Thursday, September 30, 2010

More to this Life

Tuesday of this week a University of Texas student took his life. Survey results indicate that more than half of college students consider suicide during their college experience. This is in contrast to the fifteen percent of the general population. In an article that detailed the tragic eposide at U of Texas, the author indicated that the college sphomore, Colton Tooley, was "brilliant in mind and respectful always in his behavior to others." The story reveals the struggle that friends and family are going through in trying to understand why a student, with talent and a seemingly bright future, would end his life so abruptly and without any warning. From an observer, Tooley's life was an American dream. He graduated seventh in his class, was smart, polite and friendly. Why would someone like this end his life?

I believe that this article relates to our class discussion of the immaterial man. In the material sense, Tooley seemed to have it all. But, what may have been lacking is a focus of the immaterial side of existence. The college expierence focuses so much on the material: grades, social life, future plans, etc. But there little to none energy spent on the immaterial in most college expirences. During a time of life where the person needs to drawing closer to Christ (which is the true intention of Spirituality), many times he is pulling away.

Could this be way so many of our peers look to end their lives, when from the worlds point of view they possess it all? Are they lacking the security that only comes when one embraces the immaterial part of man, the part that connects to God and to His strength and salvation?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

U.S Internet Wiretaps

I have found an article on World Magazine entitled, U.S makes internet wiretaps easier. Because of the frequent use of internet and email communications by terrorists and criminals the government has decided to eavesdrop on Internet and email communications.

President Obama is planning on submitting the proposed legislation to congress next year that will require all online communications to be technically equipped to comply with a wiretap order. This will include email communications on devices such as blackberries , sites such as facebook. and direct communication such as facebook.
When reading this a few questions came into my thoughts. If this does indeed happen: will my privacy be ensured? What constitutes as a national security concern? Can Obama and his administration be trusted? Will the Obama administration act upon security violations and will they be able to prove it just by the use of email, facebook, or video?

Although this hasn't happened yet, it is a scary thought just to see how far the government will go to get involved into our private life to stop terrorists. This reminds me of the security scans they were contemplating having in airports that do a full body scan to check for any suspicious items. How far will this go? In years from now will the governement monitor everything we do?

When contemplating this factor that the government has incresaingly become more involved in our private life we as Christians can reflect on Psalm 56:11, "In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" We need not fear- whether it be terrorists, criminals, or the government. Our God is greater than them all. Hebrews 1:10 states, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands". The God who created the earth in Sovereign and in control of every event and circumstance that comes into our life. We have a great God!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Shrink Gets Stretched

Christianity Today Interviews Larry Crabb:

Larry Crabb is an interesting case study within the Christian Counseling movement. Crabb's chronic fascination with the unseen forces at work in people not only prompted him to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but also eventually drove him into spiritual direction—deeper yet into the human soul. He turned his back on diagnostic counseling methods in order to care for people's souls in an unpredictable, unprofessional, fickle, and, in his opinion, most useful context: caring relationships. He now believes that there's no better psychotherapy than friendships fashioned after the everlasting friendship between Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this Christianity Today article, Crabb talks about his shift in focus and his passion for the soul of man.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This is a story of the Haitian under17 women's soccer team who had just emerged from devastation of earthquake and the loss of loved ones, to participate in a soccer tournament.  They attended the championship with the hope of achieving success in the tourney but unfortunately, the result was against their expectation which further sank their hearts. It was meant to ameliorate the anguish rather it added to the pain.  However, in the midst of this adversity, they found encouragement through an act of true sportsmanship displayed by US goalie Bryane Heaberlin who did not allow success to shield her from seeing the misery of her opponent. Indeed, she was a pace-setter for others to follow. It is important for us to know that our act of kindness can make a change in other lives. Bryane Heaberlin mere walking the distance alone changed the stadium atmosphere which implies that the highway of greatness is always deserted and lonely but only an individual with a great heart walks the path. Greatness is not in the abundance of possession but in service. It takes an enlarged heart to provide a refuge and reach under a soul to give stability.  Though Bryane Heaberlin is not a professional soccer player, but her professional conduct displayed on the field of play should serve as a lesson for others to learn from. It is time for our professionals to borrow a leaf from this young extraordinary being who taught us that the game is to unite us and not to divide us. It is never intended for pain creation but for recreation. Truly, it was an act of true sportsmanship and thumbs up for Bryane Heaberlin. Keep the trail blazing!!!  

click on touching moment

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Syko Sam

Twenty-two year old Richard McCroskey plead guilty to brutally murdering his girlfriend, her friend and the parents of his girlfriend. What brought the couple together was their love for Horrorcore music. Horrorcore is a sub genre of hip hop music but resembles a combination of hardcore rap and death metal. The lyrical focus of this genre is predominantly on Satanism, cannibalism, suicide, mutilation, murder, and rape. These popular themes are put together with a catchy rap beat and is affectionately known as death rap. Richard McCroskey or Syko Sam as was his horrorcore rap artist name; brutally bludgeoned these four people with a splitting tool, looking suspiciously like one of these Horrorcore songs. Syko Sam's song The Voices is a perfect picture of what was going on in his head and what was driving him. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a expert on the psychology of killing. Lt. Col. Dave Gossman specializes in the influential effects that the media violence has on children. This media violence is a significant factor in contributing to the real-world violence that has become rampant among youths. Recently in Lynchburg a man was senselessly beaten and he ended up dying for no better reason than to impress a couple of girls. These boys did not care who it was they just wanted to beat someone up. To connect all of this Lt. Col. Grossman has overwhelming evidence that media violence is a significant contributing factor to the influx of violence the American youth are perpetuating. If this is true it stands to reason that other media outlets like Horrorcore will similarly effect other rapt audiences. What begs the question is, are these killings a result of nature or nurture. If the latter is true America is in for some trouble unless we change because we are raising a generation of youth with a propensity for violence. The Bible would seem to implicate both nature and nurture. Luke 11:34 says, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good your whole body is filled with Light. But when they are bad your body is also filled with darkness." Luke 6:45 says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings out evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks." These two verses mainly deal with the nurture aspect as mentioned above. If all things are equal, besides mans overwhelming need for God, because of our sin nature, the nature part. What determines a good person verses an evil person in large part has to do with what they are feeding into their heart. Media and music are major sources of information that are going directly into the eyes, ears, and end up in the heart. Following this line of reasoning, these horrendous actions of Syko Sam were just following the normal chain of events. Garbage in, Garbage out. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, because it is the wellspring of life." What we take in has consequences, even if they are only rarely seen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Embryo Mix Up


I found another great article from World Magazine, Embryo Mix Up Leads to Abortion.

This is most indeed a terrible mix up after looking at the results that came out of it. It started with two women visting the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services (CARS) in Connecticut. They both had eggs extracted, fertilized, frozen and stored for future implantation. Due to a mix up of identity cards the embroy from one woman was implanted into the other woman. When the other woman found out she filed a 2 million dollar claim and later she was able to sue the state of connecticut and received $45,000. The woman that was implanted aborted the child and it seemed to not be a viable pregnancy.

This seems to me a confusing set of curcumstances that caused everyone involved to take some sort of action that may or may not have been the best choice. This reminds me of the passage in James 4:1-2, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust and ye have not: ye kill and desire to have and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not".

These women on here are certainly lusting and desiring to have. The woman who's embroy was implanted in another woman was yes upset but also was very greedy since she not only tried to obtain money from CARS but sued the whole state. And a question that is raised here is Connecticut to blame for this? The other woman was at first lusting for a child because she could not have one then she lusted for comfort and freedom from this problem of a child that was not suppose to be hers.

As counselors we need to look at the motives behind which people do things they later regret and especially in the case of abortion. There is a lot of pressure from family, friends, or the husband/boyfriend but most importantly it is the person's view themselves: am I going to accept this child and by the grace of God nurture it and help it to grow and live, set it up for adoption, or take the easy route and abort it supposidly ridding oneself of the problem entirely?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can we really love our enemies, or that it’s just utopian expectation?

We all have heard of read last week about Florida Pastor Terry Jones who had planned to burn the Koran on the 9/11. And despite all the protest and internal and international leaders who pleaded with him not to do it, for a while, he was still thinking to incinerate the Koran, as we can read in the Wall Street Journal article.

One of the questions that popped into my mind it’s how does this pastor see and understand Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”But the question it’s still there and I think it’s a just one. Can we really love our enemy? Can we really have feelings of love towards them, since we cannot have control over what we feel, or at least the control we have it is very limited? Well … in my opinion ….the question itself it’s wrong, because it’s based on a wrong assumption of what the word love means in the Bible.

What do I mean by that? One of the golden rules in Hermeneutics it is to interpret any writings through the eyes of culture that was written by. For us, the western civilization, love is essentially feelings. But the teaching of Jesus, and of the Bible, does not come from a western civilization culture, does it? For a Middle East nation love it’s NOT essentially feelings, but first of all means action. This is why those cultures have arranged marriages. I think the best example of this is the parable of the Good Samaritan, were Jesus defines what love is. Could the Samaritan have any positive feelings for a completely stranger … coming from an enemy nation, that was just robbed? Almost sure he did not have feelings for that man, but still he loved him helping him, doing something good for him.

The most quoted and known verses from the Bible it’s another great example: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There are a lot of examples in the Bible where love is seen mainly as action because for Hebrews love meant before anything … doing something, acting for the benefit of the person you love. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)

Probably Paul, as an “international missionary” was aware of this cultural difference of understanding of love and probably he wanted to point it out, quoting a much older writing, (in his letter to the Christians from Rome) and clarifying what Jesus meant when he said “Love your enemies”. Also I think this passage may possibly answer our question “Can we really love our enemies, or that it’s just utopian expectation?”
Here is what he said:
On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21 (NIV)

What's the Difference Between a Fortune Teller, a Fortune Cookie, and Any of the Organized Religions?

In a recent article in the New York Times, movie director Woody Allen discussed his new movie "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" and whether there is any real difference between a fortune teller, a fortune cookie, and faith. Perhaps I am naive, or maybe even a little jaded, but I was shocked when I read this article and found that Mr. Allen was actually being serious when he said he could not see a difference between religion and a fortune cookie! Mr. Allen even went as far to say "I was interested in the concept of faith in something. This sounds so bleak when I say it, but we need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t. Neither seems plausible to me. I have a grim, scientific assessment of it. I just feel, what you see is what you get."

This article caught my attention because of the title, and before reading it, I thought it would make me angry. Only after reading, I realized I was not in the least bit angry, only sad. I am so sad that this world has come to this: people trying to decipher the difference between a relationship with Christ and a relationship with a fortune teller! How can we as Christians sit around and let those who do not share a relationship with Christ believe this? My hope and prayer after reading this article is that we as Christians can live our lives in a way that demonstrates our real, interactive, dynamic relationships with Christ! He is more than a fortune teller and a fortune cookie, and it is our duties as Christians to increase in our relationship with Him.

Children, Optimtisim, and Palliative Care

Dealing with death is never a fun subject. I actually thought I could get use to human loss while volunteering at local hospital's Special Skills Unit, but I was wrong. It can be heavy even when you are not close to a patient. When being around patients that are actually waiting their time, some would talk about the past, regrets, and in some cases tell me they accepted death. Also some will be bitter about the dying and view it as unfair deal. I never worked with children that were dying and I cannot imagine the emotions their families and health care-takers would go through. I found an article on that was about that a children’s doctor from Ohio that had deals with dying and serious ill children. She stated it is rare for children to get bitter about death because they do not have the sense of entitlement. I do not know if I would fully agree with that statement but I have heard testimonies that children can be the most optimistic and courageous of all patients. I would admit this is phenomenal.

The article goes on in promoting palliative care which makes the children comfortable before dying. It makes it clear this form of care does not euthanize the child by all means, this care is like a hospice for seniors. I do notice that this doctor encourages this idea if the parent does not want to further treatment for their child for whatever reason. It would be easy to get mad that the parents for wanting to stop the treatment for their child but is really wrong? I realized that time between a child and a parent will always be brief because children grow up fast. And if the child has something incurable that medicine can not fix, it would fit that the parents should spend more time and make them comfortable. Taking more tests can shorten the length of possible memorable interaction between the parent and child. The doctor stated near the end of the article that she does not see her job depressing. I honestly interested to know if she is a believer or not. I enjoyed her last statement, "I know that I can’t save everybody’s life, what really matters to me at the end of the day is that these families feel that they have done the best job that they can for their child". I couldn't agree more.

the Spaniel

A Call to Action in a Morally Relativistic Society

In Weymouth MA, a purse snatcher found out that it was not going to be business as usual, as a group of about 20 patrons of a restaurant chased him down and held him for the police after he had snatched a purse from a lady in the restaurant. Purse snatcher article Interestingly enough this is an unusual outcome for most for an almost ordinary event. For the most part people who see a crime showing signs of the bystander effect. Practically speaking they do nothing but watch. There are three stages of the bystander effect.
1. Realizing that there is an emergency.
2. Confusion of responsibility.
3. Finally the bystander needs to feel competent to help the situation. Bystander Syndrome Video
This group, instead of of freezing up like the majority of Americans may do , they took the initiative and righted a wrong by chasing down the thief! The patrons had a split second decision and they made it. I am curious if too many people get a pass because of different psychological terms and excuses like bystander effect, that lets them mitigate responsibility for their actions. I worry that the reason many people are not reacting quickly and decisively is that their morality is tied in a knot because of situational ethics. If values and morality are based on the situation, how could someone act decisively? Instead, I am afraid that this country is going down a road where we look with apathy at crimes that are perpetuated around us and think, "This is not my business." As an exception to this mindset these 20 individuals core values were strong enough that when they saw an obvious wrong being done they became the hero of the moment and stood up for justice. One congressional hopeful Keating was among the 20 decisive heroes. We can only hope that more Americans will act decisively when we perceive obvious wrongs around us. Through our example maybe politicians will start standing up for what is right and making the tough decisions that we desperately need them to make.

Study finds wider view of 'family'

The article talks about the definition of 'family'. In the past people have defined 'family' as a husband and wife with or without children. Many today think that 'family' should be better defined as to include couples who are of the same sex. Research has shown over the past few years that most Americans are excepting same-sex couples with children as being a family. It asserts that this is evidence that the American people are more socially accepting of same sex relationships and that more of these relationships are becoming public.

The concept of same-sex relationships and marriage is taking off like a wildfire in our nation. There is such a resounding voice for acceptance. It doesn't sound that much different then when the same resounding voices were screaming out for acceptance for divorce, or premarital sex. So here is the conundrum: Do we fight back with everything we got? Do we let them here our resounding voices? Do we just wait, passively and with love until they make the decision to come to us and listen to the "truth"?

We know how important the 'family' is in a child's development. The problem is not in the definition of 'family', but in the definition and concept of the words 'accept' and 'tolerate'. While reading the article I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer. I started focusing on the 'accept'. To accept is to endure a situation or to tolerate something without protesting or attempting to change it. To tolerate is to withstand the unpleasant effects of something. I then started to ask myself; Can I change that I live in a fallen world?; Can I change that there are same-sex couples?; Can I change that many Americans believe it is OK to be in these relationships?; Can I change that truth (Bible) is, many will be deceived?; Can I change that same-sex couples still have innate biblical desires (to be part of a family)? And then I ask myself, "Can I 'accept' this"? I can accept that same-sex people want to be part of a family. I will accept it when I meet a 'family' with children and same-sex parents that they are a 'family'.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

21st Century Slavery

After being instructed by a friend to look on Craigslist for her missing 12 year old daughter, a mother was astonished at what she saw. Her 12 year old daughter was being sold on Craigslist for sex. This CNN article explains a far too common story. A kidnaped girl is sold and forced into online underage sex trafficking. Although Craigslist has shut down the adult services section of the website, there are far too many other sources for these services. Something that was in the past done on the streets is now done over the internet, making it almost impossible for police to detect. Buyers are now able to sit on their computer in their home or hotel room, call a number and a girl comes to them. It is unbelievable how accessible sex has become. A shocking statistic in the article states that from a study done in Georgia roughly 7,200 men a month buy sex from adolescent girls in Georgia alone.

This article grabbed my attention right away. It seems to be a topic that is often not discussed, but is a far too common story. Although I have heard stories like this in the past I was unaware of the frequency of these situations. It shocked me to see how many people in our society are willing to participate in underage sex trafficking and how corporations like Craigslist are doing very little to combat this problem. Even the chief executive of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children stated that moving the problem back onto the streets would be progress, and one of their goals is moving those involved into some other illicit enterprise. How have we as a society and even our leaders become so fallen and corrupt that we are doing nothing to stop these things from happening to our children?

Right away the question came to mind, what can I do? What can we do???

Natural Revelation in COLOMBIA!

On what seems like a weekly basis, the news reminds the world of only the drug trafficking in Colombia. What most people do not realize though, is that Colombia is a place full of Natural Revelation where God's existence and power can be revealed.

Colombia unfortunately, has been portrayed for many years as only the country with drugs and coffee. Although there is some truth to this, there is another world that exist in Colombia that few people are aware of, it's natural beauty.

Natural Revelation as learned in class, is God's witness to himself through history, nature, and human conscious. Through natural revelation and creation we learn about God's power and existence. Because I am 100% proud to be a Colombian, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all a video that allows you to see some of Colombia's natural beauty. With the few images shown, I hope it will begin to change how you see Colombia and reveal what God has created in a country that is seen by most people, as having only drugs and coffee.

In this you tube video called Colombia Tourism Video, you will see some of Colombia's natural beauty, history and different culture which always reveals God's existence and power to me.

For more information on Colombia and how tourists are discovering it's beauty, you can read this article on Moving it Globally or click on this you tube video "Colombia is Passion".


Yep, Reggie Bush. If you're even slightly interested in the world of athletics, and haven't been living under a rock, you've probably read more than you ever cared to know about this current NFL and former USC football player. One of the fastest, most celebrated football players in college football history who seemed to never be caught on the field has finally been caught off it.

Reggie has recently been on the front page, and in the blogs of almost every sports news outlet on the planet as the first athlete in 75 years to return the prestigious Heisman trophy due to many NCAA violations deeming him ineligible for his last college season (which he completely denied until recently).

Fame, money, status, scandal, deception, cheating, pride, and selfishness have been constant descriptors of huge recent ethical sports scandals, including Mark McGuire and Marion Jones to name a few. It is facinating to see how almost everyone, even those who may have never even watched the sport, seem to want to call the "ethical police," and become volunteer professional counselors as they all weigh in on the polls with the "right response" and healing path needed for each of these athletes.

It's also interesting how as human beings we all seem to have some definition of what justice, right and wrong is, and how we get frustrated if that justice is not being served - even if the situation has absolutely nothing to do with us. Our opinions range from black and white demanding the most extreme consequences to those we see in the wrong, to others saying we need to simply mind our own business.

As a college athlete I have had a behind the scenes look at the unique pressures, combined with personal hurts and wounds for myself and these high profile athletes, and I have become less judgmental than I used to be. What is it in us though that immediately feels like we have a right to judge someone else or express our opinion on others circumstances when we don't know them, don't have all of the details, and often haven't assessed the same fallen aspects of ourselves? If like author Jay Adams we were strictly using the Bible to evaluate these situations, what does it say a person needs to do to make things right in God's eyes and how are we to respond?

Reggie's recent response seems to be putting the past to rest saying, "Now that that is behind me, I look forward to the future and winning more awards and championships in New Orleans. Who dat!" After reading this, my prayer is for a Christian friend or counselor come along side him to encourage him, guide him, and build him up, instead of tear him down ... helping him change his exclamation "who dat!" to the question "who dat?" and introduce him to the One who will give the ultimate award that never has to be given back.

A Facebook Affair

Facebook is great, almost a
ll of us have it, and a lot of us probably check it multiple times a day. We get to stay in touch with old high school friends that more than likely we would never even be in contact with again. We can share photos with family members who live across the country. Facebook cites that "People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook" we get the picture... people use it... a lot. But in the process of connecting people it looks like it may be bringing some people a little too close. This article was just one of many that cited the statistic that "81 percent of divorce attorneys have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years." And that 1 out of 5 divorces are citing Facebook for one of the reasons they want a divorce.

It seems so innocent at first, just catching up with an old friend. Talking isnt cheating right? But then all of a sudden your waiting for your loved one to leave so you can log online and see if that "old friend" is online too, because they just seem so understanding. Or maybe it isnt even a long lost friend, but someone totally new and exciting that you just happened to meet online, and they compliment your profile picture. A little flirting never hurt right?

Then on the flip side: maybe you're the other person in the relationship... the jealousy and anxious feelings starts to creep in. You notice your significant other has been spending more and more time online, and they seem to get a little antsy when you looking at something on their computer. Do you check up on it yourself, or do you just ask them straight out? Do you trust them to give you an honest answer?

Its just so sad to know that a website designed to connect people and bring people together, is actually causing marriages to fall a part. But a question to throw out there... would people who are "Facebook cheating" find some other place to do it so it doesn't matter if Facebook existed or not, OR is it that Facebook is so simple its led people who wouldn't actually cheat to fall into the trap of innocent chatting that leads to more?
It definitely brings a whole new dimension to trust in relationships and how relationships function in this generation...

What is Truth?

I never knew finding an article that talked about truth would be this hard to find. I finally found an article that at least talked a little bit about how truth is being misused in our society today. After reading the article, I found it to be sad that most politicians find it hard to tell the truth during their campaigns or times in office. Although it is key for our politicians to always say the truth or atleast try to, this is not what this post is about. This post is about the people who believe anything they hear and regard it as the truth for themselves.
What is truth? The simplest answer I can give is that truth is something that is immovable. From a Christians perspective, Jesus is the truth and in Him all things can be known. Almost everything in today's culture says that truth is subjective or relative. If that were true then I wouldn't be in this class because it is would be a waste of my time. People have gotten used to having others tell them what they believe in. No one does research anymore; we have become too lazy to find the truth for ourselves. The media, politicians, and society knows this. They will keep feeding us whatever they deem is right until we get off our butts and find the truth for ourselves.
One thing I would also like to touch on is that there is a difference between truth and opinion. It is the truth that if you shoot yourself with a loaded gun, you will probably die. It is m opinion that cricket is the most boring sport in the world. As I much as I don't like the sport cricket or understand it, it is the best sport in the world to some other person. My opinion is formed through my reasoning, but the truth isn't. The truth has always existed no matter what I believe or say.
Is Al Gore right about global warming? I sure hope not. Opinion is not the truth. It is our reasoning, and the quicker people understand that, the faster they can start looking for the truth for whatever issues they have in their respective lives.
In conclusion, I would like to say that truth is not subjective or relative, it does exist. Just because we do not know the truth does not mean it doesn't exist. It does!! Do the hard work of finding it. Don't make up something and call it the truth. You will not only lead yourself astray, but thousands of others too. I believe in Jesus and I believe that the Bible speaks truth into my life no matter the situation. This is truth for me and it can also be truth for you. We will never be effective in our various careers if we do not have something concrete and immovable we believe in. The purpose of this post is not to tell you what to believe. I write this to challenge to stop believing in everything you are told and start doing research.

How one's view of personhood colors tragic events.

Here is a reaction to a local story that I have not been able to get out of my head. Last week, George Leroy Baker III was in town for his granddaughter’s wedding. After the reception, he went for a walk and was beaten to death by three teenage boys in downtown Lynchburg. One of the boys mentioned that they carried out the attack in an attempt to impress some girls. I find the comments of the victim’s granddaughter and her new husband to this seemingly senseless and unprovoked act to be remarkable. In this article they mention that

“Although we are hurt, we do not hate the boys who committed this heinous crime. We want to reach out to their families in love as we are all working through traumatic emotions together. It is encouraging to see bonds that have been formed through all of this and we have departed Lynchburg with a greater love and appreciation for this incredible city and an even greater desire to come back”.

I am a professing Christian, but I do not know if I would have a level of grace and forgiveness that even approaches what these people have displayed towards the perpetrators and towards the City of Lynchburg in general. I work downtown, not too far from where this occurred, and I find myself falling more in line with the vengeful and unforgiving viewpoints of my coworkers – many of whom are not Christians – than with the Christian perspective and attitude that this family has taken towards this tragedy.

In reading about this story, I was reminded of the material and immaterial view of personhood that was discussed in class a few weeks ago. I can certainly understand how experiencing this event from a strictly material view of personhood could naturally lead to a sense of hopelessness and a strong desire for revenge. However, the faith of this family (their Christian worldview) has shaped their view of this tragedy and helped them to cope with their loss in a radically different manner. So where does this leave me? My prayer is that God would grant me the grace to exemplify my faith and belief in the face of great adversity, much like this family has.

Drinking and... Flying?

On Tuesday September 14, 2010 the Ducth Police pulled aside a US pilot on suspicion of exceeding the intoxication level for flying. Shortly before take off the 52 year old captain was apprehended and tested for alcohol content. The pilot failed the administered alcohol test with a score of 0.023 percent.

The authorities canceled the flight and the captain was fined 700 euros the equivalence of 911 dollars. However Delta Airlines stated that the canceled fight was due to a crew member that appeared unfit for duty.

CNN reports that the company is cooperating with the local authorities and launching an investigation of their own. The Pilot has been suspended from Delta Airlines until further investigation occurs.

Before reading this article I was unaware that any amount of drinking was permitted for commercial pilots, but after reading this article I am wondering why it is permitted at all? Would I desire to fly knowing there is the slightest chance my pilot has been drinking on the job? No I would not.This form of irresponsibility not only effects other people's lives but the families of those who are traveling as well. From a Biblical Worldview some might suggest the pilot has done no wrong, because he had not reached intoxication or drunkenness, but I beg to differ. Consuming a substance to alter any form of behavior, cognition, or physicality without moral motives is wrong. Jesus Christ teaches self-control and awareness which are two states of mind that alcohol aims to distract us from (1 Cr 9:25-27; Gal 5:23; 1 Th 4:4; ). If an individual thinks it is possible to be inhibited by alcohol and still operate a commercial airline then I say "God speed, and I will pray for your life, but your actions scream of foolishness". We as a people should be practicing self control so that we may progress through life and expound our wisdom on others.

Facebook users 'are insecure, narcissistic and have low self-esteem'

Mail Online just came out with an article the other day saying that people who check their facebook often are narcissistic, insecure, and have a lower self-esteem. When I first read this I thought this was a very harsh and bold statement, but the more I thought and read about it, it started to make more sense. The author described checking facebook and changing things on it as looking in the mirror. The article also said, "Facebook provides an ideal setting for narcissists to monitor their appearance and how many ‘friends’ they have, as it allows them to thrive on ‘shallow’ relationships while avoiding genuine warmth and empathy." It later goes on to say that some people use facebook to promote themselves to others, and make themselves look good to people they don't even know, but would like to know. I mean when you think about it sometimes the only reason you post something is because you want someone else to read it, think of you differently, or even make yourself look good. Don't think that I am being judgmental, I am saying these things because sometimes I am guilty of them too.

Researcher Soraya Mehdizadeh from York University in Canada issued a test to 100 students (50 male, 50 female) that studied their facebook tendencies. The test asked questions that measured their need for admiration, and how much they tend to promote themselves, and it also asked them how often they were on facebook, and sure enough those who spent more time on facebook scored higher in the narcissism section of the test. One interesting fact that they found when it comes to the promoting of oneself is men tend to promote themselves through the post they submit, while women promote themselves by the pictures they put up. I thought this was very interesting, and when you think about it very much true.

Now before you all think I am crazy, I do want to say that I am not saying that I agree with everything this article says. I just thought it was a eye opener and interesting, and that you all would like to read it. I know for myself sometimes I find myself on facebook way too much, and that I could be doing much better things with my time. A scary thought that a friend once brought to my attention was how most of us probably spend more time a week on facebook, twitter, or espn etc., then we do in God's word or prayer. Is this ever a problem for you? I know sometimes it is for me.

What Are You Willing to Risk and For What?

While in search of an particular article regarding family violence, I came across the most amazing/heroic story, about a father who in a split second sacrifice his life to save the life of his wife and unborn child. The couple, Brian and Erin Wood had been married for five years and will be expecting their first child on November 5,2010. Originally from Lakewood, Colorado he and his wife moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2005. There he was a lead designer for a company that develop 3D computer games.

On September 3, 2010 the couple were traveling to a family home in Whidbey Island in Washington State when tragedy occurred. The driver of an oncoming vehicle lost control and crossed the center lane heading towards the couples vehicle. The article stated that the driver was trying to take off her sweater, while the front passenger stirred. Given Brian only a split second to react. The article stated that he braked really hard and spurn the car to the right putting himself in the path of the oncoming vehicle to protect his family.

During her interview with Today's Show, Erin stated that Brian made a choice to save her and the baby and that she is grateful and that she will make sure that their baby knows how much he loved him.

As christian sometimes we complain about what is require of us, risk that we have to take, and so on. It makes me wonder, if were not willing to risk anything for the people we proclaim to love here on earth, then what makes us think that we would do it for Christ. Are we willing to proclaim the name of Jesus no matter what the outcome or will we be quick to deny him like Peter. Are we selfish people or do we really care for and love our neighbor as we are commanded.

It is obvious that Brian did what he thought was best in order to protect his family even if it meant losing his life. So if the question were to be asked, what he was willing to risk and for what it could be simply answered his life for his family. This story illustrates unconditional love, the love that we are to have towards others and the love that God shows towards us. While some may look at it from another view I see it as heroic, a sacrifice reflecting that of Christ, who gave his life so that we may live. In the video Brian's parents talk about love and hows there's no room for anger. That it self is a mouthful considering the situation, but its appears that they have found peace in the storm.

I know that there are special individuals out there like Brian who have placed their life on the line for someone or something. Whether it was for a child, family, friend, neighbor or even a stranger. It seems that stories such as these often get less publicity. I just want to thank God for people like Brian and pray for the families strength.

7-yr Olds' Obsession with Beauty

Most of us have realized through magazines, television shows, advertisements, commercials, movies, and every other media influence around, that today's society portrays a beautiful woman as a person who has a perfect body, hair, skin, and wardrobe. Some new insight has been gained after reading the article Beauty bug bites Beirut’s little ones which is about young girls in Lebanese, as young as the age of seven, who are obsessed with looking and feeling great. They do this by keeping up with their manicures, pedicures, facials, hair treatments, and wardrobes at the spa. Yes, you heard me correctly, seven year old KIDS are obsessed with the spa and the sad thing is the mothers of these daughters encourage this. Both the mothers and daughters believe that these spa experiences are teaching the daughters hygiene and how to take care of themselves. The mothers believe it will help them develop more self confidence. A Lebanese anthropologist said, "It might also make them fit as future brides, to fit the norm as someone who has her hair in order, her nails done... someone who is marriageable. It is survival in competition for a man." This is what they are training their daughters to do.

For crying out loud we are talking about seven year old girls who should be playing with barbies and baby dolls, and not being concerned about their appearance in search for a husband! Yes, hygiene is definitely important but this article explains how hygiene has been taken to a whole new level. This article clearly explains why young females develop eating disorders, low self esteem and depression because unfortunately they may not be able to live up to society's expectations. So much pressure is being put on young girls to look a certain way that they cannot even be kids and enjoy their childhood. This way of life is also teaching the girls to judge others by their appearance which is completely opposite as to what God would want us to do. We are to look at a person's heart and not what they look like on the outside, which is the way God views us. It is sad for these kids to develop such a personality as this. It is like they do not even get a fair chance because they are learning what their parents teach them, which is to be narrow minded and judgmental towards others based on their appearance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Can You Read Me Now?

The Boston Globe published an article examining texting as a form of communication between parents and teens. Parents claim that utilizing texting to reach out to their teens is helping them build a bridge for open communication. Parents say that texting things like; chores, responsibilities or even request comes off as loving consequently their teens are more eager to listen to them. As oppose to a face-to-face approach which comes off as controlling . Instead, of telling Suzie "Do your homework" a parent can simply send a text from the kitchen saying "I love you, now get your homework done". Texting as described in the article can be highly intimate or highly distancing.

I don't necessarily think that texting between a child/parent is a negative thing but i do however think that it needs to be used wisely. There is a time and place for a parent to be a parent and for a parent to be a friend. When the two dimensions unite there is a lack of respect and authority that begins to form. Because parents use this method to avoid conflict many important issues will go unaddressed. Teens still need to be held accountable to parents, rules and responsibilities. Just like when kids get put in time out, a parent needs to sit with them and explain why they are in time out or else the time out is pointless. Teens need the same thing they need to sit with their parents so they can learn how to make better decisions, have a strong moral character and integrity by talking it out. Parents should also be held liable for communicating to their children, just because there afraid their teen will shut down doesn't mean parents need to walk on egg shells with there kids. Parents need to stand their ground as the parents. Texting should not be used in place of all other forms of communication. It most definitely should not be the preferred method. There are certain issues that a parent needs to address with the family that needs to be done the old fashioned way and not with a 160 character limit.

Teens need human interaction!! A majority of their day is spent; texting, tweeting, facebooking and for the oldies out there myspacing. Technology has revolutionized face-to-face communication by far. People are walking and texting, eating and texting, talking and texting and the ever so confusing to me sleeping and texting (now that's impressive)! Cell phones are the last thing people see at night and the first thing they see when they wake up. It's sad to say but I would venture to say that a majority of Americans (including myself) can't go anywhere without their phone. What sort of life is that? If teens can't get in person communication at home where in the world will they get it?

iBliterated or iLluminated?

We live in an age of the “i.” iPods have taken the culture by storm, along with iPhones, and even iPads. In essence, our minds have been iBliterated. Before we know it, the five senses that our children read about in their science books will be replaced by iSmells, iHears, iSees, iTouches, and iTastes.

Charles Mysak, an old fashioned entrepreneur, has faithfully withstood the relentless assaults of big businesses on his humble used book stand. His wobbly, old card table has outlasted the Noblest of the Barnes’ book stores, and has lived to see the explosive growth of the Apple seed into the Apple orchard. Through the good times and bad, hot days and cold, moldy books and pristine plastic covers, his passion for nourishing the mind has kept him afloat. His books are the catalyst for his thoughts, and from his thoughts proceed a healthy functioning of the body and mind. He sees a culture whose eyes are opaque and dull, whose ears have long since lost their luster from the relentless thumping of ear buds, and whose minds appear to be in fast decline.

We have chosen to fill our minds with compost. Our neurotransmitters are overloaded with the infinite results from Google searches, and burnt out from blasting Justin Bieber. Our hearts are heavy from replacing real relationships with Facebook frauds and real theology with hopeless gimmicks and futile philosophies.

What we think influences how we feel, and how we feel influences what we do. But how do we change what we think?

What we truly need is iLlumination. Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4:8 to think about the things that are pleasing to God; the things that are indeed excellent and worthy of praise. He explains to us in Romans 12:2 that we are transformed by the renewal of our minds. When we fill our mind with God’s Word, when we dwell on the person of Jesus Christ, only then do we begin to experience freedom from the bondage of a hapless mind. When we conform our minds to Christ, we will find it more natural to conform our lives to Him as well.

So in a sense, Mysak is right: the mind does need to fed. But what the mind does not need are empty words or flashing screens. What the mind needs is a healthy dose of the Word of God. One day Mysak’s folding table will collapse, the pages of his books will turn to dust, and those printed words will be forgotten forever. But there amidst heaps of dust and rusty table legs will remain the one book that can withstand the test of time. There, still true, still applicable, and still iLluminating the way, etched into the hearts and minds of generations to come, will be the Bible.

Hungry for Something More

Is it true that food obsession can be linked to spirituality? Author Geneen Roth certainly thinks so. I thought that this article was well articulated. Roth's best-selling book, "Women Food and God," is about women's struggle with body image and how it connects to food and spirituality.

We live in an age where women are bombarded with images of what they're "supposed" to look like. Often, if women don't feel they're measuring up, they may go to great lengths to fit into what the world is screaming at them to become. Roth explains that this road is usually taken when women are searching for something else. There is a part of them that is longing to be fulfilled and they believe that their battle with food will help with this void.

Roth makes an excellent point when she states that we are, "Externally oriented." We have turned into a society that craves perfectionism. We are expected to have it all and do it all, often at the expense of our physical health. What is seen on the outside is deemed more valuable than what is on the inside.

Food is meant to be enjoyed...I certainly love to eat. We should be wary when it begins to become an obsession. This might be the time when we ask ourselves if we're being fed enough in our spiritual life.

Insure Your Divorce?

Like a house, car or life you can now receive insurance for divorce. A “protection” for the disastrous end of marriage.

I was searching the web, trying to stay up-to-date about the world around me and I came across an interesting article, When 'happily ever after' tanks, now there's divorce insurance. In this article it stated how a website is now offering divorce insurance. This insurance, like any other, is supposed to compensate you for the loss. The policy has to be in effect for at least 4 years for there to be a pay out of the divorce. This really got me thinking.

Has divorce become so common that we now expect it to happen like a car accident or a family member eventually dying? What happened to, till death do us part? Have we come to expect people to give up after 4 years, I thought it was the 7 year rut?

So many questions come to mind. I think it is that so many people are becoming lazy and want instant gratification that as soon as there is an issue they don’t want to do the work to actually fix it. I am SO tired of hearing people say “well I just don’t love him/her anymore.” What people really mean is “I am stuck in a rut and I just don’t really want to fix it; that would be too much work.”

With this insurance, the process will be even easier, knowing that the couple will be compensated, they will not have to worry about the money for the lawyers to go through the divorce. I have always had a heart for relationships and this just makes my mission even stronger.

As a Christian I believe that marriage is forever, with the very few exceptions for divorce. God has given everyone a mission to be Christ like and spread his word. So, get moving and tell people the truth; marriage is not always easy, there will be fights and things will go wrong, but suck it up and find a good marriage counselor and work through it. Once you make it, your marriage will be stronger than ever.