You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2009.

I did a Google search for Bible passages that deal with forgiveness.  I have always had a problem with forgiving people.  I can get to the point where I understand their actions.  I don’t dwell on the past.  However actual forgiveness is something I have a hard time with.

I found the following verses which I need help in understanding:

Luke 12: 8-10

8“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

A person who speaks against “the Son of God”, Jesus, will (can?) be forgiven. That is clear. 

“anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven”. 

What is the difference between speaking against Jesus and blaspheming(?) against the Holy Spirit?  

I was my understanding that if a person was truly repentant God would forgive them of anything.   

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Should we humans expand significant resources to try to save another species from extinct?

I don’t believe we should unless it affects our own survival.  Of course animals become extinct because of changes in the environment.  Any environmental change which is sever enough to cause the extinction of an animal species, is very likely to affect us.

If you could pick one animal now extinct to bring back which would it be?

My first choice would not be a T-Rex. 🙂

I will pick Microraptor, a small, feathered dinosaur, which could fly or glide, and is perhaps the earliest ancestor of birds.  A flying dinosaur is pretty cool to begin with and this would helps us to understand how flight  developed and likely settle the question are birds just evolved dinos.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microraptor

Save the Frogs Day – April 28th.

The Save the Frogs web site is trying to make the public more aware of the world wide threat to the amphibian species we share our world with. 

http://www.savethefrogs.com/

Of course frogs are only one of many species facing extinction.   What concerns me more is that frogs are a “bioindicator” of the environment.  If the changes to the environment are sever enough to threaten the world wide population of frogs, it is very likely to have a significant impact on our own survival. 

“Most frogs require suitable habitat in both the terrestrial and aquatic environments, and have permeable skin that can easily absorb toxic chemicals. These traits make frogs especially susceptible to environmental disturbances, and thus frogs are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress: the health of frogs is thought to be indicative of the health of the biosphere as a whole. Frogs have survived in more or less their current form for 250 million years, having survived countless ice ages, asteroid crashes, and other environmental disturbances, yet now one-third of amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. This should serve as an alarm call to humans that something is drastically wrong in the environment.”

Candy Cane Marriage Vows

Candy Cane Marriage Vows

1) A person’s wedding should be magical.   Michelle Rosen and David Zornitsky had their own vision for that perfect day many dream of.  I love that they choose to throw away tradition and turn that special day into their own dream.  You really should check out the slide show on the following link to a New York Times article on their wedding.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/fashion/weddings/26VOWS.html?ref=weddings

I have never been married.  Never meet the women who could even tolerate me for more than a few months.  🙂

My sister was married four times, so I have had some experience with weddings. 🙂

For those of you who are married I am interested in hearing about any part of the magic of your wedding.

If you have not been married what is your vision for that  day?

2)  In some parts of the world the tradition is for parents to arrange the marriage of their daughters, some as young as thirteen, some even younger.

Rekha Kalindi, a 12-year-old girl living in Bararola, India, had the courage to say no.

obrides_p1

From an article, by Ben Arnoldy, in the Christian Science Monitor:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0424/p06s07-wosc.html

Rekha Kalindi, a 12-year-old girl living in Bararola, India, refused to get married when her parents tried to arrange one she wanted to stay in school.

Her revolt, and those of two other girls in the region, have halted new child marriages in their rural region of West Bengal, India.

The legal age for marriage in India is 18 for girls and 21 for boys. But recent study published in the Lancet found 44.5 percent of Indian women in their early 20s had been wed by the time they were 18. Of those, 22.6 percent had been married before age 16, 2.6 percent before age 13.”

If the life expectancy of the an adult is under 40, as it is in some places in the world,  I can understand that people need to start having babies at an early age, so they will live long enough to guide their children to adulthood.  

From what I have read about the practise of “child brides” I believe it is mostly done because that is the tradition that has been handed done, in some cultures for a thousand years or more.

I don’t see anything wrong with traditions, as long as we aren’t forced into them.  When conditions change, such as people living longer, societies need to re-evaluate their rules and customs, even if they have existed for a thousand years.

Can you think of any cultural tradition that should never change?

Are there any cutltral traditions in the country you live in that you think need to be changed?

In Australia April 25th is ANZAC day, where my friend Love and his countrymen remember their young men who died in the futile battle of Gallipoli in World War I. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gallipoli

Love posted this haunting song about that battle.  Eric Bogle’s “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

Through out history young people have marched off to war being cheered as heroes.  Countless generations then learn the same lesson, there is no glory in war, just death and destruction.  Every generation then promptly forget this lesson.

I am not a pacifies.  When someone attacks our family and home, we should defend ourselves.  War however should always be our last choice, when everything else has failed.

When our leaders pump out their chest, and call on us to sacrifice our lives, with messages of patriotism, we need to ask the critical question, “Why?”.  We don’t and history repeats itself, over and over.

(Clarification – I served in Viet Nam, and know a few of the names on the Viet Nam War Memorial.  When referencing the term “Wall of Shame” the shame I am referring to belongs to the politicians who wasted the lives of so many brave man and women in a war that never should have been fought.)

I remember the debate over the design of the war memorial to the American soldiers who died in Viet Nam, that now stands in my nations capital.  

Many political leaders, and veterans organizations, wanted a traditional, heroic, style of architecture.  What was built was a simple wall listing the names of all the men and women who died.  Many Americans were outraged, calling it a “wall of shame”.  They were right, it is a wall of shame.  An America that sent these men and women off to die for no good reason should be ashamed.

Viet Nam Memorial

Viet Nam Memorial

After 6 years, and 58,000 killed, the polls showed that over 50% of Americans still supported that war.  It would not surprise me if a poll was taken now, most Americans would still say we were right to fight in Viet Nam.

I will join Love in honoring his lost country men.  I will hope, as he will pray, that someday we will come to understand the futility, horror, that is war.  I have no clue when that day will come.

I did a google search for Bible passages that deal with hope.  I selected the following:

Romans 8:22 – 25 (New International Version)

22- We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

23- Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardley as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

24- For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all,  Who hopes for what he already has?

25- But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

I pick these passages because of the parts I don’t understand. 

It is the hope that you can be redeemed (your soul can be redeemed?) that can “save” you.  If you are saved than you will join God in heaven when you die.  You won’t know if you have been saved until you are judged by God at our death.  You must wait patiently for this redemption.  It is this hope that will sustain your faith.

Questions:

“we, ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit”  Firstfruits implies that are more than one fruit of the Spirit, we humans being the first.  I was taught that we humans are the only living things with a soul.

“We eagerly await our adoption as sons”.  If you accept God’s guidance/plan aren’t you saved, adopted, while you are alive.  Does the fact that you can’t know God’s judgement mean you can’t know if you really have been saved until after you die?

“But hope that is seen is no hope at all,  Who hopes for what he already has?”

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

What you are hoping for is to be redeemed.  Is this going back to the point that you can’t know if you will be redeemed until after you die.  You must wait patiently until you are judged by God?

My question point out the reason I was amazed that I passed Bible study class.  Maybe the priest just couldn’t face having me back for more lessons.  🙂

 

earth-day2

Tomorrow, April 22, is being celebrated as Earth Day in many parts of the world.  I wish that we would show respect for the planet, that witnessed our birth, all 365 days, but that is too much to hope for.

Throughout human history we seemed to have the attitude they we have dominion over the earth, and all the other living creatures we share our planet with.  This arrogance has lead us to believe that we can live as we choose, with little, or no, regard for the consequences that our actions have on the environment.

We don’t not have control over the environment.  We can affect it, and we if don’t understand the consequences of our actions it will likely lead to our extinction. 

Learning to make more efficient use of our resources is in our own best interest.  If we don’t change how we live now it is future generations that will suffer the consequences of our arrogance. 

Do you believe we need to devote significantly more resources to understanding climate change?

Do you believe that if we don’t significantly change the way we utilize our resources  now the consequences to future generation will be severe?

Would you be willing to pay more in taxes if the money was used for research into understanding what affects the environment, and for developing technology that will help us adopt to whatever changes do come?

The following video is a talk by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty.

She tells the story of one women, Jane, who has not lose her dreams even though she was born in one of the worst slums imaginable, in Massari(?), Kenya.

The amazing thing to me is that Jane, an HIV positive, single mother of two, still living in a shack, talks about being blessed for what she has, and lives out our her dream of becoming a doctor by counseling young HIV positive girls.

Jane demonstrates that, given the opportunity, people can overcome the worst of circumstances.  Every child born into poverty has the same potential as children born everywhere.  Whether they will ever be given that opportunity is the question.

Let me know what you think of the following music videos.  Rate the video 5 if you loved it, 1 if you hated it.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Loreena McKennitt – “The Lady of Shalott”

Yusuf Islam – “Father and Son”

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – “Red Clay Halo”

I saw references to the book of Philippians in Love’s Blog.  I selected verses 1 to 10 because they seemed to deal with how you should pray, something I was never good at, at least as far as I could tell.

Philippians 1 verses 1 to 10 (King james version)

1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with all the bishops and deacons:

2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and form Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.

5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both of my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement;

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

My google research indicates this book is a letter by Paul to the Chrsitians of Philippi.

verses 1 to 5 talks about giving thanks to God in every prayer and “always offering prayer with joy.”

With my Christian friends I can see they give thanks to God for all they have.  I am not sure that prayer is always offered “in joy”. 

My perception is that prayer may often be done to reach out to God for understanding more than to simply express joy in being with him.  Joy may be more often the by product of prayer rather than the reason for it.

That was certainly the case with me.   I did not feel joy when praying.  Joy wasn’t an emotion I had much experience with as a teenager.

I can understand that prayer should be to simply express joy with God, and thankfulness for what he has given us, not asking something of him.  Joyful prayer is purely an expression of love of God.

verse 6 – Paul is confident that God “who began a good work in you” will perfect it.

All that is being asked is to love God.  All that is needed is to trust God.  It isn’t necessary that you understand his guidance only that you show your love of him in following it.

verses 7 &8  – Even though Paul has been imprisoned he holds his jailers in his heart.  “You all are partakers of grace with me.” “As God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affections of Christ Jesus.”

I think a good test of your faith in God is can you love your jailers.  To me Paul is saying that if you can, than in time your jailers will find love in their hearts for you.

verses 9& 10 – Paul prays that “your love may abound” “in real knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve  the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless.”

The dictionary says discernment means –  “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.”

Some knowledgeable Christian will have to explain to me what discernment means in this context.  I am also not clear on what blameless means in “in order to be sincere and blameless.”

 

EDIT – I see that when I prepared my post I got my bible versions mixed up.  My question about the meaning of  “blameless” and “discernment” comes from the New International version:

“9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,”

What things tempt you the most?

Diana Krall

For me that’s an easy questions, food, in all flavors, and women, in all sizes and shapes.

I have never wanted to be either rich, powerful or famous.

I think anyone who isn’t at least temporarily tempted by something, a shiny car, a new dress, triple chocolate cake, everyday should check their pulse.  They may be dead.  🙂

We do need to control our desire.  That’s one definition of being civilized.  We can’t let this natural attraction become unhealthy obsession.

I will admit that since I have been diagnosed as a diabetic, and have had to limit my carbs and calories, I do on occasion find my self fantasizing about a “Bacon Explosion”, bacon inside a sausage, wrapped in bacon,  http://www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/ , or a Forzen Haute Chocolate from the Serendipity 3, New York City, which only cost $25,000 for a serving, http://www.trifter.com/Practical-Travel/World-Cuisine/Nine-Unlikely-Ways-to-Literally-Munch-Taste-and-Consume-Gold.62178 .  🙂

I still do sometimes  have daydreams which may included Susan Sarandon (who unfortunately prefers younger men, her husband Tim Robbins is 12 years younger than her) , and Michelle Obama  (if I ever tried to act on that fantasy I would find myself in a prison cell in Guantanamo Bay pretty quick).   🙂

I love the sights and smells of the world outside my door too much to ever get lost in that dream world.

If I do have an obsession it’s for sunsets, waves rolling in over the ocean, and being surrounded by nature in the park.

200px-penguin_dreams_and_stranger_things1
Peel me a grape.  🙂

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