Thursday, June 2, 2011

I never knew how much family can mean, until I lost part of mine. My father died when I was 2, and my oldest sister died when I was 12. She was taken suddenly, and rather violently, I never got a chance to know my Dad but I was real close to my sister.

In the 3rd grade I could never read the blackboard because looking at the board always made my eyes hurt. I remember sitting in the back, over on the right hand side. And one day there was this particularly difficult question. It went something like this “Richard, what is the sum of these two numbers?” I didn't know this at the time but it was 40+35. I learned afterward. If anybody here has ever taken a test you will know that with multiple choice you at least had a chance. You had a 1 out of 2, or 1 out of 3 chance of getting it right. But what could I do with that encouraging look 3rd grade teachers give bright but unfocused students? Today there is a saying that goes like is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, then to speak, and remove all doubt. I didn't know this saying at the time but I was employing that tactic. I was just too scared to say anything.

I was HELD BACK, or as some called it..I Flunking Out. When this happened, I didn't even know what flunking was, and here I had gone and done it. That turned out to OK, because that’s what led my parents to the eye Doctor. And they found out I had really bad eyesight. They took me to the optometrist and had me look thru all those lenses, and find out which ones were going to work for me. I'm leaving out a lot of the good parts, otherwise we would never get out of here. but when I got my glasses, (anybody remember those big black framed ones?) On the way home I remember hanging out the back-seat window and staring at the trees and the grass and the sky and anything else I could look at. It's like I could SEE now, and that was the beginning of the world opening up for me.

But seeing the world was only half the solution, being able to understand it was the other half. And that's were my sister Kathy came in. She gave up her nights and weekends to sit beside me on the couch and take my hand in her's and move my finger across the page as she read with me and for me on the bigger words. So when I close my eyes and SEE Kathy sitting beside me on the couch, it reminds me life can be short. So we do all the good we can, to all the people we can. When I was at school, when the other kids went to recess, I went to the resource room and got out books and cassette tapes and a tape machine, and put the headphones on and listened to the narrator read the story while I followed along in the book. It felt like cheating, but I had a lot of ground to make up. Here I was in the 3rd grade (for the SECOND time) and I was not going to do this again.

That year my sister Kathy started me on a journey that isn't over, not by a long shot. I still read. I read for fun, I read to learn. I found out that like my sister I have a knack for teaching. Now when I teach, or when I share a viewpoint, somewhere in the back of my mind, it's as if I'm sharing space with Kathy. And so when I teach, the knowledge isn't GONE from my head. It doesn't drain out just because someone else has it now. I'm not diminished by what I give away. It's like I'm a candle, and I light other candles, and when I do the whole room becomes brighter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bill Maher and his mouth

If Bill Maher had actually called Michelle Obama the "C" word, he’d be out of a job in a heartbeat. Double standards like this is why nobody takes conservative Christians seriously. Just because some people find ol' Bill funny, does not mean he gets a pass from the rest of us. But as long as people laugh....Bill Maher will still get paid. Mr. Maher is supposed to be a comedian, and telling a comic what he can or can't say is just about impossible. We need to be able to draw the line between comedy and political commentary. But while Bill is being "funny" slipping politics in, is suspect to say the least. Just as when he is being "political" sliding into funny mode just don't cut it, not with language like that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What year is it anyway?

We have the Ethiopian calendar. The Bahá'í calendar. The Jewish calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Japanese calendar, the Gregorian calendar, and the Julian calendar, not to be confused with a Julian date.

Ethiopian calendar: The current year according to the Ethiopian calendar is 2003, which began on September 11, 2010 AD of the Gregorian calendar. It has six epagomenal days and so the following year (2004) will begin on September 12, 2011.

Bahá’í calendar: The start of the Bahá'í year is fixed to March 21st in the Gregorian calendar. Leap years thus follow the same pattern as Gregorian leap years. The Bahá'í year 1 began in 1844, marking the start of Babism.

Jewish calendar: Starts with the day when Adam and Eve were created (the Sixth Day of Creation). We are now in the eighth century of the sixth millennium (for example, the year 2010 corresponds to the years 5770-5771).

Chinese Calendar: Feb. 10, 2010 is 4708, The year of the Tiger.

Japanese Calendar: the year 2010 corresponds to Heisei 22. It is the year of the Tiger.

Gregorian Calendar: Dionysius Exiguus
In 525 A.D. a Sythian monk in Rome, Dionysius Exiguus (Dionysius the Little), was preparing new tables for determining the date of Easter and he decided to abandon the pagan calendar in use at the time, that was based on the first year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian (29 Aug., 284). Instead he began a calendar based on his calculated year of the birth of Jesus Christ. Among the biblical data Dionysius had to work with was the following:

Luke 3:1 - Jesus was baptized in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius
Luke 3:23 says Jesus was about 30 years old at the start of his ministry, His baptism.*

Using this and other data available to him, he calculated the probable year of Jesus birth as occurring in the 753rd since the founding of the Roman empire, which he redesignated the year 1. This method of dating the year was not generally accepted for hundreds of years, but has been nearly universally adopted today.

* It can be demonstrated from the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 that the baptism of Jesus occurred in 27 A.D., which would place His birth about or before 3 B.C.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Boats and Anchors

I have heard just about every Urban Legend that there is. Everything from "I saw Elvis Pressley at a KFC in Michigan", to "Space Alien advises President on Foreign-Policy". I thought I heard it all until I woke up one morning, to discover that I had become an Urban Legend. (Ellwood Johnson: A Life Well Lived 1983)

Last week a friend of mine told me that " As long as we have an anchor and something to anchor it to, we will never drift far." For the last 30 years or so, I have heard this comment and others similar to it. References to anchors and boats and drifting inhabit our conversations on a day-to-day basis. And for the most part we don't give it a second thought.

But as I look around me today, I notice something. People don't always lower the anchor all the way to the bottom anymore. Some even get the idea that all you have to do is get close to the bottom. Still others think like this, "Me and my boat are just as solid as the ground. So why don't I just leave the anchor on board and that'll keep me from drifting away."

Now to you and me this might sound like insanity, but to others it makes sense. Actually it's just another step down the slippery slope to nowhere. When we shift our focus from the hard rock bottom of the ocean floor to ourselves, we are entering dangerous water's. When those around us in positions of authority tell us that our opinions and points of view are just as valid as every other point of view. Or worse yet, just as true as every other point of view, then beware my friend, for the end is nigh.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Prayer in the Naval Academy

A funny thing happened to me while I was driving down the road today.
I almost ran over a little old lady in a Yugo. Now you may or may not know this, but I drive an 18 wheeler. And if you think I was scared. You should've seen the look on her face.

I'll tell you what got me so rattled. I was listening to the radio, and a man came on and said that the ACLU was trying to have prayer banned in the US Naval Academy! Now you might not think much about this, but in my neck of the woods, that gets your attention.

I guess the thinking goes something like this, if you're in the military (or any other branch of the government), and you hear somebody pray, then that must mean the organization that that person is a member of, is trying to endorse a religion. Lest you think I've lost my marbles, try this on for size. We took prayer out of public schools because they said that would establish a religion. We took Bible reading out of schools because they said that to, would establish a religion. And now we discover that they're trying to take prayer out of the US Naval Academy, because they think that will establish a religion.

Now, I don't know where these people are getting their ideas, but just because the government tolerates something, or because the government allows something, does not mean that the government is endorsing something, or is trying to establish something. Do these people have no brains? Do these people have no backbone? Or any other part of the body that might denote independent thought? Can we not rise up up on our hind legs and say, "look, a Cross". And then go on about our business? Are we incapable of admiring a statue for its beauty and handiwork, (paid for by private not public money), without thinking that the government is trying to stuff us into a religion.

Now we've got crosses and statues all over this beautiful country of ours. (Trust me I've seen most of them). And at no time did I ever get the idea that the government was trying to get me to join a church, or make me eat the Eucharist, or hang crosses around my neck, or get me to recite the apostles Creed.

For those of you who don't know, here's how it reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791. Nuff Said.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dawkins, Gorilla's, and Fence's

While surfing through "YouTube" I found a piece that just about blew me away. Richard Dawkins, (I hear he has a Phd) was telling the world about gorilla rights. Don't take my word for it: Mr. Dawkins tells us that "A couple centuries ago racism would have been taken for granted", but that now..."We have grown out of that". How did Mr. Dawkins discover that leaving racism behind is considered grouth? Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for "Treat others as you would be treated". What I'd like to know is where did Mr. Dawkins (and for that matter a large chunk of America), get the idea that different is better?

First there was slavery, now a few hundred years ago white people owning black people was the law of the land. The Supreme Court said it was okay, the law said it was okay, heck a sizable portion of the population thought it was okay. Then slavery was declared illegal.

Next there was prohibition, booze was legal, then booze became illegal, then booze became legal again.

Finally there is Abortion, prior to Roe v Wade (1973) it was illegal for a woman to kill her unborn child, after 1973 it was legal for a woman to do so.

Granted that these three topics are a little bit in your face, but a long time ago I tried subtle when trying to make a point, and I found out that subtle just don't work. So let me see if I can't begin to draw these thoughts together. Slavery was good and legal, then slavery became bad and illegal. Next booze was good and legal, then it became bad and illegal, then it became good and legal again, finally killing babies was bad and illegal, then killing babies became good and legal. Now what is happening in all this? We are changing our mind, that's what we are doing. What I want to draw your attention to is BOOZE. Because that's where we do a complete turn-around. Slavery was good, then it was bad. Abortion was bad, then it was good. But with prohibition, booze was good, then bad, and now it's good again. So today's point is this...if we were wrong about booze, how do we know we are not wrong about the other two? Or anything else we have changed our minds on? In other words, how do we know we have made a mistake, when it is US that defines right and wrong? By what standard do we judge right and wrong, good and evil? Remember, our laws are based on our concept of right and wrong...right?

Which brings us back to Mr. Dawkins, who tells us that "Human beings are not just like great apes, they are great apes." (emphasis in the original). We are then told we should not erect a wall between Humans, and gorillas, and cabbages (because we all come from the same source), but "We have rather a continuum, there is a sliding scale, from gorillas and chimpanzee's being very close to us, and cabbages being a very long way away, and theres no reason why we should erect a wall, we should erect a fence, at any particular place." However, he is right on target when he say's "It is very hard to make a purely scientific case for conserving any particular species". And now ladies and gentelmen, here is where we see Intellectual Schizophrenia rear it's ugly head. Mr. Dawkins is a card carrying evolutionist, a Darwinist to the bone, as seen in the just released movie Expelled (No Intelligence Alowed

Thank you for your time

A work in progress

I have had this site up and running for the better part of a week now and this is about all I have got to show for it. I have a friend in Wisconsin who told me "Richard, you ought to start up a Blog to help you put your thoughts in order" Well, here it is Charlie! My Blog is now officially open.