Friday, January 01, 2021

Farewell and good riddance 2020, here's hoping 2021 will be better...

Just as I was being a little hopeful about 2021 being better, except for being reminded (once again) that God doesn't pay attention to college football, came the news that our beloved pastor had passed away, perhaps being spared the same realization about God not paying attention to college football. May he rest in peace...not sure what to think right now. He's the only pastor I've had since truly embracing my faith.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Some housecleaning...

Not sure if I'll post here any more frequently than over the past three years, but did decide to remove some crap that I didn't necessarily want to ever see again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Anniversary Gift FTW!

I think this choice was inspired...

My lovely bride of 18 years was trying to guess what I'd gotten her while we were talking with some friends, and somehow the topic of diamond ads came up.

She said "you didn't get me diamonds, did you?"

I could only respond, "Well, it is kind of sparkly..."

I got an 18-year old single-malt Scotch, that I'm sipping as I compose this...

All in all, a good anniversary so far.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

And now a word from our sponsor...

Lest it be misunderstood, I must admit that I do know, love, respect, and even admire, some people in my life who are, despite otherwise being wonderful people, well, liberals.

And despite that, I love them anyway. It isn't a fatal flaw for some people.

In fact, there are many otherwise wonderful people who are liberals. Individually, they're capable of being fairly normal and having otherwise normal lives as long as they aren't discussing politics or voting. Unfortuantely, when you get liberals in a group, this groupthink thing happens that creates a special kind of evil insanity. Of course, that insane groupthink happens with conservatives, too, it just manifests itself in ways that aren't quite so evil, and are sometimes accidentally beneficial.

There's just this lobotomy thing that happens when someone becomes an organizational liberal. You know, joins the club and drinks the Kool-Aid. Too much of that and you get itty-bitty Pelosis and Reids and Kennedys running around, peeing on the sidewalk and wiping their bottoms with the Constitution.

Maybe it is one of those things where there are exceptions that end up reinforcing the stereotype. Well, of course, this person isn't evil and insane, but...him and her and him and him and him...

Sort of like that saying that 98% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

So if you read my blog, and you think you know me. Yes, I still love you. Anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Four Things

So my eldest daughter sent me this...

Four Jobs I have had in my life
Self-employed computer consultant, computer technician, system admin/network manager, software/systems engineer

Four Places I have lived
Melbourne/Palm Bay area, FL; Atlanta area, GA; Rock Island Arsenal, IL; Columbus, GA

Four Places I have gone on vacation
Wales, Scotland, England, Umbria

Four Places I have gone on business
Norway, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands

Four Places I'd like to visit: (I'm assuming places I haven't already been)
Ireland, Australia, Austria (I've been to Salzburg, but only for part of one day), Greece

Four of my favourite foods
sushi, wild game, BBQ, lamb

Four places I would rather be right now
Home (it's currently day 6 of 7-day business trip), outside having a walk in the woods and hills around Lillehammer instead of in this meeting, Rome (Italy), Munich (Germany)

Four friends or relatives I think will respond first
Since this is a blog, I have no idea...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Mother's Perspective

This isn't original by me, and I don't know who the original author was, but I like it...

A mother asked President Bush, "Why did my son have to die in Iraq?"

Another mother asked President Kennedy, "Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?"

Another mother asked President Truman, "Why did my son have to die in Korea?

Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt, "Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"

Another mother asked President W. Wilson, "Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?"

Yet another mother asked President Lincoln, "Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?"

And yet another mother asked President G. Washington, "Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"

Then long, long ago, a mother asked... "Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"

The answers to all these are similar --"So that others may have life and dwell in peace, happiness and freedom."

The moral of this story is simple: If you are unwilling to stand behind the troops, then you are cordially invited to stand in front of them.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

At long last, an overdue reflection...

So I was reflecting on something a while back and alluded to this in an earlier post...When Jesus was conceived and born into this world, at what point did the first miracle occur? At what point did God become man and dwell among us? What do these things tell us about life?

Setting aside the many miracles that took place in Jewish history that prefigured the culmination of the plan for salvation, let's look at the candidates for the first miracle of Christ's time on earth.

The majority of Christians believe that the first miracle was the purification of the Ark of the New Covenant, the human vessel that would bear the symbol of the New Covenant just as the Jewish Ark of the Covenant purified and sanctified so that it could bear the symbols of the "old" Covenant. I refer, of course, to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother. Most Christians believe, and have done so since the early years of Christianity, that Mary, the mother of Christ, was blessed by grace from God through the Son that she would someday bear to preserve her from the taint of original sin, and blessed by graces to permit her to choose a life of obedience and free from sin that she might someday say "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me". Since her womb would bear the Son who would become the New Covenant, she was the Ark of that Covenant, and must have been kept as pure as the Ark of the earlier Covenant. This is not, of course, a "reward" that was given to Mary because she was special or because she merited it, but unmerited grace that was poured out upon her to prepare her to fulfill the Divine plan for her. Thinking about this, I look upon it simply: If I were God, and I had chosen to become a man, and I had chosen to be conceived and born and life and die as a man rather than just materializing as an adult, then I would have to decide at some point who my human mother would be. And once I had chosen that woman, and particularly once I had decided that I wanted that woman to still be a virgin when I was conceived in her, then if I could bless that woman with divine graces that would help her to choose a life without sin and therefore be a pure and untainted vessel for my conception and birth, then why would I not do so? We believe in the Immaculate Conception because of what we believe about Christ, not because of a special veneration of Mary.

Another early miracle was the Annunciation, the visitation of Mary by St. Gabriel Archangel, where she was told that she would conceive and bear a son who would be the Savior of mankind. Somehow, this teenage bride was able to understand the significance of the words of the angel and express her fiat. As an aside, this event reaffirms a number of other things that most Christians believe about the Blessed Mother. When she was visited by St. Gabriel, Mary and Joseph were already engaged. When the archangel told her that she would conceive and bear a son, her response was "How can this be?" The response of any other wife-to-be would have been "Wonderful! My husband and I will have a child soon!" And yet Mary was puzzled. This indicates that she and Joseph must not have intended to consummate their relationship, which supports the belief that she remained a virgin for the rest of her life. (The back story for this may be found in a number of early Christian writings, including the Protoevangelion of James.) In any event, Mary must have been terrified of the idea that she would become, in a sense, the Bride of the Almighty and Mother of the Second Person of the Trinity. And yet, through grace, she consented.

However, these two miracles occurred before the Emmanuel event, the event after which it could truly be said "God is with us". When was that point?

It must certainly be agreed that Jesus' conception within Mary was a miracle, and must also be agreed that Jesus' birth is celebrated as an event of momentous import. At which of these points did God become Man and dwell among us? Did the Divine live and dwell among men while he was in the womb? Certainly, John the Baptist recognized the coming Savior while both were still in the womb, when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. This seems to imply that God became Man at conception. If so, should this not inform our moral conscience when we consider the unborn human? If God dwelt among us while still in the womb, then life in the womb is already life, already human, already sacred.

Or, did God not truly enter the world of men until the birth that we celebrate? This does not seem to make sense. If only the birth was important, then God could have entered Mary's womb the day before the birth. There would have been no need for conception and gestation, and yet we know through Scripture that it did not happen this way. Theologically, for Christ to save humanity, then He must enter into the whole human experience. So we can conclude, then, that it was important for the Son of Man to experience conception and life in the womb in order to have a complete experience of human-ness. This leads again to the conclusion that life in the womb is already human, already sacred. This conclusion may also be affirmed by the reality that we are fairly certain that the date we celebrate, December 25, has no correlation to the actual day that Christ was born (theologians and religious historians largely agree that it must have been in March, and are beginning to approach consensus on a year). Yes, the birth was important, but not so important as to assure that it was celebrated on the anniversary of the event.

So when we form our moral conscience for issues such as abortion, contraception, and stem-cell research or other research on human embryos, should we not be informed by the theological reality that two extremely important events in the plan of salvation both occurred at conception?