I have some very specific ideas about actual things that we can do as individuals during the next 3-6 months that will actually be helpful and meaningful. The only preview I can give you is that it regards electing actual conservatives(financially, foreign policy, socially, and above all small government conservatives) during 2010 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the one area other than prayer, voting and pestering the mess out of our current reps that we can do, and the key is finding and supporting conservatives early enough in the process to hopefully make them the Republican that wins the Republican primary. Whether Dem or Republican, getting a conservative candidate MUST, MUST happen during the primary season of the election process. This means we've got to get cranking on finding and supporting ACTUAL conservatives during the next few months. I have ideas about this, and I promise to have some kind of explicit representation of those ideas with actual opportunity for people to respond with action within the next month.....for the record, even if you don't read this blog, I'll probably be on a recruiting mission with this one.

Smooches and sunshine to all(yes even to President Obama and the Dems, I don't hate 'em. I'm just mad at 'em.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Specifics about sacrifices.

Much of it revolves around priest/Levite rules.

Meditate on symbolism of tribe without an inheritance of land but whose inheritance is the Lord.

Sacrifices--burnt, sin, wave, freewill, fellowship

Nadab and Abihu smote after offering unauthorized fire.

Regulations about public health issues.

Priestly duties regarding Atonement.

Sexual relations law specifics.

Lots of different mixture of laws and specific regulations near the end.

BE HOLY--(set apart).

Monday, September 07, 2009


For new comers to my Bible study type stuff, I am not claiming to be tossing out any profoundly insightful nuggets, but I am hoping for feedbacks in the way of questions, answers, thoughts, observations, and, yes, even the occasional disagreement about something. I am primarily seeking to build more dialogue as a way of life about the scriptures with as many folks who will engage me about it.

Act I Genesis closes on Jacob/Israel being welcomed in Egypt and prospering under the current Pharoah

Act II Exodus opens a few hundred years later with a Pharoah who fears and oppresses Israel.

Oral tradition still the primary method of passing on God's story up to this point, but written record perhaps begins here.

Moses and Aaron are of the tribe of Levi.


1st 40 years--Egyptian royalty after God's intervention

2nd 40 years--Exile into wilderness, meets wife and Jethro(father-in-law) and has two sons

3rd 40 years--Exodus and wilderness

Significance about 40 years number??

Why were Pharoah's magicians able to replicate any of Moses's stuff?

What was the whole burning bush thing about??

Why did the "almost killing Moses at the last minute because of not circumcising his son" thing happen??

Three primary "Scenes" of Exodus

Act II Scene I---Moses/Exodus

Act II Scene II---Wilderness/Sinai/Golden Calf/Law Part I

Act II Scene III---Details about tabernacle

How does that whole "Moses talking God out of wiping out Israel" thing work??

As you can see, I'm pretty free flow with these entries. But that's sort of the idea. This represents things that are straight from my notes while listening to Exodus on CD.

By the way, does anyone know of a particularly high quality audio Bible on Mp3 that is available for download. I'd like to get a copy sometime during the next year.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

I have a close friend who read this book earlier this year, and I snagged the audio book on CD to listen to it in my truck so we could discuss amongst ourselves. The following are the main thoughts I took away from the book.

First, it was an interesting read. Elizabeth Gilbert(the author) takes us on a ride from four months in Italy to four months in India to four months in Indonesia. I personally was the most interested during the parts that showed "the view" from inside an ashram(not sure about the spelling on that) in India. This is sort of like a retreat/temporary monastery type dealio for those seekin a lil enlightenment Hindu style. I also was fascinated with the social structure of Indonesia (specifically Bali--the only Hindu island of the otherwise Muslim Indonesia). The Italy part just primarily made me hungry for pasta and a good cup of coffee. This interesting journey is set within the context of Ms. Gilbert's personal spiritual journey at a very painful point in her life.

I'm not a book critic though, and the thing that drew me to this book was the underlying conclusions that I knew would inevitably be there to be found.

CHAPTERS 3, 57, and whatever the next to last chapter was.....

First, I'll address what I identified as the core message of the book. In chapter 3, Liz shares the catalyst that sort of gets the ball rolling on her spiritual journey. She prays. She is a snotty, crying, sobbing mess on her bathroom floor in the middle of the night while her then husband was sleeping. She knew that she was miserable for many different reasons, and she cried out for help. She holds a conviction that she hears a calm, strong, loving voice(a version of her own voice but much more at peace and authoritative) that responds with very simple instructions to return to bed to sleep. Simple instructions but the experience was a VERY powerful one for her.
This is crucial for two primary reasons. 1.It launches this very committedly non-spiritual person into a new direction and thus the story ensues. 2. It also serves as THE point of reference at the end of the year long journey for the author to make her point(in the next to last chapter). She refers to an old Hindu proverb that claims there are two forces at work that turn an acorn into an oak tree. One is all the physical realities that come from the fact that everything that makes the oak is in the acorn seed and will come out if it gets into good soil, AND the "future" oak that doesn't yet exist that wants to reach its full potential and thus pulls the acorn and its innards along the process. She wonders if the voice she heard in the bathroom was perhaps this new balanced and more fully at peace and stronger version of herself pulling herself forward into the fullness of her potential. That feeling you have right now is called a Hindu headache, grasshopper. :)

Agree, disagree, think amongst yourselfs(in case you haven't figured this one out I disagree). However, the most thought provoking part of the book for me came smack in the middle in chapter 57. It comes just after a very important moment for our leading lady in her guru's ashram in India.


Elizabeth has a very powerful spiritual experience(a couple of spiritual experiences actually), and this is the watershed moment for her. Everything flows forward out of these hours and days. During this chapter, Ms. Gilbert makes some fairly dogmatic statements about the nature of faith as she sees it. "faith is not rational.....if faith were rational it wouldn't be by definition, faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch...."

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a Mormon a few years ago on a plane to Dallas(it will be a meaningful tangent, just hang with me a minute). He was explaining to me his religious convictions, and I was listening because I was genuinely interested in the inner workings of the whole Mormon thing, but finally, I began to challenge him about specifics within his faith in what I hope was a very measured and respectful way. The conversation remained very friendly and cordial all the way through with only a few more tense moments, but he eventually always retreated back to what the Mormons call the "burning in the bosom." This connotes a meaningful spiritual experience that seems to signify a real spiritual happening, and for him, this trumps anything I can toss at him in the way of reason or objective problems that exist with his religious beliefs and his religion as a whole. The only thing I knew to tell him was this. I was raised in Pentecostal churches, and I know a thing or two about spiritual experiences. The short version of what I mean by that is that I realized that some of the spiritual experiences I was witnessing or even some I had myself were almost certainly not God at work. This realization caused me to have to seriously reevaluate some things, but I believe the realization was a profound gift from God.

Being a follower of Christ is a belief system that is filled with external checks. The Bible constantly sets itself up to be tested historically, ethically, experientially, scientifically, etc. It is a faith that is firmly rooted in our story and in our existence. It is not some abstract thing that cannot be appreciated outside some spiritual state of mind. Religions that seek to coerce its followers into chunking reason for faith are trying to convince that faith is not faith unless you do that.....unless you bet your eternal destiny on a spiritual experience or a series of spiritual experiences, but God begs to be empirically verified constantly. I can back this up if anyone is interested, but my point is that faith means just what it means when you claim to have faith in your spouse or your father or the pilot of the airplane you are flying in. Faith in God means the same or at least similar things as these examples. Badee.....badee......dats all folks.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New prayer request

Why there is no car insurance crisis

I heard a talk show host recently express that there was really not a healthcare crisis, but there was actually a healthcare insurance problem. He then went to illustrate the way to solve many of the problems by comparing our healthcare insurance with car insurance. This is a paraphrase of that.

Consider the most recent car insurance commercial you've seen(the gecko of Geiko, the Progressive commercials, etc.). Consider what they talk about in those commercials. Good coverage AND good rate quotes or bargains are what they claim. Now consider any health insurance commercials you've seen. First, there aren't as many, and when they show up on the TV, they only talk about one side of the equation, good coverage/care. That is because the majority of folks don't shop around for health insurance and compare prices and specifics of the policy like they do with car, home owners, and life insurance. This is because most of us think only of getting our healthcare insurance through our employer, and much like the taxes withheld by our employer, we don't even think of the cost of this to us. We only care about our co-pays and the percentage of our coverage.

There are two primary things that I believe if changed about how we structure healthcare would have a huge impact in the right direction of making healthcare insurance affordable AND would keep and improve the current quality of the healthcare we receive.

1. Begin creating incentives for people to get their medical insurance independant from their employment. This will shift the awareness of "bang for their buck" to the consumer and will not cause people to slip into having no insurance when switching jobs.

2. Allow any persons from any states to purchase medical insurance from health insurance companies from any other state. This will free people from the heavy handed regulatory environment of many states and keep them from having to subsidize the costs of coverage that they themselves don't need. This is a more involved angle to healthcare costs that I don't have time to get into in this post. But for more info, click on the link on the post a couple of posts down.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Market Disciplines

I usually leave the economic posts to my friend Kirk at his random acts of economics blog, but I heard this explained recently and felt it was expressed so clearly and made such a great point that I should share it with whomever might dare to be interested in economics.

Market discipline, as I understand it, is an economic principle that states that individual businesses in the private sector(non-government) must constantly adjust their business by what money remains after all expenses have been paid out. When this shrinks, they either must invest less in their business or cut the number of employees or raise prices for their product or service that they provide. When the profits increase, the business can grow by perhaps buying more needed large equipment for the business or hiring more people or many other possibilities. The point is that there is a natural force in place to create a check and balance to how quickly the business does or does not grow. The good news for businesses is that many of the general circumstances that usually influence their growth or shrinkage are also being experienced by the other businesses they are competing against.

Now, let's change this to bring government into the mix. Let's say that the U.S. government decides to get into the home mortgage business just for example(not that they would ever do that) :). The government is not subject to the same market forces that the normal business is subject to. They get their money from taxpayers. This in turn keeps them from being subjected to market disciplines AND it forces the other players in the home mortgage business to compete with them while they ARE still handicapped by market disciplines. Not only is the government not subject to market disciplines. It seems to encourage the management of their resources to move in the opposite direction, recklessness and a complete lack of discipline. In the backs of everyone's mind who works within the government funded businesses is the awareness that government will always be able to bail them out if they fail with more tax money. Perhaps one of the ultimate ironies is that the taxes that pay for these government funded journeys into the market are funded by taxes from the very businesses they are unfairly competing against.

We've all seen the absolute mess that resulted at least partially from this practice of government involvement in the housing market. What else is the government going to become involved in??
Can you say healthcare?

There are so many reasons I'm for limited government involvement and regulation in our economy. These are just a few. In regards to ideas about healthcare, visit the link below to see current ideas about free market solutions to healthcare instead of government dictated solutions.

"Those who tell stories rule society." -- Plato

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Secular Saturation

What is secular? The most common use of this word is non-religious. In other words, most people when they use the word secular are referring to their life in the "secular" world like their job or sports. Recently, I was listening to an interview of a contributor to a book called Faith, Film, and Philosophy. This book allows leading Christian thinkers to pick a movie or two and write about the bigger message and issues raised and give some Christian response to it. The guest was asked if he had to pick one bigger agenda being pushed either consciously or unconscioiusly by Hollywood, what would that be. He didn't speak about permiscuous sex or overt slams on Christianity or attitudes about violence or many social issues. Instead, he spoke of an all consuming secular way of looking at life all the time. He clarifies the way in which he means secular. Secularism is basically an attitude that states, "even if God exists, He is irrelevant to how we live our lives on a daily basis." Certainly, most of the films that receive high praise from Hollywood elites show this man-centered view as being THE relevant way to consider the human condition(think Oscar nominations). However, most people I know don't think such films are in touch with the way they view the world anyway. The shows and films I'm concerned with are the biggest popular hits for TV and film. The characters never seem to consult God for their ethical choices, turn to him in their hour of need, profess any devotion to God, or discuss any matters about their faith in God and how that influences their lives.

In the words of the guest being interviewed, "if you truly take the existence of God seriously in regard to His influence and meaningfulness in daily life, it is inevitable that God Himself becomes a character in the show or film if even only indirectly."

The key issue about this to me is NOT that most people who are in power in Hollywood don't consider God to truly be relevant, but that those people saturate our most popular films with this conclusion in a thousand subtle ways. This, in turn, creates a perception in people's minds about how people in general view the world and the way things truly are. Perhaps worst of all, it creates thousands of specific ways on "how-to" live your life without God. The key to appreciating the seriousness of this trend is in grasping the subtlety AND the complete saturation of it. Whether it is Jack Ryan, Jack Bauer, or Jack Shepherd, not a single one has ever uttered a single prayer in all the times I've watched them.

One last point,
1. How often do you consult God about your ethical choices?
2.Do you turn to Him in your hour of need?
3.Do you profess your devotion to Him?
4.Do you discuss the impact of your faith in Him with others?

We are not called to be Jack-like. We're called to be Christlike.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

New prayer requests

Thoughts and questions from Genesis

I'm trying to be more interactive as I listen to the Bible on CD. One of the ways that I'm doing that is keeping a pen and pad with me as I listen to write and journal thoughts or questions that occur to me as I listen. The following are examples of some of those thoughts and questions. Please, please feel free to share your thoughts and responses. That's kind of the whole reason I'm posting these.

1.Paying attention to the order of creation and what happened on what day causes me to question even more the idea that each day was a literal 24 hour day. It doesn't seem likely.

2. Eve-mother of all who live according to Adam

3. Sons of God married the daughters of men??

4. Apparently they did not eat meat before the flood(read Gen. 9), why did God institute the consumption of meat at that time?

5. Why does it tell us about Enoch?

6. Why did God chastise Pharoah and Abimilech instead of Abraham about lying about Sarah being his sister?

7. Why is Lot called righteous in the New Testament?

Thoughts from talk radio...

I've discovered a host in Nashville that I'm a big fan of named Michael Delgiorno(not sure on the spelling). Anyhoo, the following is a segment from his show that expresses something we've all sort of sensed but it does so pretty clearly and concisely....

How to create bias when you are a journalist....

1.How you choose the stories that you do cover and how you choose the stories you don't cover.

2.Which angles you choose to explore on the stories that you do cover.

3.Which people you choose to talk to and which people you choose NOT to talk to.

4.Which quotes you choose to use from interviews and which quotes you choose NOT to use.

With these simple four considerations, you too can be an activist or, ummm...... I mean journalist and use the news to manipulate the masses in whichever direction you see fit.

Great new political watchdog website link

The Sunlight Foundation

This site is a collection of a whole list of different ways to learn more about our government from many different angles. Govtrack, my old political watchdog link, is just one of the links you'll find on this much more comprehensive site. Click on the investigative resources tab to see an amazing number of useful links. I will be replacing my govtrack link with a link to sunlight foundation on my links section for future reference. Hope it is as useful for us all. I still need to explore the site a bit more to discover what other features it has to offer.

Pics from the road

Be sure to click on the bottom pic to get the full impact of the joke that is the sign in the parking lot in a frozen over parking lot in Illinois.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Taking things to heart

This expression has become a cliche, but for whatever reason it sticks in my head like that milli vanilli song "Girl you know it's true......oooo......oooooo......oooo....I love you." But I digress. What is interesting about the expression "taking it to heart" is that most often when used by most, it is misused. When someone generally says this, they usually mean they allowed themselves to be emotionally impacted by "it". Here's the dealio. Being impacted emotionally is not the equivalent of taking something to heart. Allowing your actions to be changed and yielding yourself to the truth of or the impact of "it" by changing your beliefs and therefore actions/behaviors is taking it to heart.

Taking it to heart is kind of like ingesting something and having it flow through your blood stream to become a part of who you are. This has obvious application to our walk with Christ cuz if any of you are like me perhaps you've been impacted emotionally many, many times by Christ, his life, the gospel, etc., but given this definition of taking "it" to heart, how much of Him have I really taken to heart. I am humbled many times at the answer, and I pray that he continues to patiently make His grace available to me to grow in the percentage of times that I can answer yes to this question instead of hanging my head in shame and frustration.

Friday, March 06, 2009

New Prayer Requests

I have recently been given some new prayer requests for my new prayer requests section of the blog to the right side of the blog. This has caused me to give some thought as to how I should proceed in regards to how many prayer requests should be on the requests section and how long they should stay on there. As a rule, I have decided that MOST of the time, I will limit my prayer list to a total of ten requests that will rotate in and out depending on the specific nature of the requests and how long they have been on the requests section. There WILL be some exceptions to this, but this is to help keep this number of requests at a manageable level for those who will commit to consistently praying for the requests mentioned. I would really appreciate as many as possible taking the time and energy to lifting these requests up regularly.

Also, any time I post new requests, I will essentially notify any who have me on their blog rolls by posting NEW PRAYER REQUESTS as a new blog post title. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Most Important One

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
Mark 12:28-30

Most of us are probably somewhat familiar with this passage. I was looking at it, and one of the things that dawned on me was the context of it. He is right smack in the midst of various interactions with the teachers of his day who were supposed to be those in the know when it came to God stuff. You can see that some had allowed their very motivations to become corrupt and others had simply bought into a fundamentally wrong understanding of God, and this was influencing the way in which they lived in a negative way to say the least.

In the midst of all this lack of true spiritual leadership, Jesus provides the little guys and gals of both his day and every generation after with a wonderful tool to use in our walk. He shines the light on our true north that our compasses must point toward. In the midst of trying to discern the right and true path to growth in Christ, we can remember to stop every now and then and look up at the unmistakeable landmark that "loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength," provides.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Freedom of Choice Act also known as FOCA

Want to thank my friend Tammy for alerting me to the following link. The Dems have not wasted any time trying to pass their unbelievably bold social agenda. I am very concerned about the passage of this bill that will apparently reverse many great strides in the pro-life movement over the last 10-15 years. I'll let the web site do its job of explaining the piece of legislation. I hope you will sign the petition against FOCA. This is one more of those small bricks in the wall of influencing our country toward the direction we believe it should go.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free full length Case for Creator video

I've been a posting maniac this month, but I suppose that's what happens when you're stuck in a truckstop with a pooter and time. Anyhoo, I've discovered another gem that I think if you get the chance to check out will be well worth your time. Lee Strobel published three groundbreaking books over the past decade or so. He has recently released DVD's with materials and interviews that have much of the same material as his books but in a much more 2009 friendly format known as a movie instead of a book. It is really well done, and I shall not rest until I can also bring you the final of the three, Case for Faith(I posted the link to the Case for Christ video about a month ago). Until I can post the link for Case for Faith please enjoy the link to the free Case for Creator.

Lee Strobel video site

I plugged this one a while back, and a friend of mine recently let me know that my link to it was screwed up. I have fixed it now. This is a great resource for all kinds of amazing video clips. Please, please click on the Strobel link on the right side of the page and play around for a bit on his site by clicking on various people's names and topics. I think you will be amazed at the collection of video content on this site. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


So, you walk into the eye doctor's office and sit on the little stool. He pulls down the big white robotic looking arm of vision with the binocular looking peep holes and puts it up against your face. "Tell me which is clearer 1 or 2," he says. You choose two. Then he flips a lever and flips between two other pieces of glass within the magical binoculars of the doc, "3 or 4?" You pick three. This goes on and on until the doctor gets you as close to clarity this side of lasik surgery.

Why did I walk you through that painfully boring reminder of what it's like at the eye doc's? Because it is an analogy of the point I'm going to make about life and our perceptions about life stuff.

Sometimes our perceptions are screwed up, and we need to have the magical arm of context flashed before our eyes to help us realize how much we either have not seen or have not seen clearly. I have a few quick examples of tools that I believe can help us see things more clearly.

1.Expose yourself to different cultures.
No, I don't want you to embrace your inner native and go running around the house in a loin cloth with a spear or force yourself to eat things that belong on a science fiction movie. I am also not claiming that other cultures have some deep insight that you just don't get until you've delved into their culture. I am, however, talking about compare/contrast and the value of it. An example of what I would suggest is an exercise a friend of mine used to do. Whenever going on a long road trip through a large metropolitan area, surf the radio. Force yourself to leave it in at least 5 or 6 places on the radio dial for ten minutes each that you would normally never listen to.
Again, I am not suggesting that you will be enlightened by the content of what you hear, but that you will be able to compare and contrast what you hear with what you already experience on a daily basis.

2.Get historical
I am not suggesting that you have to love history or become obsessed with it, but G. K. Chesterton used a phrase "democracy of the dead". The idea is that when we in the current generation don't delve at all into what those who went before us thought, wrote, argued about, believed, etc., we are guilty of a great arrogance and snobbery. The ideas that are celebrated and widely accepted without question in our generation were many times pointedly criticized by previous generations. How do you know you are not simply being swept up by the current of the trend of our generation. We can often look back and see the wrong headed excesses and sins of previous generations, but hearing what they did and said can make us more likely to see our own before we are unable to do anything about repenting from them.

3.Read and Listen
Too often, in our age of mass media we get our information from people who don't actually know anything about the subject they are talking about(ahem....journalists....ahem) from people who haven't thought deeply about the subject they are speaking about(ahem....actors.....ahem). However, if we make it a point to occasionally tune into actual experts and thoughtful people within the various fields of interest, we will be more likely to be building our house on the intellectual rock, so to speak. I know it is easier for me to tune out with a bag of mental mush on the boob tube (and lord knows I still do my share of that from time to time), but we've got to develop habits about what we put into our mental mouths no less than what we put into our physical ones. Technology, although certainly a chief villain in making it easier for us to suck up the bad stuff, is also at the forefront of making the good stuff easier to access, but we still have to be pro active about it.

Hope this wasn't too preachy. Just trying to share some thoughts that I thought have practical merit.

Smooches and sunshine to all. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just a few kooks....

"We are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

I'm going to start occasionally posting a handful of names that have signed an assertion titled A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism that affirms the statement I have quoted above.

This can serve as a rebuttal to those who argue that those who openly question evolution should be relegated to the kooks(usually religious kooks) section of our minds and dismissed.

I am also adding the dissentfromdarwin link to my other links on the right side of this page. Hope it is helpful.

First few kooks....

Philip Skell---Emeritus, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, Member of the National Academy of Sciences

Kenneth Dormer---Ph. D. Biology and Physiology University of California, Los Angeles

John W. Ballet---Ph. D. Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Post-doctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School

Lyle H. Jensen---Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Biological Structure and Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Washington

To view more kooks, just click on

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Join in on the brainstorm

Back in November, I mentioned that we need to get involved in the political process much earlier if we are going to make meaningful contributions to the makeup of our nation's, state's, county's, and local governments. I want to delve into thinking about the many, many different ways that this can be done.

It seems to me that our first priority should be to be as informed as possible about the issues that we are going to try to influence. We need to think about this stuff for ourselves and dialogue with each other about specifics. I think we should try to limit our involvement in areas that we honestly don't have a basic understanding of ourselves until we have educated ourselves on what we are trying to influence. I, for instance, must confess a big gaping hole where the info about local politics should be.

However, I know there ARE lots of areas and issues that we probably all have a greater degree of understanding. I know that without the unfolding drama of an election that is right around the corner, this stuff (to me at least) seems a little frustrating to devote time and energy toward, but this is the kind of thinking that leaves us two years and certainly four years from now regretting that we didn't do more earlier. I'm certainly not suggesting that we become obsessed with politics because that causes its own set of problems. However, disciplining ourselves to occasionally think about it and act on our thoughts is a long way from becoming obsessed. I'll give you an example of something that occurred to me the other day.

Who are the ones that will sway future elections? It is not those who are firmly entrenched either on our side or "theirs". It is those who we probably have connections with, but for some reason chose to swing their vote the other way because of various specific reasons. Another interesting thing about these people is that in many cases they can serve as the first domino in a great many to follow. What I mean is that if you can sway the person who is vocal about their views and claims to be among this "middle" category of voters, I believe this has a much greater potential to sway many others in their sphere of influence. Therefore, one of the things I am going to try to do is to search out those who fall into this category who will engage me, and I will be bring my best persuasive stuff to the table aggressively seeking to sway them. This will simply involve multiple conversations over the next few years, but it is a small brick in the wall of trying to influence our country. I've also wondered if there are ways that we can have a greater influence on swing states that seem to always determine presidential elections. I also want to point out the coming battle before the war. The battle for conservatism being the ideological core of the Republican party instead of the Democrat lite version of ideology that has increasingly characterized many, many big names in the Republican party. If this takes hold, we have got a whole different ballgame, and quite honestly, I think this issue may very well be THE deciding factor in all the rest to come nationally.

I'm just throwing this stuff out there to provide a launching point for discussion AND action from each of us. What are your thoughts? Any ideas about moving forward? Please throw something into the mix and join in on the brainstorming. The more that contribute with their energy, time, and creativity, the more likely that we little guys and gals can actually make some kind of difference in the direction that our country takes in the years to come.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Prayer Request

I would like to extend a request to any and all who read this blog to be in prayer for my friend, Russell. He was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He has a wife and four daughters. The primary reason I am seeking prayer for a miraculous recovery here is because WE need Russell. WE is those of us who are believers. Russell has been for quite some time an example I look up to and someone whose level of surrender to Christ and service to his body is a truly rare thing. Like Paul, I think Russell would certainly much rather be absent from the body and present with Christ, but I'm hoping for his family's sake and for ours(the body of Christ's sake) that Russell will be allowed to stay because we need him. Just one of many, many examples I can give of Russell's amazing dedication to serving Christ is that even in the midst of dealing with the cancer, he is still a full time counselor for others. I know it is dangerous to put anyone onto a pedestal, but Paul encourages the believers in his letters to honor those who are great examples of service.