Saturday, April 29, 2006

Banana Epiphany

I was craving a snack. I sat in the warm sunshine reading, but my gut was growling at me. I went into the Student Union on campus and surveyed the offerings. Mostly junk food.

I've been dwelling lately on the sad fact that man is becoming further and further removed from nature. This alienation results in an unfortunate by-product -- distance from God. Nature puts God before the mind. Human artifacts put man before the mind.

So, in a fit of health-consciousness, I bought a banana. I peeled it and sunk my incisors into the pastel-yellow goodness. It was firm and a little tart -- just the way I like it. Suddenly, this snack became a spiritual experience. GOD CREATED THIS. A Snickers bar is man-made, and not necessarily intended for my good. If contemplated at all, the Snickers puts man before the mind. The banana is FROM GOD. I felt close to Him, as I enjoyed it, and I could almost sense the glory that emanated from the experience. I think God smiles when we enjoy what he has made for us.

Am I crazy?
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

V for Vendetta

My wife and I subjected ourselves to this film last weekend, and it was . . . mixed. The ideas presented sparked some fun discussion for us, and the action was entertaining, but the homosexual propaganda I could have done without.

I don't think it is necessary to glorify the homosexual lifestyle in order to communicate the idea that we have a duty to love all human beings, including those with homosexual inclinations. Singling out two gay people as "victims" of a ruthless, oppressive, facist regime does little to deepen my sympathies.

On top of that, the film had a marked anti-church bias, portraying priests and religious jargon as nothing more than tools in the hands of a manaical dictator.

Besides that, I loved the film.

I could tell you what I thought was the most fascinating segment of the story, but it would ruin it for you.
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Busting Our Boilers?

Steamboat races on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers were a frequent spectacle in the latter half of the 19th century. Captains were pushed to pilot their vessels to faster and more dangerous speeds by throngs of hurry-up Americans eager to get up river. “Gold-rushers, land-rushers, speculators, hasty immigrants” egged their captains on, even to race nearby boats. We could never go fast enough. One German traveler, the Baron von Gerstner, observed that Americans

“never like to remain one behind another: on the contrary, each wants to get ahead of the rest. When two steamboats happen to get alongside each other, the passengers will encourage the captains to run a race. . . The boilers intended for a pressure of only 100 pounds per square inch are, by accelerated generation of steam, exposed to a pressure of 150 and even 200 pounds, and this goes sometimes so far, that the trials end with an explosion . . . The life of
an American is, indeed, only a constant racing
, and why should he fear it on
board the steamboats?”
Maybe this should give you pause to consider your own “boiler,” and whether it is being pushed beyond its intended capacity – even to explosion.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Laser Cats

NBC has graciously posted this SNL digital short on-line. It is hilarious.
Monday, April 17, 2006

World A vs. World B

Imagine two worlds: World A and World B.

In A, we have all the technology we have now, and maybe even more. Cars, planes, and battleships; laptops, cell phones and ipods; HDTV, TiVO, and DVDs; microwaves, toasters, and blenders; radiology, laser surgery and pharmaceuticals. However, there is a severe shortage of art, music, and beauty. There are no budding Michelangelos, Mozarts or Millers; no Shakespeares, Aristotles or Lewises. Architecture is purely functional -- right angles through and through. Landscaping -- deemed inefficient and superfluous. Parking lots instead of parks. You get the idea.

In B, we have very little of the technology found in World A. We have indoor plumbing and electricity, but little else. No cars, no planes, no computers, no Viagra, Paxil or Ambien. Antibiotics and anesthetics are it. No chemotherapy or raidation treament, no cosmetic dentistry (tooth hurts? yank it!). No knee replacements or liver transplants. Life expectancy is low and infant mortality is high. However, our culture is brimming with artistic geniuses comparable to the classical masters. Music, literature and sculpture are commonplace. Buildings take time to build, but are a wonder to behold. Parks and green spaces teem with flowers and trees. Every child grows up with a rich exposure to these things.

In which world would you prefer to live?
Sunday, April 16, 2006

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broud its mane;
Each mortal thing does one things nad the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dweels;
Selves -- goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goind graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is --
Christ. For Chris plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

~ Gerard Manley Hopkins
Tuesday, April 11, 2006


If you're an academic type, you should check out the blog of the Academic Initiative. The current post (Tues.) is mine.

Something Fun

Why Blog?

We blog to know we're not alone.
Monday, April 10, 2006

More Wisdom from The Philosopher

In his discourse on friendship, Aristotle claims the following:

"In fact, each one loves not what is good fro him, but what appears good for him."*

Wow. This isn't a new concept, but to hear Aristotle say it really drives it home. This helps us understand sin. Why do I sin? Because deep down in my heart I actually believe that this will be good for me. This is not a conscious belief -- if I took a quiz, I would surely identify escapism or malice as bad. It is much deeper, in places I seldom go, places that I don't have the time or courage to look.

O God, change my heart in its depths -- help me to see You as good, that I might not sin.

* Nichomachean Ethics, Book VIII, Chap. 2, line 25-26.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006

John Frum Divine

I've been stewing on this story for quite a while. I'm almost not sure how to comment on it. It's almost too disturbing to dwell on.

During World War II, many "cargo cults" developed in the South Pacific. American sailors would visit the islands, hand out free goodies and supplies to the natives, and then ship off back home. Just an ordinary goodwill visit, except that these sailors were later elevated to the level of deity.

One particular cult in the village of Lamakara worships a man named "John Frum." They await his return and the accompanying cargo of material blessings. Sound a little familiar? You can read about it on the Smithsonian Magazine website here.

So what does this mean? That human beings are so ready to worship something that even the most ridiculous dogma seems OK? That industrialized countries should not interfere with primitive cultures (the "prime directive")? That our Enemy is busy creating newer and better illusions with which to lead people astray? I don't know. It just gives me the creeps.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ancient People Were Not Stupid

Blog-out. That's what I'll call my lapse in blogging motivation. Today I found, however, something worth mentioning.

Ancient people were not stupid. Lewis opines on this idea in one of his essays in God in the Dock (I don't feel like looking it up). Modern thinkers scoff at the notion of the Virgin Birth, because they imagine first century neanderthals as simply too naive to realize how the fertilization process works. This is hogwash. Men and women have plainly understood how babies are made for millennia. They knew that it required intercourse. That is why Joseph sought to quietly send Mary away -- he assumed that she had been naughty, or raped, or something. He was reluctant to accept the miraculous account, until the Lord spoke to him.

The same can be said of other reinterpretations of biblical miracles. A Sunday school teacher once told his young students that the Red Sea was easily crossed because of a strong wind and only a few inches of water. A boy remarked, "That's an even bigger miracle!" "Why?" replied his teacher. "Because Pharaoh's entire army was drowned in a puddle!"

So here's the latest installment of "Man's Neurotic Obsession with Explaining Everything in Scientific Terms." An oceanographer at Florida State U. has proposed that Jesus was able to "walk on water" because of ice formation in the Sea of Galilee. This theory makes one crucial assumption: the disciples were stupid. Somehow Jesus fooled them, and Peter must have been in on it, too. Jesus obviously resorted to chicanery in order to cement his position as the greatest ethical teacher in human history. And those naive disciples! They must've been dummer than a bag of hammers. They obviously didn't understand that this was clearly impossible.

Give me a break.