Friday, November 17, 2006

Boy to Man

My boy is growing up. We came to visit Grandma tonight for dinner tonight. We talked at dinner about the discussions Mo and I have been having on, teenage attitudes and growing up.

After dinner, Grandma asked my son how people reacted to his getting his long hair cut short. He thought it was awesome how the teachers didn't even know who he was when he walked into their classes.

Then Grandma offered to let him try my Dad's old electric razor to shave off the fuzz on his lip. He has always been resistant when *I* ask him about shaving. Well, this time, he thought he would try it.

AND HE DID. He doesn't realize it yet, but he has just joined the shaving male world. In my case, I shaved out of desperation so people would stop teasing me. Then I found that the faster I shaved it off, the faster it grew back!! Before I knew it I had a full beard.

I am clean shaven now, but I had a beard for a lot of years.

We'll make a man out of that boy yet.

He'll be moving out soon, I shouldn't wonder. "Can I have his room?"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Providence Center

I spent some time at the Providence Centre last weekend 'assisting' the second program of the Pursuit of Excellence series call 'The Wall'. This program is very thought provoking for the participants and the helpers too. The Centre has inspirational posters and painting scattered throughout the halls. This painting leaped out at me and the message attached, even more so.

Your Providence, O God, is what steers the ship You have opened a pathway even through the sea A safe path over the waves, showing that you can save Whatever happens so that even without skill A person may sail abroad. Book of Wisdom 14:3-4

Michael O'Brien illustrates this message in his icon entitled: "The Angel of Providence"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Why debating religion doesn't work

Debating difficult issues like Same sex marriages is a pointless task. I have participated and watched from the sidelines many of these discussions and there is a pattern. While there as many viewpoints as there are people traveling the Internet, here is my summary of the beliefs and positions of the major players in this debate:
  1. Conservative Christians (CC) believe the Bible is written by God who is unchanging and perfect. Ipso facto, the Bible is perfect and not up for interpretation or debate.
  2. Liberal Christians (LC) believe the bible is an historical document created by people influenced by God. The bible has metaphorical stories with important moral messages. How far LCs go with depends on how liberal they are.
  3. CCs believe it is their duty to convince non-Christians (NC) that "Jesus loves them and that they should accept Jesus into their hearts" and that "Jesus died for our sins". To them acceptance of these facts are the only way to forgiveness. They also think that other religions are wrong especially if Jesus is anything other than Messiah.
  4. CCs also believe that because they have done 3 themselves, their sins are forgiven, even though they should not support sinful behaviors in themselves or those around them.
  5. CCs refer to the bible and assert that Homosexual relationships are sinful, not approved by God (see 1), that these sinners should do 3 and that same sex marriages should not be supported (see 4).
  6. LCs and NCs will take issue with CCs stance on homosexuality and call them either intolerant or hypocrites for not accepting everyone, as they are instructed to in the bible (see 1).
  7. LCs will then often state their view of the bible (see 2) and then start pointing out parts of the bible that contradict 1. It is my personal opinion that many have trouble accepting the statements in 3 as useful statements of faith, but LCs don't generally come out and say this.
  8. The CCs will point out the well used sections of the bible that prohibit same sex relations, referring to 1 as support of their case. The LCs and NCs may at this point dispute these examples with different interpretations of what they were meant to mean at the time of writing (see 2) and the CCs might object using 1.
  9. LC and knowledgeable NC, will use counter examples of things even CCs do not believe are true in the modern world. Examples: "Should not eat shellfish", "Prohibition on eating pork", "Men should have multiple wives".
  10. At this point CCs will retreat to "My faith is unshakable", because that is essential to them (see 3), "I pray for you and hope that you will change your mind" (also covered by 3).
  11. LCs and NCs will shake their heads and mutter about how closed minded and intolerant the CCs are. The CCs will shake their heads and mutter prayers for the NCs and think that the LCs should know better and that the LCs will be really surprised when they wind up in hell.
At this point the discussion is pretty much over. Everyone feels they have not been heard (perhaps they haven't) but that they have cleared the air, that they scored some pretty good points for their side (not likely), and that the world is a better place because of their contributions to the debate. If you feel like debating this post, I would welcome your thoughts. However, lets try to keep to the meta level that I started at and not delve into the details of what is or isn't in the bible. That has been discussed to death and regardless of what the CCs say, is almost entirely open to interpretation and a matter of faith.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mist over Jackfish Lake

I know it sounds cliche, but this photo, taken by my brother reminds me of my Happy Place. You know that place you go to when you imagine yourself in nature?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pronunciation of Star Names

Here is a list of stars, which constellation they are in and how you say them. Also included is a list of constellations, their abbreviations and how you pronounce them as well.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My Web Pictures

This Father's Day, I would like to remember my Dad who died in mid March of this year. He inspired many people and will be missed. TerminalMan's Web Pictures and especially My Dad

Friday, February 17, 2006

Highest Law

Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is Jesus's restatement of the most important commandment.

The PBGs have been going on about this too. I have been taking a course recently that has been helping me improve my life. Early on, I felt a nudge of encouragement from the PBGs to follow this path. There is no doubt in my mind that the value I gain from taking these courses will increase my abilities to play my part in the PBGs plans.

On the other hand, it may just tempt me to try to take control of the plan or take credit for the wonderful accomplishments I have attracted into my life. Pride goes before the fall, don't you know.

My fantasy visions of my future include loads of friends, lots of money, a fleet of yachts, a studio with loads of beautiful artworks made by my hands.

Hmmm, not a lot of OOPBGB going on in all that. And where in all of that is the True Connection? Sounds a bit greedy now that I think about it.

Those PBGs brought this clever advertisment about a marathoner to me. How could I resist taking a look. Not only a marathoner who is clever, with business savy, but a ladies man and a smooth talker. "Is this how you picture your future?" they asked me.

Next on the hit list, they suggest I do the next church Rotation -- the temptation of Christ. This lesson is about Jesus staying in the desert for 40 days and nights with no food and only a little water. He is tempted by the serpent. So is that it Guys? Am I being tempted by the serpent here? Are you telling me that my pride will get me into trouble?

And what is with the picture of a boat covered with sexually appealing girls and me in the center? Do you mock my dream or dare me to accomplish it?

It seems likely that you are saying to me that there is Only one Lord. That the pursuit of money/power is evil and that I should put it behind me.

If I am looking for true connection, it should not be with these things it should be with God.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Recently I was using Google's new RSS feed viewer in my gmail account. It brought me to a link on how to create and remember your strong passwords for online banking and such. Very good advice now that so much of our personal information is online. Sometimes we need a little help remembering things that are very important.

Over the years, the PBGs have helped to make God and Jesus palatable for me. If that sounds strange to you, you don't know me very well. Or perhaps you have just come to know me recently.

I was visited by the PBGs on my run this morning. They spoke to me about belief.

I said:"Go ahead and believe whatever damn fool thing you want. The Facts will always beg to differ."

The PBGs whispered: The 'facts' shouted from the roof-tops may bear little resemblance to the Truth.

I am reminded of a scene in the book, "The Silver Chair" by C.S. Lewis. This is one of the Narnia books, though it isn't nearly as well known as "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". In this scene, the Green Witch, who is really a poisonous snake in disguise tries to convince the protagonists that there is no sun, no overworld and no Aslan. She calls these ideas fantasies and children stories. She uses her magic smoke, harp music and lilting voice to dull their senses, addle their brains and put them to sleep.

Puddleglum, a marsh wiggle, breaks out of her powerful spell and says

Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up... trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself... all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones... We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it.I'm going to live like a Narnian as I can [sic] even if there isn't a Narnia.

It is a powerful message placed in a powerful and memorable scene in a wonderful story. Encoded in these wonderful books are concepts to save a world by. A story like this helps us remember what is truely important. It encourages us to stand up for what is right regardless of what the 'facts' are telling us is prudent or acceptable

And a child's story (the Narnia books, in this case) help us to remember what is important. "Remember what silly old Puddleglum said..." For a wiggle, he sure had his head on straight.