Leslie Nielsen - Rest In Peace

Leslie Nielsen passed away today. He appeared in over one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters. Though his later comedies, beginning with Airplane, were panned by the critics, his movies were well received by his fans. My son liked "Bad Golf My Way." Here is one of my favorite scenes.

Ambrose Bierce

Here are some quotes attributed to Ambrose Bierce.

Politics: The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

Vote: The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third.

Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

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Racing Between Education and Catastrophe

I saw two quotes by Herbert George (H. G.) Wells today. He lived from 09/21/1866 - 08/13/1946. He was an English author. According to Wikipedia, he is known best known for his work in science fiction. However, he was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books.

This one caught my eye first and made me laugh.
The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf - it's almost a law.
His next quote is more serious and provides an interesting perspective.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
How are we doing?

It's scary to me when I see people picking and choosing their favorite scientific truths and ascribing political bias on scientists who's research doesn't profit them. Scientists are less political than many imagine.

For one thing, everything they publish faces peer review from smart people in their field. You don't go around shooting off your mouth unless you are prepared to produce data to back up your statements; data that your colleagues will try to reproduce in their own experiments, and if they can't, you're evidence isn't worth a hill of beans and you leave a lot of people scratching their heads wondering why you're publishing crap.

Yes, you can interpret some things different ways - for awhile - until more and better experiments clarify the uncertainties of earlier experiments. This is why scientific controversy is not settled in the political arena; it's settled by more and better peer reviewed science.

I know there are religious individuals who don't respect this process. Perhaps, they are responding to the arrogance of early scientists which may have been more arrogant than today. Perhaps they hold that faith and thought can't coexist. I disagree. Thoughtless indoctrination and and being reactionary can really hold you back. Many physicists believe in God. Science, doesn't disprove God or tell you how to worship him.

Here is a Bible verse that supports scientific endeavor.
Proverbs 20:12 - The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
God made our eyes and ears so we would use them. Science is the discipline of using our senses to understand sense perceived truth. Seeking knowledge is a good character trait.
Proverbs 15:14 - The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
I ran across this quote attributed to Galileo Galilei:

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forget their use.
I have to say I agree.

I heard someone tell me God put fossils on earth to test our faith concerning the biblical age of the earth. I wouldn't bring this up except the guy who told me this was a respectable research associate at a prestigious institution.
James 1:13 says, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
God's creation is not filled with traps to test our faith. It is simply his creation. Instead of worrying about how God is trying to trick us, lets glorify God for the awesomeness of his creation as we learn more about it.

I believe Christ is for scientists too and the Church needs to respect what they do in their profession. I would like to see more people in every profession come to believe in Christ. There is no quicker way to turn someone off from Christ and the Church than by offending them through irrational craziness. Sometimes you can't help it. I heard one man say when revival comes, the fringe of lunacy widens as the needy, broken, and unstable come to Christ and know of nothing more than him.

I also believe the Church needs to respect the work scientists do so she can embrace knowledge essential for our survival and bring moral dialog to the responsible use of the power that science brings us.

One area of dialog might be in the area of in vitro fertilization. Why do we ignore the fate of unused embryos created for potential in vitro fertilization implants? Even staunch pro life individuals who believe life starts at conception, and oppose abortion at any stage, are all too happy to ignore this inconvenient truth when trying to have children. We know there will be extra unused embryos and their deaths are inevitable unless we freeze them forever, and how unlikely is that? Lets bring clear thinking to action by coming up with rational and consistent public policy. I know I digressed here a little but it's interesting how people view willful ignorance as an option.

Our senses are limited though. Only God can satisfy our spiritual hunger and God exists beyond the domain of our senses.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 - All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
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We Humans Need to Better Define Ourselves

I would like to see us human beings define ourselves better. I believe a powerful way to do this is in how we treat animals. We need to treat animals we use for food with respect. I don't like the idea of cutting off chickens' legs while they're still alive along a conveyor because it's efficient. I don't like cows crowded in filth and chickens stuffed together never seeing the light of day.

The Words in Red

I've been reading through the gospels recently. I started in Matthew and am almost finished with Luke. I confess, that I have looked at the gospels as the grade school of Christianity. Christ's words are wonderful things to teach children.

Thinking of Our Veterans

When politicians say, "Support our troops" or "Honor our troops," it sounds bossy, hypocritical, and self serving to me. The more I listen to politicians, the more I realize that they are obsessed with power and their careers. To get power and secure a long career, they avoid standing alone, so they bury themselves in their political party and its agenda. Then, money and support from their political party pours in.

When I hear politicians talk about our troops, I get the feeling they are alluding to our soldiers as belonging to their political party. The honorable solder I envision is of neither political party. That soldier embraces ideals that are higher and transcend petty politics. His or her values and character must stand up against life and death struggles.

When I think of our veterans in a positive way: that is, when a politician is not in my face using our military forces as a propaganda tool, I think of an individual soldier; that soldier's sacrifices; the parents, spouse, and children s/he had to leave behind. I see that soldier following orders with unquestioning and unwavering obedience. S/he is asked to risk his or her life and to kill.

S/he is required to be courageous. REQUIRED! That's the minimum required of every solder and it is a high standard. I also picture that soldier as being good and making good decisions, representing the United States with honor. By "good," I mean possessing character s/he manages to cling to through adversity while looking outside self to do good under the circumstances; disabling the enemy, supporting each other, and honoring innocent life.

When that solder returns home s/he is wasted and tired inside. S/he has faced life and death fear. S/he has lost friends. S/he may have lost body parts. S/he may have enjoyed killing the enemy and s/he cannot express that and it has no context here at home. S/he needs time to decompress and reorient. S/he needs time to appreciate and adopt civilian peacetime values.

We were not generous in giving that soldier armor while they were abroad in the fight: body armor or an armored vehicle. When s/he returns home, we are not generous with giving the veteran time or support to regain peacetime mental health. That soldier pushes on without complaining the best they can as they always have. Some soldiers adapt to civilian life and some don't.

Why politicians don't support our troops and veterans more than they do, while talking so much about it, escapes my comprehension.

Thank God for the good and honorable soldier. Here is my prayer for you from the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

They Want Us

Samuel wrote a poem on how he feels about our political climate and thought I would share it here with you.