Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hope in His love

We can either love God because we hope for something from Him, or we can hope in Him knowing that He loves us.  Sometimes we begin with the first kind of hope and grow into the second.  In that case, hope and charity (love) work together as close partners, and both rest in God.  Then every act of hope may open the door to contemplation, for such hope is its own fulfillment.

Better than hoping for anything from the Lord, besides His love, let us place all our hope in His love itself.  This hope is as sure as God Himself.  It can never be confounded.  It is more than a promise of its own fulfillment.  It is an effect of the very love it hopes for.  It seeks charity because it has already found charity.  It seeks God knowing that it knowing that it has already been found by Him.  It travels to Heaven realizing obscurely that it has already arrived.

Thomas Merton

Boldface text mine.

Perfect Love

Perfect Love is within your reach!  Only you have to remove jealousy, expectations, prejudices and greed from what it is that you call Love first.

Alexander Groseth 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Gun is Civilization

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat – it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.
People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.
People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.
The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation… And that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NRA responds to The Big Zero

I thought this was a good speech with some great points...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Claim the victory

You are still afraid to die.  That fear is connected with the fear that you are not loved.  Your question "Do you love me?" and your question "Do I have to die?" are deeply connected.  You asked these questions as a little child, and you are still asking them.

As you come to know that you are loved fully and unconditionally, you will also come to know that you do not have to fear death.  Love is stronger than death; God's love was there for you before you were born and will be there for you after you have died. 

Jesus has called you from the moment you were knitted together in your mother's womb.  It is your vocation to receive and give love.  But from the very beginning you have experienced the forces of death.  They attacked you all through your years of growing up.  You have been faithful to your vocation even though you have felt overwhelmed by darkness.  You know now that these dark forces will have no final power over you.  They seem overwhelming, but the victory is already won.  It is the victory of Jesus, who has called you.  He overcame for you the power of death so that you could live in freedom.

You have to clam that victory and not live as if death still controlled you.  Your soul knows about the victory, but your mind and emotions have not fully accepted it.  They go on struggling.  In this respect you remain a person of little faith.  Trust the victory and let your mind and emotions gradually be converted to the truth.  You will experience new joy and new peace as you let that truth reach every part of your being.  Don't forget: victory has been won, the powers of darkness no longer rule, love is stronger than death.

Henri Nouwen

"It is your vocation to receive and give love."  Pretty simple isn't?  Why do men (church) have to make it more complicated than that?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Can Do!

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!'  Then get busy and find out how to do it. 

Theodore Roosevelt 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's all about me me me

File:Narcissus-Caravaggio (1594-96).jpgHere is an interesting article by Dr Keith Ablow about how we are raising a generation of deluded narcissists.  It may be getting worse, but I think the beginnings go back several generations.  Here is an excerpt from the article that talks about something I have personally witnessed.

On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”

Monday, January 07, 2013

God Knows

the gate where the stone path starts...Syrrako
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows: His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Minnie Louise Haskins

Pumping your way to health

113743815It looks like the inventor of the Segway has invented a way to help you lose weight.  It's kind of a reverse feeding tube that sucks food directly out of your stomach.  I guess it is high tech bulimia, but without some of the unpleasant side affects.  I think I'll stick with trying to eat less.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

My faith

My faith wasn't arrived at by logic and scientific proof of God and, as such, it can't be defeated by logic or science.  I won't use either to justify my faith and it is useless to use either to attack my faith.

My faith doesn't depend on a particular version of the bible or how men may interpret it.

My faith doesn't depend on the bible being inerrant or interpreted literally.  I know that puts me at odds with most of Christiandom, but so be it.  I'm open for God to change my mind.  For example, I don't believe God ordered the Jews to kill anyone, especially women and children.  I believe they attributed it to God in order to justify themselves.  I also don't buy into the intellectual contortions people have used to try to explain it away and make God seem less evil.  And no, I'm not calling God evil.  There are some that say it is dangerous for a person to decide for themselves what to believe and not believe about the bible.  However, is it any less dangerous leaving it up to man to decide what an inerrant or literally interpreted bible says and means?

I wasn't frightened into faith by fear of hell or even lured in by the reward of heaven.  I don't even know what heaven and hell really are, anymore.  There is much angst in me about the way men have interpreted the bible to define each place and have used both as a weapon to manipulate others.

My faith didn't grow in church, it only helped me become a good actor.  However, it was the internal conflict that the "performing art" that is the modern church created within me that ultimately led me to walk away from it.

My faith is a fluid thing.  Sometimes God occupies the forefront of my thoughts and other times it seems like I don't know Him.  Many times my faith is complex and exhausting and at other times there is the simplicity that is devotion to Christ that the bible promises.  Those states of my faith bring good feelings and bad, but each are couched in the deep trust that God is always with me no matter what I may be feeling or how badly I may be acting.  I have things to learn from each experience.

Where my faith will lead me, I do not know...

Friday, January 04, 2013

The riddle of the gun

This is an interesting blog post by noted atheist, Sam Harris.  It is very well written and I agree with most of his points.  Here is an excerpt:

However, when a massacre is under way, nothing can substitute for the presence of other armed men and women who have been trained to fight with guns. That is why one bothers to call the police. And those who are horrified at the idea of stationing a police officer in every school should be obliged to tell us how long they would like to wait for the police to arrive in the event that they are needed. Declaring schools to be “gun-free zones” makes them especially good places to commit mass murder—this is more NRA propaganda that happens to be true. With the exception of the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every mass shooting since 1950 has taken place where civilians are forbidden to carry firearms.

I do disagree with his interpretation of the second amendment, but on balance it was good.