Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In primitive times, the roles were divided, men were hunters, women were gatherers. This explains our pre-wired shopping styles.
Women had to browse from bush to bush searching for the best looking, smelling and tasting berries. This took a long time, and consequently women are committed to shopping over the long haul, making sure they haven't missed anything really tasty.
Hunting, on the other hand, requires a single-mindedness of purpose. Men on the hunt had to keep their single objective clearly in mind lest they be stomped or eaten by their objective. It went something like this: Mammoth. Must find Mammoth. Here is Mammoth. Kill Mammoth. Mammoth dead now. Haul Mammoth to village.
And that's the way it works today. Women browse from store to store, aisle to aisle, rack to rack, driving men insane because they have ONE SINGLE OBJECTIVE in mind.
Shirt. Must find shirt. Here is shirt. Kill shirt. Shirt dead now. Haul shirt to house.
My doctor has pronounced me kidney-stone free. This is a great relief. I've dealt with this particular round of stones since June of 2006. Since October 06 I've gone through four lithotripsy and one laser procedure. The final lithotripsy, almost two weeks ago was the charm. Broke that little monster into talcum powder, they did.
Anyway. Happy to say its over. Now I need to stop making excuses and get back onto a regular exercise schedule.
Friday, November 23, 2007
2. What is the deal with GROUP shopping? Why does the entire extended family have to go stand in the middle of the busiest aisle discussing where to go for lunch? Do you all buy Christmas/Hanukkah presents for the collektive?
3. Are you aware that you are not the only person in the store? OTHER people, LOTS of OTHER people, want to pass through that doorway you are blocking with your Cadellac Escalade Stroller and a confused look on your face. Get out of everybody else's way while you try to figure out if you spent the exact same amount on everyone in the immediate family.
4. Women seem compelled to take the path of greatest resistance while the shopping frenzy is upon them.
5. Men, NO there is no place to park that shopping cart that ten other people don't want to stand at too.
6. Wanna have some fun? Go pick up some ridiculous piece of crap, hold it up and examine it critically. Every woman in the store will immediately rush to that location to see if you've found a bargain they missed.
7. Honestly, I used to think this stuff was I Love Lucy fodder, not reality. I'm going back to bed.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Scott Atran, scholar and anthropologist, asserts that religious beliefs are nothing more than a delusion. According to Atran, religious belief means believing “what is materially false to be true” and “what is materially true to be false.” In other words, Atran contends that religious faith is an inane belief in “factually impossible worlds.”
I respond by asserting that I don’t have faith in what is “materially false.” Nor do I reject that which is materially true, though I sometimes question interpretations of the same. I do have faith in a transcendent God who is beyond the scope and scrutiny of the material world. The God I worship is the creator of the material universe. He is not a part of creation, or subject to its laws.
People like Atran often assert that religious folk base their beliefs on unprovable presuppositions. That is, we believe God exists, speaks and works in the material world without any tangible, provable evidence.
I don’t deny the charge. It’s absolutely true.
What Atran et al won’t tell you is that they—hard-headed scientific rationalists all—DO THE SAME THING. What? No, materialists base their thinking on scientifically demonstrable evidence. It’s religious people who base their life on faith.
That turns out not to be the case.
EVERYONE starts with unprovable presuppositions. We presuppose that what our senses relate to us is actual, reliable information. We presuppose that our brains are accurately processing the information received from our senses. We presuppose we are reasonable and not insane. We presuppose that some things are really “right” and others truly “wrong.”
That is pretty much true for all thinking persons down through the ages. However, we also presuppose things about God. Some of us presuppose God exists, others presuppose God does not exist. In neither case is the presupposition “provable” in the scientific, repeatable, laboratory sense.
Atheists like Atran not only believe the unproved presupposition that God does not exist, they also believe the unproved presupposition that anyone who disagrees with them is mentally deficient.
Fine, there are lazy, unthinking religious people who mouth beliefs they have not thought through. There are a
I assert that atheistic materialists have a perfect right to presuppose there is no God. I’d simply appreciate it if they would have the intellectual honesty to admit their thoughts are based on unproved presuppositions as well, just as mine are.
That’s not the end of it, either. Once you’ve admitted your presuppositions you have an intellectual and moral obligation to examine them. Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates’ statement is a vivid demonstration that human thought did not suddenly appear a few hundred years ago with the Age of Reason.
What Socrates was saying and I am echoing, is that you and I have an intellectual responsibility to hold our thoughts and beliefs up to the cold light of day. I may not be able to prove it, but I can ask, does what I say I believe correspond to the reality of the life I experience? This is admittedly subjective. However, I’ll give an example. I believe mankind is fallen, that we have deviated from what our Creator desires for us. The world around me is filled with reasonably good, decent people but still full of trouble and pain. Life’s sorrow is caused by the accumulation of a great many small, unkind, and a relatively few, horrendously evil deeds.
We see, experience and absolutely loathe this dichotomous state of being. In our hearts we feel that something is wrong, that we should not treat one another this way. Yet we do. And not just “bad” people, either. Night after night, good, common, decent people lie in their beds, stare at the ceiling and ask “why?" Why did I do that? Why didn’t I do the right thing? Why can’t I change?
I find this a sufficient reason to think my belief in sin corresponds to reality.
Both Science and faith have added great benefits to human life. And the opposite is true as well. Belief in God has been used to justify selfish, ugly, even vicious acts. So has belief in materialism. It is not the underlying philosophy, but fallen human nature that’s at fault. Greed, selfishness, anger, lust and the rest are human failings, not philosophical ideals.
Perhaps we could spend some time examining ourselves and reaching to fulfill the highest expression of the philosophy we espouse instead of calling each other names.
As you enjoy your day, remember to give thanks for all that God has done for you and through you.
I thank God I am an American, and I'm mighty proud of it.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Bible outlines the possibilities of mankind BEFORE sin came into creation, where we all live now and what God's plan is for our ultimate destiny. These are all summed up in how we relate to sin and death. Augustine called this "The Threefold Progression of Mankind."
1 In Genesis chapters one through three, for mankind it was:
Possible NOT to sin and to die
2 From Genesis chapter three through Revelation chapter twenty, (where you and I live now) for mankind it is:
NOT possible NOT to sin and to die
3 From Revelation chapter twenty-one & two on, for mankind it will be:
Not POSSIBLE to sin and to die
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Number 1, What kind of information were you looking for? I mean, okay, I can be dense but...what? Is it a hairspray that imparts a halo of spirituality? CHRISTIAN spirituality? Is it a certain stench or aroma that is pleasing in God's nostrils? Is it a new startup fashion label with a Christian--whatever THAT means--emphasis?
Moving on to Letter B, Why would that particular keyword phrase lead to MY blog?
The only thing I can figure is that it must be the ghost in the microchips.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tonight on the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams announced that desertions are up in the US Army. Congratulations to Brian and the rest of the Treason Lobby. Desertions trending up are a direct consequence of the anti-military, anti-war, anti-American propaganda you’ve been hosing us with for the last five years.
What gall. You loudly proclaim our war effort to be a failure and—wink, wink—quite possibly illegal, then you blandly make this horrendous announcement as if the two had no connection.
Shame on you.
I’d like to tell you what I REALLY think about your demoralizing, treasonous efforts but I happen to know children read this blog. So I’ll content myself with the one thing I know will make you cry:
I hereby question your patriotism.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I won't deny the go-cart accusation. I also wear hats a lot, though never a fez. However, You might be interested to know that the CONVENTION was hosted by the Russian Baptist Church of Sacramento. The pastor is a Russian emegre who speaks very little English. The congregation is Nostrovia to the max.
As for the racist bit, half of the state officers we elected for the following year were non-WASPS. Our state executive director is Latino. In fact, on any given Sunday you could choose from over sixty different language and /or ethnic congregations to worship with, all aligned (cooperating, we like to say) with California Southern Baptists.
I'm kind of proud of that; though not in a fleshly, sinful way. I notice some denominations make a big deal about being inclusive and accepting. When they are honest with me, their pastors admit they have no such diversity. Not that its about diversity, its about recognizing that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no black or white. We are all one in Christ.
Not to say we're perfect, the guy next to me wore an ugly suit after all.
As for stupidity? I'm so bright, my mother calls me son.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
What's it all about?
My granddaughter has an answer.
You put your one foot in
You put your one foot out
You put your one foot in
and you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Dokey
and you turn yourself around.
That's what its all about!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We here at Observations From Hadleyville--that's just me, but I'm fond of pompous sermonizing--have decided that since everyone else is jumping on the GREEN bandwagon, who are we to miss out on another passing, meaningless cultural fad? I put in a neon bulb above the washer-dryer and one in the garage, too. I've shut off the AC for the winter and put a green, eco-friendly sticker on my energy star monitor. Best of all, I've crafted a GOIN' GREEN logo to show I really mean business. The world--which by the way is still going to HELL--is now a safer, greener place.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
They are running ads for the show "Everest: Beyond The Limit!" and the commercials consist of a bunch of whiners who thought climbing Mt. Everest would be a Sunday School picnic. "This is not something you want to do!" bemoans one woman. "I'm crying because of the pain," whines a thirty-something crybaby who apparently needs his diaper changed and 2AM feeding.
Here's some helpful advice; "GO HOME, you whiners!" Who wants to watch this crap? It's supposed to be rugged ADVENTURE for Pete's sake, not Barney's nursery school!
Do you think Edmund Hillary's historic climb sounded like this? No... No, I doubt it.
I've tried to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. It was hard. I gave out a thousand feet below the summit. I griped about being sore & tired, sure. But most of the remarks I remember, from myself, my friends and everysinglepersononthetrail was something like: "I've run out of words to describe how beautiful and majestic this is." Awe was a lot more prevalent than woe.
I'll tell you another thing, when the cameras were rolling, I knocked off the griping.
Can you feel the love?
Just think, as long as you shop at Target you'll never need do another good deed again. PERIOD. You're covered. Washed in the green! Hallelujah!
Here's the equation: Spending money on yourself = righteousness.
I'm not a math whiz but I think I'll have to give this one a big, wet raspberry.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
In the past month I've gotten back on the aluminum horse and resumed my schedule. Sort of. I'd lost a lot of stamina. Just before Half Dome, I'd ridden a thirty-mile course, with two, one thousand foot climbs, twice. It's taken me a month of riding just to climb that first thousand foot hill. It's summit is three miles from my doorstep. I finally made that climb today.
I still have a way to go in the stamina department. In July I was climbing that hill in the highest-hardest gears. Today I had to settle for the lowest-easiest gears. But the important thing is that slow I may be but I still finished the course.
I'm still being passed by every gray-haired old man and five-year-old in a big wheel, which is hard on the ego. I'm seriously considering having my gear ratio changed. I'm sure that's not cheating. No matter, I know if I keep at it I will do better.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Let me suggest two approaches that I think give us insight into what the early Church thought about the subject. The first is Paul's point in First Corinthians chapter 15. Paul reminds the Corinthians of the Gospel, which is; "Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures. He was buried. He rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures and he was seen by upwards of five hundred witnesses."
The Gospel is thus reduced to four key points: Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he arose from the dead, he was seen by witnesses. But notice, two of the statements have a modifier: DIED and AROSE are modified by the phrase, according to the scriptures. Why not the other two? How about this, Christ's death and resurrection were fulfillments of prophecy, while his burial and sightings by many witnesses are offered as tangible EVIDENCE that he indeed died and rose again.
I conclude that the Gospel message is quite simple; Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.
Fine, that's the gospel message, sufficient for salvation, but what do you need to know to be fully informed about the foundation of the Christian life? Again, the early Church is already there for you. If you read the early Church Fathers--the leaders following the Apostles--you find many references to "The Apostles Doctrine." This is the message or KEREGMA of the early church. But what is that message?
Simple, it is found in the messages in the Book of Acts. Read them. Acts 2:14-39, 3:11-26, 4:8-12, 5:29-32, 7:52-56, 9:19-20, 10:34-43, 13:22-41, 16:31, 17:3, & 18-31, 18:5 & 28, 22:14-16 and 26:23 & 29.
In those messages the Apostles taught six concepts, over and over. Not every message has all six but the six are repeated in the ongoing teaching of the Apostolic Church. They are:
1. Jesus came from God
2. You and I killed Him
3. God raised Him up
4. He sends the Holy Spirit
5. Believe and Repent
6. He’s coming back
I say with confidence that THIS is the bedrock of Christian teaching. In fact it ought to be the message we preach today. Instead of worrying about which Church is right, or which baptism practice will get you into heaven or are you working hard enough (you're not and never can so trust God's grace), let's proclaim the Gospel. Jesus Christ is God become human flesh. He died for our sins, conquered death on our behalf and is coming back. THAT my friend is a call to believe and repent.
What a concept.