Something I’ve been mulling over for some time… not provoked by any particular incidence so much as a general misunderstanding of the situation. There’s a question that I have seen seasoned pastors, and fresh young Christians freeze up over… a question that is self fulfilling, so it is a wonder that anyone gets stuck on it. However, at the same time is so simple, we convolute it with intricacies that make it far more complicated than it should be. I have been guilty of this, and until recently was blind to the simplicity of the situation. You see, the answer to the age old question “If God is so good, why does evil persist?” was answered to me shortly after hearing about the story of Ariel Castro and the three women that he tragically held captive for 10 years… I’ve not been naive to the fact that there are still millions of slaves in the world… mostly young women used as sex slaves… but somehow putting a face to an assailant brought a revelation that I had never seen before… I’ve even known the answer to the question… but giving it a face woke me to a reality that never existed before. I do not intend on convincing anyone of anything that they have never believed before… science shows us that we find truth in our pre-conceived ideas, and even with correction only find reaffirmation of those ideas no matter what the facts or corrections say.
What people are really asking “If God is so good, why doesn’t he hold us captive and force us to his will?” For some reason we are receptive to the idea that a human keeping someone else captive for their pleasure is evil… but if God does it he is good? I think not! Evil, is evil, and God cannot have any part of evil… However, God desires relationship, even love, but how does the Infinite Being have company without captivity? Anyone, or anything that He creates must be perfect… and in perfection is a captive… therefore the answer to this perplexity must be two fold. First God must create a being that reflects Hist glory so much so that this being sees perfection in His shadow, and falls into nothing but shadow. Then God creates a being that is designed to Love Him… But how can Love exist without evil? You see, if God forces Love on us, nothing but evil exists… So God must allow Evil to exist for a time, in order for Love to exist. Without choice, Love does not exist… How can one love their captor? If God took us at his pleasure, could love exist for any of us?
The popular saying goes “Bad things happen so that we can recognize the good that is around us.” assuming that we would become numb to and bored with the good if nothing bad ever happened… this is only partially true, if only “good” existed we would never become bored with it, only delight in it… but if only good existed we would be trapped, in turn that “good” would be evil as their would be no escape… not even the existence of death. You see, evil exists not because God is powerless to extinguish it… but rather because without it there is nothing but emptiness. An emptiness that can only be quenched with Love… a Love that may only exist with a choice… a choice that requires a stark contrast that is evil. Evil does not have to persist forever, but must be allowed to prevail for a time to give the choice of Love to those who would choose it.
I’ve held onto AgapeBeacon.com for over five and a half years now. I originally wanted to build it out into a Christian social netowork… Shortly after I registered the domain I got my job back with MTV, then discovered other Christian social networks, and Connor coming along delayed the progress of it.
A week or so ago I came up with a new use for the domain, a site for organizing Christian acts of Agape Love. More than just fundraising… but a place that lets people share their experiences and organize campaigns.
What sparked this idea was a notion I had seeing a group of homeless people that have started standing at the corner outside the hospital. After passing many times with nothing to offer… I finally decided to buy a case of water bottles and hand them out. Originally I wanted to cover up the labels with a Bible verse or something… I never figured out a verse that seemed appropriate. I’ve been handing out the bottles but wanted to share the experience, and maybe some brainstorming with others.
Today, I laid the first line of code for AgapeBeacon… and will be working dilligently to get it operational within what I hope to be a 6 month development cycle… but I know life happens so maybe this time next year is more realistic
Of course I am also open to any help, suggestions, ideas, etc.
Ok… so, looking for a few fill in products for a very small socket set I purchased years ago. The set was “Kobalt” but it was the early days of Kobalt tools when it was actually J.H. Williams (the founding company, but now low end division of Snap-On tools) the Kobalt tools I’ve got are USA made J.H. Williams tools (Kobalt has since switched tool manufacturers and are now made in China… oddly enough J.H. Williams tools are also made in China now). I’ve got Kobalt tools from every step of this debacle… I’ve got J.H. Williams “Kobalt” tools that were made in America… I’ve got “Kobalt” Snap-On tools also made in the USA… I’ve got “Kobalt” tools that are actually Snap-On Blue-Shift tools, made in Taiwan… and then I quit buying Kobalt tools when they canceled their contract with Snap-On tools.
Now I’m looking to expand my tools set… I could get J.H. Williams tools that match my current tools… but they’re now Made in China. Blue-Shift is only a slight percentage (typically 5% more than J.H. Williams) but they use the Snap-On dies, they don’t look like my “Kobalt” tools, and they’re still made in Taiwan… Snap-On still makes everything I need in America… but they are typically 200-500% more than even the Blue-Shift line, and they wouldn’t match my American made “Kobalt” tools since J.H. Williams has always used different die sets than Snap-On.
It doesn’t really hurt me to purchase the high end Snap-On tools, and I do like supporting American manufacturers… but it would take me much longer to save up the money to get them… and my toolbox would be a bit mixed in styles of drivers… which does not appeal to my OCD side that wants everything to be symmetrical. Honestly I’m just trying ton convince myself to spend 5x what I could spend, just so I can support an American company, and get a lifetime warranty on the tools that I only use periodically and probably wouldn’t stress the low end set to the breaking point ever.
So, on the drive home today from taking the wife to work… I was thinking back to how I used to be able to almost instantaneously enter hypnosis, at will in grade school… it was a tool I used often to learn when teachers weren’t teaching to my learning style, or to get a quick power nap in… of course I never knew it was hypnosis at the time. But I remembered that what worked for me back then was to imagine that I could see, hear, and feel every cell of blood as it would flow through my veins, and creep through my capillaries.
As it turns out, the technique still works for me. For the last few days I’ve gone through a guided hypnosis session… it’s helped me focus my mind and reduce stress. But I had not yet broken through the stage 1 hypnosis barrier… until tonight, other than an itchy ear that brought me out for a minute… I was able to very solidly enter stage 2 hypnosis, where the world around me seemed to fade to gray, as the fantastical world of imagination consumed my total mind.
It’s really a beautiful thing, I haven’t used hypnosis in years… as silly as it seems I actually kind of forgot about it through High School and beyond. I mean, how can you forget about a state of mind that we naturally enter most every day? When you do so intentionally, with a bit of purpose though, hypnosis is a wonderful thing!
We learn language based on what we hear right? So, something about the Star Trek verse bothers me… Universal translators. Translators that take unimaginable gibberish and automatically, instantaneously translate that to something you understand, for every individual. However, there are a few instances where those translators get turned off, malfunction, or are of no use… (one in particular that bothers me is when Klingons are performing ceremonies they are speaking Klingon… but they’re always speaking Klingon so what makes it special that the translators don’t function during Klingon ceremonies? But that’s not actually what this post is about)
Alright, so we have these magical translators that take unimaginable numbers of alien languages and turns them to English for me, Klingon for Warf, Bajoran for Keira, etc. etc. etc. My question is… why would any race that has this technology develop speech patterns greater than crying? I mean seriously, if these translators can take alien languages and make them understandable… it doesn’t stand to reason that we would ever develop our language skills beyond the bare minimum of simply making noises with minor inflections.
Yet, any time a crew member does get stranded on a deserted planet, or left without their universal translator… well they speak perfect English… and… uh well so do the Aliens
Don’t ask me why I’m still up… but this popped into my feed as I was considering going back to bed…
I know this isn’t the point of the article, it’s really just a bunch of pictures of devices taken apart. It’s really nothing more than an advertisement by Ford. And yet I saw something completely different.
First off, I have this camera! It’s sitting right next to me! And would you believe I’ve never taken it apart. I’ve never taken a look at all the little bits and pieces that go into the thousands of pictures this camera has captured over the years (2,717 just on this latest SD card, and it’s not the first SD card that has burned through pictures in this camera).
Not that big of a deal, it’s just a camera, and now that no one needs to buy film every time they snap a picture we all snap more pictures than we probably realize. A single screw loose though… and dust gets into the wrong place and the whole thing dies.
Honestly as weird as it may sound, I thought of the church today… the first century church sold everything they had as they became believers, they moved in with one another, and none went wanting. They were also able to serve and grow the church at an exponential rate. The church today is too often scattered and quite frankly useless. Jesus described the church as a body, but today we’re a Camera because we have a picture of one taken apart to examine. So maybe you’re a screw, you hold things together, and once a week you are in the same room as those other bits and pieces that you are designed to hold together… but just as the parts of this camera laid out on a table are nothing more than bits and pieces… sitting in the same room as other Christians doesn’t make you an effective service vehicle.
Screws need cases to hold together, photo receptor chips need lenses to focus the light, capacitors need batteries to charge them up… and on… and on… and on. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just function together as a well oiled machine to serve as Jesus, and the early church did?
I’ve decided not to sell any of my code… but rather to give it away. Allow others to pay, what they want, if they want. Of course this means I’ve got to get a “store” up and running… most likely I will do this on ArchmailleDesigns.com I mean, that used to be my jewelry store, and I’ve held onto the name Archmaille for everything I do, so it is only fitting that I put it back there! I have been a long time proponent of Open Source designs, and I think things should stay that way, at least for me they should. It doesn’t make much sense to use someone elses open source code, and then sell what I make from it… I mean that’s just silly now isn’t it? Yeah, that’s the conclusion that I have come to, it will just take me some time to get things going as I want/need to… I may for the sake of saving time use someone elses shopping cart or something like that to get things started.
Sometimes I think I’ve learned more about who God is in the few short years of being a father than I did in the 24 years that proceeded. So it’s 10 o’clock at night right now… I don’t expect to finish this post yet, just getting some thoughts down. Why am I up at 10 o’clock writing posts? Well, I tried to go to bed at 8:45, now that’s early for me… but being an introvert I like my “me” time which for the longest time has been nights that the wife works, Connor falls asleep in the car and I get a few hours to myself… both the wife and son are extroverts, and quite frankly drain me to death! Well, I a few weeks ago I got into a good rhythm of things, I got plenty of me time, got to spend time with Connor during the day, even got a boat load of coding done… problem is I was doing all the coding and me time at night (nights that the wife was working) and it eventually caught up to me. Then I started sneaking naps in during the day and not taking Connor out as much (the odd August heat wave we’ve got didn’t help me want to leave the house). That deprived Connor of his much needed energy source of other people… and it’s spiraled a bit out of control. He still falls asleep in the car ride taking Mommy to work… but now he wakes up at around 9 at night… and won’t go back to sleep without me.
This routine is driving me mad… Without some recharge time I’m running short on patience… and honestly it really makes me think of how amazing God is as God the Father. I see traits in Connor that I see of myself when looking back at my relationship with God and myself… and I just wonder how He does it… how He can be so perfect. I know that comparing ourselves to God we will always come up short… but I can’t help myself some times, especially when I lose my temper and yell at Connor for something so simple as asking the same question for the 1,000th time that minute… when all I want to do is sleep. So, here’s to seeking to be more patient and loving as God the Father only could truly be.
A few weeks ago I was going to pose the question whether Dave Ramsey worshipers, or MacFags were worse… I decided not to since I’ve got a lot of often very annoying friends on both sides of those fences… But luckily for me, science has answered that question for me! Seriously, I read an article about a study that linked financial stress to a lower IQ. A much lower IQ as in as much as 13 points lower. And guess what, it’s not just “bad” stress… good stresses trigger this reduction in IQ as well. As in that promotion you’ve been seeking… Yeah, it’s going to make you stupid!
The conclusion that the researchers came to was the same conclusion to a study recently about how masturbation really will make you go blind (okay, maybe not blind but hurts your vision over time). The masturbation theory was a little more easy to understand and that’s why I bring it up. During masturbation a large percentage of your blood flow is going to your reproductive organs, but at the same time you are stimulating the visual cortex of your brain… the combination of high stimulation and reduced oxygen flow (the exact opposite of how your body is designed to work) slowly degrades your brains ability to interpret visual images. Worrying about money, trying to gain more money, or even getting good financial news triggers a very intense “tunnel vision” effect of the mind, it is so intense it nearly shuts down all other parts of your brain enough to produce a very prominent decrease in your intelligence. Now, to be perfectly fair, the study did say the effect seems to be temporary, but was enough of a change to wonder about long term effects.
I know what my Dave Ramsey worshiper friends are going to say… so I’m going to steal your thunder “See, this is exactly why you too should worship Dave. Join the Church of Financial Peace, beg of Dave’s forgiveness for the blasphemy you have spread against him, and devote your life to freeing others from financial worry for the low price of”… yeah, heard it all, don’t really care. According to this study you’re being just as harmful to your mental health seeking “financial peace” as if you were drowning in debt. I don’t condone debt, I think it is slavery, pure and simple. But I also certainly don’t condone worrying so much about money that you enslave yourself to the pursuit of happiness.
The original sin… Believing that we are our own gods. Satan deceived Adam and Eve into believing that they were as powerful as God, that God was afraid of them being as strong as Him so He kept knowledge from us, knowledge that would make us like God. It is a lie that we are still falling for today. Our society has told this lie so many times, in so many ways, even as Christians we don’t see it as a lie, or even the same lie.
Sometimes we see through our own rouse though, and realize that we are not enough to be our own god. So we put others in front of us to worship, to be our gods. We set up rules and regulations for our gods, but they may also be discarded as soon as they become less than entertaining to us. When they are discarded they often break the rules we have set up for them to catch our attention again… after all, they’re just humans, humans that have been showered with love, attention, and the affections of being gods, then that attention was ripped from them for not being entertaining enough. We’re all susceptible to believing that we are our own gods, no one more so than children though.
So when we put a child on stage, parade, and worship them as gods… they grow up believing this lie more so than anyone else. When the worship ends, it feels as if their life has ended after all being a god is the deepest desire of sin possible in our lives.
I’ve tried to keep out of this discussion because for the most part I couldn’t care less. I didn’t watch the VMA’s, never have, and never will. I am glad that I don’t work for MTV any longer because if I were still working for them I would have to be a part of this discussion on a daily basis. It was my job to protect MTV assets from special interest attacks… and believe me there are a LOT of attacks going on as MTV definitely achieved their goals of getting your attention this year at the VMA’s. And while attention is their goal, it also comes with its share of exposed vulnerabilities. It was my job to be the shield that closed those vulnerabilities before they could be exploited on a large scale… you see MTV often knew about the vulnerabilities ahead of time, it was also my job to give them reports on possible vulnerabilities before a site went live, then it was my job to keep track of those vulnerabilities that they didn’t feel it was worth their money and time to close and shield them before an attack could become large scale. So I would have to monitor and get in on every discussion around the web about MTV related subjects to get a feel for how people were reacting, and how that might translate into security risks for their sites.
Anyways, since I quit working for them I am proud to say that until this last week I’ve been able to completely avoid even hearing about any topics relating to MTV… good for me, bad for MTV. I guess you could say you could hear it coming in the calm, MTV had to shock the public back into talking about them. And while most of the heat is being put on Miley Cyrus for her outlandish performance… What I am most saddened by is the “Christians” who say (and this is me paraphrasing what I hear as a systems analyst) “I can’t believe I put Miley Cyrus as a god in front of my children to worship, and she betrayed us as a god… I can’t believe what a terrible job she is doing of raising my daughter!” I just tilt my head and wonder who is more diluted. The same people who are ashamed of how Miley Cyrus is raising their children are the ones who just a few years ago worshipped her as the savior of dignity in young girls role models, and the savior of all things pure and good… Sounds like you’ve put a mortal on a gods pedestal… don’t be too surprised when that mortal turns out to be just as mortal as you and me.