Wednesday, December 3, 2008
*Why did it take the government a year to declare that we are in a recession? It's not like anyone actually believed that we weren't in one, right? Then again, I don't know much about economics, so maybe I'll just shut up.
*It feels weird being a senior. I remember when I was a freshman and looked up to the seniors with a sort of awe, as if they were a higher race of beings or something. I imagined what it must be like to be preparing to enter college, with a firm plan for the rest of my life. Now I'm in my last year of high school, and I feel no sense of closure at all. To tell the truth, I feel more lost now than I ever have. Maybe I'm just getting old.
*I half-followed the recent terrorist attacks in India. To tell you the truth, I wasn't really that interested. I mean, only 172 people died. That's not a genocide or anything. Reflecting later on the event and my reactions toward it, I was stunned. When did words, pictures, and even videos of events like these lose the power to affect us? We turn on the TV and watch as the lives of human beings just like us are extinguished, shattered, and ruined. We don't even blink. In fact, we're bored. That sort of stuff doesn't interest us. So we turn on the video game console and blast away at digital representations of ourselves, sated in the gore and violence that fills the screen. 172 people lost their lives, and countless Americans (me included) yawned and turned away. When did we lose our soul?
* I have had the opportunity to work on a program for our youth ministry at church. The entire senior class (which is twenty or so people) has been put in charge of creating a Christmas party for everyone. It's been........yeah, it's been .........great. Interesting how quickly we discover the true nature of ourselves and of others when we work together on a project of this size. Show's on in a week or so. Pray for us.
* Will someone tell the people in the Obama Campaign that the election is over? As soon as the results were in, I unsubscribed from the mailing lists. Yet my inbox is still flooded with messages that often don't have anything to do with the President-elect. My favorite was one from the campaign offering free downloads of the movie Hair.
Did these people actually have a life before this election? If they did, now would be the time to return to it.
* All controversy aside, His Dark Materials, the fantasy trilogy by renowned atheist Phillip Pullman, are actually great reads. I enjoyed all three books from the series. Pullman is an extremely talented author who weaves a strong, enjoyable, and engaging tale that is, while not on level with the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, certainly close to it. It was especially interesting to trace the author's worldview through the trilogy and notice how, while in the end his characters destroyed God and achieved his version of a perfect world, he was unable to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion. His ideal world, one where humans live on without God, as part of the "Republic of Heaven", is empty and meaningless. This shows rather clearly in his books, no matter how hard he tries to disguise it. Most Christians won't even go near these books (and the movie version of the first one) because of the worldview portrayed in them. I, however, think that it is possible to disagree with the worldview of an author yet enjoy his work.
* How many of you are sick of Christmas music? I am. I walked into Wal-Mart the other day and heard "Rockin' around the Christmas tree". That almost drove me crazy.
* I recently tried to read the book Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy and had to put it down. I usually enjoy his work, but Blood Meridian was different. It was a gripping and well-written tale, but the level of brutal, graphic violence contained in the work was incredible. I understood and appreciated the point McCarthy was trying to make, but I just couldn't get past the violence. It got me thinking: How much violence does an author need to put in his work to hammer his point home?
* Why is it that Christmas seems more and more empty as the years go by? Every year I seem to over-reflect on how meaningless the whole charade actually is, and end up thoroughly depressing myself. Maybe this year I'll just stick to the hot chocolate and candy canes.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
P.S. if you are really busy, leave a comment about your amazing mile-high to-do list...
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Barack Obama handily beat John McCain in the national election yesterday to become the 44th President of the United States. He is the first African-American to be elected to the Oval Office. Although I am excited and happy over the events of November 4th, I realize that many of you are discouraged and even fearful for the future of our country. I'd ask you all to remember that our Lord is the Sovereign Ruler over all nations. The fate of this country does not rest in the hands of Barack Obama, it rests in the hands of God. It's time to put away any bitterness or discouragement that might remain, accept this event as ordained by God, and pray for our new leader as he becomes the most powerful man on Earth. No one knows what these next four years will bring us, but I pray that Barack Obama will lead this nation well and deliver on the message of change with which he inspired so many millions of Americans. God Bless you all, and here's to an incredible four years.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
This is an essay by my granpa who has been an engineer and avid political supporter of Christian values. He has written many letters to the editor not only here in Virginia but also in Kingston, New York, where he moved from; many of which have been published and/or answered.
Why I Can’t Vote For Obama
Barack Obama claims that he would be a President that would stand up for the poor, the hurting and the most vulnerable in our country. Yet he has a record of warring against the most vulnerable and most innocent human lives – unborn babies.
Since he went to primary school in
Barack Obama has consistently voted against every law that would in any way limit the unbridled exercise of “abortion rights”. He even is against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban which bans the barbaric practice of partially delivering a late term baby (except for the head) and then reaching in and crushing the baby’s head before completing the delivery.
It is also clear that he would nominate pro-abortion Supreme Court justices that would legislate more abortions “rights” from the bench instead of following our Constitution.
He has also stated that he would sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” that would nullify virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion, including the limitations now allowed by the Supreme Court, such as parental notification and waiting period laws. He would also support the liberal funding of abortions by the federal government. The FOCA law would also make partial-birth abortion legal again.
It gets even worse. While a member of the Illinois State Senate, he voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2003 and thus killed the bill in the committee that he chaired. This law would have required hospital care and comfort for babies who were accidentally born alive as a result of late-term abortions. This same law was passed at the federal level without a dissenting vote in the U.S. Congress. Apparently Obama thinks it’s better to throw these infants in the garbage rather than give comfort and appropriate care even though these little ones have a low chance of survival.
This hits home for us since four years ago a sonogram showed that our unborn grandson had a very serious brain problem. Although encouraged to abort, our daughter carried her son to term. Even though he died 18 hours after birth we had the bittersweet joy of being able bring him home, hold him close and tell him we loved him.
Twenty four years ago our oldest daughter became pregnant while in college. She could have quietly had an abortion and we would have not known. But she knew that she carried a unique human life within her and made a courageous decision to keep her baby.
Today he’s all grown up and is about to graduate from college. We are very proud of him and of his mom who has recently resumed her college career.
This morning as I was playing with my 11 month old grandson, watching him crawl around and discover life, I grieved for the 48 million American babies that tragically never got to see the light of day. How great is the injustice that has been done to these precious, innocent, most vulnerable little ones!
I can’t vote for Barack Obama who seems to have so little respect for human life. I have to go with what the bible says:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing. (Abortion is the sacrifice of our children to the gods of convenience and comfort.)
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: …. hands that shed innocent blood ….
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
I’ll be voting for John McCain who has a consistently pro-life record regarding abortion.
I would love to hear comments not only from McCain supporters, but would like to hear
how Obama supporters would respond. (and not complaints about McCain's voting
record: he is pro-life.)
Friday, October 17, 2008
It's been a while since I've written about politics. In the intervening time, things have heated up quite a bit. I'm too tired to write a coherent article about the subject, so I'll just put down a collection of thoughts I have here, with two weeks left in the race.
* Barack Obama's mantra about how the failed Bush policies of the last eight years have led directly to our current economic crisis is getting repetitive. It's also not necessarily true. The economy has so many different factors in play, it's not fair to put the blame on one person, or even on one administration. Sure, Bush spent like a drunken sailor on leave and has nothing to show for his sprees, but that doesn't mean the economy collapsed because of him and him alone.
*The $700 billion dollar bailout scheme is disastrous. How can an organization that is trillions of dollars in debt bail out an organization that's billions of dollars in debt? The bailout is only a short term solution. It feels rushed, with an edge of panic accompanying it. In the long haul, the economy will still continue to falter unless the government steps in and forces the banks to ease the credit crunch. You can hear rumblings of this already. The administration's recent decision to buy stock in banks is only a prelude to a massive government intervention, one that may stave off a depression but will result in a significant loss of personal freedom. I think both the candidates missed the ball on this one. As my cousin in law said, "We'll eat beans and rice for freedom."
* I caught some of the debates. My general impression was that Obama handled the spotlight well, kept his cool, and laid out his plans with more clarity that he has shown before. However, his oft-repeated mantras of change and how the Republicans have wrecked the country are becoming rather tiring. He needs to come up with something new, something to capture the public's heart once again. McCain spoke with passion and energy, but came across as edgy, disdainful, and maybe a bit panicky. His frequent reversions to attacks on Obama's character showed that he and his campaign are losing their grip a little.
* Speaking of attacks on character, the negativity in the political system is really starting to bug me. Why can't the candidates discuss and argue the issues instead of resorting to personal insults? The Obama campaign's ad mocking McCain's computer illiteracy was pointless and lacked class. They pride themselves on not descending into so-called "gutter politics", but that's exactly what that ad was. Having said that, McCain takes the cake on personal attacks. Even Karl Rove has criticised his campaign for being too negative. Sarah Palin's comments about lipstick on a bulldog were demeaning, but her comments about "palling around with terrorists" were just stupid. Does she really think the American people are that dumb? The Obama - Ayers relationship has received thorough coverage by the media, and no one in their right mind is questioning Obama's character because of it. The two are not even friends. They cooperated on a community service program years ago, and that's aboutthe extent of their relationship. Remember, "palling around with terrorists" is a serious charge in today's world. It makes no difference if the terrorist is Bin Laden or William Ayers. If the relationship between the two men actually was a valid concern, don't you think there would have at least been a legal investigation into it? Mrs. Palin, we are not stupid. Please don't insult our intelligence by bringing this issue up again.
* Speaking of Sarah Palin, I'm a little bit worried about her. All objections about women and their role in government aside, as well as questions about her leadership in Alaska, she doesn't even seem to know what she's talking about. The Katie Couric interview was damning. If you get a chance, sit down and watch some of it.
* I have to say, I love the way the comedy buisness has handled this election. The skits seen on SNL, The Daily Show , and Bill Maher's stand-up session have been absolutely hilarious. The skits skewer both sides mercilessly. It's a refreshing break from the real world of politics. Jon Stewart for President 2012!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Killers new album, Day & Age, hits stores Nov. 25th. The group has met with mainstream success in recent years with their eclectic mix of power pop, punk, and New Age styles. Their first single, "Human", is an infectious dance-based piece of rock. The lyrics are classic Killers nonsense, asking "Are we human?/Or are we dancer?" in the chorus. I'd put it on the blog for you all to enjoy, but Mikey still hasn't gotten around to making me co-coordinator or whatever, so all I can do is write posts.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Phillip Rivers threw for 306 yards, 3 TDs, and no picks (with a 141.9 passer rating) as the Chargers decimated the Pats 30-10......USC dominated ASU 28-0........The Redskins lost to the worst team in the NFL (yes!)......The Cowboys lost to the Cards and Romo broke his finger.....Denver lost to Jacksonville.......Drew Brees threw for 320 yards and 3 TDs as the Saints rolled over the Raiders......and the Texans stuffed Ronnie Brown and that stupid Dolphins offense. Amazing weekend of football, wouldn't you say? The one thing that would have made it perfect was if LSU had trampled Florida and that goofball Tim Tebow. I hate Florida.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
- are 2-3 with losses to the Panthers, Broncos, and Dolphins. Dolphins?
- have top-of-the-line NFL players who consistently fail to produce
- highest scorer is their kicker: Nick Kaeding
- are 4-1 with a loss to the 5-0 Super Bowl Champs: the New York Giants
- have average, but skilled players who consistently produce above expectation
- have spread scoring with players Jason Campbell, Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, and Santana Moss
One of the top quarterbacks in the NFL goes 13-28 with only one TD against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.One of the greatest running backs to ever play the game gains 35 yards on twelve attempts, gets stuffed on a fourth and 1 on the goal line, and misses a key block late in the game that results in a sack. The defense plays terribly. And the Chargers lose to the Dolphins 17-10. What's going on? My team's better than this!!!!!! Right????
If I see another Redskins post on this blog I'm gonna throw up.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Not to mention that the Redskins are 1-1 while the Chargers (who someone said would win the Super Bowl) are still winless.
much love and happiness for this football season, mikey
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
I just realized, it's been quite a while since my last post. Summer sure left in a hurry! Over the last month or so I've had the privilege of going on a surf trip with some friends, attending the Clash with Mikey, and starting a new life as a community college student. At times it's been hectic and busy. But seeing as I have the whole Labor Day weekend ahead of me I thought I'd sit down and write a post about something that's been on my heart for quite a while: the issue of violence in the American media.
God first brought the issue to my thoughts through a series of talks I had with my father about movies. My views on acceptable and unacceptable entertainment differ with his in some areas, and violence is one of them. I'm perfectly alright with watching a movie that contains graphic violence...if it has a worthwhile message. The violence in movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "We Were Soldiers" doesn't bother me if I consider the lessons that can be learned from viewing these types of films. My dad pointed out that the Lord hates the one who loves violence....and the fact that it's simulated bloodshed makes no difference to him. He cited Psalm 11:5: "The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence."
At the time I didn't really heed his words, but while at the Clash, the Lord brought the issue to my attention yet again....this time in a rather unexpected way. I was listening to my friend's iPod, and he recommended trying the song "Vicarious" by the prog-metal band Tool. He told me it was a convicting and rather frightening song. I gave it a try. I'll reprint the lyrics for you here. Read carefully, as the words are written in a kind of odd style.
Eye on the TV
Cause tragedy thrills me
It happens to be
"Killed by the husband"
"Drowned by the ocean"
"Shot by his own son"
"She used a poison in his tea
and kissed him goodbye"
That's my kind of story.
It's no fun 'til someone dies
Don't look at me like
I am a monster
Frown out your one face
But with the other
Stare like a junkie
Into the TV
Stare like a zombie
While the mother holds her child,
Watches him die
Pleas to the sky crying,
"Why, oh why?!"
Cause I need to watch things die
From a distance
Live while the whole world dies
You all need it too - don't lie.
Why can't we just admit it?
Why can't we just admit,
We won't give pause until the blood is flowin'
Neither the brave nor bold
Will write us a story. So,
We won't give pause until the blood is flowin'
I need to watch things die
From a good safe distance
Live while the whole world dies
You all feel the same so
Why can't we
Just admit it
Blood like rain, come down
Drum on grave and ground
Carnivore and voyeur
Still have the transmittal
Synch to the death rattle...
La, la, la, la, la, la,la-lie (x4)
Credulous at best your desire to believe in
Angels in the hearts of men
Pull your head on out
You Hippies and give a listen
Shouldn't have to say it all again
The universe is hostile
Devour to survive
So it is, so it's always been ...
We all feed on tragedy
It's like blood to a vampire
Live while the whole world dies
Much better you than I.
It's convicting, isn't it? Viciously sarcastic, the song showed me some of my true fascination with violence. And I felt compelled to rethink some of my presuppositions on the issue.
I'm still undecided, and I thought I'd ask your input. What place does violence hold in our media? Is it an effective deterrent to real-life bloodshed, or does it glamorize it? Does graphic violence in entertainment desensitize us to the sufferings of our fellow man? Does a so-called "anti-violence" message justify the use of violence to pound the message through (as exemplified in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers)? More importantly, does simulated bloodshed actually cause violence? Is the day coming when real, visceral bloodshed will take the place of reality TV, sending us back to the days of the gladiators in Rome? And is it hypocritical to take an anti-violence stance in the world today but enjoy movies that contain depictions of it? Please let me know your thoughts!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Breakfast was amazing, too. it definitely reinvigarated us for the rest of the day.
"...respect for the wrath (pronounced: roth) of God."