July 28, 2009

Movin' On Up

Up, as in north. And west.

Yes, folks, we're moving back into the central time zone later today and will be new residents of the state of Wisconsin. Please think of and pray for our safe travels and - also important - retaining our sanity!

Nic and I are both very sad to be leaving this apartment. I will miss my garden, meager and modest as it is, the lawn where I sunbathe, beautiful Michigan skies that go on and on, Stuart Avenue in the fall with its multi-colored trees, Saturday night madness sale at my favorite thrift store and, of course, the crazy squirrels. Mostly I will really miss this quaint and cute apartment on the inside; the way it makes it feel like we live in an urban brownstone is inexplicable but wonderful.

And on that note... it has been strongly suggested to me that I do a series of "before" and "after" posts at the new apartment, to show the process of making a plain, complex-building space into a unique one. So as soon as I figure out the internet in the new apartment, I'll be getting to work on those.

Sitting here in the kitchen right now makes me remember one thing I won't miss - the dripping sink! :)

Anyway, in the meantime and before I write again, here are some photos (promised long ago) of Madison and the university, the new city home! Talk to you soon...

Abe looking down on the town.

Inside at the Capital.

At the University of Wisconsin.

The Capital on the square.

July 22, 2009

Things That Make Me Angry

Maybe I am justified in the anger, maybe not. You be the judge and let me know in the comments section.

A coworker of mine recently got married. Now, this is a woman who, if I am being honest, I have never really liked from the beginning. She's a product of social justice academia through and through, and one of the first things I heard her talk about was a special on t.v. showing how the Obamas had decorated the White House for some holiday. Gag. Obviously I have a bias against people I think a) have received benefits for relying on minority status and b) anyone who likes Obama :) Kidding!

The thing that really bothers me (again, you be the judge on the justification factor) is that she isn't feminine at all. She doesn't wear any make-up, or brush her hair, or wear clothes that fit. And she's a trim, well-built woman, so she could look very pretty in the right clothes. But she doesn't even try, or it's almost like she doesn't want to be seen as a woman.

I actually tried hard to like her because she comes from a military family, and I thought perhaps we'd share sentiment in that direction. But no, she leans to the left on policy there, too, citing the numerous negative factors of being a "military child." So I tried, but I'm pretty judgmental (surprise), and there you have it.

Anyway, she just got married. After a week-long honeymoon, she returned today with a sparkling ring and a sparkling smile to greet us with. Me being someone who enjoys seeing men and women marry each other greeted her back with, "Good morning, Mrs. ..." trailing off because I didn't know her husband's last name. "Oh, no!" She answered back. "I'm not a 'Mrs.' I didn't want that. I am still Miss B---."

Huh. Ok, let me get this straight. You love the guy, you want to be with him forever (or so the vows say), you want the benefits of a joined life and economics, the security and pleasure of having that man around... but you won't take his name? Sorry, but I don't get it. And I don't like it.

To me, and this is just my opinion, you can't be half-in, half-out in a marriage. You are either, in your mind and heart, committed to the person and whatever comes along with that, or you aren't. You are married, or you are single. There really isn't an in-between. Being engaged may seem like a caveat, but it really is just a waiting period of singleness until you are married.

Now, I know this woman is not Biblical in any way - she said long ago that there would be no priest or pastor at her ceremony, heaven forbid! - and does not desire to please God. Though she knows He exists (because everybody does), she doesn't care what He thinks of her, or her of Him. She has described herself as "definitely not religious," so it's fair to assume that she doesn't care about being "joined" and "becoming one" with her husband. But I still wonder, how can she not see the contradiction in wanting all the serious, long-lasting elements of a marriage without also taking a superficial part, his name?

You see, folks, this is a product of liberal politics and education. She has been brainwashed into believing that she doesn't need a man*, that his identity has nothing to do with hers, and that she can take care of herself. Yet, the innate being of this woman, instilled by God (whom she can deny all she wants but is still her Creator), urges her to settle down with a man, to ceremoniously commit to him in front of family and friends, and to vow to serve him (in some respect) for her whole life.

It's a paradox that she doesn't understand, but she is now living it out. Please pray that God would give her the gospel (because Paul says the gospel is not taught, as of men, but given of God) she needs to understand who she really is. Her name is Cat.

*Not every woman will be/should be married, but we do all exist in a partnership with men, not in opposition to them.

Obama Cares... As fas as he knows

Sad news for Obama this week as the public is rejecting his ObamaCare government-run health plan at a recorded 49%. Of course, that doesn't bother him too much, and he continues to urge leftwing news media to support the plan publicly while stalely repeats some of his key talking points, one of which is the notion that "“If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.”

But is that true? A recent Heritage Foundation inquiry into the matter found that, when asked if privately-insured Americans would be able to keep their insurance in light of Section 102 of the House health legislation, which states that, "in order to qualify as an 'Exchange-participating health benefits plan,' all health insurance plans must conform to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue" (heritage.org). Particpation in the new regulations would raise costs considerably and likely cause employers to drop their employees from private plans into the lower-cost government health bin.

When the President was asked about Section 102, he said: "You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about."

So, Obama doesn't know if private insurance would still be around but, as far as he knows, you can keep your private insurance with no problems. Good. Next issue?

July 16, 2009

Everybody Knows

At one end of the spectrum, a person knows that he can't deny Him, so he goes to some kind of church out of duty, or respect or because he is unsure of the consequences of appearing to deny Him. However, as he doesn't know anything about Him, he never really gets close enough to get to know Him any better. This person knows just enough to know not to disregard Him. But he misses out on so much of God for the uncertain consequences of getting too close.

I work with someone like this, who said, "I don't know what I believe, but I go to church every week. And that's something."

It is something, it is a start of sorts. But there could be so much more.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who know deeply that He exists and fear that fact so much that they speak disparaging things about Him, publicly. This is often confused, inconsistant or false theology, misconceptions that come from never actually reading His word.

This would be your Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, Amazing Atheist types. They don't believe that He isn't real, they hate God precisely because He exists.

In the middle of these two extremes falls everyone who knows a little about Him - maybe what they've been told by someone else, maybe from their own intuitions - and so ventures out in their own way, mostly determined by what they're comfortable with. Some might participate in social welfare activities, some might read their Bibles and pray diligently on their own and never go to church. Others might be very active in church but don't speak of Him outside of it.

But everybody knows that He is there and cannot be denied. The agnostic says he's not sure who God is, but that is only because he's never taken the time to try to know Him. Even the atheist's behaviors are motivated by a hatred of God, not a true denial of His existence. Or, they know how much they need Him, and so they hate Him because they think He doesn't exist.

"If there were no God, there would be no Atheists."
G.K. Chesterton

July 15, 2009

What do you know about "Cap and Trade?"

Here's a good article from Hot Air today, mentioning Sarah Palin's editorial on the subject. Her comments are italicized. Hot Air's Ed Morrissey spells it out for you at the end: cap and trade will ration energy production, and that means higher prices in many areas, as well as an overproduction (if you can call it that) of unemployment.

Not to mention a lower quality of life, as we adjust to only using energy for the things we really, really want. So, you can choose between your laptop or your microwave or your garage door opening. Or something like that.

posted at 10:11 am on July 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

"Sarah Palin takes on Barack Obama on his home turf, so to speak, by penning an op-ed in the Washington Post. On Sunday, Obama’s own Post column attempted to defend his stimulus package and plead for patience, promising that new jobs will arrive over the next two years. Two days later, Palin assails his cap-and-trade bill as a job killer that will wipe out many more jobs than Porkulus could ever create:

American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy. Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security. Consequently, many of us in this huge, energy-rich state recognize that the president’s cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy.

There is no denying that as the world becomes more industrialized, we need to reform our energy policy and become less dependent on foreign energy sources. But the answer doesn’t lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive! Those who understand the issue know we can meet our energy needs and environmental challenges without destroying America’s economy.
Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.

In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also increase.

The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.

Unfortunately, the ironic beauty will only become apparent after cap-and-trade does severe damage to our economy and standard of living. Even then, the most ardent liberals won’t admit a problem at all, because the push for cap-and-trade has other motivations than just lowering CO2 in the atmosphere. Those pushing cap-and-trade and making hysterical pronouncements about having only 96 months until the end of the world want to push people into statist control of energy production. They’re not worried about falling standards of living; most of them think we exploit too many natural resources anyway, and that less energy and less of everything would bring about the kind of harmony they desire — and want to impose on everyone else.

We need to make all of this clear. Cap-and-trade rations energy production, which means there will be less of it for a long time. Alternatives are not ready for the kind of mass production that would allow a complete replacement of energy, and probably won’t be for decades, if ever in some cases (notably wind power, as GreenChoice showed and as T. Boone Pickens finally realized). That means a lower standard of living that will impact America regressively, with the lowest income earners getting hit the hardest. The drain on the economy from high energy prices means less jobs and higher retail prices for goods and services, again a regressive consequence of energy rationing.

Obama and his Utopian allies promise that government will help close the gap by offering more services to the unemployed and the poor at the expense of the “rich”. What will that do? It will further handicap the economy by keeping capital out of the markets. Even worse, it will vastly expand the dependent class in America who have to go on the dole to survive. And many of those ardent liberals will be pretty happy with that outcome, too. "

...And here's a fun video of one of those wind turbines exploding... from high winds.. hmm..

July 10, 2009

Tenrikyo Vs. Dutch Reformed

The other day I had to utilize a local radio station's website for a project at work. The registration form asks for the pertinent information- name, work address, phone number- and then asks a number of optional questions that can, presumably, help them cater the radio station to you. Here they are, in order: marital status, ethnicity, number of children in household under 18, income, primarily computer usage location, education, employment, religion, housing status, accessibility to internet.

I'm sure you've seen drop-down lists like this before, but I was absolutely shocked at the options available for selection under the "religion" category. Here is that list, in order:

Assemblies of God
Jehovah's Witness
Seventh Day Adventist
Other Christian
Chinese traditional religion
African traditional/Diaspora
Cao Dai
Unitarian Universalist

Notice how far down on the list Judaism is? Also, note that "atheist" is listed third, above Catholicism! Oh, they're in alphabetical order, you'll say. Really? Then why is "Animism" second to last, "Cao Dai" somewhere in the middle, and "Seventh Day Adventist" in the top ten?

Now I'd like to remind you that I live in southwest Michigan; how many Jains or "African Traditional/ Diaspora" member do you suppose live here? My guess is none, if not a severely low number.

And certainly, we have more "Reformed" Christians here than any other type of religion (four located within a half mile of this radio station alone!), yet you will not find it on the list at all. Yet "Pastafarianism" is listed; a joke, I assume, but more important than representing the largest religious denomination in the area?

Cheshire Cat to Kalamazoo radio: Very curious. Very curious indeed.

*Update: Just after I posted this, an ad for scientology appeared on the side of the blogger page. Is that enough proof that google is completely wacked in what ideas they support?? Ugh, google/gmail/blogger (the company) is a whole post of its own...

July 8, 2009

Reason Like a Man

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:8-12

I've been reading straight through the Bible for the past year. I'm now in 1 Corinthians, which is no great accomplishment because I should be further but for all my fits and starts. (I got stuck on the Psalms, not in the way other people might - because they don't want to leave them - but because I didn't like reading them. I wanted to get to Proverbs, to the meat of the wisdom, so-to-speak. Shows how much I know about wisdom.)

Nonetheless, here I am in 1 Corinthians, having imagined, or maybe hoped, that Paul would address them scathingly since they were fond of such obviously sinful activities. He should say, I thought, like Jonah wanted to say to the people of Ninevah, that they deserve to be destroyed. Because, well, don't they? Aren't they evil idolaters who do anything but what is proper in regards to sex and marriage? Don't they love their licentiousness more than God?

However, I'm always surprised to read how Paul addresses them from the outset ("To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours") and the gentle admonishment he gives them throughout the book. He seems to want to instruct more than rebuke, and that brings us to the passage above.

Paul had been addressing the "gift of the Spirit" and the qualities of love that make it eternal just before going into this oft-quoted string of verses, hence the introduction that love never ends (while all the other gifts, though they may be temporarily helpful - in the order he lists them - to the Church, will ultimately pass away with the harbingers of those gifts). That explains, albeit in my simple way, the first two verses.

The last two verses make sense in this context also, that now we only know partially (half-hidden, veiled, shadowed or whatever metaphor you'd like to employ) what will be revealed in our passing into God's presence after death. (*I'd like to recommend the book, "Til We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis here, as it is an amazing allegorical novel about this veiling period.) This part of his teaching I understand, and reading that book actually helped flesh it out for me a lot more.

I can't make sense of the middle section. Superficially I get it, that Paul used to reason more simplistically and with less wisdom when he was both physically and spiritually a child. But besides that literal reading, I don't get the immediate connection to the wisdom he's imparting. What did he used to believe about knowing God, or seeing him face-to-face? What were the "childish ways" by which he reasoned about God?

It has always struck me when reading this that there is so much more about it I'm not understanding. And perhaps it is because I reason like a child. I suppose that's the reason I ask, too, since I want to "reason like a man" but feel perpetually stuck in a child's mind.


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