Friday, June 26, 2009

Where'd you go?

I wanted to get online to give a quick update to those of you that have wondered as to why I've been silent for the last couple of days.  I may or may not to able to post at any point in the next three weeks or so.

My wife's dear mother passed away very unexpectedly yesterday.  They really were best friends.  She was undergoing a hip replacement, and it was supposed to be a routine procedure.  Unfortunately, a blood clot travelled from the area of the surgery to her heart, and after an hour of efforts, the surgeons were unable to revive her.

Needless to say, it's been...well, pretty much impossible.  We're in Las Vegas with my father-in-law and brother-in-law, and everybody's just trying to make it through a day at a time.  I can't believe it was just yesterday.

The most ridiculous thing is that I don't feel like it should be affecting me as much as it is.  I loved her.  I'm sad about a lot of things.  But my heart breaks for what my wife is going through.  I keep sneaking off to cry.  It's so stupid.


Answering impossible questions is sort of the purpose of this blog.  I really get a kick out of it.  But today I was sitting in a room with a pastor, and was about to say something when my wife came in crying uncontrollably.  I'll tell you instead.

At this point, I'm almost done with my second Masters degree in theology.  I expect to graduate summa cum laude.  I've worked in ministry for over fifteen years.  And I have no answers that are really sufficient.  How?  Why?  I could lecture on the theological development on modern theodicy, which is supposed to deal with that stuff, but it's just not good enough when you're in the thick of it.

Why did this happen?
The world's broken.

Where was God when she died?
The same place he was when his own son died.  On the throne of grace, looking down with love and compassion.

How did it happen?
Blood clot, doctors, the world's broken...  I don't know.

I don't know.

None of it's good enough.

I can only hug you, and love you, and hold your hand, and kiss your forehead, and not leave your side.  Those are the closest things to answers I can come up with right now.


I didn't mean to write this much.  My wife needs me.  Thank you all for your kind thoughts, for your prayers, and for your condolences.  Someday I'll have a little more to say...maybe.  Right now I have other things to do.


P.S. I swear that if anyone tries to take me on with this stuff, I'll smack you back into the third grade.  Or worse, I'll sick Katherine on you.  In fact, yeah.  Katherine, until I'm back on top of things, you can be my bulldog.  Much love, old friend.  Much love to all of you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk?

For today's blog, I humbly offer a letter I submitted today to Eddie Pappani, of The Mikey Show. In case you're new here, I'm a fan. Of The Mikey Show. And comic books. And trying to sound smart. Enjoy.

Dear Eddie,

I thoroughly enjoyed this morning’s “nerd debate” regarding a hypothetical physical altercation between Superman and the Hulk. With all respect, I believe you argued your position better than either of the designated debaters. Nonetheless, I take issue with your position. In other words, you, sir, are wrong.

As an aficionado of video games, I rest assured you are familiar with the concept of “kiting” wherein a combatant with ranged attacks maintains a sufficient distance between himself and his opponent so that he will suffer no damage, all the time performing ranged attacks designed to eventually undo his opponent and gain the victory. Superman has a natural ranged attack in his “heat vision,” whereas Hulk has none.

Ah! But Hulk can throw rocks, you say! Indeed he can. This is where we come to one of two critical areas where Superman can potentially supersede the Hulk. I am speaking of super-speed. No matter how powerful the Hulk may become, if he cannot land a blow on Superman, the point is moot.

Yes, I anticipate your next argument as well, and am ready to answer it. Indeed, as the Hulk’s anger rises so with it will rise his power in all respects, and with it, his invulnerability. (His speed may be affected as well, but such conjecture is only theoretical.) At best, we find ourselves in a position where the proverbial “unstoppable force” has met the “immovable object.” Is it possible that Superman can never destroy a Hulk whose invulnerability is unlimited?

Perhaps. However, the question of who would win the fight may be answered by a simple consideration of Newtonian physics. Superman’s power of flight allows him to change direction in midair, while the Hulk’s does not. Consider then the following scenario:

The Hulk gathers his power, and with a mighty leap that causes the very earth to shake, he vaults into the air on a collision course with the Man of Steel. His rage has reached such a point that one punch might well end the Kryptonian in a way even Doomsday might never have imagined.

Superman moves to the side, allows the Hulk to pass, and hits him from behind with a blast from his heat vision, inflicting damage and propelling the Hulk further into space.

One of two things will happen at this point. Either the Hulk will die of oxygen depletion outside the Earth’s atmosphere or if Superman has aimed well, the Hulk will be on a near endless course through the depths of space as he leaves not only the Earth’s atmosphere but also the boundaries first of our solar system, and many, many years after his massive body has begun to rot, eventually leaves the Milky Way galaxy itself to drift forever in darkness.

The Hulk has one great hope. Fortunately for him, the writers at DC Comics are not nearly so creative as to be able to come up with such a solution, as evidenced by Superman’s tragic encounter with Doomsday, which could well have ended similarly. The Hulk, on the other hand, has Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and the rest of the Marvel Comics team behind him, who would never so much as consider introducing a character so overpowered as Superman only to waste such potential on simple matters such as crime-fighting.

My conclusion, therefore, is that while the Hulk might well lose in a fight to Superman, Marvel Comics are clearly superior to DC Comics, as should be self-evident at this point.

Thank you,

P1 Solid

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strongest dad in the world?

Wow! Yesterday Pastor Dave shared a video in church that really got me, and I wanted to pass it on. I've attached it at the bottom, but it'll help if I give you a little background information. The following is taken from

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And if they’re not in a marathon they are in a triathlon — that daunting, almost superhuman, combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.

It’s a remarkable record of exertion — all the more so when you consider that Rick can't walk or talk. For the past twenty five years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines.

At Rick’s birth in 1962 the umbilical cord coiled around his neck and cut off oxygen to his brain. Dick and his wife, Judy, were told that there would be no hope for their child’s development.

In 1975, Rick was finally admitted into a public school. Two years later, he told his father he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run for a local lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident.

Dick, far from being a long-distance runner, agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. They finished next to last, but they felt they had achieved a triumph. That night, Dick remembers, "Rick told us he just didn’t feel handicapped when we were competing."

Rick’s own accomplishments, quite apart from the duo’s continuing athletic success, have included his moving on from high school to Boston University, where he graduated in 1993 with a degree in special education. That was followed a few weeks later by another entry in the Boston Marathon.

As he fondly pictured it: "On the day of the marathon from Hopkinton to Boston people all over the course were wishing me luck, and they had signs up which read 'Congratulations on your graduation!’"

Rick now works at Boston College’s computer laboratory helping to develop a system codenamed "Eagle Eyes," through which mechanical aids (like for instance a powered wheelchair) could be controlled by a paralyzed person’s eye-movements, when linked-up to a computer.

Together the Hoyts don’t only compete athletically; they also go on motivational speaking tours, spreading the Hoyt brand of inspiration to all kinds of audiences, sporting and non-sporting, across the country.

By the way, Dick Hoyt is 65 years old. That's what I call Solid.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Why isn't Fathers Day a bigger deal?

Ok, let’s be real here. Mothers Day is just a bigger deal than Fathers Day. No, they’re not just “different.” Do you remember all the Mothers Day marketing last month? And then Fathers Day comes around, and it’s like the stores all of a sudden go, “Ah, shoot! It’s Fathers Day! Let’s…um…put ties on sale.”

We got my mom this beautiful flower arrangement this year. Dad’s getting a card. (Did you hear that, Dad? Enjoy your friggin’ card. You’ll probably get it, like…I don’t know. Wednesday? You can blame me for that—not Wifey.) So what’s the deal? My dad is great! We love our dads, right? I have a theory.

When I was a kid, my dad used to drive an old Ford Pinto. It was originally my mom’s car, but then she got something else and it was passed on to dad. That car was a real piece. And I don’t mean a museum piece.

Every morning we’d hear, “RrrRRRrrrrRRRRrrrrRRrrrRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrr!” as he tried to get it started up. Finally it just wouldn't start anymore. I think he sold it for a couple hundred dollars.

Then he got a canary yellow Toyota Corolla hatchback. He bought it from a guy that worked for him, and it already had about 100,000 miles on it. He drove it into the ground. That thing finally died after around 250,000 miles.

Mom had much nicer cars. That’s just how things worked in our family. I remember vowing that when I was grown up, I’d have nice cars. They’d at least be as nice as my wife’s.

Nope. I drive a Nissan Sentra with a big dent in the fender. It’s not quite the equivalent of that old Pinto, but my wife’s car is easily worth twice what mine is.

So here’s my theory. Mothers Day is a bigger deal because we like it that way. By we, I mean men. Yeah, there’s also that nine months in the womb thing, and some other stuff, but I think the biggest reason is that we (men) want Mothers Day to be a bigger deal.

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her…”

-Ephesians 5:25

My dad laid down so much for us. I don’t know a lot of guys that have done what he’s done. A lot of people’s dads have lives marked by success. And they learned that from their dads.

Know what I learned from my dad? Sacrifice. My mom and dad were separated for a year between 1989 and 1990. It’s not that they wanted to be, or that they were fighting or angry or anything. Dad just couldn’t find work in the town where we lived. So he lived and worked in Dallas and drove home to see us on the weekends. We probably should have just gone with him right away, and finally did, but mom and dad didn’t want to uproot us.

What did he do in the evenings? He cooked. He always said he enjoyed it, but now that we’re all out of the house, he doesn’t really cook anymore. Dad’s cooking was legendary among my friends.

Dad got sober almost a decade ago. He never touches alcohol anymore, unless he’s grabbing a beer out of the fridge for Mom. While I was growing up, Dad drank…a lot. I don’t know for sure why. I mean, he grew up with the understanding that you’re supposed to have a drink after work, but I think the biggest reason was that it was just his way of dealing with everything – the death of his father in 1981, the loss of the family store, financial ruin, foreclosure. I could go on, but I won’t. The thing is…we knew about that stuff, but mostly just cognitively. Mom and Dad protected us from it all. They never dumped their problems on us. They made leftover beans for supper fun (sort of).

A couple of days ago I wrote about how we wait on God to give us worldly blessings when he gives us so much more than that. He gives us what we need to become who he’s created us to be.

With my dad, it was a lot like that too. Dad wanted to give us things that cost money. I’m sure he wanted life to be easier, and I’m sure he still does. My dad gave me character, values, and the ability to prioritize the things that are most important. He taught me sacrifice. A lot of people never learn that.

Thanks for laying down your life for us, Dad. You gave us what we needed, instead of what we all wanted. What you taught us is more valuable than material things.

I don’t say, “I hope I’ll be as good a dad as you someday.” I know I’ll be a good dad. I was watching. I learned.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Enjoy your friggin’ card.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why do we fall?

"So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

That's what Thomas Wayne says to his young son, Bruce, in the 2005 movie "Batman Begins." Wifey had somehow never seen it, even though I was sure I'd shown it to her before. So for the last three nights before bed we've been watching it, and we finally finished it last night. (I know. We're pitiful.)

Today wasn't so great. Nothing really bad happened. I just got discouraged. So here I am at midnight finally getting around to writing something. I had intended on just skipping today, for the first weekday since I started this blog in April. I just couldn't find anything in me I felt was worth sharing.

I had a bad day. It's getting tough to go into work, knowing that there are only a few days left before my layoff. I keep thinking I hear somebody say, "Dead man walking!" like in that movie. Men really struggle with defining themselves in terms of their work. So it's tough.

What am I gonna do? I'm gonna get up in six-and-a-half hours, eat some Fruit Loops, read my Bible, and get my butt in to work. Cause that's what men do.

We pick ourselves up. And we generally find ourselves stronger for it.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Whuzuh? Zicam?

The FDA recently issued a warning against the nasal gel and nasal swab forms of Zicam. I’ve used the pill form before, but never these. It’s kinda like Airborne. It’s supposed to either prevent a cold that’s coming on or significantly reduce the symptoms.

It never really worked for me, but I pretty much take whatever my wife gives me. She could poison me anytime she wanted. Today she gave me this big yellow pill and said, “It’s oil. It’ll [blah-blah-blah] your [blah-blah-blah].”

“Fish oil?” I asked. That’s the only kind of oil I could think of that comes in pill form. I’ve never taken it, but it’s always fascinated me. I picture people with plastic hairnets, white coats, and blue plastic gloves squeezing fish over bowls to get the juice out of them.

“No, it’s [bluh-bluh-bluh].”

“Ok, fine.” I swallowed it without water. I know. I have mad pill-swallowing skillz. Somebody call Letterman.

Anyway, I found out today that Zicam is basically a zinc supplement. This is zinc:

Yes, we need a little bit of it in our diet, but c’mon! Is it any surprise that snorting it in gel form might cause a little damage to the sense of smell?

Then again, I can’t talk. If my wife stuck it up my nose and told me to snort, I’d do it. I’m not gonna lie.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When will God bless me?

I got to thinking about this the other day. A few people heard me talking about it Sunday morning before church. I’ve got this idea, see. This comes from years of hearing this question from friends, from Christians across the world, and from my own mouth.

This will be a short post, because I’d rather leave time for you to think about this than have you read about the jet we just won in Rock Band. And I should disclose that my Christian readers will probably get a lot more out of this than the others.

The general idea is this… We (Christians in particular) look at other Christians as God blesses them with things we want too, or we go through difficult times that seem to never end, or no matter how hard we work, we feel like we’re not making the progress we hoped for, and then we ask this question. “When will God bless me?” “When is it my turn?” Or maybe even, “When will God finally get up and do something about this mess that I call a life?” Yeah, I know how that sounds. I’m trying to be REAL here, people!

So here it is. I’m just gonna lay it on ya. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Cause I think this may blow your mind, or at least mess up your theology a little.

I think the biggest reason people ask this question is that they’re looking for worldly blessings. Now let me clarify that a little. I don’t think it’s wrong to want a nice house, and I’m not gonna condemn anybody for driving a BMW. I am a capitalist, after all.

The point is that God’s blessings don’t always take the form we’d like. If you are a Christian, let me ask you a few questions.

  1. Where would your life be without God?
  2. Assuming your life is different because you know God, what caused the change? Was it what you did, or what God did?
  3. What sort of authority has God given you through the death and resurrection of Christ? Where have you seen that authority at work?
  4. Would you trade any of that for something you’ve been asking God for but haven’t received?

You see where I’m going with this. It’s not just that heavenly things are of greater value than earthly treasures (c.f. Matthew 6:19-20). It’s that whatever God’s given you is something you needed more than whatever you were looking for. The other stuff might have even messed it up. God knew what he was doing. Always has and always will.

So don’t go around feeling like God hasn’t blessed you. And if you don’t feel like you’re receiving the kind of blessing I’m talking about here, send me an email at solidfooting(at)gmx(dot)com. Maybe I can help you out.

Have a blessed day, people!


P.S. For more on this topic, read Philippians 3!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Can Wifey beat me at video games?

Answer: No she is not allowed.

You may remember that about a month ago we got an Xbox 360, and I began “teaching” my wife how to play Halo 3.

Well, she’s been getting better. She still can’t quite beat me, but she’s got a lot of talent. She’s improving much more quickly than I am, and I actually have to try to beat her now. I have to use old tricks, like hiding with a sniper rifle on a big map or memorizing the location of the temporary invisibility or the quad damage.

I know. Poor Wifey. You try getting beat down with her gravity hammer and see how you feel.

Well, my birthday is coming up a week from today, and when I got home from work Friday there was a big box on my porch from Amazon. I called her immediately to inform her of the large box that was exactly the right shape.

See, I already knew what she’d gotten me. In the first place, I asked for it. In the second, she got really mad at me last week for not answering my phone when she was stuck at work with a migraine and no car (oops), and she almost cancelled the order. When she recounted the story, she was so mad that she let it slip. I was in enough trouble already, so I held my excitement at the time.

Back to the box. She seriously was gonna make me wait for my birthday! I begged and begged until she finally gave in. Hey, you think I’ve made strong arguments before? You should have heard my undeniable logic! It’s a good thing she gave in too, or today’s topic would have been “Who has the MEANEST WIFEY EVER?!”

She wrapped it while I was in the shower. I ripped through the paper, and there it was. Rock Band for Xbox 360. People, we spent about EIGHT HOURS playing on Saturday and another five or so on Sunday. Our band is called “Training Wheels,” and we’re starting to develop a substantial national fan base.

Here is an real email conversation between my wife and I during the work day today:


Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 11:50 AM

Subject: sup

yo julez i got a call from jery the maneger at el ocho an he wants us too play this weekend but i sad we wer in ny and to call are manegr cuz were bilding fans here an he sad its cool but i donno wut u think ?



06/15/2009 11:54 AM

SubjectRE: sup

Hey yo Solid I could be feelin el ocho but I’m lovin ny too so like whatevers yo. he could cough up the dough for a jet if he wants it that bad but hey baby you rock my world.


Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 11:59 AM

Subject: RE: sup

haha yea your rigt but wut about the maneger ?


06/15/2009 12:01 PM

SubjectRE: sup

I aint got time for some guy in a suit tellin me where to be. I know my life better than him any dey.


Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 12:03 PM

Subject: RE: sup

yea girl u wat me to tell him to stick it or wut?


06/15/2009 12:05 PM

SubjectRE: sup

Shoot man I guess maybe so but I don’t know maybe he’s tryin to help so somethin. Think I’m gonna take me some afternoon beauty rest we just partied way too hard last night yo. back in an hour Solid.


I have come to a number of conclusions….

  1. Rock Band is awesome.
  2. I have the best wife ever.
  3. I had better enjoy my temporary advantage in this game. She’ll be rocking my face off soon.

Hey, has anybody other than me been missing her Saturday blog posts?


Friday, June 12, 2009

What's Christianity about? (Part 2)

Earlier this week I asked the question, "What's the heart of the Christian message?" Here's my own answer. It's not intended to be definitive. It's just a launching point...

The first thing to understand is that God’s plan is abundant life. That’s what God wants for us. Jesus said it was the reason he came to earth. He said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.” That doesn’t just mean he wants you to be breathing. It means that God’s plan for you is a full and satisfying life.

That’s what he wants.

But there are a lot of things that get in the way of us experiencing that. You know something funny? Even though people disagree some on truth, we have a lot more agreement on the idea of evil. There are some things that pretty much everybody agrees are bad things, like murder, genocide, selling young girls into sex slavery.

You can probably think of some too.

All these things rob us of the life God wants for us. Some of them bring about a physical, bodily death. Some of them put dreams to death, and some of them, when they’re experienced, kill something inside a person. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but God’s free gift is eternal life. So the idea is that we earn death by doing things that God, who designed us and the world we live in, never planned on. The messes we’re responsible for bring more and more death to the world and to people’s lives.

So the world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

Now if we thought about this really hard, I’m sure we could think of some ways we’ve contributed to this problem. I know for a lot of guys, we fail to value women as God wants us to, and we get stuck in lust. We lie, we cheat, we do all sorts of things outside God’s plan, and as we do those things, we take a step away from the life God designed us for.

But God provided an answer by sending Jesus to take on himself the death we deserve, and pay the wages of sin. He died on the cross so we could be free from these things. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

And he rose from the grave to prove that he’d conquered death.

Someday God’s gonna set everything right. But until then, we have to tackle these problems one person at a time.

As we do so, we’re trying to make things right in the world, according to the plan of the very one that designed it. So now that you know God’s plan for you is abundant life, do you have any questions?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will the real Bible please stand up?

Earlier this week I got this email from a friend who had been reading the blog and had a question. (She said I could post it. Thanks!) Here's the email, with only a couple of minor edits to protect her anonymity:

My sister got married and she asked me to read an excerpt out of the "bible" during her ceremony. Now, keep in mind that she got married in a catholic church. Being the nice sister that I am, I agreed to do it. I don't know how familiar you are with Catholic ceremonies... but usually 2 family members or friends will each read a scripture from the bible before the priest marries the couple. During the rehearsal, I went up to the podium to read the scripture. As it turns out, the "scripture" was from the Catholic bible and not "the bible". So it derived from a book that doesn't even exist in the real bible. Anyway, I talked to my sister and told her that I could not read that particular scripture because it wasn't actually in the bible. She began to cry and beg me to read it. I asked her to ask someone else to read it but no one else wanted to go up in front of the whole church to do it. She said that if I loved her (here comes the guilt trip) that I would do it. And I still resisted so she said that we could look up a different scripture later that night. As it turns out we were so busy that night and the next morning that we didn't have time to research a different scripture. The one that the Catholic church wanted me to read talked about marriage (I don't remember exactly what it said). Anyway, at the end of the scripture, you are supposed to say, "The word from the Lord" and the whole church says, "Amen". Anyway, I ended up doing it for my sister's sake and I told my self that I wasn't going to say that last part, "the word from the Lord"; but I was nervous and read it real fast and ended up saying that line. In the bible it says (and correct me if I am wrong) that the only unforgivable sin is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. My question is, do you think that reading that scripture to a Catholic congregation is blaspheming the Holy Spirit, especially because I knew that it is not an actual "word from the Lord"? Can I be forgiven for this????

I can't believe I did it. Never in my life would I have thought that I would do something like that. I should have just let my sister cry or be mad at me. I have definitely prayed for forgiveness but obviously I am still fighting condemnation. And worst of all, I don't know if this is a sin that can be forgiven...please help.

Dear friend,

Thanks for writing me. It does sound like you’re fighting some condemnation here, but let me just say first of all that if reading that passage was an unforgivable sin, there will be a lot of Christians in hell. It sounds to me like the only sin you’ve committed here is violating your conscience. (See Romans 14.)

The topic hits on some huge perspective issues that you may find kind of amazing. Most Christians in the United States have a very small perspective when it comes to global Christianity.

Here in the U.S., we generally recognize only two of the three major branches of Christianity: Protestant and Roman Catholic. But there is a third, and I have no idea why the church isn’t more aware of it. So let’s do a quick church history review.

In 1054 the Bishop of Rome (recognized as Pope Leo IX) sent a delegation to the Bishop of Constantinople (recognized as Patriarch Michael Cerularius) to settle a dispute over which one of them was the rightful world leader of the church. When the Bishop of Constantinople refused to recognize the authority of the Bishop of Rome, the Bishop of Rome excommunicated him. That means he kicked him out of the church and basically condemned him to hell, which was his right if he really was the true Vicar of Christ (i.e. the Pope). The Bishop of Constantinople responded by excommunicating the Bishop of Rome, which was his right if he really was the true Vicar of Christ.

The church in the West and the church in the East never reconciled, even though they both rescinded the excommunications in 1965. Today we refer to the Eastern church as the Orthodox Church, and it has several branches (Russian, Greek, Syrian, etc.). The church in the West became known as the Roman Catholic Church.

Then in 1517 (or 1521, depending on how you date it), the Protestants split from the Roman Catholic Church. From the Protestants, we get basically everybody else (Baptists, Methodists, “non-denominationals,” and so forth).

Why is that important? Because we all have different books in our Bibles.

Catholics and Protestants have the same New Testament, but different Old Testaments. The Catholics have everything the Protestants have, but there are a few extra books they refer to as “deuterocanonical.” Protestants generally just call them “apocryphal.”

Why are they different? The Protestant canon (list/collection of books) is the same as the Jewish canon. The Catholic canon is the same as the Septuagint, which was the Bible translation that Jesus and most of the early church read. Which is better? You decide.

The Orthodox Church is really different. Their canon has pretty much the same books we use in the West, but certain branches won’t, for example, include Revelation. Can you imagine your Bible without Revelation? They don’t believe Revelation is the authentic Word of God, so they don’t include it.

If Martin Luther had his way, Revelation might not have made it into the Protestant canon either. Neither would James, Hebrews, or Jude.

Now before I mess up your confidence in the canon of scripture too much, you have to consider that we’re all pretty much working from the same list of books. Some Christian canons are a little broader than others, but no major group wants to include, say, “The Gospel of Thomas,” or “The Revelation of Peter.” (The major exceptions here would be the Mormons and big fans of The Da Vinci Code.)

Should we include the deuterocanonical books? Jesus read them. There’s some dispute over whether Jesus quoted them as scripture, but some of his statements sound eerily suspicious. And consider this.

Here’s Jude 14-15, from the Protestant canon:

“It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘See, the Lord is coming with ten thousand of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’”

Now here’s I Enoch 2, from the deuterocanon:

“Behold he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all of flesh for every thing which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.”

Looks like a quote to me. As for the whole “Word from the Lord” thing, if you’re ever in a situation like that again, maybe the priest would be ok with you saying, “Thanks be to God,” if you still have a problem with it. But if you can call it a sin, you have a lot more certainty than I do about this issue.

So what Bible should we read then? I’ll give you a rule of thumb that works for me. Maybe it will work for you, and maybe it won’t. I believe God called me to my church for a reason. I think I have a purpose there, and it’s no accident that this is my church. My church is Protestant, and uses the Protestant canon. I use the Protestant canon. I’ve read large parts of the deuterocanon, and I’ve read sections of books most all Christians agree are apocryphal. But I look for God to speak through the Protestant canon of scripture. If the book of Sirach proves helpful as well, great. It was in Jesus’ Bible. I’m assuming he read it. At the same time, Jesus didn’t assemble the Septuagint. The fact that he read it isn’t necessarily an endorsement of its canon.

That’s a lot of information. Hope it helps. And thanks for your question. Hit me up anytime!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Should we be concerned about global climate change?

I had a thought about this the other day. Blaise Pascal came up with a very simple argument for Christianity. It went something like this.

“If I’m wrong, and Christianity does not embody truth, I’ve lost very little by believing. But if you’re wrong, and Christianity does embody truth, you’ve lost everything by not believing.”

That’s a loose paraphrase, but you get the idea. He’s basically saying that if Jesus is for real and you reject him, that’s a really bad thing for you. But if it’s all a lie, at least it gave me some hope along the way, and gave me reason to be a better person. I like that argument. It’s simple. I like simple.

So I got to thinking about global climate change. Hear me out on this. This is another one of those issues where everybody’s gonna disagree with me on some level.

First, let me say that this is kind of a funny issue. Think about it. It’s a purely scientific issue, but it’s become a political litmus test. So why is it that people on the left almost universally support the scientific evidence that argues for man-made global climate change and people on the right almost universally support the scientific evidence that argues against global climate change.

Really think about that for a minute, people.

Where is the link between the scientific position and the political one? I have a theory. When I played football for the Brownwood Lions, I liked the color maroon, because that was our team color. But later on, I came to associate that color with Texas A&M, and I was more of a UT fan. I didn't like maroon as much anymore. I think this global climate change thing is sort of like “team colors.”

Now I know there’s a righty out there thinking that the real reason is that lefties are dumb. Sorry. No. There’s also a lefty out there thinking that the real reason is that righties are uncaring. Sorry. No. You know as well as I do that there are some uncaring idiots on both sides.

I’ve really had to get introspective on this one, so knowing well that I’m risking making some enemies here, I’m gonna let you inside my brain.

I’m a righty. Conservative, Republican, whatever label you want to put on me, it probably applies. I believe in a small national government, except that I’m a little hypocritical when it come to national defense, which I want to be big and expensive. While I don’t like everything George W. Bush did, I think he was a pretty great President.

There. Hate me yet? Please don’t. I really am a nice guy, unless you’re a terrorist. Then I’ll probably support policies that many will find cruel, illegal, and unjust. Ok, making jokes now. Seriously though. Save your tomatoes for your salad. I’m taking a risk to make a point.

As a righty, I have adopted the position that there is no man-made global climate change. I seriously believe that. But now I’m asking myself if I believe that because the science really is more reasonable, or because I have been influenced to believe it.

Do you see my problem here? I’m wondering if we’ve all been just a little unduly influenced in the interest of our team colors. Could it be?

I bet you’re wondering what Blaise Pascal has to do with this. Well, I got to thinking that it’s a little inconsistent to apply that argument to Christianity, but not to this issue. So let’s give it a shot.

What if man-made global climate change is not real, and what if I believe it is? I'd be working to fight something that's not real, but in the end, I’m only wasting time and money. But what if it IS real, and I don’t believe in it? I’m doing a horrible disservice to my children and grandchildren.

Are you with me? Wifey tells me I always go through this stuff too quickly.

For whatever reason, I still don’t believe in man-made global climate change. I’m intentionally not gonna go into the science here. I’m not trying to start a debate. But I think I’m changing my position on this issue.

The truth is that we’re still guessing on this issue, and that’s why it’s controversial. There are scientists on both sides. Sure, some of them may very well be idiots, but there are some smart men and women on both sides. And let’s be real here. I’m no scientist.

So despite what I think about this, I’m gonna stop working so hard to poo-poo on the efforts being made by proponents of the other side. I’m going to change some of my habits as well. If there’s a chance I’m destroying the planet that God made with a purpose, and with a plan to work a certain way, then I want to be a good steward of what God has given, and do what I can to put his plan in action.

Does that mean I’m in support of policies that will force pickup trucks to improve their gas mileage by almost 50% by 2016? No. For right now, I’m just not gonna turn the channel when the Discovery Channel starts talking about global warming. I’ll work on the rest. It’ll take time too.

What do you think? Is this an issue we should be concerned about? Have those with whom we surround ourselves unduly influenced us? And where’s the link between the politics and the science?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's Christianity about?

Right now I'm sitting in a class that attempts to teach us to answer this very question. It's taught by a guy named James Choung, whose big claim to fame is a viral video called "The Big Story." Give it a look and then I've got a question for you.

Now I know I have some readers that are Christians, and some that aren't. I wouldn't have it any other way. So wherever you're coming from, I'd like to know what you think is the heart of the Christian message. And maybe in a couple of days I'll give you my answer.

Hit me with it!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Can't I just sleepwalk like everyone else?

Last night I dreamed I was in a swimming pool with a bunch of friends, and I think I was a kid. I challenged everyone to a race, and several people went to the edge of the pool. I had one hand on the edge and partially pulled myself out of the water so I could launch off for a good start.




I launched! And hit the headboard really hard. Ow. That woke me up.

I do this sort of thing a lot. Later in the night I dreamed I was being attacked, and I performed a perfect roundhouse kick to the head of my opponent. I know it was a perfect roundhouse kick because I could tell from the drywall pattern on my toes that my foot position was exactly right. Yep. Kicked the wall so hard I broke a toenail and made white spots on my first three toes. It really was a nice kick though.

It hurt, but honestly I was just grateful I’d only hurt myself. Before I go to sleep at night, I pray I’ll stay still, and especially that I won’t hurt Wifey. Once I got mad in a dream and punched straight down into a desk. Unfortunately, in the real world, she was right where that desk was in my dream.

I felt awful. There are no words.

Another time I dreamed I was at the ocean. (More water. I know, Freud.) The water was only about two feet deep, but I put on my goggles and put my head under the water to look out. As soon as I put my head under, the scariest fish you’ve ever seen swam straight at me with his jagged teeth bared! I kicked to get away…

Unfortunately, I’ve got a pretty good swim kick. Sorry sweetheart.

I didn’t know how much I did this stuff until I got married. But I know I’ve done it for years. There was a time when I was about thirteen that my brother tells me I got out of bed, walked around, went back to bed, sat up again, and screamed, “I WON! C’MON MAN! I WON!!!”

I really wouldn’t care if it weren’t for Wifey. I rarely do something as dramatic as smashing a toenail, but I hate going to bed afraid I might hurt her. So far it hasn’t been that bad. But what if I punched her in the nose or something? I don’t even want to think about that. I guess a sleep study or something might be in order? Or maybe I should keep praying. I haven’t hurt her since I started praying. I just don’t know what to do.

What would you do? I need some good advice.