Thursday, June 24, 2004

Shy Away

I think my comments are working properly. Then again, I haven't exactly been flooded with comments lately. Susan Prince of Sisters' emailed me to say that she couldn't open the comment window by clicking the comment link below. It works for me and I have received comments from Ron and Mike among others.

Is there anyone else who can't make a comment?

Leave a comment below...

No, wait, that won't work. Um..

Alas, I will have to for-go my usual shyness and paranoia and release my email address so you can contact me that way. I guess it is time to dive into the deep end of the blog-o-pool and start standing by my words.

I can be reached at TerminalMan90_AT_gmail_DOTcom

Susan says she has JavaScript turned on and thinks that the Haloscan popup isn't being suppressed by a popup suppressor. Anybody have another idea about what might be going wrong on her end?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Caution: Stats may be Habit Forming

I admit it. I am a stats junky.

I haven't started a 12 step program yet, but I admit that I have a compulsion to check my website stats at least 4 times a day. I just can't resist the temptation to see how many new visitors I have. I love to see what posts are getting the hits. I want to know who I am drawing in with what.

Call me vain.

There is no question about it Holmes. Curiosity killed this cat.

But I am sometimes at a loss to figure out what people where really looking for from the search terms they type in. What do you think the person who typed in "Rat Food" was looking for? I can tell that they didn't find discount rat pellets or weed rat stew recipes on The PBGs' Path.

Some of you might be asking yourself, "Why was TM90 posting about Rat Food anyway?".

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Mission with the Works Please

Mike posts on Waving or Drowning? (which, BTW, is a poem I love and wrote an essay about at university. The poem is "Not Waving But Drowning" by Steve Smith.) about Works and their importance to Spirituality.

We do not do the work. On that I agree with you. I do think we have the responsibility to "prepare the soil". In our little tribe we talk about doing our part so God can do His part. He makes all this available to us, but we are responsible for working with God in this formation.

The PBGs really agree with this post. Works are as important as faith. You cannot control God nor can you "push the plan". On the other hand, God doesn't make all the decisions either. If you are unwilling to play the part cast by God for you, the plan is altered irrevocably. That doesn't mean it is ruined, just changed. When you work with God instead of against God, things go in the right direction. When you work against God, good things still happen, but I suspect they are not as grand as the were meant to be.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Chicken and Egg Question

Okay, so I have been giving Faith and Salvation a lot of thought lately. And, sure enough, at church today, that seemed to be the focus of the sermon. The PBGs are relentless.

Or maybe that is just me.

Briefly, the reading today was about Jesus eating with the Pharisee, Simon. Along comes a woman of 'low social standing' who crys on Jesus' feet, drys them with her hair and anoints them with perfume from an alabaster jar (Luke 7:36-50) (not to be confused with Mary and the Alabaster jar).

Listening to the viewpoint of our Minister, I heard that God's grace is given to all. I asked him after the service my "Chicken and the Egg question." I said, "Which comes first, Faith or Salvation (i.e. the grace of God)?"

He said that in his opinion we didn't have to do anything special to earn God's grace, it is available to anyone who is willing to accept it. I expect that means he doesn't think too highly of the concept original sin then either.

Humming Bird Nest

Here is a series of pictures depicting the birth of a humming bird. Thank you Mom for the link.

This is truly amazing! Be sure to click on NEXT PAGE at the bottom of each page...there are four pages. Adults and children will find this very interesting. Enjoy!!!

This lady found a humming bird nest and got pictures all the way from the egg to leaving the nest. Took 24 days from birth to flight. Very neat and good pictures.
Humming Bird Nest

I was told to share it with the grandkids and kids, which I did, and I also thought I would share it with the PBGers too.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Scam Report: Bernard Haldane Associates

This report, due to circumstances, must remain a Buyer Beware report.

I simply don't have enough information to prove any wrong doing by the company Bernard Haldane. All I have is a very bad taste in my mouth from the bait dangled before me.

I received and invitation to an 'interview':

We have had the opportunity to screen your resume on [websiteName] and upon review would like to invite you in for a consultation meeting/career evaluation

Right away, I thought, "This is some head hunter," so I was already on my guard. So I googled the company up and investigated their career change form (the one that offered a report). After three pages of forms, they referred me to the local Bernard Haldane office.

Okay, so I phoned the number from the original email. The lady asked me to set up an appointment, and, wanting to practices my new-found phoning skills, I proceeded to ask what I could expect to get out of the consultation. I was surprised when the woman's hackles went up.

Her abrupt change of tone rang warning bells and I pushed a bit harder for more information. She said that "if I didn't already know what kind of service they were offering, then perhaps the consultation wasn't for me."

What? Now who was sounding out-right rude?

So I canceled the interview.

And did some more research.

I was surprised to locate at least 12 different web addresses that hit on a google on company's name. The sites were all variations on haldane or jobhunter. The websites vary from very professional-looking to clunky and old-school. The hype level is high but actual company information is sparse. My first visit to the highest hit was professional and stated that this 50+ year old company has offices in North America, Europe and the UAE.

What I didn't see on my first exploration was that there are other people complaining about or suing this company. One guy said that the company are members of the US BBB but that he had found 500 complaints about this company.

My search of the Canadian BBB also found a lawsuit from 2002.

Like I said, I don't have any proof that this is a bad company, but I certainly don't regret canceling my appointment with them. I don't need practice saying no to high pressure sales and a fee of excess of $1300

[edit] This post has languished as a 'draft' post for more than a month now. It is time to post it and move on.

On digging a bit deeper, I have found a little bit more information about this company.

  • I found a transcript of a W-Five program about the practices of this company.
  • I found a reference to the original company in the latest copy of What colour is your Parachute?, 2004: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career-Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Mr. Bolles states that Bernard Haldane, the founder of this company was a brilliant man who started a job placement company just after the second world war. Haldane sold the company about a decade ago and it has grown exponentially to 90 locations. Mr. Bolles couldn't recommend the new company services either.

So I leave it to you. If you are desperate enough, perhaps you want to spend $3,000 to $7,000 getting a spruced up resume and some job search pointers. Apparently, this is the only service they provide and there is no guarantee that you will be successful landing that perfect job.

Or you can pick up a copy of Parachute for $17.00 and it will give you the skinny on how you REALLY can get the job of your dreams. The choice is yours.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Strength training

I'm on a roll tonight. Here is another link from a link. Thanks to TNT18 for the running related PBGish link.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

This story also has the elements of obedience, fear and recognition of our sinful nature. But it seem much more gentle somehow. Less focused on guilt and self loathing. More about building me up than tearing me down. I may be a lonely guilty sinner now, but with hope, faith, and the love of God, I can become more Christ like and fulfill my destiny.

Sin and the Homosexual

Following the links on the International Weblogger's Day (June 9) lead me to the Innovators for Christ site. While I have yet to discover a post that seems remotely innovative to me, I did discover a post that touches on some of the things Ron Shanks and I have been discussing, dealing with homosexuality (in this case ordination of homosexuals) and recent changes in the USA.

There are two basic principals at the root of this problem.
  1. The inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures: You have to believe that what Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter 1 verses 26 and 27 is false. You have to be able to read that and justify unnatural and indecent behavior in your ordained leadership.
  2. You have to be able to justify unrepentant sinners as qualified to lead believers in a life committed to repentance. I don't think that homosexuality is worse than any other sin. The type of sin is not the issue to me. If Mr. Robinson stood before the church and said "I steal all my food from the grocery store because I love the rush I get from it, and I don't intend to stop". People would be outraged and Robinson would be run out of the church.
How and when, did the sin of homosexuality receive amnesty?

This sound very much like what Ron has to say. Very succinctly put. Gets right to the nub of the issue. Even uses the same Bible quotation Ron gave me. If I had more faith in the infallibility of the Bible, I would have to change my mind about the ordination of ministers too.

On the other hand, if Ron is right that I am an Idoliter et al, then I wouldn't be suitable as a minister either. Case-in-point, all humans are sinners so no-one should have amnesty. Therefore, nobody has the right to represent God as a minister.

Except for God's grace.

So why should we single out the Homosexual sinner? Or the one who steals his groceries for that matter?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

PBG Disciple

Alas, my 'session' with the PBGs didn't help me much. My thoughts kept coming back to my conversation with my blog friend, Ron. It did seem to confirm the importance of faith in all of this. I also got the feeling that I am being a bit stubborn and that I really need to ground my decisions with additional Bible reading.

That can't be a bad thing.

I have some quick things to say about Ron's latest (and last? I think not!) post.

  1. I did not mean to imply that I didn't believe in God or that God didn't create the universe. On the other hand, I don't think that God created the earth in 6 literal days. I see this creation story as a metaphor only. Ron won't like that, but that is tough.
  2. I did not mean to imply that I think the Bible is false, just that it isn't infallible.
  3. I only tried to take the Bible out of the conversation regarding faith because I wanted to hear what Ron felt about faith, not what was written in the Bible. He has quoted the Bible enough and I wanted to get past that to what he felt. More on this later in this post
  4. I don't want to argue about evolution either. We have differing opinions about it; enough said.

Based on your (presumed by me) assumptions about me, Ron, you have lumped me in with other Bible haters. Ron, I am surprised by you. I would have thought it was apparent to you that I am ready to read the Bible with you and see what I could get from it. I am just not ready to see it as a tautology. I am not ready to accept a 10,000 year old earth because the Bible is from God and God doesn't lie. As you know, the Bible is a valuable repository of useful social guidelines. I even accept that the Prophets were influenced by a direct connection to God in some way I can't fathom. Just because I can't fathom that process does not mean it isn't possible. On the other hand, have you read the description of Ezekial's vision? It sound like he was tripping out on magic mushrooms! I am positive there is a metaphoric meaning to this vision, but I don't know what it is.

You spoke at length of conscience. I wasn't clear on what you were getting at, however. Were you trying to imply that conscience and soul are somehow linked or words for the same thing? Surely a soul is more than just a persons conscience? Anyway, the difference between our positions seems to be that you see conscience as a trait or fundamental and I see it as a set of learned behaviors. I see it as a learned behavior. There certainly seem to be people who never developed a conscience due to improper upbringing. I see conscience as a creation of society that is transmitted to an individual. It is a fabric of rules that allow us to co-exist without falling into anarchy. It is taught to a child by his/her parents to assure their survival and procreation in society. Having said that, I have no intention of our discussion wandering into the realm of Social Darwinism. Let us press on.

...when you start to question one part of scripture, the whole things starts to unravel pretty quickly.

If it was my intention to discredit the Bible, unraveling it would be my goal. That, however, is not my purpose. My point is that making allowance for poetic license, imagery, metaphor or other elements of story telling doesn't diminish the power of the content of the Bible, but is certainly changes what you believe the document is telling you.

If you find a quote in the bible that says that women are property and you believe the Bible is Gods final (unchanging) word, and you believe that God must be followed at all cost, then By God, women shouldn't be allowed to vote (among other things). I can see why Bible literalists are tying themselves in knots trying to get everyone to see that the 'progress' we have made in so many equality issues have being a denial of Gods Holy Word.

But we have been around that merry-go-round before too. I am running low on bullets too.

Yet there is no great appeal for you to accept that grace, because you don't want to be motivated by fear. Solomon reminds us repeatedly, that "fear is the beginning of wisdom", and Heb 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Tim, God means business when it comes to sin. You don't want to be motivated by fear, but you should be. We all should. We should tremble at the thought of standing before a Holy God. Even if there is only a chance of it being true, you should tremble at the thought. No, it's not pretty. But that is where wisdom, and repentance begin. Faith will follow - God will reveal himself to you as you take those small steps of faith. But you must humble yourself first.

I realize there is a chance that it is true. I am not ready to swallow the pill whole. I am an analyzer. I pick things apart to see how they work. For me, the pieces just don't fit together. I think that Ron is saying here that he attains faith through his fear of God. I have come a long way into faith. My entry into faith has not been through fear but through purpose. Through action. I strive for community, to become a part of a grand whole. I want to be the hands of God, to act on His behalf. It is my belief that a God who loves me would not want me to quake in fear. A God who is all powerful would not set up a system were only the fearful would survive. That kind of creation makes no sense to me. I don't believe in a God who will punish my bad behavior with eternal suffering. That does not seem all powerful to me. Fear is a base human emotion. Love is a complex set of emotions and actions that defies attempts to describe it.

God is love.

God is NOT fear.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Scam Report: Tickle update

I found this little bit of speculation on the Motley Fool site. Google's Billion-Dollar Shopping List [Commentary] June 3, 2004: "Perhaps Tickle was Monster's most interesting acquisition"

Apparently Google's IPO may spur it to buy Monster who recently purchased Tickle in May. So say the Motley Fools.

I guess it is all about who has the eye-balls. Amazon, Ebay, Google, Monster are all recognizable to most web-surfers. Other companies like Double-Click, most gambling sites, Blind Date, Lava Life (and other various dating sites) are infamous (but still well known) sites. If the reputable companies buy up all the Tickles, hopefully the amount of spam on our favorite websites will decrease.

Or maybe it will quadruple!

A Matter Of Focus (the sequel)

Some of my other readers have mentioned that I seem to have lost my original focus on the PBGs' Path lately. True. But then again, the PBGs have already indicated that my blog is a distraction anyway and that I will get from it only things I can expect from any human distraction.

On the other hand, I tried to do some PBGish meditation on my most run yesterday and it was disappointingly unenlightening.

I did come home feeling blessed with riches.

... and I came home hot, sweaty, sticky and tired.

I have a long solo run tomorrow (13 miler). I'll try to meditate again tomorrow and report back.

No Brainer Reward

Ron Shanks and I have talked about the requirements of salvation in our on-going discussion. What I meant when I said we hadn't discussed Salvation is that I haven't told him yet that I don't believe there is a heaven or a need for salvation (Feel free to check the chart; it isn't in there).

I know from my handy chart that Ron's faith in the Bible (hmm, perhaps faith is the wrong word here?) means that he has no choice but to believe that there is a heaven and a hell. It also means that he believes that God created the earth in 6 (presumably standard) days, that humans were co-existent with dinosaurs, that the age of the universe is under 10,000 years and other interesting tidbits.

But lest we get sidetracked, we were talking about Heaven or more succinctly, Salvation. I am more of a scientist than a theologian. I understand the principles of carbon dating, asteroid impacts, fossilization, speed of light, plate tectonics, rocketry, and a host of other scientific disciplines that call into question the infallible "truths" of the Bible. If there is a heaven out there, beyond the clouds, why hasn't the space shuttle discovered it? Behind the moon? Beyond the furthest unmanned probe? Is it in some other Galaxy? Probably not. Some other Godly dimension? Possibly.

I can't prove there is no heaven. But nobody can prove there is one either. I know, Ron, you will say, "Do you want to spend eternity in hell wishing you had seen that your pride was blinding you to the Truth". Ultimately, that is my choice (at least we agree on that, no matter how much it grieves him).

Then again, I never thought I would join a Christian church and read the Bible.

Look Ma, no hands!

Ron, here is the hard question: What is it that gives you faith that you will rise to Heaven (bodily or just your 'soul') when the final judgment comes? (And don't say the Bible, `cause that just redirects the question) I am talking about your own personal experience.

I simply refuse to make that faith leap with only fear of death pushing me. <--- serious here Ron. Or the threat of eternal damnation. Or any other fear tactic. If it is simply a choice between reward and punishment, it is a no-brainer to pick the reward, but it doesn't help me with faith. Am I being clear here?

Discalmer: Ron and I both have a habit of being flippant without warning. This has got to stop. But it won't, so don't hold your breath, dear reader.

Congratulations Mo

WaHOOO! Mo just got the word that she will be working for the City during the Municipal Election campaign as a researcher. Her position is officially a Clerk II but she tells me that she will be doing more researching and phone answering than typing.

It is a full time position with every second Monday off. The position goes for 6 months.

If you know Mo, you will know that she is both excited and fretting the details of becoming a full time employee.

I get to to be "Mister Mom" for at least the month of June. I plan to continue to look for work, but Mo's job will take away a lot of the money pressures we have been dealing with. My EI premiums won't last forever, after all.