Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Intelligent Design?

Last night I watched Ben Stein's new documentary, "Expelled; No Intelligence Allowed" and have come away with quite a few interesting thoughts, I will share a few here and I may share more in the future. First off the movie is not a pro-creation movie, it is not defending the Biblical account of creation, it is simply trying to bring attention to the focus the scientific world puts on evolution and the assumption they make that it is absolutely true, and it raises questions about why this is the case.
One question I have, and this was not addressed in the movie is why is it so threatening to the scientific world to have other possibilities for the origin of life? Why are they threatened by the mention of there being a creator? Why is that "bad science"? I don't understand how they can so staunchly stand beside something that was started based on "bad science"! Darwin was not a scientist as we know them today, he did not diligently study the origin of life like a scientist would today, so basically Darwin was a "bad scientist". He looked at life as he saw it, and came up with a semi-rational (in a 5th grader sort of way) theory as to how human life came to be, then he went and looked for evidence to support his conclusion. Ever since that time scientists have been looking for evidence to support that conclusion, and in the process have run into a few dead ends! One thing that evolution has completely failed to answer to this point is where did life ultimately come from? The theory of evolution can't prove it, and most scientists will tell you that no one even knows. So if that's the case, then why is it so bad to suggest that its possible it was created?
By saying its possible it was created you are simply opening up your research to new possibilities not closing off the door to scientific reasoning. On the other hand blindly claiming evolution holds all the answers is closing the door completely to scientific research and reasoning.
To further substantiate Ben's claims in the movie I found a web site called "Expelled Exposed", it is run by the National Center for Science Education, which is one of the groups Ben visited in his movie and one of the groups that vehemently denies there could be a creator. Their tag line on their web site is "When creationism flares up in the United States, the NCSE is there to put out the fires." which in my opinion further proves Ben's point that there is a hatred in the scientific community for the argument of creation or intelligent design. Again I say what evil can come from exploring the possibilities of a creator? The foolishness in blindly claiming no creator, and no God far outweighs the danger in searching for a God.
Plainly said, the goal of the scientific community is to box up religion into a nice little social affair that makes people happy, and make it into a "feel good" event that promotes mental health and a quality life, they don't think the supernatural has any place in medicine, science, or anything else. Quite frankly this saddens me, the God that I personally know is not a God that can or will be boxed up, he is real, living, and my life is much different, and fulfilled as a result of knowing him! Such a world without him, would be a world without love of any kind, and to that I say absolutely No Way!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Running aimlessly

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1st Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV

So I just got back from a nice late night jog and as I was running I was praying, and thinking about some things, and these verses popped into my head, first thing I thought was "I would never actually run aimlessly, it takes way too much effort to run, much less run without a purpose." Then I realized how often I "run" all over the place aimlessly in my life, often never in a way to win the prize. It was like God flat out called me out as I was jogging and said "what do you mean, you do that all the time!" I was trying to think the last time I was so focused with my life and actions that I could honestly say that I was running in such a way as to win the prize. I have been content to settle for 4th place out of the way of causing a stir or any controversy. I've been content to take the easy way, but as Paul wrote that he beat his body to make it his slave so that after he had preached to others he himself would not be disqualified for the prize, and he encouraged the Corinthians to run the race with purpose and mission and in such a way as to win the prize, and that is what I need to do too. Seriously, What am I holding back for? when will this opportunity ever come again? this is the only race I will run, there isn't a second chance at life, do it all out, don't get sidetracked by meaningless things but run all out to win for Christ! These verses remind me that growth in Christ isn't easy, and it requires me to fight against my own fleshly desires and make my body a slave to Christ so that I can run to win and not be disqualified for the prize! My goal for tomorrow is to run to win the prize, to put my body in line with the spirit and force my flesh to submit to Christ.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Leadership Void

A few weeks ago I was thinking about the leadership void that is growing in our nation, at least as I perceive it. We as a people have had a generation of leaders that have continued America's strength and shared our wealth with the world, but it is my personal observation that many cities, governments, companies and organizations have been running with the same core of leaders for a long time and as they near retirement I sense a void in trained and ready leaders. Just look at our field of presidential candidates, I don't see many experienced and proven leaders in the group. Many of the leaders that are set to take over a company or a city are in the same generation as the current leader, and I think their stay in leadership will not be long lived, but our younger generation (of which I am a part) seem to be asleep at the wheel when it comes to developing leadership. Many of the older leaders aren't pouring into a new generation of leaders they are leaving us to make the same mistakes, and we aren't seeking out help to be trained as the leaders, we just assume it will come naturally as we get older. I am just as guilty of this, but I think it has put our nation on a path of indifference, we just assume that things will be taken care of as they always have, that we will continue to grow and prosper and that in the end everything will be alright because that's how it has always been. However I think we need a stronger group of leaders than our nation has ever seen, people that will seek out the truth, people that will be strong and stand by their convictions and most importantly people that will be servants. Jesus offers the perfect model of leadership, we can learn a lot by knowing and following him, and we also need to take advantage of the opportunities we have to learn from those currently in leadership positions.
Our nation needs a leader that will do what is right, that will be honest and true and that will serve America and God with everything they have, that kind of leader will set aside their own agenda and set aside their aim for greatness and will lead with a determination to do the right thing, rather than go with the flow of public opinion, or flawed rationale. Our cities, companies, and organizations need leaders that have vision for what will be in the future, they need to build teams and inspire action! The leaders need to be people that are willing to sacrifice their own comfort and their own ego to accomplish that vision. I think we all share a part in this, we all lead in some capacity or another, and I think that we need to be active, many leadership qualities are learned and develop as they are used and tested, as a young generation we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have now and fully learn and develop our leadership skills so that when the torch is passed to us to lead we are ready and we can lead in a way that has never been seen before! What do you think? Do we have a coming void in leadership? what has God called you to do? are you taking hold of that call and pursuing it with everything within you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

Today in the mail I received an information packet from Voice of the Martyrs ministry. I've heard of them before but I didn't know much about what they do, except that they help persecuted Christians. Some of their literature was aimed at debunking the notion that some Christians hold that it is biblically wrong to break the law, even when that law is taking away human rights. How can we as Christians say that we truly love our brothers and sisters and yet ignore their plight? The pamphlet quoted a seminary professor at a seminary in Indiana that stated to his class that Christians in prison in Cuba who were imprisoned for sharing their faith deserved to be there because they had broken Cuba's law. That is absolutely absurd! Its a wimpy excuse not to help and to absolve himself of any guilt he feels for being free here while his brothers and sisters in Cuba suffer. Its great to debate theology but God has called us to action, not to a religious life filled with debates and nice little conversations about whether its OK or not to break the law when you're sharing the gospel. As Christians here in America we at the very least need to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world suffering at the hands of their government simply because the government doesn't agree with their beliefs, And on top of that I think we should look for practical ways to support them. Have we become so calloused that we will simply debate the merit of breaking the law rather than taking action to help? To me we (the christian church in America) have become just like the pharisees in Jesus day, we debate and fight amongst ourselves about religious topics and we ignore the poor, the hurting and the lost, that is not what God called us to when he commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel! We must be active in fulfilling that command, and support each other as we go.

This brings me to another point about how we treat each other as brothers and sisters. All too often we fight and back stab and verbally destroy each other. I think this has happened in the church since the day the church began, it is in our fallen nature to care only about ourselves first and others second, loving others simply to love them is contrary to our human nature. The love we often seek out is love that gets us something in return; comfort, safety in a family, or security in a marriage, but love that we give and require nothing in return is a love that goes against our sinful nature and as a result makes it extremely difficult for us to show. All through scripture you can find the words "love one another" its not a nice simple phrase that makes everyone happy and feel warm and fuzzy, its a decision we make to love with everything within us. Love does not mean to lay down and get walked all over, but love does not envy, its not jealous and its not proud, it is not self seeking... look it up in 1st Corinthians 13, love keeps no record of wrongs and love never fails. I think if we as the body of Christ truly took that to heart and loved God with all that is within us and loved each other in the same way, with a true love not requiring or expecting anything in return, we would see things happen in the world around us that we haven't even dreamed of. Obviously God knew we would struggle to love, that's why he reminds us constantly to do it. My struggle is to love the people around me, those that are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and those that are not yet, with an unconditional love regardless of how they treat me or how they return that love. To love the theology professor that I strongly disagree with and to love the people at work that drive me nuts. Its naturally easier to love some people and naturally harder to love others, I want to learn to love the ones that aren't easily loved, to truly be able to say that I love that person and mean it, and by loving them it doesn't mean I agree with their teaching or their lifestyle but it does mean that I care about them as a person and that I will make any necessary sacrifice for them.
What credit is it to us to love those that love us back? But I think God is pleased when we strive to love those whom give us nothing but trouble in return. Pray for me that I can love unconditionally, and If you want me to I'll pray for you do be able to do the same.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day 2008

Opening day in Cincinnati is equivilent to a national holiday. I had a free pass from work to attend the game, and it seems as though the entire city gets excited about spring and the start of the season. Its so much fun, today I walked into skyline in downtown Cincinnati and the place was jam packed with people wearing red, enjoying some chili before the start of the new season. It is probably one of the coolest things about Cincinnati, its what distinguishes us from other cities, even large cities like NY, opening day in Cincy is something I think every baseball fan needs to experience at least once in their lifetime! To me it gives a glimpse of how great Cincinnati can be. Opening day brings the city to life, and it brings the excitement back downtown. We have a great city, I like how things are changing and I hope and pray that our leadership has the vision to continue to spur growth rather than squelch it with bad policy and bickering.
The opening slide of the photo story linked above was taken just a few rows above where I sat for todays game. The view was amazing, and the crowd excited, hopefully this team will mature quickly and have fun doing it. I think in spite of today's loss they have the potential to win a lot of games, and a very good shot at the post season. It should be a fun season and I'm looking forward to it!
My prediction the reds will win 89 games and win the NL central, what do you think? am I riding a crazy wave of excitement or does this team have real potential to win a bunch of games?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

bog box irritation

So today I was out doing some shopping, I needed a few items for the house, and while I was out I decided to pick up my new digital converter box to convert a digital signal for use on an analog tv. Our wonderful government recently started handing out $40 gift cards to people that request them to help offset the purchase price of the converter. (If you want more info on this check out the link above.) So I was pretty excited that my gift cards arrived and now I will be able to pick up a few more stations since I don't have cable. Unfortunately there aren't many stores that carry the converters but wal-mart and meijer both were listed as stores participating in the rebate program and both are near-by so I checked wal-mart first. Three months ago I said I was never going back to the wal-mart on colerain ave, the store is always a mess, there are hundreds of shopping carts in the parking lot and they never have enough staff to run the registers or do other things, but today I figured I'd go back and give 'em one more shot. Well it was exactly as described above, it was saturday and only 4 or 5 checkout lanes were open, the lines were huge and they weren't moving so I turned around and left. I went to my trusty target store which has never let me down and they had all that I needed except for the converter which I knew they didn't carry. After that I decided to head on over to the Meijer store on Colerain which also three months ago decided I was never going back because they did not have what I needed. This only applies to Meijer on Colerain the others in the area have been fine. So I went expecting little, but figured it was worth the try. I found the converter box, made sure it was one that qualified for the discount and headed to check-out, however at the register the manager proceeded to tell me that they did not accept the gift cards from the government and that I should go to wal-mart. Two things about this really ticked me off, first the manager didn't care that I traveled specifically to his store at the recommendation of the government to buy a product with government money!( its surprising because I'm sure there's a big profit on the item because the government always over pays!) and second he told me to go to wal-mart!! What kind of manager tells you to go to the competition for something he has in his store? That was a first for me, I proceeded to tell him wal-mart was not getting my business and at this point neither was Meijer! I again left all my products and the register and went home in a grumpy mood without my converter.
So my question is when is it appropriate to write a letter complaining about bad service? I think I'm going to write to both wal-mart and meijer and I'm going to see who responds faster. I'm not looking for a free handout and I'm going to let them know that I'm simply looking for a retailer to care about their customer!
On another note, is this really a big deal? should I care about what a store has or doesn't have or should I simply blow it off and go elsewhere? am I just wasting my time getting irritated at a giant corporation? I feel like lately I've been a grump inside, I'm not sure that anyone else has noticed it, at least no one has mentioned anything to me, but things like this make me feel like I'm going to turn into a grumpy old man someday and thats not at all where I want to be. So for now I'll write my letter for the fun of it, and I'll do my best to not turn into a grouch! and I'll definitely boycott colerain wal-mart and Meijer until the next time its 3 am and I need something!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

spoiled milk or rotten eggs

What's the worst thing you've ever taken a whiff of in your memory? On Monday night I thought I had smelled perhaps one of the worst smells in all the world, only to be eclipsed earlier this evening! On Monday night at club we blended two McDonalds happy meals, one was a chicken nuggets, with blue powerade ketch-up and bar-b-q sauce, and the other was cheeseburger with coke and ketch-up and of course the french fries were in both. Two students had to try to guess what was blended if they got it wrong they chugged it, if they guessed right Jen and I chugged it. Luckily for me I had the cheeseburger happy meal, we both ended up chugging them but the chicken nugget happy meal when mixed was quite possibly the most disgusting thing we've ever made at club, it had to smell worse than a 3 day old baby diaper. Needless to say Jen didn't drink much of it before nearly spewing! The cheeseburger smoothie was actually pretty good, I'd have to say the coke was the saving factor in that one, it's actually not a bad way to eat a meal on the run. haha
That brings us to tonight, I thought some milk and cookies sounded really good, I've had the milk for about a week, and the "sell by" date said 3/7/08 so I figured the milk would be just fine, however when I opened it I quickly realized it wasn't any good, the odor was beyond nasty, I almost puked twice while I dumped it out, the smell was definitely the worst in my memory!! It was ten times worse than the happy meal smoothie! Two things come from this 1) how in the world did the milk go bad? It was in the fridge, sealed up, and had only been opened a week ago, AND it was still before the sell by date! am I entitled to anything in this? Trauth Dairy needs to fix that problem! And 2) have you ever smelled or tasted sour milk? I think that would be a guaranteed way to barf if you ever needed one, that was straight up gross!