This has been an amazing week

The Supreme Court rules that concealed carry is constitutional, and then today, rules that Roe v. Wade is not constitutional.

The analysis of the rulings is everywhere, I don't need to add much there. 

I will only say Hallelujah! Perhaps God isn't quite through with America just yet. Perhaps He's giving us a little more time to get our act together, quit rejecting Him, and bend the knee, gladly to the King Jesus.

My cynical nature makes me cautious. There are many ways we (America) can still ruin our futures. There are those who say that in the final days of earth's history (see the Book of Revelation), America is not a factor. It just doesn't appear. I wonder if we are the "Babylon" that falls so dramatically in the last moments of God's sovereign plan. Perhaps we are just no longer of any significance. 

But perhaps we're not there Just Yet.

 

 

 


Reasons for Poverty - The Chicken or the Egg

Excellent article from a few years ago, about what causes poverty, addiction, poor education. It's probably not what you think.

Pull quote:

It was in the prison that I first realized I should listen carefully, not only to what people said, but to the way that they said it. I noticed, for example, that murderers who had stabbed someone always said of the fatal moment that “the knife went in.” This was an interesting locution, because it implied that it was the knife that guided the hand rather than the hand that guided the knife. It is clear that this locution serves to absolve the culprit, at least in his own mind, from his responsibility for his act. It also seeks to persuade the listener that the culprit is not really guilty, that something other than his decisions led to the death of the victim. This was so even if the victim was a man against whom the perpetrator was known to have a serious grudge, and whom he sought out at the other side of the city having carried a knife with him.

The human mind is a subtle instrument, and something more than straightforward lying was going on here. The culprit both believed what he was saying and knew perfectly well at the same time that it was nonsense. No doubt this kind of bad faith is not unique to the type of people I encountered in the hospital and the prison.

Anthony Daniels, who also published under the name Theodore Dalrymple, worked as a doctor for many years in very poor regions of Africa, then in poor regions in England. He analyzes what he saw, what people declared was the reason for their condition. 

This was so good, I looked up Dr. Daniels and bought one of his books. 

You may also find his website, The Skeptical Doctor, interesting. 


Jokes I Stole, I Don't Remember From Where

The receptionist tells the psychiatrist that there's a man in the waiting room who claims to be invisible.
The psychiatrist says, "Tell him I can't see him right now."

Wait, did I already do my déjà vu joke?

My wife and I decide we don’t want children. If anybody does, we can drop them off tomorrow.

I like what mechanics wear… overall.

People call me a hypochondriac. That really hurts.

I want to write a mystery novel. Or do I?

I just saw two people weaving down the road. I said, “Get a loom!”

I love to go to book stores and tell them I’m looking for a book called, “How to deal with rejection without killing.”   (long pause) “Do you have it?”

My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

My friend asked me if you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be. I said cold war Russia.

I lost my job as a zookeeper, which I didn’t think was fair. There were signs everywhere that said, Do not feed the animals. So I didn’t.

Last year I bought my wife an artificial leg for Christmas as a stocking filler.

I drove by a McDonalds and a sign said, All Day Breakfast, and I said, oh, I don’t have time for that.


In Heaven, what will we look at?

From the hymn "The Sands of Time Are Sinking", by Anne R. Cousin., who lived in England and Scotland in the 19th century.

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of grace;
Not at the crown He gifteth,
But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuel's land.

Quoted by Alistair Begg in today's devotional from his Truth For Life website, quoting sermon "Presenting Everyone Mature in Christ".

Are you sure you'll be there? Consider the Roman Road.

 


Republished Word of the Bedlamite

Republished, newly edited and with a spruced up cover, The Word of the Bedlamite is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle) form. 

From the book blurb:

Harrison’s team of smugglers is thrown in Bethlehem Prison where they meet a strange prophet-like man, who calls himself Woodman. He will help them, he says, take down the Unit, the ever-more-powerful device whose inventors want to use to control people’s lives, and soon, their thoughts. The crazy man guides them via airship, steamship and train past robot-encased cops – Robbies – to remote places where the imprisoned and tortured have no hope.


Steampunk-inspired, The Word of the Bedlamite tells of a battle against creeping mind-control and the power of free thought in a world surrendering itself unknowingly to chains of the mind.

********

Woodman came up to me and nodded slightly to the people around us.

“Do you see them?” he asked.

I didn’t understand.

“I see so many of them as listlessly drifting, drowning. They don’t seem to be able to fight to the surface.”

I must have had a puzzled look on my face.

“The more the word comes down,” he continued, “in such things as the Daily Rumblings or the news about the power of the UNIT, the more people seem to be stuck, trapped, helpless. They don’t seem to know how to break out of their doldrum-dead-in-the-water spot. For them, there is no wind. There is no current. In the old days, the sailors could get into the small boat and row, trying to drag the big boat into some other spot where there might be wind or current. I sense the people feel like they have been rowing for years, but there is no wind. There is no spot. They row, exhausting themselves for no purpose.”

I turned away. Too deep for me. I didn’t see that much. Was he right? Was I just blind? I walked a little slower, joining the others and letting Woodman continue by himself for a few moments.


Being Human, as imagined by a non-human

In the Star Trek franchise, specifically the Next Generation series, there’s an android character named Data. Through the whole series, his (Data’s chosen pronoun) goal is to become human. His character develops or displays many human traits, such as loyalty, love, curiosity, etc.

In one Star Trek movie, he is offered the ability to have human skin, and human sensations. He says he was “tempted” by the offer, for about .068 seconds, “an eternity for an android”.

It’s interesting that Data was tempted, that is, that someone tried to tempt him at all. This is no doubt intended to show some more ways that he is at least partly human.

At one point, (avoiding a spoiler), there’s another “Data” being reconstructed from, um, spare parts. Start the cycle over again – reincarnation?

The thing about SciFi is that it can wobble in its ‘core beliefs’; it’s universe of ideas can be fuzzy at times, perhaps counting on the short memory of its readers/viewers, or perhaps suggesting an “evolution” of its ideas. Believe in anything, whatever makes you feel good at the moment, whatever is ‘useful’ for the story.

I used to love SciFi until the day I finally realized it was based on secular humanism – specifically that mankind’s great brains and iron resolve can solve all its problems.

Well, not quite. In every SciFi story, there is at least one human flaw – usually greed or the hunger for power over others – that gets in the way of, well, “perfection”. That makes for a more interesting story – conflict, and the need (again) for the good qualities of people to overcome their obvious flaws – but it destroys the concept of human perfection. These characters aren’t quite there yet.

Data is exceedingly strong. His brain is lightning fast. He is impervious to many of the fanciful SciFi ‘radiations’. If damaged (injured) he can be somewhat easily fixed (cured). All goals that humans have.

But he is tempted, tempted to betray his friends and the principles he holds – in this case, duty, honor, self-sacrifice for others – for the ‘pleasures of the flesh’.

 He is thus, human.

And “who will deliver me from this body of death?”

The Apostle Paul said “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

God’s Spirit gives life (letter to Romans, eighth chapter, verse 2.)


Being a Manly Man

Manliness seems like a silly subject, studying it seems almost self-defeating, like bragging about how humble you are. You either are or you aren’t, if you have to talk about it, think about it, maybe you aren’t.

But if you expand the scope of the idea, you may be on to something. That is, define manliness as things a man is expected to know how to do, not just be, then it might be worth studying.

(Note: If you want a more thoughtful discussion, I highly recommend Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I'm just having some fun here. )

It used to be that a boy learned manliness from his dad, from listening to, responding to, but mostly just by watching his own father. Sometimes the other men in his life, uncles, grandfathers, the coach, the pastor, would fill in, add to the fundamentals.

Those fundamentals were sometimes profound: treat elders with respect, never think of hurting a woman, be responsible for your own stuff. But sometimes they were more elementary: how to tie a tie, how to change a tire, how to start a fire, how to talk to a woman on the first date. (No kidding, try those links.)

The website The Art of Manliness is working on finding that balance between the fundamental and the elementary.

Recently they published “16 Ways to Become a Better Man in the New Year” (Get an alarm clock, read a book a week, Call your mom once a week, Fast one day a month, etc.).

Another great set of pages - Riddles, and Jokes for Little Kids:

“Why do fish live in saltwater?”
Because pepper makes them sneeze!
 
“Why are giraffes necks so long?”
Because they have really smelly feet!"

 

And then there's  Knock Knock jokes for kids:

"Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Spell
Spell who?
W-H-O.”

“Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Hatch
Hatch who?
God bless you!”

There’s even some Cool Uncle Tricks, like How to Bounce a Dinner Roll (off the floor, supposedly).

Not too long ago, how to roll up your sleeves, probably something you never thought about. Tons of how-to's on weight-lifting and exercise.

I recommend signing up for the weekly newsletter. There’s some fun stuff and serious stuff, and just getting the email reminds me to think about things like this. Last week’s edition featured Creating a First Aid Kit, an article about packing Survival Food, the above mentioned “Be a Better Man” article, and a quick pic of a Dopp Kit (origin of the term here):

Dopp kit