Friday, September 27, 2013

Snake Oil Salesmen

                                         Swallowing the Supplement Pill Hype

I recently read that studies are now demonstrating that all the anti-oxidant pills we are taking don’t reduce free radicals, but actually may be promoting more.  We began down the path of swallowing the “big lie” centuries ago, but our big gulp was in the fifties when Monsanto said “better life through chemistry.”  We even dream of being master of life itself.  It doesn’t surprise me that our synthetic approach to good health is not doing what it says it will.  I suspect perfection in a pill likely will remain a myth forever.  (And I’m truly concerned about all the seeds Monsanto makes with herbicides and pesticide properties built in to grow our food.  We’ll leave that discussion for another time.)

I think we were designed to function well and be healthy, and most of how that is to be accomplished is revealed by the body itself.  For instance, look at the teeth.  They are mostly the kind that are designed to eat vegetables and not the kind of teeth carnivores have.  I suspect that means we are supposed to have a diet high in grains, fruits and veggies.  Do we do that?  The 16-ounce Diamond Jim Brady prime rib is still the gold standard for dinner.  How can we expect to be healthy when we still pursue that ideal?

Like a campfire or a car, the body is a fuel-burning machine.  It takes carbon compounds and oxidizes them.  Having a blood stream that effectively carries oxygen, carbon based fuels, and successfully cleans out the wastes generated by that burning makes for an efficient machine.  It’s not much different than the engine in your car.  Remember how they always tell you, you have to really run your car and get it hot to burn out all those carbon deposits when all you do is short trips from one parking lot to another.  So, maintaining a system that flows highly oxygenated blood effectively through your vessels is a top priority like any efficient healthy machine. Think trains…one goes by every 10 minutes along Interstate 40.  Imagine if it only had 4 cars on each train, or if they dropped it to one train an hour.  Los Angeles would collapse.  That’s what happens to our bodily systems without the cardiovascular carrying capacity for oxygen and wastes.

It’s all about circulation and oxygenation.  That means EXERCISE.  Sure, control your diet and don’t eat too much fat and sweets.  But the biggie is we weren’t designed to sit in front of a TV or computer all day.  We were supposed to get out and grow and gather food and run faster than the lions could that wanted to use their carnivorous teeth to eat us.

Keep your weight in check and your fitness level high.  We need proper body nutrition from natural foods, weight in normal range and cardiovascular health…not a bunch of supplement pills.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Thoughts For Today

We don't often improve a lot from our successes.  But when our mistakes come along we can learn a lot from them.  So when failures come, remember that they are a gift and an opportunity to grow.

Ever hear the phrase "He's a man of few words?"  It's usually meant as a compliment when it's spoken. Listen more and speak less, and your words will have power when you use them.  Often we speak in anger, arrogance, ignorance or defensiveness.  Try speaking in love.

There's a lot you can learn in life...if only you realized you needed to.

And finally, from my friend Phyl: "Winds of change have a mixed scent"

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kill Every Man, Woman and Child

My Mom refused to read the Old Testament.  She was appalled by the violence and especially by the directive from God to the Jews to kill all the Canaanites and take their lands.  It’s a hard thing to understand and I’m sure it’s a stumbling block for a lot of people when reading the Bible.  This story offends our sense of moral righteousness to kill non-combatants and even innocent children.  How do we explain this?  This is probably one of the most difficult things I have ever written about.

In Ezekiel God tells us “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”  Yet God determines our life span as the creator.  He has the authority to terminate us at will.  He made us and he can take us out.  Man, on the other hand has no such authority.  In fact the Bible clearly establishes throughout that mankind is to follow the rule of proportionality in all actions.  Eye for an eye was not set up to show cruelness, but more likely to establish punishment that was NOT excessive.  So, simply put, God has the right to make the judgment of whether the Canaanites should live or not.  When he transmits the directions to the Jews to carry it out he has granted them that authority in this one instance to kill everyone in Canaan.

Recognize first that the Canaanites were an evil, cruel and violent lot.  I suspect we can’t even begin to imagine their depravity.  They practiced temple prostitution and child sacrifice that we know of, at the very least.  They were not a nice bunch.  God decided to judge them using the Jews.  Life was violent and cruel in ancient times, and we need to recognize that it is the very Bible we are questioning that brought us the high moral values we operate from today.  Not committing wanton murder, not stealing, loving your neighbor.  The common thread of the Old and New Testaments overwhelmingly supports this merciful approach but for the instance of wiping out the Canaanites (and Judging Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins -- even then God told Abraham he wouldn’t wipe them out if even ten righteous persons were in those cities.)

What about the children?  They are innocent, right?  Perhaps.  But to me, they are outside the age of moral responsibility and got a better deal than living as a Canaanite when they got promoted directly to Heaven.  At least that is my position on it.  I believe grace is extended to those below an age of accountability.  (Still, I wish they hadn't been killed...although I fully recognize from a practical social standpoint they would likely become an enemy of the Jews when they reached independent adulthood and perhaps seek to revolt and revert back to what they had known.)

Now, how does that compare with the Islam of today?  The radical Muslims use their Koran to justify killing of anyone who doesn’t believe as they do.  They believe, not as Christians do -- that God loves everyone…they believe God only loves Muslims.  They freely kill women and children, even of their own faith as propaganda and fear-mongering tactics.  They kill their own children if they get involved with people outside their faith and appear to abandon Islam.  To me, this is not the God of the Bible.  Again, I am only speaking of the Radical element of Islam.

I agree, all this is a difficult issue to examine.  I offer my thoughts only as my thoughts and know you may have many other feelings and questions about it that perhaps only God can answer someday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Three In One

I find it interesting that mankind finds it so difficult to accept the religiously sponsored idea that the Christian God is really three persons in one being, and that Jesus was actually part of who God is.  Secular society has no trouble understanding that each of us is made up of a brain that has an Ego, a Superego, and an Id.  Never any arguments heard about these three distinct personality elements in your noggin, is there?  And they are completely invisible to anyone.  They can’t point to any of them in the brain.  Also, there are no arguments that people can suffer from mental illness wherein they have multiple personalities (of even different sexes!)  Society just swallows that one from the intellectual community like they were saying the “sun comes up in the morning.”  Then of course there is 3 in 1 oil, and I'm sure using this image will tick somebody off.

And yet an entity that is deemed responsible for calling creation into being cannot be seen to fit anything but a singular mold?  If he is even accepted at all.  Why is that?  Remember, Jesus claimed that “I and the Father are one….he that has seen me has seen the Father.”  The authority from God was not claimed just because he felt like it, it was claimed because he had that authority as part of God.  It is also essential to the aspect of Jesus dying on the cross and returning to life after three days in the grave to prove he was God.  God describes Himself as a “relational” character with himself and with us (at least that’s the goal, he wants a relationship with us…something we often seem to thwart at every turn.)  Now the “Superego” of God the Father himself even Jesus acknowledged was greater than he was, so in this triune being there are differences in function and in power.  Hmmm…like the Superego that controls the Id and the Ego? 

The creator and giver of life is no small figure that can fit neatly in the box of our intellectual choosing.  He is much larger than that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I was listening to noted educator Michelle Rhee recently and something she said really caught my ear.  She said that we need to evaluate the ability of our public school teachers and keep the good ones.

We pay people sometimes up to $12 million a year to toss a ball through a metal hoop on the wall (or for that matter use a stick to whack a tiny ball and run like the devil was chasing you.)  If they don’t do it well enough, we get rid of them and find someone who does.  This is purely and entertainment business.  Teaching in a public school is a fundamental value in society that needs to be done extremely well. However, in that teaching environment we pay them more to stay in the system for years, and we pay them more to take classes on how to teach…and never assess their ability to do the job.  If they don’t do it well, we don’t pay them less or fire them or trade them to the minor leagues because tenure rules and unions protect them.  They basically have to molest a student to get tossed.

Where is the logic in all this?  In private secondary schools bad teachers are more often evaluated and removed because those schools have to compete for students based on quality of education and achievement outcomes.  And those teachers are usually the lowest paid teachers in the land earning usually half what public school teachers earn.

Our country is steadily falling in its educational ranking world wide.  We don’t train enough scientists and engineers in this country anymore and have to import our skilled technically trained workers from places like India and China and Japan.  Half our kids in many places never even finish high school anymore.  The dropout rate is enormous and should frighten every American.

Why should we be frightened of evaluating the performance of our teachers and holding them accountable?  I remember a comment Dave Barry made once.  It goes something like this:  “In Japan the people are really serious about things and education is important even to the point of going to school far longer hours than we do…but hey, in America we can throw a really great party!”  Is that all we’ve become is a bunch of people intent on pleasure and the easy life?
Quote of the Day:

"Great people plant trees they'll never sit under."
                                          courtesy of John Maxwell.

Freedom Of Speech, Freedom Of Religion...Really???

It has shamefully become clear that in America your freedom of religion and speech are no longer constitutionally guaranteed rights under the Obama “lead from behind” presidential model.  I have reproduced comments below I recently read from Tony Perkins that every American should be outraged over. My own comments are italicized in red: 

“Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk was brought into an internal dispute over a class at Lackland Air Force Base. His superior (and open homosexual) Major Elisa Valenzuela was irate that a trainer suggested that same-sex "marriage" was a divisive issue that could have devastating effects on America. When Valenzuela caught wind of the comments, she solicited Monk's advice on how to punish the trainer. He suggested that they use the moment as an opportunity to teach tolerance for all opinions.”

“That infuriated Valenzuela, who demanded to know Monk's stance on marriage (after first warning him that supporting homosexual "marriage" is "official military policy.) He refused to answer, explaining to her that if he did, there would surely be consequences.”

“Turns out, he was right. After 19 years of spotless service, Monk was relieved of his duties. In an interview with Fox News's Todd Starnes, Monk was almost speechless. "I was essentially fired for not validating my commander's position [regarding] homosexuality," Air Force representatives shocked everyone by reading Monk his Miranda rights and informing him that he was now the subject of a criminal investigation. They claim Monk made "false public statements" to Fox News -- specifically that he claimed he was being targeted because of his Christian beliefs…”This was retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint." So much for the Pentagon's insistence that they would never court-martial service members for their faith!”

“Two years removed from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" debate (which the Pentagon vowed would have no effect on the military's treatment of marriage), our service members are being told that there's no longer a place in the service for people who agree with the majority of Americans (and 37 states) on marriage -- or worse, prosecuted for holding beliefs that, until recently, even President Obama shared!” (My comment: He’s really good at the “Change” part, not so much on the “Hope” part.)

“At a time when the Air Force is defending drag queen acts on military installations, Christians deserve the same kind of tolerance. When the cross-dressing show came under fire, Brigadier General Tammy Smith, the first openly gay general, said, "I would ask you to also give space to people to be authentically who they are." Shouldn't the same apply to Christians? In the Obama military, anyone can live proudly and openly -- unless they're believers.”
  • President Obama announced his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains.
  • Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers included "Evangelical Christianity" and "Catholicism" along with the terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of "religious extremism."
  • Servicemen expressing their religious position on homosexuality are receiving severe and possibly career-ending reprimands.
  • A senior military official at Fort Campbell sends out a lengthy e-mail instructing officers to recognize "the religious right in America" as a "domestic hate group," (akin to the KKK and Neo-Nazis) because of its opposition to homosexual behavior.
  • An Air Force officer is told to remove a Bible from his desk because "it might offend someone

Does any of this chill you to the bone?  Do you realize the potential for allowing this as it applies to anyone else who hold a belief, opinion, viewpoint other than the approved governmental speak?  You all know by now that I believe we are charged to love homosexuals just as we would anyone, but that does not mean we condone all behaviors or see them as right.  Without freedom of speech and religion, we are nothing as a country.  It is the underpinning of all that created America.  How can this be allowed in the very military that is the defender of all that we stand for?