Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all having a blessed day, celebrating the birth of Christ, because of whom we can stand before God. Not much political going on right now, so the rants will have different focus this time, but that's okay, it's all still good stuff.

First, a little personal stuff. I've been having it rough the last couple of days. I hate being sick. The flu is no fun. I'm better now (a little bit of gross stuff in my lungs yet, but it's all right), so calm your fears. Being sick is not easy. It's not just the aching and the nausea and the dizziness, it's the helplessness. My sister and I were sick at the same time, and it doesn't help that my father is still recovering from foot surgery. We were quite a burden on our parents, needing food and medicine and such brought to us constantly. Perhaps it is pride which is the root of the problem. To feel sorrow for requesting help with a necessary need? To regret being a burden on family? We let our pride rise up in silly forms sometimes. Granted, my father could have done without being on his feet so much for my sake, but his selfless help should not make me shameful. It should make me grateful.

Ah well. I haven't done much productive with my day. Mostly, I've watched TV, and I really have to say, I love the History Channel. It's great. Except at Christmas.

At Christmas, they like to play all these shows that are, essentially, "Let's see how acceptable and reasonable we can make crack-pot quasi-Christian theories and blatant heresies look" shows. Let me just cover some of the examples. One of the programs I was watching earlier questioned who wrote the Torah. They eventually talked about the quasi-Jewish heresy known as Kabbalah. The group is . . . interesting. Apparently, they see the Hebrew alphabet as "magical runes" with mystical powers. God's revelation on Mt. Sinai, when looked at properly according to Kabbalah principles, gives people the power to fill the void of chaos in their soul and lead lives of fulfillment. Something like that. Right. They also use numerology. For example, when you give the Hebrew alphabet numeric values, the sum of "God" is equal to the sum of "nature." That must mean they're very similar, right? Pfft. Another program talked about the "Bible Code." This one really gets me riled up, just because of how ridiculous it is. Basically, they play crossword puzzles with the text and discover words, phrases, and dates near each other, which means that there is hidden prophecy in the Bible.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not ever going to say that there might not be some deeper meaning or hidden power or whatever in the Bible. God is bigger than my imagination. But there is a fundamental problem inherent in both of these views: When you get the Bible to say something that is not said in the text, especially when it runs counter to the text, you are doing dangerous things. God's revelation was never meant to be a gift to mankind to make our lives more enriching and fulfilling. God's revelation was meant to show us who he is, who we are, and how we should be. In other words, "I am God, I am holy, you are sinful, be holy like me." As for the "Bible Code," it works just fine when you get to dictate the size and shape of your crossword puzzle. You can find stuff eventually that way. It's just, as they theorized, a "parlor trick." Besides, to say that God "hid" prophecy in the Bible is to akin to blasphemy. Why would God hide something from us that could only be found by complex computer programs and crossword puzzles? Why would God hide something from us at all? The real meaning of scriptures have always been hidden by something: Faith. This is why many people had no idea Jesus was the Messiah until after the fact. This is why most atheists and cultists look at scriptures and cannot grasp why God does what he does or what certain verses mean. The Holy Spirit is the real interpreter of scripture, not an equation. And if you're going to claim God is hiding prophecy in the Bible, you'd better have a very good explanation of why God is hiding messages in the first place.

Best part is, that's not even the last program that I watched. They played another one of those "Rejected Bible Book" programs. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. They discuss the "dangerous" books of the Bible, that the church rejected because the books threatened power and the status quo, weren't popular enough, blah blah blah. Pfft. They usually only give lip service to the ideas that these books were heretical, written far too late from their events to be reliable, historically inaccurate, or so on. Usually, they try to make some attempt at neutral objectivity (which the History Channel actually does much better than the major networks, to its credit), but you can always feel like they're coming out on the side of the heretical. When last I watched, they were talking about Mary Magdalene again. Yeesh. So many problems, so little time.

Well, that's that, folks. Before I go, I'd like to make a personal request, and ask that you pray for my uncle and his family. They are experiencing rough waters right now.

Merry Christmas to you all, and a blessed season!


P.S. Be on the look out. I'm currently experimenting with certain ideas, and this blog is either going to get a new look or the whole shindig is going to move on over to another server. If so, I'll post a link. Be watchful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Merry Christmas, friends!

Well, first, the big news for me: My time in the corporate gulag is over! Oh, free at last . . . free at last . . . thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!

All righty, down to business. So, the biggest news in politics right now is the capture of Saddam Hussein. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that he's behind bars now (so to speak), but I must say that I'd rather him dead than captured. Perhaps I should explain.

With Saddam now a prisoner, the entire issue of Iraq is going to become far more complicated. The question I'm surprised nobody has asked yet is, how do we know it's him and not one of his many look-alikes? I mean, it was my first question. In any case, let's assume it is him. The first thing we'll get settled is, how shall we try him? Whose courts? The Iraqi courts? A UN tribunal (which is a scary enough prospect alone)? I keep hearing pundits ask whether he will get a fair trial, but what I wonder is, what would a fair trial be for a man of such reputation? He very brazenly admits to violating human rights we didn't even know we have. It's well documented that he's a monster, and he's proud for it. What would be a fair trial? And then what? Will we make a martyr of him and execute him? Will we just let him sit in a prison cell for the rest of his life? Would he still be dangerous as a prisoner? Even if he couldn't get messages out, he'd still be a very powerful symbol to those who saw him as a "glorious Arab leader." Ugh.

And even better, will we see him become a liberal poster child? Will an execution be condemned as barbaric and cruel? Will his imprisonment be seen as bullying from the US? "Poor Saddam, all of his rights taken away, such a misunderstood Arab leader. The bad, bad Bushes just wanted his oil. What did he ever do to anyone?" Already, some hollywood knuckleheads have said that Bush should be on trial instead of Saddam. I can't wait for the Democratic candidates to start spinning this one. At least they had the courtesy to say something nice about it, even if some of the comments were double-edged compliments. John Kerry even kept it clean!

Yah, Kerry . . . hoo boy. Is he pandering to the younger crowd, or is he just not thinking? Using the naughty words about your opponent does not look good to the public. I gotta be honest, these guys scare me. Let's take Dean for an example. He has been saying on countless occasions that he wants to "take back America" from radical conservatives and religious nuts (a paraphrase, but on target). If anyone who claims that they're a Christian votes for him, they either deny their own faith or show their own ignorance. Why would you vote for someone who openly disdains your beliefs?

Well, enough politics. Here's an interesting question. Let's say you know a man who is the major breadwinner for his family. He receives an unexpected injury in the form of several fingers being lost in an accident at work. While worker compensation does something to help, this family now has a crisis on its hands. At first you want to help, but then you find out he's a white supremicist. We're talkin' full package here, with KKK membership card and swastika tattoo. Do you still help him?

This is the situation my mother's employer faces. One of their employees, though an ideological outcast, is experiencing a great need. Personally, I say the company should help them all the same. Yes, some of the black and jewish employees are fuming at the possibility of this man receiving aid, but this isn't just about him. The aid is to come in the form of money for the family, and clothing and toys for his children. It shows a greater spirit of compassion, charity, and love to help those who would hate you (or whom you hate, I guess). Jesus did say, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." Besides, those children should be helped, whether or not their father holds disdainful views.

But then, that's me. The issue isn't so black and white. The company may receive some nasty public backlash for helping out a man with such a perspective. What do you think? What would you do?

Well, that's all for this update. Just remember folks, the world may not like to talk about it, but there's a reason we celebrate this time of year. Even if it's not the real date, even if it's roots are impure, even if it's transformed into something vulgar and obscene, Christmas should still be about celebrating the greatest act of love ever. Let us take captive every thought and make it subject to Christ. Remember that when it all starts to seem overwhelming.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 04, 2003

Wow! I'm very surprised! I have a confirmed readership of . . . 5 people! I had no idea I was so popular!

Ha ha, seriously though, there's plenty to rant about.

Ah, it's finally here. Christmas, that wonderful time of the year when we joyously celebrate the birth of our savior with an orgy of materialism, shopping, and consumerism. How lovely. This season never ceases to amaze me. What should be a joy has turned into a nightmare. I try hard not to participate, but immersion in culture is hard to overcome, especially when it is so prevalent.

But what amazes me is what this elicits from people. Did anyone else hear about the woman trampled at a Wal-Mart in the wee hours Friday after Thanksgiving over $30 DVD players? People sicken me so much. I'm not sure what turns my stomach more, the fact that people actually knocked her over and walked over her to get to the display of DVD players, or that they left her there. You see, store personnel found her later. This means people continued to walk over her and just leave her there long after she originally fell. What have we become as a people?

Actually, this brings up another incident. I found out today about a woman who ran over another woman in the parking lot of a fastfood restaurant. Why did she do this? Because the woman put the wrong toppings on her burger. That's right folks, this lady broke another woman's pelvis because her burger was screwed up. Again, I'm confused about what to be more amazed about. Should it be that she ran down this woman with her car over burger toppings? Or should I be amazed that, in order to run her down with her car, she had to go wait in the parking lot for the woman? This means that minutes, even hours after her burger was wrong in the first place, she waited for this woman. How distorted must your view of reality be to think that running her over with your car was just desserts? How seriously ticked off must you be to wait in a parking lot for hours to run someone over because of a burger? Lord Jesus, come quickly.

In other news, Thanksgiving was an exciting time. Especially for the troops in Iraq. I know a lot of people are quick to condemn it as just a silly publicity stunt, but I don't think so. Sure, President Bush probably realized that he would look good in the public's eye for doing such a thing, but does that automatically mean that his good deed was done purely for selfish reasons? Or can the President do no good deeds without such a charge being made? Personally, I think it was probably more for the troops (and himself), considering the great risk he took by going to Iraq. I mean, if I were an Iraqi soldier and I knew that Bush was coming to town, I'd be making every possible attempt to take a good shot at him. He went to Iraq at great risk to himself, but talk about moralizing to the troops. I think he showed great leadership in doing so, which is more than we can say for how some Presidents have led our military.

So, what else has been going on? Did you hear that Abercrombie & Fitch pulled their winter catalogues from their stores? Some people want to attribute it to the boycott from conservative groups, but A&F is saying it's to make room for perfume displays. Either way, A&F is resolute in continuing to peddle their crappy merchandise through the overused medium that is sex. I'm not sure who to believe, but I definitely support the boycott. For some reason, some people see no problem with using sex (orgies, in the case of the winter A&F catalogue) to advertise to young teens. Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there ever a "too far"? This is a company that was making thongs for 9 year olds. I don't understand why people just sit back and say "Eh, whatever, doesn't affect me, sex sells, blah blah blah . . ."

Yeesh. If you can't see what's wrong with using naked models to sell clothing, much less to people who are barely past childhood, then you have bigger problems than over-tolerance of advertising. In any case, I need to end this rant. Until next time, people!