Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I think the punishment fits the crime. . .

. . . or would this violate the Bill of Rights for cruel and unusual punishment? :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Perhaps this is why I have felt so blue lately

So if you know me, you know that I'm currently in a state of transition. Right now, I'm in the midst of a hunt for where God wants me to serve him next. That means I have a lot of free time on my hands since a person can only do so much resume sending and job board looking. I have picked up a part time job driving a fork lift around UPS in the VERY early mornings and I have been volunteering to days a week at a local church help them do some admin work in their offices.

That still leaves me with more free then if I had a full time job. I do read a lot online (like news, church blogs and money saving tips) but I still find myself gravitating to one thing that I have always had a hard time saying no to. Watching T.V.

It is interesting that watching T.V. is the one thing that unhappy people do more than happy people. According to a Study done by the University of Maryland:
We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. [John] Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less. (HT to Lifehacker)
Growing up, I lived off watching T.V. You named it, I watched it. The Simpsons, Herman's Head, Married with Children, Eerie Indiana, You can't do that on Television, Friends, Seinfeld, MNF Football, Salute Your Shorts, ER, In Living Color, Batman Cartoons, Power Rangers, Home Improvement, News Radio, Sportcenter, Behind the Music Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Saved by the Bell and many reruns of older shows. I think you get the point. T.V is one of those things I have always gravitated to is that glowing Box in the corner. It was something I worshiped. One time when I couldn't watch something I wanted to watch, I chuck a remote control at my sister's head. She still bears the scars of that interchange.

When I became a Christ Follower in 1999, I still struggled but no with other things I was watching. That lead me to go without a Television for two in years college. I then moved in with other Christian and started watching T.V. more. When I went to Seminary, I did without a T.V. for my first two years. When I got married, we got a T.V. I can honestly say from experience, that I am more happy when I stay away from the T.V. If that is the case though, why do I keep coming back to watch?

We don't have cable but through the magic of the Internet, I can watch full episodes of 18 shows that I enjoy. This is the first time I've counted. Wow, that is a lot! I am realizing for the first time that I have been addicted to T.V. Maybe that's why over the last couple weeks, I have been pretty down. I blog three weeks ago about my enjoyment of disconnecting. I was riding high and that's where the T.V. crept right back into my life. Over the last few weeks, I have notice myself being really down. I can see why Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes "If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks."

Instead of turning to God, I've been escaping to T.V. That is hard to admit. I should have it under control but for some reason, I can't control it. You might say, "It could be worse like an addiction to drugs, pornography, gambling or something worst." As Paul writes "'Everything is permissible for me'—but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible for me'—but I will not be mastered by anything."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I guess this is tolerance. . .

I wonder if these protesters are being "tolerant" to this 74 year old.

(HT to Lasting Divergence)

I didn't vote in California but if I did I would have voted for prop 8. Why? Because while somethings are unpopular, some things would hurt our county more than help it. While Christians should focus more on making our own marriages healthier, we need to hold the line some where. We need some moral margin some where. The line needs to be drawn some where regarding family and normal sexual behavior.

If you believe that homosexuality is a choice, then accepting the consequences are easy since people are choosing the life they are living. However, if people are born that way, the argument is a little more harry. From a biblical perspective, it is easy to argue from. But how do you argue this from with someone that doesn't believe in the Bible? I've wrestled with this question a lot since I know some homosexual couples even with foster children. How would I stand on my position with using the Bible? It would be difficult because that take all truth is taken away and we have to rely on feeling to tell us what is right.

What scientific support can people give to support same sex marriage as something we should encourage? Scientifically, two people from the same sex cannot have a baby or procreate. Scientifically, via the theory of evolution, they then would cease to exist after this generation because natural selection and chance dooms them for death. How would this be any different than a person born with blindness, deafness, cancer, lame, retarded or the like (other than the fact these people can procreate). I'm sure these people would gladly trade the ability to procreate to live or see if they had to. Some people I guess scientifically are unlucky and can't do certain things.

Legally then, laws are enacted to protect people from being hurt by people who can't and shouldn't these things. Laws keep people who can't see from driving but they can procreate. Laws prevent the physically unable from being in the military but they can procreate. Laws prevent retarded (or the unintelligent) from being Doctors, teachers, and lawyers because they all require certifications to practice such but they can procreate. Homosexual person may be born without the desire to be with the desire to be sexually with the opposite sex thus they cannot procreate. They can do everything else but that one thing.

So why marriage laws then? Marriage laws are in place to ensure that procreation can take place in a safe, productive way so the species can survive (as well as property rights) They protect people so that people aren't taken advantage of. Keep marriage laws one man and one woman draws an easy line to protection that people know. It puts the fight elsewhere. During a war, the fight always takes place on the boarders until the boarders are clear.

Murder is illegal and it is a clear line that people try to stay far away from. The fight is over intent usually not if it happen. When alcohol was illegal, alcoholism went down. With alcohol legal, the new line is when is too much too much and what you can or cannot do with alcohol thus resulting in more With marriage laws right now, we fighting over what is marriage. Once this fight is over and it is clear, then the fight with move on to something else. By making marriage clearly between a man and woman, it makes the boundary clear for everyone and what it is for.

Is it discrimination? Maybe. What about those other things? Will anyone call these things discrimination? Probably not. Seemingly. From a scientific point of view, it is not. Just luck. Heck, Homosexuals/Liberals will use science to disprove God why can't natural selection be used in this case? Are people trying to use it to validate their current state.

Are there holes in my argument? Probably. I'm trying here. At least with Christianity, it offers the promise of giving the blind sight and the deaf hearing. We live in a fallen world so of course babies do not come out of the womb 100% healthy. News flash: nature is not tolerant. Jesus is the only one who truly is. He tolerant enough to not come back until all have a chance to know him. The fact that he puts up with us is unreal. Jesus said some will be born enunchs. Why can't God give these people a chance to be made whole? This may be a bit of a ramble but it was the first time I tried to put this to paper.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have a theory. . .

Being a Christian is simple. Follow Jesus. That's it. What we do is simply do what Jesus did. Pray, Read the Bible. Give resources. Reach out to others.

Making money is easy. Save more than you spend.

Being married is easy. Lay down your life for your wife and your marriage.

To quote Homer Simpson: "In Theory communism works. In Theory Marge. In Theory."

Then why are all of these so hard to do? A lot of things look easy on paper with humans. and in theory. But what separates us from animals is our mind. Theories are great for the perfect world but we live in a fallen world. We have a human will that wants to focus solely on ourselves and wishes everyone would serve us. When Jesus came to show us the way, he came to give us hope and truly inspire us (through the Holy Spirit) to live beyond ourselves.

That's why there is something inside of us that yearns for something more than theory to motivate us to change. On paper, the tax policy either John McCain or Barack Obama could be better than the other and help us out of this economic problem. But would that really help? I like what Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Maverick and rich dude) said about why he voted Barack Obama (even though he disagrees with Obama's economic policy). He writes:
I have said it before, the power of the American Spirit is what separates our country from every other. We have been able to overcome the stupidity that politicians do every year, and will do for ever more. The election of Barack Obama is a shot of adrenaline for those who felt they could never participate in the American Dream.

How do you stimulate and turn around the economy in this day and age ? Motivate those who in the past couldn’t , wouldn’t or didn’t, into those who can and do. Motivate those who can and do, to continue to innovate and increase productivity.

I couldn't agree more. We need more people motivated. In long run, only the church can bring true change in the lives of people. Policy alone will not cause any one to change (see legalistic churches).

Monday, November 3, 2008

The benefits from unplugging

One of the biggest problems I see today (in my life especially) is being able to unplug from electronic life to actually enjoy life. By constantly taking in T.V., movies and other media, we forget how much what we take in affects us. Last week, Lori and I had a guest over last week that greatly influenced we did all week, mostly me. Since I have a pretty fluid schedule right now, our guest impacted me the most. I'm use to coming home and doing a lot of blog reading, movie watching, Internet time wasting and napping. Fun times!

But with a guest, that changed. Mostly that meant that a lot less T.V. and Internet. A lot more reading time, walking time and quality time with my wife (& God). It was fun playing games and hanging out with less T.V. and less Internet. I was able to reconnect with Church History. I had time to surprise my wife. I was able to have conversations with random people at Starbucks about God. I didn't have the stress of trying to figure out what Person A was doing on Facebook or what I name McCain was calling Obama. I was peaceful. It was nice.

I heard Craig Groeschel say recently in order to change you have to be willing to do something big. It reminded me of college when I got rid of my T.V. to help me focus more on God. It reminded me of the time I got rid of Internet in order to stop sinning. It reminded me that I needed a drastic change in my daily routine and I got it with the guest in town. While I am still looking to God for where my next step is, it doesn't mean that I am waiting to follow God again. I can do it now! It isn't to say that I haven't been following him but I will say I have been distracted. That is why I've been AWOL on Facebook and blogging. That's why I trimmed back my podcasts and blogs substantially. I'm trying to hear from God and I had put way too much noise around me to listen.

Thanks be to God. Creator of All and lover of my soul.

As an aside, I saw this article on that shows why it is important to disconnect from T.V. and at the very least, think about what we watch. The highlights:
  • Experts: Parents should discuss sexual content on TV with kids
  • Previous study showed sex on TV linked to initiation of sexual intercourse in teens
  • TV shows rarely portray negative consequences of sex