This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that tis waves roar - the LORD Almighty is his name: "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me." This is what the LORD says: "Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done." declares the LORD. - Jeremiah 31:35-37 (NIV)
God is in control of everything. He is mighty and powerful beyond my wildest imagination. Because of Him the sun rises, the stars shine, and the world turns. God declares that as long as He is God, His people will be His people. God says that He'll always be with Israel's descendants (me, those who follow Christ) and will not reject them, regardless of what they've done.
Often when I mess up and sin, I feel that I have failed God in a huge way. I feel that He surely can't have a use for me, that finally He is done, this was the last straw. But I will strive to turn to God instead of away from Him when I sin. I must come back to His words - to a God that keeps the universe running, I am valuable and he will not turn from me. Turning away from God after we mess up is not the answer - it is when we turn to God in the midst of having nothing to offer that we can more clearly understand the depth of His love and commitment to us.
I'm leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning (or rather, today morning) and am really looking forward to the trip. It's supposed to be really cold there. Last time I was in Chicago it was March of this year, and it was (not exaggerating) like 6 degrees outside. It's supposed to be 20's-30's this time, so I suppose that's an improvement. Either way, beef sandwiches and panzarottis will be enjoyed by me.
All told on the trip I drove over 1200 miles. That's a lot of driving. I hope we can find some affordable plane tickets next year or something.
This Wednesday morning Janelle and I are flying out to Chicago and we'll be there till Monday. After this, my traveling for the holiday season should be over. I feel like it's been (and will be) forever since I've been neck-deep in the youth group. I'm excited to come back at it with renewed energy when I get back from Chi-town with a belly full of Italian Beef sengwiches. Ahh yeeah.
One paper left - and it's outlined already. I'm feelin' good, I should be able to enjoy the trip we're taking to Vegas this week and not have this schoolwork hanging over my head. And I should be able to delve back into other important things since this week of projects is just about over. Tomorrow I don't have to drive up to Mill Valley so I can type out the final essay. Schweet.
Also, look at how cute my nephew is.
A few years ago everybody agreed that Saddam had WMD's in the political and the intelligence communities. Everybody, Democrat and Republican, back to Bill Clinton, acknowledged Saddam as a threat at believed he had WMDs. So now that we've invaded and no WMD caches have been found, Bush is branded a liar and a cheat. If Bush is a liar, then the Democrats chastising him and whoever else is condemning him now but previously agreed is a liar. They were all saying the same thing a few years ago.
Unfortunately I believe Bush is so unpopular that this re-writing of history will not be turned around. Too many people are convinced he's a liar and will never see past their ideological hatred of him to the truth. But they will continue to rage against the machine in their blogs and on their radio shows and in their chats with other friends. And probably in the voting booth. The sad truth is, it doesn't matter if something is real or not - if people believe it to be real it is very real in its consequences. So Bush will pay the price for the mistake everybody made, and all the while people will be chanting "Death to Bush-Hitler" while they buy into more groupthink. Never before have I seen the whole "if you say something enough you start to believe it's true" work so completely.
Francis was a cool guy. Since it's past 2am and I just spent the last several hours writing about Francis, I'll leave it at that.
We should also pass a Prop that makes it illegal for people to lie in campaign commercials, because this election season was a joke.
There were 30-40 12 year-olds staring at me from across the library, with their teacher in their midst. I was visibly taken aback because I hadn't noticed them staring at me like some sort of specimen in a zoo enclosure. They could tell I was surprised because there was a little giggling, and the girl giving me the sticker said "yeah, you have an audience." I heard the teacher say "and that's how it's done." I said thanks and headed for the door, and then the class applauded me as I exited. It started slow but then built up and they were all clapping and cheering me. I didn't know what to do so I said "thanks" and waved and continued my hasty retreat.
It was cool, I guess. Apparently I am awesome at voting.
Prop 73 Voting Yes. Parents should be notified if their children are going to have an abortion, and should be involved. There is an allowance for kids to talk to a judge if they think their parents will beat them, etc. The very idea that a child could get an abortion without parental notification, but the fact that they can't take a field trip without it is ridiculous.
Prop 74 Voting Yes. Good teachers should keep their jobs, bad teachers shouldn't be immune from removal. I highly doubt there's some nefarious group of administrators just waiting to kick all the great teachers out of their positions. If a teacher is bad, they shouldn't be allowed to stay - they shouldn't get extra special treatment in this regard.
Prop 75 Voting Yes. Unions should have to obtain written consent for employees to use their money for political gains. I should not have to contribute to a union that is using my money to political ends I disagree with. If I do agree with the union, then I will have no problem signing a piece of paper and turning it in. The radio commercials in opposition to Prop 75 are laughable, by the way. This will not silence any union, especially any union representing its constituents.
Prop 76 Voting Yes. Since the legislators can't control themselves, they need someone to come in and do something about it. The solution to the education issue is not to throw more money into the bloated bureaucracy but to force them to spend the money wisely. I see Prop 76 as a step in this direction. The current methods are not working. Not even close.
Prop 77 Voting Yes. When just about every newspaper is in support of a Prop you know it has merit. The TV commercial against this Prop, where the evil hand grabs the map of California and crumples it up, is so hilarious. They are hoping to strike fear into Californians. The gerrymandering so prevalent in California needs to be changed. Of all the props, I hope this one passes the most.
Props 78 and 79 Voting No on both. These two are in opposition to one another. 78 looks like it's backed by the big drug companies, and 79 looks like it will create even more bureaucracy. I don't trust either, and will, as I usually do with Propositions, vote No.
Prop 80 Voting No. It seems pretty complex, and it is messing with the energy industry. When in doubt with Props, my rule is to vote no. I would rather not vote something into existence that I am unsure of. Something like this seems like it would be better suited to some sort of legislative branch action, not something put up to the voters who don't even know what they're voting on. This is my view with most Propositions and why I'm not the hugest fan of direct democracy.
So those are my votes, FYI. I hope you'll go out and vote, whatever it is you vote. And I hope you take a little time to educate yourself on the issues. Apathy is too easy, and a copout of your civic responsibility.
You'll be missed, Mr. King.
General Zod replies: Silence your ravings or my first duty as President will be to send you to the salt mines. This is the price you pay for your $32,000 SUV. You knew what you were getting into when you bought it. I suggest that you get a smaller car so that you can fatten your bank account for my eventual pillaging.
"I'm way ahead of the other guys in terms of talent," he says during a break at Saturday worship band practice.
Clark has played in a local rock band for 18 years, honing his bass-playing gift. The band has made several CDs and tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky.
Clark began lending his musical expertise to First Assembly 11 years ago, but at times gets fed up with the amateurs in the worship band.
"The piano lady can only play notes you put in front of her," he says. "She can't jam. I'll be over there slapping and grooving, and these other guys look at me like, 'What? What?' They get so caught up in what I'm doing, they lose their place. I'm like, 'Dudes, play the worship music!'"
Clark says he often feels he's "carrying the band," but he's committed to it as his ministry.
"Everyone's got their cross," he says. •
That's been my experience anyway. It's also been my experience that at various points in my life I am confronted with a certain weakness and it stays in my face for a while. I can do something about it, or I can fall victim to it and let it dictate what happens to me. If I endure that long enough, it will fade into the background again, and that moment where I am actually cognizant of it passes. I suppose I could do something about it even after that point, but it just never enters my mind.
Right now I am confronted with a particular weakness of mine, and I have a desire to deal with it but it's difficult to do so. It may seem stupid, but this weakness is my lack of following up with and contacting people I don't know. This usually has to do with the phone. As a youth pastor and church leader I'm called upon to do things like call people and let them know about different things, to call them and let them know of various opportunities to get involved with things, all that. Some weeks I'm supposed to call more people than others...but for some reason, when I'm presented with a followup card for someone I don't know, it terrifies me to call them. I don't even know what I am specifically afraid of, but it just takes a large act of the will to actually dial the number.
I have a feeling that this is something I need to get rid of and overcome, and I actually feel sort of silly typing it out. I mean, it's calling someone on a stinkin' phone. But it's a weakness of mine, a fear or something. And I want to be rid of it, I want to overcome it, and I'm doing my best to take steps to that end. These steps do of course include prayer and asking God to do something about it in my heart. Because I know it's not just rooted in being shy, but there's also a degree of selfishness involved. I'm more worried about my comfort than I am about these people getting a call hearing that they matter, or inviting them to be a part of something that can change their life. I need to get over it. Just thought I'd share something that's going in my mind and heart right now.
MAKE YOUR PEACE!!!11!oneone
In case you were wondering, there is no manly way to order a Snickerdoodle. You can walk up with the best of intentions in preserving a masculine, mature front, but the moment you say "Also, I'd like a Snickerdoodle," any pretension at adulthood goes out the window. But, they're that good. I'd trade my dignity for a Snickerdoodle just about any day of the week.
Below is a link to the clip - Kanye is one of the many celebrities helping host this telethon. He's paired up with Mike Myers - and it's pretty funny to watch Myers' reaction when Kanye goes off script into this tirade against Bush and the press and whatnot. He gets all stiff and tries to stay professional, but you can tell he's surprised. So at least there's some comedy in there too.
You may or may not have heard of Michael Yon, who's a reporter embedded with the "Deuce Four," a military unit in Iraq. He's blogging from there, posting every now and then with pictures and stories of what's going on. What he's writing gives a particularly human element to the war. Yesterday he posted a great (long) story about some fighting that went down with some terrorists and the guys he's with. It's a pretty compelling read. Also, from my perspective, a welcome change from the usual stuff you hear about the war. Check out this post and you can learn why this guy (that's CSM Prosser, not the reporter) is all bloody, and who the man on the ground next to him is. The stresses and whatnot that these soldiers go through are pretty incredible.
| Modern, Cool Nerd |
69 % Nerd, 56% Geek, 17% Dork
| For The Record: |
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.
Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used
to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a
pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world
that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and
geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very
least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent,
knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing
computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one
you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one
up there, winning the million bucks)!
|My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid|
San Fran in the distance
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
This past Friday, I attended the new student orientation at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which I will be attending from now until I get my Masters of Divinity (MDiv), which is a degree that prepares you for pastoral ministry. It's going to be a big deal and take up a lot of time and energy in my life, but I'm excited about it.
The campus is in Mill Valley, which is in the north bay across the San Rafael Bridge, off 101. There's a stellar view of San Francisco from the campus, and you can see the Bay Bridge to the left of the city quite nicely; Friday was a clear day and I made sure to snap a few pictures before leaving. It's really a beautiful sight. I'm looking forward to this Fall semester, when I will get to see that view at nighttime. I love the way big cities look at night. If you click on the above picture you can see some more pictures I took at the seminary, and also some pictures I took from a camping trip this weekend. I visited some cool rocky NorCal beaches, and a place called Death Rock. Check them out.
"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
While my Saturn is in the shop, I'm driving a 2005 Chevy Malibu LS. It's sweet, man. When you press on the gas, it just keeps accelerating. It's all comfortable and stuff too. The ride is smooth, the steering equally so, and it has a nifty display that says how many miles you can go before you run out of gas. These are all standard for current cars I know, but I find them awesome. I am quite blessed, of course, in the car department, since I don't have a car payment, and we have two reliable cars, one of which I didn't even have to pay for. I'm just saying, I'm looking forward to some time in the future when I can get a newer car...they really do ride better. Of course, I'd rather have $350+ a month that I'd be spending on a car payment in my pocket, or in the bank, or paying for something more important. But I understand the appeal of a nice, newish car. I don't think I'll ever buy a car brand new, but a year or two old, definitely.
Everything is working out fine with the car stuff. The lady didn't contest my story, and she admitted the accident was her fault. As a result, her insurance company is paying for everything I need, so good show there.
We pulled over to the side of the road (facing the other direction, she got her u-turn), and there were a bunch of pedestrians around. The accident happened right in front of a Fire Station and apparently one of the firemen called the police; he told me a cruiser would be there shortly to take the report.
When we pulled to the side of the road, we saw a man get out of the car holding a small child. He disappeared rather quickly after Janelle said "I hope he was in a carseat." He wasn't in a carseat. The people in the car asked if we were alright, we said "I think so." They said they were alright as well. The lady then said "are you going to report this to your insurance? Because I want to pay for it out of my pocket, I don't want my premiums to go up." I told her I wasn't sure, but I wanted to take her info down.
About that time a cop showed up and we told him what happened. The lady's version is a little different than mine, apparently. She didn't mention that she was doing an illegal u-turn to the policeman. Go figure. But for some lame reason the police can't write that sort of thing down, so hopefully she won't contest it when I report it to her insurance company. The policeman marked it down as a "rear end collision" on the report, which I think is bad for me. That is stupid, because it was clearly the lady's fault. I hope she stays honest and doesn't challenge my story of the events.
Just thinking about her contesting it makes me annoyed. She seemed nice enough, so hopefully that won't be an issue. There was very little damage to her car, maybe a bit of a scratch. Mercedes' are tough, man. Amazing what cars made out of metal can take. Our Saturn lost the front license plate, and the bumper is coming off. Hopefully that is the extent of the damage. And hopefully we're dealing with an honest girl here.
Anyway, just thought I'd share before I go to bed.
Also, I just noticed - my friend Jenn G's book is available on Amazon.com - I didn't know that. Check it out! It's a poetry book, and she's a talented poet. So yeah, nifty.
Pictures from Hawaii and Mexico to come sometime this week.
Spinner Dolphin by the boat
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
Yesterday the snorkeling cruise was pretty nice. Standing in line to board the boat was quite possibly the hottest I've ever been in my life, moreso than Cornerstone 2003. Beads of sweat dropping to the ground kind of bad. Thankfully once we were on the boat it got a bit better, and once we were in the water it was even better than that.
We snorkeled Kealakekua Bay, which is some sort of underwater preserve. It was really gorgeous down there. I wish I'd brought an underwater camera - apparently my father-in-law did, so I'll have to get my hands on some of his pictures. But I saw a bunch of stuff down there. I also saw a black and yellow Moray Eel, swimming from one coral thingy to the next. Apparently they are nocturnal so I was lucky to see one. Lots of colorful stuff down there in the reef, I'm really glad I was able to go.
As the boat put up anchor to head back, a pod of spinner dolphins approached us. You could see their dorsal fins breaching the water ahead of us, and they kept getting closer and closer. Eventually they were swimming right along with the boat. It was pretty awesome - you can see the best picture above. And of course I uploaded a few more pictures, so feel free to peruse the flickr a bit more.
Today we are checking out of the Kona Reef hotel and into the Royal Kona Resort. So I probably won't be posting anymore until I'm home from San Diego. Janelle's family is leaving today, and Janelle and I will be staying one extra night. Hard to believe it's been a week since we left for Hawaii.
Turtle looking up
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
No update for the last couple days, so just a not so quick recap to let you know what I've been up to.
Also - I have a few more pictures uploaded - you can view all of my hawaii tagged pictures by clicking here.
Saturday we did indeed go to the King Kam hotel for a buffet. It was tasty...lot of hawaiian seafood stuff there that I wasn't a huge fan of - but there was enough other stuff to make me more than happy. I also took a couple runs at the desserts, which were oh-so-good. All of Janelle's sisters thought that the chocolate mousse was too chocolately...I didn't understand what they were saying. What is this "too chocolately?"
Parasailing didn't happen when I originally thought it would - we ended up parasailing on Sunday. You purchase the 800 foot line, and once you're up there they wave at you to see if you want to go up to 1200 feet. Janelle went before me, and she waved for the extra line, so of course I had to as well. Janelle's mom let us bring a waterproof camera so we could take pictures from up above, but I forgot to bring it up with me, which is quite disappointing. The view was awesome from up there, and I was surprisingly not scared for being way up high sitting in a harness. A couple times I freaked myself out by looking at the things holding me to the parachute and wondering what would happen if they broke...but for the most part I just enjoyed myself. I saw a (tourist) submarine that was underwater, which was pretty sweet.
Sunday afternoon we visited a Wendy's with the most spectacular view I've ever seen from a Wendy's. You'll see the pictures from that in my flickr soon.
Sunday night, Uncle Bobo cooked steak, shrimp, and other various delicacies. Being who I am, I basically just loaded up my plate with steak and shrimp. Both were fantastic...the steak came close to my Dad's tri-tip, but didn't quite reach the best of it. The shrimp was really good, having been fried in a mixture of italian dressing, garlic, butter, and a couple other things I've since forgotten.
Yesterday, we visited the gravesite of my father-in-law's parents, and also his grandmother. We also went shopping in Kona, and I sampled yet another shaved ice. If you think you've had shaved ice and weren't very impressed with it back on the mainland...you haven't had shaved ice. The stuff they have here is totally awesome. I wish we had it back in Fremont.
I have to stop now, because we're gonna go have breakfast at a place called the "Ocean View Inn," and then head to the City of Refuge. Apparently back in the day, when somebody would commit some sort of crime, they could run to this city and then, through some rituals, make themselves clear of the taboo they committed. What's interesting is that in the Bible there is a similar system set up - that is, there were certain cities that people could run to in order to be safe from those who would want to pay them back for a crime they committed. I wonder how many cultures had this concept of a "safe city."
The last time I went snorkeling was went I went to the Florida Keys in spring of 2004. I spent most of that time ingesting seawater and wishing that I could see anything through my goggles. This time my father-in-law let me use some corrective goggles he had with a good snorkeling air-spout thing that had some protection from letting water get in. These things made it way more fun to snorkel. I saw a lot of cool stuff, many colorful fish, urchins, and coral. Hawaii really is like the commercials and movies show.
After that we returned to the condos, and I took a longer nap than usual beside the pool. We just got back from a quality buffet at King Kam (for short, it's actually Kamelealah or something) hotel. One dessert that isn't standard on the mainland that I am enjoying here is Haupia. It's a sort of coconut gelatin thing. I also had some great shaved ice today, with real coconut on top, and some vanilla ice cream in the middle - really refreshing. Way more filling that the shaved ice I had the other day. If someone opened up a quality shaved ice place in Fremont I think they could make some good money.
During the buffet, Auntie Lynn, the woman largely responsible for organizing the family (er, Ohana) reunion, got up and thanked people for coming, etc. She had the various siblings (the reunion is of the Cornelio children, of which my father-in-law is the youngest) introduce their children, grandchildren, etc. Then they had some of the younger people stand up and share what they were doing as far as school, a career, etc. I thought that was pretty neat.
I think it will be very cool when I get older to have family reunions like this and be able to look at my kids, their kids, my sister's kids, their kids, my brother's kids, etc etc. Of course, I have to start having kids for that to happen, and despite the cuteness that my nephew Anthony is unleashing on Janelle, I must stay strong and maintain that we wait a few years before having our own. His adorable assault is formidable, but we can hold up under it.
So tomorrow is parasailing, and then Uncle Bobo is cooking all day poolside. Lunch and dinner. The schedule will look something like: eat, talk story, swim, read, talk story, eat, read, swim, talk story, etc. Very good stuff. I won't be uploading any more pictures until I get home unless I get something totally spectacular, because it takes forever with this 56k connection.
Lastly, I'm reading a cool book called "In the Balance" which is an alternate history of WW2. Basically as it goes, in 1942 these alien lizard dudes attack earth and all the nations who were previously at war find themselves having to ally to try to repel the attackers. The aliens have superior technology, like probably technology about 10-20 years ahead of today's technology. So they way outmatch the humans, but the human can still fight back to some extent. Anyway, it may not be the height of literary achievement, but it's entertaining and a nice break from some of the stuff I usually read. That is all.
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
Yesterday our trip to the Volcano Park was didn't go through as expected because Janelle's dad came down with a Kidney Stone right as we were arriving. We went just as far as the entrance to the park, and then we had to leave and head up to Hilo for the Kaiser place. We ended up having a picnic out front of the Kaiser facility - got some funny looks from the locals.
So basically yesterday we drove completely around the island, which was neat, but we didn't end up getting to see the volcano park. We did pay the entrance fee to the park, and that's good for a week so hopefully we'll be back.
Today, after yesterday's escapades, we took it easy. In the morning Janelle and I walked into a touristy area of Kona and did a bit of shopping. I got a haircut from a british lady who was telling us about Kaballah, right on the beach. So that was pretty neat. Good haircut too. And she put really expensive gel in my hair. In the middle of the haircut some italian dude named "Tatsu" came and gave the lady his cup of tea. He actually said "Ciao Bella!" Seemed like a nice guy.
I told the lady giving me a haircut that I once got a wrong number from a french guy in the middle of the night. She then told me that perhaps it was fate and she wondered what the REAL reason he called my number was. I didn't bother saying "he probably wrote the number down wrong."
After that, Janelle and I came back to the condos, and went out to the pool where we swam a bit, read, and all that, after hanging out with her Uncle Bobo and Auntie Lynn. There was also a bit of napping at poolside. I made sure I was in the shade before allowing myself to fall asleep. Later we helped Bobo bring the food down to poolside, and everybody hung out together there. I got to meet a bunch of Janelle's family, and eat a bunch of good food.
I took a number of pictures - and I've uploaded a few of them for you to see. I will upload more upon my return home, to a broadband connection. But for now, the ones linked over at flickr will have to suffice. Just six of em.
Tomorrow at 10am we're planning on going parasailing, then also going to White Sands beach later. I'll do my best to take some good pictures.
I'm using NetZero dialup service in my condo here. We're staying in some condos and they totally rock. You can just walk down to the beach if you want. There's also a sweet pool and jacuzzi, with a gazebo and four awesome grills. This place is really sweet.
Today we're planning on going to the Volcanoes Nat'l Park. Not sure what else. I know there will be a lot of food consumption going on here. If you ever thought your family ate a lot at family reunions, you are wrong. This family is crazy. There's this cool guy named Uncle Bobo and he was talking about the kind of stuff we'll be eating. Last night we had a meal with like 5 different kinds of meat to choose from and he called it simple. I'm pretty excited, but I'm not excited to be bloating up more.
I wish I'd gotten a haircut before I left.
Here are a couple cool Hawaiian terms/sayings I have learned:
"Talk Story" - Uncle Bobo said "You know, we can hang around, eat, Talk Story." So "Talk Story" is the same as hanging out and talking and whatnot.
"Da Kine." I tried to get a definition from Mike (Cornelio) but he was unable to provide a definite one. It sort of means "and stuff" or "and that kind of thing" or something like that. Bobo listed off a bunch of things we'll be doing, and said "you know, Da Kine" at the end of it. So I think it's one of those words you sort of have to pick up in context because it can mean a few things.
Anyway it's fun here so far...humid as crap but it's all good. And the fact that I can connect to the internet (even if it is on dialup) from the condo is pretty sweet.
OH yeah, last thing - I have the morning news on the TV, and the male anchor is wearing a blue hawaiian print shirt. What the? Who do these people think they are?!
Updates will come as I can do them.
I hope all y'all have a great couple weeks. I'll do my best to give short updates here and there, but I don't think internet access with be as bountiful as beautiful beaches and fruity beverages.
Now, my representation of Calvinism may be off to some degree, because I am not a Calvinist. At one point I carried on a long e-mail conversation with my friend Kevin about this. Eventually he said we weren't going to convince one another and we were starting to go around in circles, so we dropped it. Later he sent me another e-mail continuing the conversation, but by the time I got it I didn't have the energy to continue. At one point I had this conversation posted on my website but it was lost when I moved to blogspot.
Again the topic of Calvinism has come up with my friend Brian Quinn, whom you may refer to as Quinn or "his dudeness" or possibly "Walter." From what I can gather he is a rather staunch Calvinist. Read the comment(s) on the previous entry to see a bit. This post is a little bit of a response to that, but rather responding directly to these scriptures he brought up, which we can go on about at length (at perhaps will), I wanted to give a few thoughts on Calvinism, what I agree with about it, and what I find problematic with it. I think any discussion on how I take the books of Romans and Ephesians would be fruitless without an understanding of where I'm coming from. My view is not based solely on personal opinion, but rather on my reading of scripture and understanding of God.
My first and biggest problem is with Total Depravity, one of the five points of Calvinism.
Total Depravity declares that man is a slave to his sinful nature, and will never choose to do the right thing. Man does not choose to serve God in and of himself, and as such cannot turn to God and be saved. The Calvinist believes that because of this Inability, the only way a man (or woman) can be saved is if God chooses them and compels them to choose Him and turn to Him for forgiveness. This means that God chooses people, people cannot choose God.
What this means is that God decides who is saved and who is not - and that God creates certain people with the unchangeable destiny of an eternity in hell. They are created with a sinful nature, and because of this nature, they cannot and will not choose God. God chooses not to give His grace to some, so they die without forgiveness and suffer the consequences.
To me it is irreconcilable that a God of love, mercy, holiness, and justice, would create people who had absolutely no chance to turn to Him. I don't see how they can be held responsible for their actions if they had no other way they could go in life.
Burning Building Analogy
Let's assume there are 10 people in a burning building. Now, if I put the people in the house, or put them in a tunnel where they could only walk into the house, then I would be responsible for their place in the house. So it's important that I get the people out of the burning house, because they are trapped and can't get themselves out.
Now, if time isn't a factor for me (and it isn't for God), and I have the power to get every person out of the burning building, why wouldn't I? From my perspective there are only a two reasons I would NOT save everybody if I had the time or power.
(1) I don't care about everybody in the house and/or don't want to save them
(2) I offer my hand to the people in the house but they bat it away and refuse help
If I put the people in this situation, unless I offer them all my hand for help, then I think my goodness could be called into question. Too much of the Bible shows me a God that doesn't fit that description.
But humans choose sin
The Calvinist may agree with my assessment of the above, but say "humans choose sin, not God, so they are culpable." From my perspective that doesn't wash. If all humans are born with a nature that compels them to sin and makes them totally unable to turn to God and ask for forgivness, then it is not their responsibility when they don't turn to God. It is not fair to condemn somebody for not making a choice they could not have made.
But you are making God a beggar, dictating what happens to Him
Some believe that if you say humans can turn to God and ask for forgiveness without God's compulsion, then they are in effect controlling God's actions. God will save them if they ask Him to, so He is obeying them rather than the other way around. I don't believe this argument washes logically, either.
If I am asking God for His offered salvation through Jesus Christ's death on the cross, I am not dictating His actions. I am choosing whether or not to respond to Him. I fully agree that humans are sinful and dark, but the Bible would seem to say that we have no excuse for not turning to God. Why would it say that if we could not turn to Him without Him choosing us? Is it saying we have no excuse to not be chosen by God? Doesn't make sense to me.
The Role of the Holy Spirit
I believe that in scripture it is fairly clearly written that God draws people to Him. God, through the Holy Spirit, works in the lives of people to somehow draw them to Himself. I believe that there is a tension between God acting and mankind responding, and this is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of scripture. I believe that God reaches out first to us, not us to God. Giving all responsibility for belief to God is, in my view, a misinterpretation of scripture and an impugnment of God's character.
God condemns me for not choosing Him or asking Him for forgiveness. At what point can I ask God for his offered forgiveness? At no point, says the Calvinist, unless you are among the "elect." And I receive condemnation for that?
I rather believe scripture teaches that it is God's will that all people would turn to Him for forgiveness, but some do and some do not. If everything that happens is what God wills to happen...explain that to the rape victim, the child of abuse. And how can one read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and say that only God chooses who is saved?
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
I know it's possible to throw scripture around back and forth, and to people who are staunchly in the Calvinist camp or the non-Calvinist camp, it is almost certainly a fruitless endeavor. I cannot comprehend how people can believe in a loving God that would let people burn because they are the way He made them. I don't see justice in that either.
I believe God reaches out to all people, and that He offers all forgiveness and a place in the kingdom of God. (John 3:16, 12:44-48) I believe God desires that everyone would come to Him, but there are those who choose not to. (1 Tim 2:3-4)
I also believe that Calvinists are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and while I disagree with them on this point, I respect their views and devotion to God. These kinds of discussions are good for sharpening the mind, and delving deeper into scripture, but often end in frustration, and can sometimes be a waste of emotional energy better spent pouring into someone who needs an ear to hear them, or a shoulder to cry on, or someone to bring the love of God into their lives.
Okay, wow. I also believe this turned out much longer than I anticipated, and much of it came off the top of my head. So hopefully, Brian and others, you understand a bit more about my viewpoint on Calvinism and some reasons I don't agree with it.
I am way more frustrated than I should be over this. Stressful week, I think.
Sunday I went to the new Panera with my wife and my bro for some lunch, and I was duly impressed. They have all manner of breads there, quality deli stuff, good bakery stuff, and free wifi. That is perhaps the biggest attraction. They have some big comfy chairs, and even a little fireplace. I think I may be frequenting this establishment from now on when I need to get out of the house to work, but not into the office. Sorry, Bay St.
It combines satellite imaging with other stuff, and you can look in detail at most parts of the world. It's nifty looking around at satellite photos of my city and the surrounding areas. You can just type in an address and look at it. You can toggle the map to show roads, topography, restaurants, etc. You can get directions. I've noticed some of the restaurant listings around my house are wrong (there is NOT a Del Taco around the corner from me), but overall it's freakin awesome. It's the WHOLE WORLD!
One verse I keep coming back to, though, is Jeremiah 20:9. It goes like this:
"But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."
So often it seems like trying to share God's word with others is a fruitless endeavor. It feels like people hear but don't listen, people catch glimpses of God and the life He has, but don't embrace it. So many of us (myself included) keep getting drawn back into different things that tear us away from God. It often seems pointless. It's discouraging to spend your time, energy, heart, and soul trying to point people in God's direction, only to watch them walk away.
And sometimes I just want to forget all about it, to walk away and be done with it. Not worry about others or trying to talk about God or His grace or any of it. Sometimes I just want to shut that part of me down. The only problem is, like Jeremiah, I can't do it. There is nothing else. Not that I have reached some spiritual pinnacle - I only hope that I am growing in my understanding of the life I am calling others to. But ministry can be heartbreaking sometimes.
I was a bit intimidated about going into the gym, having never been in one before, and feeling vastly out of place in such an arena. I was also worried that my trainer would be some big hardcore dude that would spit with contempt when confronted with my weight-lifting ability. Thankfully Ray was a nice guy, probably in his 50's or maybe early 60's. He went through a workout with me, mostly resistance stuff. I did a lot of sitting on a ball against a wall, pushups, jackknifes (a new terror to me), and other such stuff. He was patient and did a good job of explaining why we did what we did. If I were independently wealthy, I might pay to have more time with him so he could really get me going on the right workout track. I have no doubt that were I to spend a few months with him, I would start to get into better shape, and have better muscles all around.
Anyway the bottom line is, I am glad I'm signed up, even though I feel weak right now. Apparently Ricky has a membership there and has been dying for someone to work out with, so we will probably be doing that some in the near future.
Part of my motivation is the fact that I have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Apparently at my current weight I have a 5300% increased chance of getting diabetes. That is not a typo. So for any number of reasons, it's time to stop messing around and at 24 take my health seriously.
I want to live long enough to become some awesome kind of cyborg.
Right now I'm on my second listen-through, and I'm not really that impressed. "Speed of Sound" is a great song...but many of them just seem to run together. Plus a lot of them are depressing songs about how "you don't want me in your life" and other such stuff. Maybe I need to give them more of a chance...but I'm pretty unimpressed.
Also, today I had a physical. It was weird. I also got two shots. The lady laughed at me and told me she could tell I didn't get shots often. I'm sure it was because of the absolute lack of fear I showed when confronted with the needles. She probably assumed since I didn't so much as bat an eye I didn't know what was going to happen. I'm hardcore.
Check this out:
Japan has taken a step into the science-fiction world with the release of a "robot suit" that can help workers lift heavy loads or assist people with disabilities climb stairs.
"Humans may be able to mutate into supermen in the near future," said Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor and engineer at Tsukuba University who led the project.
The 15-kilogram (33-pound) battery-powered suit, code-named HAL-5, detects muscle movements through electrical-signal flows on the skin surface and then amplifies them.
It can also move on its own accord, enabling it to help elderly or handicapped people walk, developers said.
Kabobs on Grill
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
For some reason, the camping trip last weekend made me want to use my Weber grill more. I haven't used it more than a few times, and not at all since I've been married. This past weekend I just cooked up some dogs and burgers, and it awakened something in me.
I remembered I had this quality grill at home and that I hadn't used it much. So I decided when I got home that I wanted to use it. I subbed Tuesday and spent some time checking out online grilling sites and all the accessories I could get for my grill.
Tuesday night we had some friends over and Janelle and I made chicken kabobs. I got some cool stuff for my grill, like a thing that hangs on the side to hold tools, a vinyl cover to keep it from getting all nasty outside, a new wire brush to clean the grill, and a bbq mitt to protect my delicate hands from the ravaging heat. I had a lot of fun.
I think I am going to start grilling more. I want to grill with my kids and hang out with them outside and stuff. So, yeah.
About a half hour ago I started to get a few of those little air-burps. You know the kind I'm taking about? Nothing major, just a bit of air coming up. Well they taste like fish. I've been trying to get rid of them, because they make me want to puke. I am currently trying to down an Henry Weinhard's Root Beer in order to get rid of this taste.
I think I'm going to find other ways to improve my cardiovascular health.
An African Lion (Panthera Leo) was shipped to centrally located Kâmpóng Chhnãng especially for the event, which took place last Saturday, April 30, 2005 in the city’s coliseum.
The Cambodian Government allowed the fight to take place, under the condition that they receive a 50% commission on each ticket sold, and that no cameras would be allowed in the arena.
The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.
Sihamoni was quoted before the fight stating that he felt since his fighters out-numbered the lion 42 to 1, that they “… could out-wit and out-muscle [it].”
Unfortunately, he was wrong.
EDIT: This article is a fake.
Today and tomorrow I am subbing in this room, and we're watching Rebel Without A Cause. Last year when I subbed one day for this teacher, I did the exact same thing. Thankfully this is a pretty good movie. Even though it was made in 1955 the kids seem to be able to relate somewhat, because it's about a couple teenagers and their struggles with their parents and peers while they're trying to find their way and be loved/accepted/good etc. The parts the kids laugh most at is when the teenagers in the movie are being disrespectful and rude to authority figures. Imagine that.
One thing this movie seems to be pointing out is how important the father figure is. Three of the main characters have messed up relationships with their dads. One dad is a wimp and wants to be friends with his son, one dad is an absentee, and one dad withholds affection and love from his daughter because he can't come to grips with the fact that she's becoming a woman. In all cases, all the kids need is for their dads to step up and be men and act like fathers. A lot of the stuff going on in their lives would be different if they had good fathers.
I see this reflected in real life, as I work with and talk to kids. The power that a father has on his children cannot be overestimated. That's why I'm glad I have a good dad; not perfect of course, but as good a one as is humanly possible, I think. I'm sure he's had a lot to do with the fact that I am (or I think I am) pretty well-adjusted and doing alright in life. As I continue to minister and pastor and all that, I hope I can play a part in building stronger families, helping parents to realize just how big an influence they have on their kids whether they know it or not. Parents should know this, and take heed.
While we were sitting in the theater, there were two lightsaber fights up front. The first was by one dude dressed up in a Darth Vader costume vs. an Obi-Wan guy. The second, which was better by far, was between two high school students from Washington.
As for the movie itself...
I thought it was pretty good. A lot of very lame dialogue and weird wipes, but overall I thought it was a vast improvement on the first two (just about anything would have been) and it succeeded in giving more meaningful context for episodes 4-6.
Perhaps the funniest moment was Vader going "NOOOOOOOOOOooooo!" while shaking his fists. That was pretty stinkin lame.
Also a friend of mine brought up a good point, because it got annoying listening to Yoda's screwed up words. If he were that smart, wouldn't he pick up english at some point? I mean, geeze. Sometimes his sentences were virtually nonsensical.
But overall I really liked the movie, and want to re-watch the original trilogy, so I suppose it succeeded. I also want to pay more money to see it again, so I suppose it succeeded in that regard as well.
"And basically we were able to show clearly that a large percentage of the neurons become more 'entrained' -- that is, their firing becomes more correlated to the operation of the robot arm than to the animal's own arm."
According to Nicolelis, the analysis revealed that, while the animals were still able to use their own arms, some brain cells formerly used for that control shifted to control of the robotic arm.
"Mikhail's analysis of the brain signals associated with use of the robotic and animals' actual arms revealed that the animal was simultaneously doing one thing with its own arm and something else with the robotic arm," he said. "So, our hypothesis is that the adaptation of brain structures allows the expansion of capability to use an artificial appendage with no loss of function, because the animal can flip back and forth between using the two. Depending on the goal, the animal could use its own arm or the robotic arm, and in some cases both.
"This finding supports our theory that the brain has extraordinary abilities to adapt to incorporate artificial tools, whether directly controlled by the brain or through the appendages" said Nicolelis. "Our brain representations of the body are adaptable enough to incorporate any tools that we create to interact with the environment. This may include a robot appendage, but it may also include using a computer keyboard or a tennis racket. In any such case, the properties of this tool become incorporated into our neuronal 'space'," he said. According to Nicolelis, such a theory of brain adaptability has been controversial.
Anthony looking up
Originally uploaded by actionjax.
Here's a pic as promised of Anthony. He's pretty cute, as you can tell. You can go to my flickr page and see a couple more of him. His full name is Anthony Jace Ramirez-Cornelio. I lobbied extensively for "Jackson Rules Ramirez-Cornelio" but for some stupid reason they wouldn't do it.
"You can't use science to prove God," said John T. Chibnall, an associate professor of psychiatry at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, who co-wrote a scathing rebuttal of studies on distant prayer published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2001. "We shouldn't waste the money of the government showing that Jesus is 'the man,' " Chibnall said in an interview. "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God."
The last statement there is the one I wanted to look at - "Faith is faith. Science is science. Don't use science to strengthen or diminish belief in God." That seems like a dumb idea to me. It also misunderstands the nature of what faith is. Faith isn't some blind adherence to something you wish were true (or at least it shouldn't be). I think that everything we believe we put faith in to one degree or another. I have faith that the chair I'm sitting on isn't going to pop out of existence, because the evidence and my observation points to that. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow because I've seen it rise many times before. I have faith that France exists, even though I've never been there, because the evidence seems to point in that direction. I believe that everything we 'know' is some proposition we have placed faith in.
It would be foolish to separate faith and belief from evidence or "science," as the guy in the above quote suggests. Many people do just that - believing things that don't have any sort of eternal significance based on evidence and all that. But when it comes to issues of spirituality and God, so many people throw the use of their minds out the window and make stuff up. They say "science" and "faith" are irreconcilable enemies, and you shouldn't try to combine them.
In my opinion, faith in something that is clearly contradicted by proper inquiry is probably a foolish thing to do. And when it comes to something as important as eternity, I think everybody owes it to themselves to take an honest look at the evidence, rather than simply going along with their first inclination, whether that's atheism, agnosticism, or Christianity. We must use our minds to arrive at our decisions regarding God and eternity. It's odd to me that people would do otherwise...but they do, and claim that it's perfectly reasonable.
Now, I think that many in the scientific community make that statement as a way to not offend religious people, who they consider ignorant and deluded. There are also those who make it because they honestly believe it. I suppose I'm just saying that of all the things to make stuff up about or not really look into with some effort, your eternity is sort of dumb to leave up to wishful thinking.
Here's a link to the article about the prayer study.
Here's a link to something Greg Koukl has to say about faith and evidence.
Overall the movie was better than I anticipated, since I'd heard some highly negative reviews from people who love Adams. It was pretty funny, and Janelle even dug it, which is pretty awesome because she usually doesn't like stuff like that. If you liked reading the book you'd probably like the movie.
I'm gathering more and more of the necessary materials to submit my application to Golden Gate Seminary. I am actually eager to start taking classes again. Looking at my transcripts in envelopes from Ohlone and Cal State Hayward reminds me that I took a bunch of classes in colleges for four years and got a degree. It seems like a long time ago since I did all that, like a blur. Time flies.
The game was good. A's won 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth - very exciting. I also saw a few things I hadn't seen before.
- Manager comes out of the dugout and argues with umpire, is ejected from game.
- Player tries to pick a fight with an umpire, is ejected.
- Angry middle aged man with glasses shouts down a dozen gangsta cholos because they are using bad language in front of his daughter. This man showed no fear.
- Dude runs onto the field and is dragged down by his jacket in spectacular fashion.
- Jermaine Dye played shortstop.
Okay that's enough. It was a fun game, had a good time. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot - Ricky and I got free tickets while we were standing in line to buy ours. Some guy had a bunch of tickets in the 228 section (better seating than we were planning on purchasing) and some people didn't show up. So he gave us our tickets. Score!
Anyway there was a bit of rumbling after I mentioned those names - people thinking that I was overstepping my bounds and being judgmental in calling someone out. I wrote up the following thing on Joel Osteen, which you may want to read if you're so inclined. These are some of the problems I have with what he teaches. Link here.
Some things just never change with the A's. They never seem to be able to score runs in clutch time. Tonight they had ample opportunities to win the game against the Mariners, but threw it away. Defensively and offensively, they did just well enough to make it a really disappointing loss. So I say, argh!
Maybe I'll jump on the White Sox bandwagon this year, so I have two teams I can root for. One of my best friends lives in Chicago and is a huge Sox fan - so maybe I can lay claim to them that way. Plus they have Jermaine Dye, late of the A's. That must be why they're 10-4 right now.
The question: How many 5 year-olds could you take on at once?
Personally I'm not sure. I'm thinking somewhere in the vicinity of 10-15 - a cup can only protect you so much. Especially if you're picking twice the number I select. All it would take was enough kids going after your hair, scratching, clawing, biting, etc. to bring you down. Since they're 5 they may not be all that coordinated...but I'm thinking that many kids going through that much training could definitely cause enough aggregate pain to bring me down. What about you?