Um, isn't there something else going on? Did I imagine it, or are we at war? Am I delusional, or are there dreadful events going on in places of terrific historical and political significance?
I expect this drivel from Access Hollywood and Entertainment tonight, but Today? I can't stop shaking my head. I guess I don't really miss anything by being at work at 6:30 each morning.
Thanks to Gerry Charlotte Phelps, I have been introduced to MEMRI. The Middle East Media Research Institute monitors and provides English translation and analysis of Arabic and Farsi news outlets. The best part-- it is free. You and I can access their resources via the web. I guess that there will be less home cooking around the Wolske house for a few days, as I continue to peruse this treasure trove.
This video is the first one I watched. It is a clip from a February interview on Al Jazeera. English subtitles. Dr. Sultan is well spoken and her arguments are thoughtful and provocative.
If you are so inlcined, the transcript is here. It is worth the time.
The “god” of Arminianism is Not Worshippable
Wow. That pretty much lays it on the line, doesn't it? I will no rehash the essay, you are more than capable of reading it yourselves.
I do, however, want to point out something that really bugs me. While Dr. McMahon gives a good history of Arminianism and the sunsequent declarations of its heresy at the Synod of Dordt, he does some creative Scripture parsing in the seventh paragraph. The verse in question is that bane of sports show producer everywhere, John 3:16. Note:
The Bible, in refuting this, teaches quite a different God. God has predestined only the elect to salvation. These are those for who He “so loved” and “gave” in His beloved Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Dr. McMahon conveniently leaves out something. Anyone? I even did some checking, thinking that maybe there is a Bible outher which leaves out the two words I am missing: World and whoever. Nope, here's what I found:
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.From the New International Version.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.King James Version.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.New American Standard Bible.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.New Living Translation.
God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.New International Reader's Version. Need I go on? I am intellectually honest enough to admit that what REALLY set me off were the last few paragraphs. First, his "Warning" to readers:
A warning to the reader:
It may be that you are an Arminian. I am very saddened that you have been caught up in thinking that Arminius’ “god” is the real God. However, you have been duped. Satan has used his false teacher to dupe you, along with much of the church today. You are not alone, but you are certainly not in a safe place. Arminianism is darkness, wickedness, evil, and heresy of the worst kind - and you have bought into it. Even scarier, God has allowed you to believe a lie (2 Chronicles 18:21). That should cause you to tremble. Take the Scriptures to heart; as 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 explains, “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” If that is not a scary thought for you, dear reader, I do not know what is more frightful. Not only are you believing a lie, God has sent it to you that you may be blinded and condemned in unrighteousness!
And then, farther down was this last bit:
It may even be that you are saying, “But I thought I was believing in the God of the Bible!” Alas, it is most sad that you think so because that simply gives way to demonstrating the quicksand you have fallen into. And it will be very hard and very difficult to accept that you are wrong. Such an “error” has eternal consequences to it. So it would behoove you to make some changes in your thinking, and repent of your current idolatry to serve the Living God. Will you do what the Remonstrants did and decide to reject the God of the Bible for their own “version” of God? If you worship the “god” of Arminianism, of even the “christ” of Arminianism, you must repent and acknowledge the reality that you do not worship the God and Christ of Scripture. You have been sorely deceived in your idolatry! Sure God was right when He rebuked His people for being “destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent, and ask Christ, the Christ of the Bible, to change your heart and mind and to understand the truth of His Word. If you are sincere, He will teach you. If you desire, He will send His sovereign grace to you to aid you.
Is this not exercising free will? If I ask for His grace, am I not reaching for the God who is and has been cotinuously reaching out to me? What does it matter what I desire? Is it not entirely up to Him?
I am by no means a "pure Arminian." My beliefs are heavily influenced by Wesley. However, I claim Christ firstand last. Wesley is simply the system through which I attempt to understand Him. Just as Dr. McMahon uses five point Calvinism. I always did like TULIPs.
When I read this essay, I couldn't help but think about that old joke... the one where St. Peter is giving tours of Heaven to the new arrivals. He insists on quiet at one point, and when asked why, replies, "Because we are coming up on the (insert denomination here) section, and they think they are the only ones here!"
I imagine that, if we evem care about such things once we get there, we may be surprised at the people we find in the Kingdom. Even more, there may be someone surprised to see us, eh?
Above is a model of the Castle (at the Smithsonian Institution) on display at the Bellagio. The conservatory is changed several times each year, and this summer's theme seems to be Americana.
Trojan horse at the entrance to FAO Schwartz. It is fun to prowl around there, but oy! the prices!
Again at the Bellagio conservatory. This tree was destroyed by lightning and weighed more than 53 tons. Workers salvaged a preserved what they could, and it has since been the centerpiece of several exhibits here.
Gerberas, my favorite.
Dale Chihuly glass installation in the registration are of the Bellagio. It is something to behold!
Now that he knows the camera is working, J will be shutterbugging like crazy. Red Rock, Desert Shores, you name it. You will find his handiwork on our Flickr page or his blog.
Doesn't she look thrilled? She'll be even more thrilled when she finds out I posted this pic.
Today is my Mom's day. Yep, she was born the day after her mother's birthday. What a nice birthday present, right? I think so.
I cn't be there to celebrate with them, but I am sure there will be cake. And ice cream. And silliness. Because that is what happens when we are all together. (For the first hour, then comes the bickering. We are a family, after all)
This was taken the last time we were all hanging out, Memorial Day weekend.
My mom and I have never lived in each other's pockets, but I have to say that it really sucks being this far away. I miss the Wednesdays I could pop over to her school and help out, I miss girls' nights out. I miss sitting next to her in church Sunday mornings. I miss the way she rubs her hand in circles on my back when she hugs me-- just like she did when I was little. Most of all, I miss seeing her. Talking on the phone will never be good enough, but it is all we have right now.
So tonight, when I am driving down to Yuma, my heart will be in Powellville-- eating cake, singing off-key, and joking about where the fire extinguisher is (just in case).
I love you, Mudder. Happy Birthday.
Originally uploaded by TheBassPlayersWife.
Today is my Grandmother's birthday. She was born 84 years ago in New Westminster, BC.
1922 saw some big changes in our world. Egypt became independent, construction began on Yankee Stadium, and Michael Collins was assassinated. Mussolini came to power, the USSR was formed, and J. R. and Evelyn McLellan brought Madge Iris into their life. Crazy year!
I am driving down to Yuma tomorrow evening to spend the weekend with her, sans J. We will play cribbage, maybe some Scrabble, and go to church. One of the things I love about going down there is that we can relax and just be. Gram doesn't mind if I snooze for a little while in the afternoon, and the cell phone doesn't ring every thirty minutes. If I am REALLY lucky, I can get her to sit down, too.
She was a Klamath Falls Commando and a USN wife who raised a family of four on an enlisted man's salary. She spends her time with hopsice, Emmaus, and any friend who asks. Oh! And she would dearly love to find a pair of red shoes narrow enough to fit!
Yep, that's my Grandma. And I love her.
"How to combat dry itchy eyes. Tonight on first news at five."
Um, isn't there a war going on somewhere? Or something?
Wuzzadem has solved our energy "crisis" AND our immigration "crisis".
Oh, come on and play along. you know you want to...
HT: Shannnon at Rocks in my Dryer
(With sincere apologies to Mr. Simmons)
There has been much talk of and work on weight loss at the Las Vegas Wolske branch office. Thanks to a "Works for me Wednesday" post by Holymama, we have discovered Sparkpeople. Heck, we have become sparkpeople.
I admit to being a sucker for silly gimmicks (like Sparkpoints), and Sparkpeople does have some helpful tools. The fact that the food journal is web based is super, and their database is pretty extensive.
So, we signed up, set some short term goals (like getting enough sleep EVERY night and at least a little bit of cardio EVERY day), some long term goals (40 pounds by the end of the year), and we are off!
(BTW, in case someone actually reads this, I will state my three daily goals: Get ten minutes of cardio, pack my lunch, and tell someone about my goals. Check, check, and check!)
Now you are faced with a new enemy-- one which has felled all of your brothers. You are there, the lone pimple, keeping on. Sometimes, I think you are gone, starting to fade, but then-- there you are again! Strong as ever!
Don't you think it is time to call it quits? I mean, really, the strain has got to be getting to you. In fact, I think you are looking a little dried out and tired around the edges. And with the arrival of the new white hand towels, your brief reprieve has ended.
Tonight you will once again face the sulfur masque. It doesn't have to be this way-- the choice is yours. After the masque comes the glycolic acid, then, the piece de resitance-- the 5% benzoyl peroxide. That's right, I am playing hardball, just like Norah O'Donnell. I'll bet she has tamed her zits.
Are you ready to give up? I must warn you, my arsenal is constantly being replenished, so don't think you can just wait this batch out. There is no honor left in this fight. Let it go.
I'll be here, waiting for your unconditional surrender.
Aside from the odd person here and there, most people who read this know me personally. Several others may even know my family. I would think, then, that people safely know my voice and know when I am serious or not. This, of course, will somewhat offset the inflection, facial expressions, and other subtleties which are lost.
J received a piece of mail (first class, incidentally) which advertised weight loss surgery. It was from the hospital down the street and had been forwarded from our old address. We had a bit of a chuckle with it, accompanied by a little irritation at their gall.
No big deal. Until he blogged about it. That has started a mini tempest. And so, in light of this, I offer a few suggestions for reading/writing blog posts and comments.
1) Err on the side of grace-
When reading posts and comments, if you are unsure about the tone or intent, ask. If you are not going to ask, just go with the most positive presumption.
2) Please please please, remember-
Once it is out there, you cannot take it back. Even if you delete your comments/posts, the wounds have already been inflicted. Do you really mean what you are saying, or are you reacting out of anger or hurt feelings? I cannot tell you how much pain this causes, but trust me, the scars linger.
3) Don't be afraid to voice your opinions,
But make sure you do not misrepresent your opinions as fact. My mom used to say that opinions are like hineys, everybody's got one.
If you have beef, maybe it is better to dash of a private message, or pick up the phone.
Ok, that's enough preaching for me.
Cindy Sheehan was on Hardball yesterday. She is such a study in contradictions. Soft spoken, with smiling eyes, she resembles the favorite homeroom mother. However, I don't know many homeroom mothers who stand next to Hugo Chavez and call our president the "biggest terrorist in the world."
If you are so inclined, the video is here.
I don't understand hunger strikes, really. I understand prayer and fasting, but the Bible is pretty clear that we are to do that in private. Cindy Sheehan is a Christian, so I think she might already know that.
O‘DONNELL: Cindy, you have just begun a two-month hunger strike.
Isn‘t this really just more of a publicity stunt?
SHEEHAN: No, actually it‘s not. It‘s a moral reaction to an immoral war. Thousands of people all over the world are joining us. And hunger strikes have proven to be effective tools in civil disobedience and changing policy.
I am pretty sure, however, that a hunger strike is not civil disobedience. As to the success in affecting policy change-- that is usually in the case of prisoners, where the imprisoning authority doesn't want egg on its face. (ie, Mahatma Ghandi)
O‘DONNELL: But why go stand side-by-side by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? Why do that? I mean, it sounds like—would you rather live under Hugo Chavez than George Bush?
SHEEHAN: Yes. You know, Hugo Chavez is not a dictator like you introduced him. He‘s been democratically elected eight times, and he‘s not anti-American.
Well, let's see here. Mr Chavez's own words...
"They murdered him.Viva Filiberto! ... Let's follow his example.""They're making deals with the Devil, the Devil himself,"
Yeah. He's just misunderstood. Incidentally, I can only find 4 election results, and he has threatened to run for an unconstitutional third term. Of course, this is only if "the people" want it.
The icing on the cake, for me, was Ms. Sheehan's assertion that she would rather live under Hugo Chavez than George W. Bush. If I didn't want to go see my mom so badly, I would give her a ticket.
And no, it doesn't involve beer or charcoal.
It is NPR's annual reading of the Declaration of Independence. It is usually in the 6 o'clock hour of Morning Edition, and I have listened as long as I can remember. (We have always been early riser, my dad and I)
Last year was the first year without Bob Edwards, and I admit to a certain sense of loss there. However, it really is all about the language. There was a line in the movie National Treasure that comes to mind. Something to the effect of how "people don't speak like that today" No matter how many times I hear the words, they move me. Language is power, and those who can command language can change the world. (Good thing POTUS has speechwriters, eh?)
Look at the Lee Resolution, proposed a month earlier, which was the reader's digest version, if you will:
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
All political connection... totally dissolved. Wow.
WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
...The goosebumps settle in.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
... I start to recite along. (Boy, I sure am glad Mrs. Batts made us learn this in fifth grade.)
But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
... here is where I start to get choked up.
WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.
...And this last paragraph, a little teary.
That last sentence is very grave indeed. These men were puttung everything on the line. Not for a nation, but for an idea. That is greatness. Commitment to an ideal, whatever the cost. Complete trust in your brothers, with no thought to the price. In that hot, muggy summer, did they have any clue as to just what they had put into motion? Could they image that 230 year later, their pen strokes (which incidentally didn't happen until 2 August) would serve as a reminder to a nation of a debt which we can never hope to repay?
If you ever see a copy, the very bottom signature in the third column is that of Carter Braxton. He kept his life and his honor, but lost his fortune to the war. My father shares his name, as we are lineal descendants. Perhaps that is why I get all weird and girly at the thought. Perhaps. But I like to think that we are all in awe of these men and their idea.
Unless you have been living under a rock these last couple of weeks, you know that Warren Buffett has made an unprecedented donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Next month, the Foundation will receive the first installment of the approximately thirty billion dollar pledge. Fan-freaking-tastic, man!
According to Dwight Burlingame, professor of philanthropic studies at Indiana University, private giving, even with Mr Buffett's gift, hovers around 2% in this country. He was a panelist on monday's Talk of the Nation, along with Pablo Eisenberg and Jill Manny. I have been mulling this program over for the last week, primarily because one statement caught my attention.
The first caller, Joe, expressed concern over what he called the "privatization of charity." He went on to say that there are many memebers of the "conservative evangelical movement" who belive that "charity is not the place of the governement." This "greatly concerns" him, and he says this "ought to shame our government."
I encourage you to give this program a listen before taking my word for it, for I confess to listening through filters that were put into place by the tone taken by Joe, the first caller. Perhaps I am missing something, so please do not hesitate to correct my conclusions.
The discussion revolved around the impact of these foundations and there was more than one mention of the lack of accountability imposed on private foundations. Lots of talk about rules, and lack of manpower to "enforce" them, blah blah blah.
I guess that I fall into that category of "conservative evangelicals" (I do not think the two go hand in hand. I am a political conservative who happens to be an evangelical. There is no cause and effect relationship here.)in that I do not think the government should be in the business of charity. Sorry. I do think we have personal responsibility, please do not misunderstand me. I just do not think it is the job of our government. I want to say where my money goes, pure and simple.
If an organization has vaules which I find abhorrent, I want the right to not support them financially. With goverment funding, I don't have this right. Case in point, Planned Parenthood. Anyone who knows me, or has had the misfortune to read my postings here should be aware by now that I am pretty rabidly pro-life. Our laws do not agree with me, so I must suck up that fact that my tax dollars fund these acts which I find morally repugnant. I have little control over where my money goes in this case, simply because a greater portion of my income goes to my day to day expenses. You can bet that I am pretty picky about where my modest resources do go, though.
Warren Buffett and other people of not insignificant means have this luxury, why shouldn't we? I would not choose The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ok? I don't agree with enough of their philsophies to place my money in their hands. However, the beauty of our economic model is that I don't have to. There is a veritable smorgasboard of opportunity out there!
Why do some people feel the need to dictate where my money is best spent? I admit that I am not a scientist, not an economist, not a sociologist. I do however, credit myself and my fellow citizens with enough intelligence to decide for ourselves which causes, organizations, etc. we want supported.
The idea the "privatization" of charity is somehow un-democratic chafes. It seems to me to be the opposite! I have certain obligations as a Christ-follower. Ok. Someone else may not feel the same obligation, but may have another motivation. Either way, I trust the American people enough to let them decide.
Seriously, who would you trust more with your money- the US Government (because they do such a great job already) or specific charities of your choosing. Why should only the few wealthiest get to make this choice?
On a side note, it pains me to hear the cynicism and disdain from a couple callers on TOTN. I suppose it stems from envy. After all, who wouldn't want even a fraction of the resources available to people like Gates and Buffett? Satisfaction, however, is an entirely different post, and that kind of wealth brings with it geat burdens.
Ok, that's all from me for now. You may commence the verbal flogging.
... But they are cute, and they were on sale. In fact, I was able to get a pair of flip-flops for the pool and still come out ahead.
Anyway, I am now the proud owner of my first pair of Birkenstock sandals. Yes, I too thought they were reserved for smelly dutchmen and granola types. I still have my reservations, but these look darn cute with a pedicure. They have the added bonus of actually being good for my feet and holding in check my terribly fallen arches.
Tonight, however, my feet are screaming. It is a differing pain than my plantar faciitis-- more sore than anything else. I think it is a matter of getting the muscles and bones to cooperate.
I still want the pink Dansko, but I will settle with these for now. (I need something more practical next)
J is just worried I will start hugging trees...