free web stats Lost in the Eternity of the Here and Now: October 2006
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Every year at Halloween I hear the same diatribe on celebrating Halloween. Detractors seem to think calling it a Fall Festival is any different. If the children are allowed to dress up in costumes, play games, and get candy, guess what… it’s HALLOWEEN! The legalists among us seem to think that the origins of Halloween should disqualify Christians from involvement. They say its Celtic origins in pagan mysticism make it a night of evil. I acknowledge its historic origins, but lets look at the facts. The Celtic practices that brought us this night are all but forgotten with a liberal estimate of 1% practicing today in the US. Ninety-nine out of 100 people could not even tell you the origin of the night if you offered them a million dollars. The children who dress up and trick-or-treat have absolutely no knowledge, or care, about the origin. The same could be said for adults. Halloween, much as every other holiday, religious or not, has been assimilated into American, and is as much an American holiday as the Fourth of July. The holiday is not the worship or fear of spirits, the dead, or ritualistic pagan sacrifice. It is a time to dress up in a costume, get together with friends, and have a good time. So to those who want to make a big deal out of it on some self-righteous religious power trip, to you I say: grow up. Honestly, take a look around. We live in a country obsessed with money, sex and power, and you think putting on a costume one night a year makes any difference? What about the masquerade that we all play every day, putting on our mask to hide the true condition of our hearts? What about the sin we tuck away and hope no one will recognize? What about the pride we stand behind as we condemn those around us? What about the empty pit of despair that is destroying marriages, teenagers, and children; the pit revealed when we begin to realize that the treasures promised by materialism and naturalism fail to satisfy our longing for purpose. Who cares if we dress up in costumes, if we have jack-o-lanterns, if we tell ghost stories. “I have become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some.” Let’s stop being modern Judaizers, stop focusing on the little things like what we call one night of costumes and candy, and focus on the real problems that are destroying our friends and family.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

What they won't tell you

Most people aren’t news junkies like I am, and further most people aren’t explicitly aware of the overwhelming liberal bias in the major media outlets: television, newspapers, magazines, etc… This month has been touted as the “deadliest month this year” for American forces in Iraq, and the fourth deadliest since the war began. If you recall, when the death toll reached the 2000 mark the media spent days running that headline.
With each passing milestone, as they put it, you can see their fervor gaining. They are practically foaming at the mouth, bouncing in their seats trying to contain themselves. Their glazed eyes of death longingly gaze to the horizon, eagerly awaiting the wonderful exposé they have planned for the 3000 death mark. They can’t wait until the death toll reaches the count of those lost on September 11th. With each death, they do not care for the soldiers lost, the families they leave behind, or the cause for which they willingly gave their lives: freedom for the Iraqi people, and safety for Americans, and the rest of the world; but rather shamelessly use their noble sacrifice to further their own liberal, America-hating agenda. They would have us believe that Iraq is a pit of despair where hostile resistance to American intrusion cuts to the core of every Iraqi. They will not show the truth. They are so heavily invested in our defeat that they cannot change course now. We all hear stories about the good things going on in Iraq, but Big Media won’t show it to you. Thankfully there are a few honest people out there. Watch this and tell me if those men and women who gave their lives did so in vain.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Know the Enemy

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke
Most of us have never considered the possibility that someone actually wants to kill us, personally. This weekend I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Obsession. I ordered this privately distributed DVD direct from its creators a month ago. No US distributor will touch it with a ten foot pole. They are afraid. The truth does not interest people, only the dollar. We face an evil unlike any known in the history of mankind. The threat posed by radical Islam has infected hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Their stated goal: to destroy the West, specifically Israel, the UK, and the US. This movie shows the threat for what it is, and is a must see for anyone. We are living in 1940, evil and hate are spreading across the world like fire, and we are oblivious the the looming threat amidst our isolationist mentality. We watch TV, go to school, work and play. We are aware there is a world beyond us, but we do not care about it, to know about it or to cope with it. Radical Islam is unlike any enemy we have faced before. It is not unified under the flag of a nation, under the military genius of some conquering warlord. They are splintered throughout the world, they are living here in America amongst us, and they have one goal, our destruction. How much longer can we ignore the threat we face? How much longer will we ignore the signs of what is coming, what indeed now is? We have forgotten World War 2 and are doomed to repeat it, only this time there is no unified force with which to contend. I know that you haven’t seen this movie yet. Buy it.

Military might alone will not win this war. We are fighting an ideology held by adherents who believe their mission comes from God himself. The propaganda machine used to brainwash these people cannot be destroyed with bombs; at least not entirely. We must educate. In the meantime, we must be aware of the threat and be prepared to face it, as a nation and as individuals. We must pray for our enemies, and at the same time be prepared to defend ourselves to the death.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Yesterday I was looking at Google Maps, one of the coolest toys ever, and I noticed that they still have aerial shots of Astroworld. I drive by where Astroworld once stood twice a week, and I assure you, it is nothing but an empty lot now. So, seeing it as I remember it brought back a barrage of memories. And for all the problems with Astroworld (heat, crowds, crime, etc…) I could only summon fond feelings for it. Those memories helped me remember what it was like to be a teenager; a skinny, shy little kid desperately trying to find some identity, trying to stay afloat amidst the hormones and mounting responsibilities of adulthood that had just appeared on the horizon, but seemed so very far away. I saw all the rides that I will miss. I remember standing in their lines with some of my best friends. I remember going to my first concert there. I remember riding the same ride repeatedly because no one else was around. I remember walking those paths with that special girl. Certain smells still remind me of those days. All that is left are memories; good ones.

These memories help me to understand something about the current crop of teenagers. Though their situations differ from what I dealt with as a teenager, I think the underlying issues have remained the same, they only manifest as something else now. Deep down I was scared, though you couldn’t have gotten me to admit it. I was looking for acceptance. I wanted to be defined, but by others, rather than by my own exploits. I wanted to stand on my own, but was afraid to do so. I wanted connections, male and female, young and old. And I wanted to have a good time without adults getting in my business. I didn’t have anyone that I could really look up to at that age. That has been the story of most of my life. As the oldest child I had to forge my own path through unexplored territory. Luckily I had my parents, my friends, and my God to guide me. Maybe I can help guide some of today’s teenagers the way I needed to be guided when I was their age. Though I am not one of them, I have been where they are now, and it’s scary.

Monday, October 16, 2006

You call that a knife... This is a knife!

Have you ever felt like you were completely unprepared for the task at hand? In Sunday school this week we discussed Romans 6:12-13.
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
I told the class that next week we would be having a competition. For this competition they would need an instrument. I had them each draw their instrument of choice on a paper without any other details. The word “instrument” conjures the image of a tool, something neutral, like a musical device or a fork. The Greek word behind this word instrument however has a completely different connotation. It is not a neutral instrument, for which there is another word entirely, but rather an instrument of war; a weapon. Every other time this word is used in the NT it is translated as weapon. I had each person show their instrument of choice. As they did so, I explained that our competition would be a battle to the death and that they were only allowed to use their instrument. Needless to say, they would be ill prepared with their understanding of the word instrument.

Tower ShieldSo… Last night as I was perusing the websites of some teenagers I came to realize that I was ill prepared to handle the task before me with my current set of instruments. I have been trying to use a bow and arrow against a tower shield; a dagger against cavalry. Maybe I was out of touch in my own generation, easily possible, or maybe things have changed drastically in the ten years since I started high school. The issues that these kids are dealing with were not even on my radar. As such, my teaching style and presentation of the gospel has been inadequate to pierce to the heart. Yes, God can do anything, and his word never returns void, but there are social nuances that must be taken into account lest those saving words fall on deaf ears. Paul says that he had become all things to all men so that by all means he might save some. As such, I do not think I am out of line in my thinking. I must adapt, but without compromising solid Biblical foundations. God is a rock, solid and concrete. He is also a living being, and will relate to his people on a personal level. It is easy for me to see in black and white, but the blind cannot see. It is difficult to explain what the world looks like to someone who cannot see, but I must try.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Maternal instinct has left the building

A woman used her 4-week-old baby as a weapon in a domestic dispute, swinging the infant through the air and striking her boyfriend with the child, authorities said. 1

Chyrotia Graham, 27, of Erie, told police she had been drinking when an argument with the child's father turned violent early Sunday morning, according to an affidavit filed to support Graham's arrest.

Graham said she "snapped" and began grabbing things and throwing them at Deangelo Troop, 20, not realizing she had picked up her 4-week-old son, Jarron Troop, telling police she held the child by his legs and swung him at his father. Police had said they believed the woman held the baby by the midsection when she hit the man.2
Some people should not be allowed to breed and contribute their genes to the gene pool thus propagating their stupidity to future generations. Even a monkey knows better. I think this may be a case for government imposed sterilization of 16 year olds who fail parental and psychological exams. Now I’m not saying this is a good idea, but maybe we should just consider it. I’m just say’n.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend Wedding

This was a busy weekend. Jarod, Amy, my father, and I flew to Kansas to attend my cousin Hayleigh’s wedding. The wedding was really nice, the reception was a lot of fun, and it was the first time in five years that I had seen any of them. We stopped by our old house, the house I spent my early years in. Every time I see it I think it gets smaller. Of course, everything seems so big when you’re three feet tall. We also got a chance to stroll the streets of Oktoberfest.Welcome to Kansas! Local crafts, food and a car show. Oh, and I almost fell down some stairs. Nearly every house in Atchison has a basement, and the house of the friends with whom we stayed was no exception. The entrance to their basement is in a closet with a false floor. This closet was also home to the ironing board. After ironing my clothes for the wedding I thought I should go put up the iron and board. As I was winding up the cord on the iron I opened the door. The closet wasn’t dark at all, plenty of room to see where to put the iron, but for some reason I became preoccupied with finding the light switch. Finally I found the switch, then looked down and realized that the false floor was open. My First HouseHad I walked in while I was preoccupied with the cord I would have fallen down a flight of stairs! Given that there was no reason for me to need a light, I can only conclude that it was divine intervention that stopped me. So, I’m glad I didn’t trip on my trip to Kansas.

As for being back in my hometown, it certainly felt good. I would classify it better than as a place that “is great to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there,” but not so much that I would like to live there long term. I think I have been spoiled by the convenience of having everything at my fingertips. Though admittedly I miss the atmosphere and the family. Everyone there seems to genuinely care about one another, family and friends alike. I enjoy convenience, but I wonder if the price of its purchase was worth it. I think that is an extreme downfall to Houston. We have no central place to meet, no binding tie that connects us all. Small towns certainly have something that big cities do not, and a part of me misses that dearly. Even the small towns around Houston lack that feeling. I don't know what it is, but something is different. I am glad to have been able to attend, and wish I could have stayed a little longer. I think we all felt that way.

"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10

I had my first Hebrew test Thursday. I finished insanely quickly, easily the first person to do so, and as such, I went back and checked over my answers two or three times. I found two minor mistakes that would have cost a few points and corrected them. I walked out of the test boldly proclaiming to my classmates that I made a perfect score, all 110 points (out of 100). I said how angry I would be if I missed anything. All felt great. So… the next morning when I woke up, and I’m serious, the first thing I thought was, “You forgot to circle the historic long vowels on one question!” I couldn’t believe it. I did the same thing on our first quiz. Not only was this from the first chapter! and bar none the easiest question on the test, I had made the same stupid mistake before. After the test the professor made a statement that those who were struggling should be persistent, and those who were not struggling should be humble. Well, this is humbling. It proves that even though I knew everything on the test, I was still not perfect. I’m glad I missed that question.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yom Kippur (יום כיפור)

Yesterday was the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. I noticed it on my calendar this year, and since I am taking Hebrew right now, the word Yom caught my eye. “Hey, I know that word!” It means “day.” I know... that’s no great feat of translation prowess, but it's still cool to see something you’ve seen all your life and have it finally click. So, I knew that yom meant day, but had no idea what kippur was. Wikipedia to the rescue! Kippur means atonement. This is the Day of Atonement, the day the high preist goes into the holy of holies to make atonement to God for the Jewish people, the most holy day for the Jewish people.

So, what impact should this holiday have on Christians? Should we go to the temple? Should we not wear leather shoes? I don’t know about those traditions, but perhaps there is something to be learned here. We know that Jesus was the final sacrifice, and that there remains no sacrifice for sin after Jesus. Easter is when we celebrate Jesus resurrection. However, what I think we fail to connect is the deep significance of Jewish tradition with Jesus’ death. We forget that Jesus was a Jew, he was not a Christian. His death and resurrection fulfilled Jewish prophesy, not Christian prophesy. Christianity is the new dispensation, but also the continuation of what God started with the Jews. Jesus died on Passover, an all-to-often forgotten fact. Jesus was the Passover Lamb, symbolic of the lamb sacrificed as the destroyer took the first born sons of Egypt. I think that some things are best not forgotten in antiquity. I think we should remember Passover, remember Yom Kippur. While I don’t advocate that we attend temple services, I do suggest we remember what God did for us by sending his perfect sacrifice. In Jewish tradition Yom Kippur is a solemn time of fasting and prayer, and I think we should observe it as such. We should observe it with reflection, soul searching, repentance, fasting, and prayer. I stumbled on it too late this year, but next year I think I will plan to observe the day. What do you think?
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