Thursday, March 31, 2005

Happily ever after

Who says there is no such thing as happily ever after? We are constantly told that life is tough, it is unfair, and we need to get over it. Perhaps my generation is too full of idealists, but we don’t ever seem to get over it. I for one like the dream of happily ever after. What’s more exciting than the trodden down, forgotten prince slaying the evil dragon and living with the princess happily ever after? Nothing.

This is my dream. I just need to find an evil dragon to slay and undoubtedly there will be a beautiful princess waiting on the other side. But where to find such a dragon? Maybe if I just succeed in slaying this one called school--if I can come through that unscathed, there will be that long awaited love. Well that isn’t where the fair maiden lay. Where to next?

Perhaps this dragon called career needs to be slain. If only that one could be mastered, the now almost forgotten happily ever after would be attained. Somehow I doubt it. When does the happily ever after begin? Is this really as good as it gets? I sure hope not. Something better must lie on the other side.

I know happily ever after won’t be perfect. But a life without dragons has got to be better than one with fire breathing monsters all over the place. Surely there is a princess somewhere that still needs to be awakened. Such things are definitely from the hand of God. A treasure beyond all imaginable value. Such treasures are illusive though, but this also, I fear, is the work of God.

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good; this also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.” Happily ever after is sounding better all the time. Aren’t we promised a rest too? When does that start?

“Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Doesn’t that sound awesome? Where do such foxes run? Probably around the dragons. Why does Solomon say “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” What does this mean? Should I not be searching for these fair princesses protected by dragons?

You see, I have to believe in happily ever after for that is where all my dreams and desires have their fulfillment. It isn’t a perfect place, but oh is it sweet…

(Update: In response to this post)

Women voting in the church

The following is a response I wrote to a member of my church who is advocating we change the church constitution to forbid women voting:

My position isn’t determined by the majority opinion in the RCUS. We ought not base our positions on such things. On the other hand, I realize that the majority position should make me consider my position more carefully.

The more I consider the situation, the more I think that your position rests on a faulty (or at best debatable) interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12. Consider the various translations we have of it: NIV: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” KJV: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” NKJV: “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” NASB: “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” Calvin translates it as “…and not to assume authority over the man.” The problem here is with the word translated “authority.” It is only used here in the New Testament. The best definition I could find of the word in the Greek is as follows:
831 authenteo {ow-then-teh'-o}
from a compound of 846 and an obsolete hentes (a worker); v
AV - usurp authority over 1; 1
1) one who with his own hands kills another or himself
2) one who acts on his own authority, autocratic
3) an absolute master
4) to govern, exercise dominion over one

This seems to imply that the word means more than simply having authority over. It has to do with governing authority, or perhaps taking authority that isn’t already given (assuming as Calvin states or usurping as the KJV states).

This interpretation seems to be more in line with Romans 16:1-2 that talks about Pheobe:
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.”
And Acts 16:14-15:
“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.”
These women most definitely didn’t hold ruling or governing authority in the church, but according to your definition of authority (“exercising your will over someone”) they held some kind of authority.

It seems to me then, that the proper interpretation of this passage is that the women should not take authority of themselves that hasn’t already been given to them. They are not to assume it.

From what I remember of your position, you wouldn’t have a woman question a man about an office at all. I think Calvin’s position is somewhere in between here. The women would be allowed to ask questions (or even debate I think) as long as it is outside the general assembly. Allow me to quote him at length from his commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
“It appears that the Church of the Corinthians was infected with this fault too, that the talkativeness of women was allowed a place in the sacred assembly, or rather that the fullest liberty was given to it. Hence he forbids them to speak in public, either for the purpose of teaching or of prophesying. This, however, we must understand as referring to ordinary service, or where there is a Church in a regularly constituted state; for a necessity may occur of such a nature as to require that a woman should speak in public; but Paul has merely in view what is becoming in a duly regulated assembly.”

As a further credential to my position, consider the passage in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, especially verse number 5. “But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” What were these women doing prophesying in church? Why weren’t they keeping their mouths shut? (note those last questions are meant to be inflammatory and cause anger on your part) To be fair, I don’t agree with Calvin’s comment on this passage, but I’ll post it here for your benefit:
“I may seem, however, to be superfluous for Paul to forbid the woman to prophesy with her head uncovered, while elsewhere he wholly prohibits women from speaking in the Church. (1 Timothy 2:12.)
It would not, therefore, be allowable for them to prophesy even with a covering upon their head, and hence it follows that it is to no purpose that he argues here as to a covering. It may be replied, that the Apostle, by here condemning the one, does not commend the other. For when he reproves them for prophesying with their head uncovered, he at the same time does not give them permission to prophesy in some other way, but rather delays his condemnation of that vice to another passage, namely in 1 Corinthians 14. In this reply there is nothing amiss, though at the same time it might suit sufficiently well to say, that the Apostle requires women to show their modesty -- not merely in a place in which the whole Church is assembled, but also in any more dignified assembly, either of matrons or of men, such as are sometimes convened in private houses.”

This seems to me to miss the point of the passage. Paul wants the woman to be in subjection to her husband. Whether she is speaking once in a while in church is not the root of the issue.

To conclude, let me say that I’m not saying the Biblical position is that all women should be voting all the time. But, by playing devil’s advocate I’m suggesting that the Bible is not as clear on this position as you would advocate. There is a wide range of Biblical positions on this issue and to move our church from one of those to another (within the acceptable Biblical positions) is fruitless work. The scriptures seem to take this position on the issue as well: 1 Corinthians 11:16: “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Where oh where have the reformed single women gone?

As a follow up to my post on "A hope deferred", several comments were made about dating outside of the Reformed faith. Now I respect both of the people that wrote these comments, but I have to respectfully disagree. Some of the distinctives of the Reformed faith are likely to cause a big issue in a marriage. For instance, what is to be done with the children in such a marriage when one parent believes in infant baptism and one doesn't? This could erupt into a huge argument.

Or even more so, on a less practical level, the doctrines of predestination or limited atonement? The majority of Christian women (outside the Reformed) find these to be flatly offensive. Indeed, they are hard doctrines to accept, although they are blatantly taught in the Bible. These are the very doctrines that make the Reformed faith so attractive though; they are the ones that finally remove all additions man tries to add to his salvation. Salvation then (finally) becomes all of God.

This means that dating a non-Reformed woman involves glossing over these doctrines at first and slowly bringing them up at a later point. First you are going to have to develop a relationship in which she will trust your lead because otherwise she'll just flatly reject them as offensive and be done with you. Forming this type of close relationship is hard enough without having the knowledge that it could all crumble to the ground later when this is brought up. Converting people (even people that are already Christians) to the Reformed faith is not easy; it is in fact a terribly long and painful process of slowly demolishing people's preconceived ideas and then constructing new ones. I've failed at this many more times than I've succeeded.

My other worry about dating outside the Reformed circle is that even if I was successful, I would never be free of the doubt that she had converted just because of me. It is amazing what people will do when they have another motive. This idea becomes especially apparent when you consider the situation where I've died in some freak accident. Will she continue to be Reformed and raise the children in such a manner? If she was only Reformed because of me, then probably not. How is it possible to tell if such a conversion is real or just a means to an end on her part? I submit that it is hard if not impossible.

Is it wrong to desire a wife that would be Reformed with or without me? That is the kind of woman I seek. One is knows the Lord and follows him whether I am there or not.

I don't think being upfront about it to begin with is a valid solution. Presenting it that way is going to sound awfully egotistical, she may rightful reject you as a stuck-up Reformed person. I can almost hear the conversation now.

I don't know, maybe I'm just lazing about the converting aspect, but dating outside the Reformed (I don't mean just the RCUS, but the Reformed--many denominations fit under this category) Church seems like playing with fire to me. It seems much better and safer to date a girl that is already Reformed, so you don't have to mess around with all this converting stuff. This sets the standards high, but then it also seems to create more depression in me when I consider the bleak number of Reformed single women...

Mother earth

An interesting article about the damage we are doing to the Earth with our veracious appetite for lumber, food, and luxury. I'm sure these some of these problems are real and should definitely concern us, but that is not what I wish to post about. Consider how the scientists in this article view earth and nature as god. It is their only hope in life...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Iraqi civilians fight back

From an Associated Press article:
Shopkeepers and residents on one of Baghdad's main streets pulled out their own guns Tuesday and killed three insurgents when hooded men began shooting at passers-by, giving a rare victory to civilians increasingly frustrated by the violence bleeding Iraq.

Rock on!!!


The self-stated mission of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is as follows: "THE AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States."

Here are some of their most prized achievements for your consideration.
1973: Abortion Decriminalized In Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court held that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman’s right to decide whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy. The ruling struck down all criminal abortion laws in the states. The ACLU remains in the forefront of the struggle to protect women's right to reproductive choice, and to achieve women's equality on all fronts.
1981: Creationism in Arkansas The ACLU, 56 years after the Scopes trial, challenged an Arkansas statute requiring that the biblical story of creation be taught as a "scientific alternative" to the theory of evolution. A federal court found the statute, which fundamentalists saw as a model for other states, unconstitutional. "Creation science," said the court, was not science, but was actually religion and, therefore, could not be required by state law.
1996: Romer v. Evans For the first time, the Supreme Court recognized the civil rights of lesbians and gay men by invalidating a state constitutional amendment, passed by public referendum in Colorado, that prohibited the state and its municipalities from enacting gay rights laws.

So, we see that the rights of the mother to terminate a pregnancy for any cause is of much more value than the baby's right to life. They are obviously an unbiased civil rights organization.

Where is the ACLU when we have humanism running rampant in our public schools these days? All removing "Creation Science" from the schools and inserting strictly "Evolutionary Science" did was create a government endorsed religion of humanism. For some reason, I thought the ACLU was trying to maintain the separation of Church and State. Humanism doesn't have temples or church buildings; it must therefore not be a religion. People like Ward Churchill represent this ilk.

Why they do what they do…according to them.
The ACLU is frequently asked explain its defense of certain people or groups – particularly controversial and unpopular entities such as American Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Nation of Islam. We do not defend them because we agree with them; rather, we defend their right to free expression and free assembly. Historically, the people whose opinions are the most controversial or extreme are the people whose rights are most often threatened. Once the government has the power to violate one person's rights, it can use that power against everyone. We work to stop the erosion of civil liberties before it's too late.

So, when the government starts making laws about ministers speaking out against gays, should we expect overwhelming support from the ACLU? Somehow I doubt it…

Here is a recent article about how the ACLU is threatening the boy scouts. Basically it is because the boy scouts refuse to allow homosexual members or leaders. This is discrimination and it shall not be tolerated!

It is a great shame to a nation when they can no longer distinguish right from wrong. On the other hand, God delights in making distinctions. Proverbs 15:9 tells us: "The LORD detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness." At the last great judgment, a distinction will be made (Matthew 25:32-33)
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

The government should be able to make the some of these basic distinctions as Paul tells us. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.

The original quote that made me go on this rant about the ACLU was from the Terri Shiavo case:
"All the politicians who injected themselves into this tragic and personal matter now need to begin respecting both the law and the legal process even if they disagree with the result that was reached in this case," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Florida chapter.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Shooting in Minn. & clowns

They say that the shooter in Minnesota blogged and chatted a lot.

I just found this one user's comments kind of amusing. They are about this film the boy made described by the article as "a second film, 'Clown,' depicted a sinister clown picking a man off his feet and killing him."

"What kind of screwed up crap is that?" wrote another. "I hope you have a nice time in hell with that clown."

I agree!

Brave New World

The issues concerning genetics of the unborn are going to get a lot more complicated soon. According to a recent study in the UK, parents using fertility treatments are going to have a choice on the sex of their babies. Opponents warn that this could very easily open the door to "designer babies;" babies where the parents could choose the hair color and eye color and other such features of their babies.

This is a difficult issue for me to take a strong stand on either way. I’ll try to give my reasoning on both sides of the issue. If there is some critical issue that would sway the balance either way, feel free to comment.

Arguments for
Genetic diseases are some of the most de-habilitating. Curing things like Muscular Dystrophy, Down Syndrome, Leukemia, Alzheimer's, etc. can't be a bad thing. Most of these can probably be prevented or cured with further genetic study. These things make life out to be a valuable thing; life is a precious thing--given from God himself--so we ought not take it lightly.

Arguments against
The side effects of a lot of this research could be bad. If we know how to remove certain genetic diseases, we'll probably know how to determine a child's hair color, etc before they are born. Allowing people to pick and choose certain "features" of their kids turns them into a sort of "consumer commodity." Here life is devalued because having a child is no different than choosing a new car. The social ramifications of this are quite scary. If babies are commodities, then they are also expendable. Abortions will probably become more prevalent--an on demand service (I hope we aren't already to this level of service). It is also probable that family will become more and more devalued. As science becomes our god, we'll depend on it more and more to raise the children. Why if there are genes that control hair color, there are probably genes that determine a person's personality--perhaps not.
The crux of this argument is that life is not special. This could provide us with a culture of death where a person’s life is no more valuable than a car.

Don’t take the longer paragraph against to mean I sway in that way. The arguments for are very powerful. Modern medicine has done a tremendous amount of good in preserving and bettering people's lives. The key thing to realize here is that just because science can do something doesn't mean that it should. So, should parents be able to choose the gender of their babies?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A hope deferred

I don't usually like to whine, but for some reason I really feel like it today. Proverbs 13:12 tells me that a "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." I have to wonder sometimes if God really hears.

Throughout my last two years of college, I daily prayed that God would introduce me to my future wife--a women that would love the Lord and seek him with her full heart. I set the standards high. I didn't fall like my friends around me into the deception of dating someone not of the faith. In fact, I set the standard as being only a reformed girl. Setting standards high was good I was told. There are enough problems in marriage; introducing deep-rooted ones is a bad idea. One should seek a spouse that agrees with you on the very fundamental issues. Instead of God providing such a great wife, I had various girls that seemed to me to qualify dangled in front of me, but none of them were the one. What was the purpose of this? So that I can feel alive by having my heart trampled on? I wish I knew the answer.

Now as I'm a bit older, I see my friends of youth finding the wives of their dreams. Friends that I argued with; friends that I had instructed about setting their standards higher. Some of them listened, and they found exceptional women. Good for them--but what about me? Am I forgotten, Oh Lord, in all this? I--the one who tried to live up to your high standards? Why are the people who disregarded your commandments blessed so greatly now and I left? (I know Psalm 73 answers my question, but still...)

I recently bought a new car. What else did I have to spend my money on you know? I had planned all through college to get a decent job to support a family. So much for those dreams--they are long dead. Unfortunately, the car doesn't take the place of what I really wanted. Don't get me wrong, I like my car, but a wife would be of so much more value. Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Oh, what would I not give up for such a treasure?

But who am I to contend with God? What has been decreed will come to pass; it is hard to kick against the goads.
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24)

Friday, March 18, 2005

A culture of life

A quote from WorldNetDaily about Michael Schiavo refusing the one million dollar offer to give up guardianship of Terri (Mr. Felos is Michael's attorny):

The family said, however, they were not at all surprised that Felos, known for advocacy of the "right-to-die" cause, will not allow Michael Schiavo "to entertain the offer."

"It seems to us that the case law has become far more important to Mr. Felos than making any attempt to mediate the matter outside of the courts," the Schindlers said.

Compare that to a quote from President Bush:

"The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues," Bush stated. "Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected - and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities."

Enough said.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hey, old people: chill out!

I stumbled upon this article by Michael Hilt while I was reading about the proposed abolition of income tax and the institution of a national sales tax.

The article is an opinion written by an intern filling in for a vacationing columnist. His style is extremely sarcastic, but he makes some VERY good points. His first line is a good indication of the article: "HEY, OLD PEOPLE: Chill out. Not only am I, a young person, not afraid of the future, but I'm aware of its approach and paying full attention." As Hilt says, this generation (my generation ;-) ) will have plenty of challenges, but these aren't anything new and unexpected. We do like our iPods and MTV, but we aren't unaware of real issues. According to Hilt: "Just in case you were wondering, we don't plan on seeing any Social Security money. And I don't plan on being saved by the president on this one." I have to agree. Government is not God--although the previous two generations might have thought so.

The up-and-coming generation is split. Some of us think we ourselves are god, and others are returning to the God who is there (to use a phrase of Schaeffer), but very few of us think the Government is god anymore.

"So, did I miss any of our economic challenges? I'm sure I did. If it isn't on an Abercrombie T-shirt, I just can't seem to keep it up there. Whatever."

Monday, March 14, 2005

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

California (well at least San Francisco) has taken the first step in redefining marriage. I hate to say this, but we should expect this kind of thing now-a-days. When no higher law than the majority opinion exists, there is really no meaningful argument against redefining marriage. In the name of "Separation of Church and State," all references to God will be removed--this definition of marriage between one man and one woman is just the most recent reference to be challenged. These last few testimonies to our great heritage in Christianity must be torn down, and in its place we'll erect magnificent towers to Humanism. Men must worship something. If it isn't the true God, then it might as well be men.

The liberals will say this is just natural progression of civil rights. A quote from the article:
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs and their lawyers said Kramer's ruling was a milestone for California, akin to the 1948 state Supreme Court decision that made California the first state in the nation to legalize interracial marriage.

The difference here is that God has not said that interracial marriage was wrong, so this was good to strike down laws that burden men more than the Law of God (Someone extrapolating the laws about Israel marrying Gentiles to this law has missed the New Testament. What God forbids is not interracial marriage, but really inter-religious marriage--but that is another subject). On the other hand, much is said about homosexuality (I’ll let you search for the references on the vast Internet yourself). It worries me when we think we know better than God.

The sadistic side of me likes some of the rulings regarding the responsibility of debt, etc. that have been applied to same-sex unions though.
Since Jan. 1, same-sex couples registering as domestic partners in California are granted virtually all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including access to divorce courts, the ability to collect child support and the responsibility for a partner's debts.

People that live in blatant sin are not likely to respect other moral laws either. They are likely to indulge in risky behavior--at least this responsibility will make them pay a bit more for their actions.

Perhaps the appeal will work though. The groups opposing gay marriage have a good argument:
Two groups opposed to gay marriage rights, The Campaign for California Families and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, argued that the state has a legitimate interest in restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples as a way of encouraging procreation.

This is of course a major part of God’s definition of marriage.

I’m not really known to be an optimistic person (as those who actually know me can attest to), but overall I think there is cause for hope here. Psalm 11 doesn’t end with verse 3 and the answer it provides to its own question is not what you would expect. The Psalmists assumes that the condition proposed by the question will never come to pass. The foundations can’t be destroyed because God is still on his throne!
Psalm 11:3-7
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Famous war units

Here are some of the famous units that I've studied. They are strictly U.S. units, and they are famous for their bravery, and extra-ordinary combat ability. I like to think about these units are respresentitive of the greatness of U.S. combat units.

"Iron Brigade"

During the Civil War there was a brigade in the Army of the Potomac made up of strictly men from the West (Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan). They were known for wearing their black dress hats into combat. At Gettysburg, these men lost over 60% of the men they engaged in trying to hold the ground that General Reynolds wanted. A quote taken from "The Iron Brigade of the West" website: "The Iron Brigade loss at Gettysburg 1,153 out of 1,885 engaged, or 61 per cent." "It was to the Iron Brigade more than to any other that the nation owes its salvation at Gettysburg."

20th Maine

This was a smaller unit during the Civil War. Commanded by Joshua Chamberlain (perhaps that is why I know about it??), this regiment was almost solely responsible for holding the Union left flank on Little Round Top. They made a daring bayonet charge when they ran out of ammunition. It was a marvelous success. Amazing how real heroes are born when there are very few options left. Check out this site for more information.

101st Airborne Division

This unit first saw action during WWII, and it is still around today. They helped significantly at D-Day, by dropping behind enemy lines and securing key bridges and towns. They are probably most famous for holding Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Buldge. They were surrounded in the dead of winter by 2 Panzer divisions and 2 infintry divisions (according to this site). After being surrounded without supplies for several days, the Germans demanded surrender. The response of General McAuliffe of the 101st is classic: "Nuts." This response had to be explained to the Germans--even after it was translated. Patton eventually rescued the 101st after about 5 days of being surrounded.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

More Darwin Awards

Darwin Awards

When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

In a related story, on January 9 the China Post reported that a 23-year-old Pingtung man died after eating fish he poisoned in a nearby ditch. Three days of diarrhea and vomiting led to his demise after he ate fish he caught by pouring toxic chemicals in the water at the suggestion of friends.
China Post - Taiwan January 8, 2001

Slovenia's state-run news agency reported the death of fisherman Franc Filipic, 47, who drowned after hooking a huge lake sheatfish and refusing to let go as he waded in and was pulled under. Friends reported his last words were "Now I've got him!" Divers found his body after a two-day search

A man walked into a Circle-K in Louisiana, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer was $15. Question: if someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?

Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two counterfeit $16 bills. When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still wouldn't give him the money, so the robber called the police -- and was arrested.

(June 1999, California) Last summer down on Lake Isabella, in the high desert east of Bakersfield, a woman was having trouble with her boat.
No matter how she tried, she just couldn't get her new 22-foot Bayliner to perform. It was sluggish in every maneuver, regardless of the power applied. She tried for an hour to make her boat go, but finally gave up and putted over to a nearby Marina for help.
A topside check revealed that everything was in perfect working order. The engine ran fine, the outboard motor pivoted up and down, and the prop was the correct size and pitch.
One of the Marina guys jumped in the water to check beneath the boat. He came up almost choking on water, he was laughing so hard.
Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Darwin Awards

Mostly taken from here.

On February 3, 1990, a Renton, Washington man tried to commit a robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as suggested by the that he had no previous record of violent crime, and by his terminally stupid choices as listed below:
1. The target was H&J Leather & Firearms, a gun shop;
2. The shop was full of customers, in a state where a substantial portion of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed handguns in public places;
3. To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked Police patrol car parked at the front door;
4. An officer in uniform was standing next to the counter,
Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup and fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, removing him from the gene pool. Several other customers also drew their guns, but didn't fire. No one else was hurt.

NOMINEE #5 - UPI, Toronto:
Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 200-man association.

NOMINEE #2 - Kalamazoo Gazette:
James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."

(12 February 2003) Three men wielding knives tried to rob a slaughterhouse. But when it comes to hand to hand combat with sharp blades, butchers working in a slaughterhouse are more than a match for your average thief. They stabbed two of the intruders to death. The third man escaped from the angry butchers and fled in his car.
Police soon spotted him, and after a brief car chase, the would-be thief pulled over and leapt from his vehicle. But instead of fleeing into the underbrush, he tried to dodge heavy traffic and escape across the highway. Perhaps he thought that threatening butchers with knives was not a sufficient demonstration of his intelligence.
Within seconds, the natural justice system meted out his punishment in the form of a large truck, which struck and killed him

NOMINEE #17 - Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1-1-93:
In December near Mineral Wells, Tex., three men who were attempting to steal copper wire off live electrical lines for resale were electrocuted. Copper wiring is a valuable scrap metal in Texas but is usually stolen from electric cables that are not being used.

(January 2003, India) Regarding accidental deaths during the construction of a subway in New Delhi, the New York Times wrote, "One of those killed was an unlucky thief who tried to steal braces holding up a concrete slab; it fell and killed him."

(14 February 2002, Pennsylvania) Daniel and his friend were practicing their marksmanship by shooting at targets in a farm field. But instead of the usual choices of mice, bottles, or birds, they selected a more worthy adversary: electrical insulators. These pear-shaped glass or plastic devices are intended to hold electrical wires aloft. But after the men shot six insulators off two utility poles, the shattered targets were no longer up to the job. A high-voltage wire fell to the ground and Daniel, attempting to prevent a serious fire, seized the sizzling wire in his hand, and was electrocuted. An Allegheny Power spokesman advised people not to shoot at electrical insulators.

NOMINEE #11 - The Indianapolis Star:
Cigarette lighter may have triggered fatal explosion Dunkirk, Indiana. A Jay County man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

A drunk security man asked a colleague at the Moscow bank they were guarding to stab his bulletproof vest to see if it would protect him against a knife attack. It didn't, and the 25-year-old guard died of a heart wound. It is good to see the Russians getting into the spirit of the Darwin Awards.

NOMINEE #1 - San Jose Mercury News:
An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

(28 February 2000, Texas) A Houston man earned a succinct lesson in gun safety when he played Russian roulette with a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Rashaad, nineteen, was visiting friends when he announced his intention to play the deadly game. He apparently did not realize that a semiautomatic pistol, unlike a revolver, automatically inserts a cartridge into the firing chamber when the gun is cocked. His chance of winning a round of Russian roulette was zero, as he quickly discovered.

New Incentive Plan: Work-Or Get Fired

While looking for this image, I stumbled across this joke site.

Some engineering, famously wrong predictions. Of note:

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
-- Bill Gates, 1981

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
-- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
-- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

For some reason (I like Star Trek sometimes), I found this "If you had Klingon Programmer" amusing as well. Perhaps because I’ve actually heard phrases/attitudes similar to that.

Some interesting quotes from kids on Marriage:
How Does a Person Decide Whom to Marry??
"You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming." -Alan, age 10

Employee Evaluations:
-Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.
-I would not allow this employee to breed.
-This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won't be.
-Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.
-He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

Interview Questions:

-Asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.
-She threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.
-Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.

The main site is here for those who have time to read more.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Francis Schaeffer--He being dead still speaks

Ever since I read Schaeffer's two books "How Should We Then Live" and "The God Who is There" I've been an fan of his work. Perhaps he didn’t get everything right, but his writing is outstandingly clear and precise. He is very quick to drive to the heart of the issue. His analysis of culture and society is right on. By using art and philosophy, he predicted quite well where the broader part of society would go in the big picture sense. “He being dead still speaks…”

World Magazine had an interesting article about him a while back. I really liked the blog quote from a student that sat under Schaeffer:

One of the blog posts is by Marc Mailloux (Andree Seu's brother), who dropped in on L'Abri as a 17-year-old agnostic in 1971 wearing the same cut-off jeans and T-shirt that he had worn for weeks. Marc notes that Schaeffer at the dinner table one evening gave a thorough answer to a question about evolution as everyone else was moving through soup and the main course to dessert.

He writes, "I wondered how Dr. Schaeffer—whose bowl of soup sat untouched in front of him—would ever catch up with the rest of us. . . . Finally he picked up his bowl of soup in one hand and gulped it down in a way that your mother would never have approved. I wanted to shout 'right on' but stifled my enthusiasm." Marc decided "to listen to someone whose beliefs didn't enslave one to Emily Post's table manners."

The terrorists have won the toss...

Here is an picture I found amusing. Of course if you are a super-liberal that is anti-war at all costs, you probably won't find this funny.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Making facts fit the theory

As a presuppositionalist, I’m inclined to believe that interpretation proceeds fact. This is especially true of theories that are not falsifiable. Evolution is one of those theories that can’t ever really be proven false in the eyes of modern man. I’m not going to offer a defense of creation or a critique of evolution beyond pointing out a revealing statement in a recent article I read about the new “Hobbits” being found in Indonesia. "Katerina Semendeferi of the University of California-San Diego described it as a 'cutting edge study.' While the Hobbit brain does not fit neatly into an evolutionary pattern, she said it is too much to expect that all ancient humans would have brains that would neatly transition from ape to modern human." This definitely suggests that evolution could be not falsifiable--of course it doesn’t prove it though ;-)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Relationship video...

Here is an interesting video "the German" sent me. I'm flat out amazed at how accurate it is...regarding relationships.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What is wrong with the EU?

What the hell is wrong with people these days? More specifically, what is wrong with the EU? On the one hand, the Europeans are ardently opposed to any statement by the U.N. that abortion is not a right. This is obviously a step back in women’s rights they say. From the LA Times:

"Adrienne Germain, president of the International Women's Health Coalition, said the U.S. delegation's position took the focus off American progress.
The U.S. is looked to by others as a leader in the promotion and protection of women's rights," she said. "But while other countries are moving forward, this is a regressive, backward step."

On the other hand, the EU is praising the recent decision by the supreme court to not execute juvenile offenders. Whether it is acceptable to execute juvenile offenders or not, I’ll leave to another day, but this statement from the article is interesting: “The European Union welcomed the decision, but said it ‘opposes capital punishment under all circumstances.’” Some accounts of what these juveniles did to receive the death penalty in the first place can be found here.

So, in the world today, it is fully acceptable to kill babies for whatever reason, but we must never kill criminals--no matter what they do. I’m sure the liberals can name a hundred different reasons why a mother would need to abort her baby, and I’m sure they can name a hundred different reasons why we shouldn’t execute criminals. These reasons won’t change the root issue, but they will cloud the minds of people trying to understand them all. The real issue is much more simple. People hate God and they hate the image of God in themselves. By taking a stand in absolute contradiction to what God has said, they feel they are freeing themselves from slavery. They are merely warring against themselves in the end.

On a slightly different issue, isn’t it interesting how God’s order is so entrenched on creation even the liberals can’t escape it? Consider the feminist, women’s liberation movement, whatever name you give to it. A lot of good things have come from such things. Women are not property and these movements still have a lot of work to do in that arena in various countries. But women and men do have a different God given roles in life. When people try to get rid of these roles, then these strange conflicts arise. The abortion issue is exactly that. In order for women to have the same role as men, they must not be troubled with child bearing. They need to be able to end the pregnancy at any convenient time. The atrocity cries out against them—it is impossible to escape the order God has entrenched in people.

To end, I would like to say that this behavior is not by any means new. It was foretold a long time ago.
2 Timothy 4:3,4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.