Friday, August 29, 2008

Free Pastor Bike, Chinese Christian

Sorry, I can't make the url work.

Go here to this Voice of the Martyrs website to sign a petition to free Pastor Bike, a Christian pastor in China who was arrested before the Olympics. There is a U-tube video by the BBC on this page, which tells that the Chinese destroyed houses of their citizens to make way for the Olympics, without compensating the home owners. It also shows the arrest of Pastor Bike.

America must continue to put the pressure on this nation to give human rights if we are going to continue to enrich them with trade. Their one child policy was deplorable in its cruelty, such that the boy to girl ratio in that land bodes ill for their future. Granted, their population was out of control, but there are more humane ways to limit population than abortion --forced abortion, at that. There have been baby girls abandoned in the streets, which is why some Americans have elected to adopt Chinese girl infants.

I recall early in Geo. W. Bush's first term how he went to China and spoke about faith and freedom to a university in front of the Chinese political leaders. It was George's finest hour. He told them how we saw religion as a good thing in our country, making us strive to be better people, kinder people. We didn't see it as "an opiate of the people," he said.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible, I John 1:9

Monday, August 25, 2008

OPRAH DOES IT AGAIN! Promoting Transgendering

I tuned in to what may have been an OPRAH re-run last week. Two families were featured in which the father had become a 2nd mother. A plumber who was always self-consciously "macho" --knowing he had a secret desire to dress as a woman and secretly maintained an expensive cache of female clothing and shoes. He had finally become a woman (still walking with a manly swagger) --and so his wife now refers to him as her "spouse." Said she resented a little that people now view her as a lesbian, but she is now her husband's soul-mate --there are no longer any secrets between them. She's gained a best girlfriend. The teen-age son said his main concern was that his parents would divorce --which he perceived as an even greater pain. Divorce does add injury to injury ---as happened when the homosexual pastor left his family to be with his male lover. {The Episcopalian church elevated him to bishop thereafter, which has caused a huge split in that church.)

The plumber's youngest daughter, around 12, wept in the video they presented of her--saying she missed her daddy and being Daddy's Girl. But on the show, she joined with her teen siblings to say it was just fine that Dad had become a second Mom --whom they still call "Dad" or sometimes "Denise" at home. They had been praised by Oprah and liberal community and school to think it was just fine if Dad "needed" to be a woman. No stigma. No embarrassment. Just a trip to OPRAH --celebrity status for their family.

The other couple were Asian doctors. The husband had become a very vain-looking woman. The wife did tear up and say she did miss her husband and how he looked and was as a man. Their little boy on video said, "I want my Daddy back. I don't want to have 2 mommies. I don't like being different. I want a Daddy like everybody else has." He appeared to be about 5 years old.

No comments were made about the sadness of the children or wife who expressed it. Oprah said it would sure be a "deal breaker" for her to have a husband transgender. She commended the spouses, children and neighbors and society in general for becoming more tolerant to such men changing to women.

So, why shouldn't these men be comforted in their transition, for becoming "who I really am"?

Because it is selfishness, clear and simple.

Such men are fixated on gender and wanting to be what their bodies are not. They spend huge amounts of money on their clothing and then will probably deprive the kids of a college education and other comforts while they spend a fortune on transgendering. Or their indebtedness will guarantee that we tax payers pick up the education bill. The physicians and other well-to-do couples will be able to afford the costs, but average folks will find that Daddy's transition is beyond their means.

I hope insurances and government are not covering such self-indulgent, unnecessary mutilation of healthy bodies in order to accommodate the mess between the ears of such people.

In church yesterday, we sang of loving Jesus more than anything else. We hear that His will is more important and better for us than our own. We sing of being like JEsus in self-sacrifice and service to others. We say, "Not my will, but thine be done."

These transgendering fathers, like homosexuals, are fixated on one thing --their desire to be what they are not created to be --no matter how it hurts the wives and kids and parents --no matter if it makes them childless and deprives women of marriage and children. I did not hear them say if they had more than breast surgery. We know of one transgender in Michigan who kept his equipment for his wife's sake. I got the impression these men on the tv show were having the total surgery, but it wasn't stated explicitly that I heard. Thereafter, then, the only kind of sex they have with the spouse is that of lesbians --a pitiful substitute for the real thing. The Asian doctor admitted to bi-sexual interests as a college student, but neither man claimed to want to be a woman in order to be with men.

It's no wonder we've come to celebrate such idiocy --pop culture's leaders, educators and psycho-babblers have been preaching self-esteem above all else and pleasing ourselves and being proud of ourselves for decades. And the latest message is that gender and orientation are fluid according to what one THINKS he wants to be or whom he wants to be with -- OR fixed at birth somewhere in the brain, contrary to the body.

I'm told there were some European studies showing that homosexuals' brains have some functional similarities to the opposite sex. We know that addictive activities and substances can alter brain structure and function. What is more addictive (apparently) than homosexual orgasmic living and extreme promiscuity of that lifestyle? I've no doubt that the Bible is true in saying, "AS a man thinks in his heart, so is he." And the verse is not a license for transgendering. It says we think sinfully --and thus, are sinners.

In the case of transgenders and homosexuals, if the brains are similar to those of the opposite sex, it may be that opposite sex thinking has programmed the brain. I repeat, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." IF a mother and father fail to provide normal role modeling and the daily presence and affection of the same sex parent for their children in their developmental years, perhaps their brains conform to the opposite sex parent's brain.

I'm not thinking that parents must be to blame for such abnormalities --because the culture itself has so much to do with sinful influence. However, Dr. Dobson believes that fathers, especially, must INTENTIONALLY help their little boys feel like "one of the guys," and spend both quality and quantity time with their pre-schoolers and not leave their upbringing entirely to Mom. There is to be opposite sex affirmation from parents, and same sex identification.

We are learning so much more about the brain's change-ability. Is it possible that when one is filled with the Holy Spirit and transformed by a conversion encounter with Christ, that the brain is RENEWED? "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." My husband's grandfather easily gave up a very bad cigarette habit when he accepted Christ into his life. It was overnight. He was transformed by the renewing of his mind--a supernatural act of God. I remember a spiritual experience of my own at age 18 that really changed my personality in some ways --such that I was more outgoing, loving, less shy and self-conscious. I've seen that change in others after they believe, repent, and accept Christ into their lives. There is a new look in the eyes --a new warmth and confidence, too.

We hear of epileptic children now who have half the brain removed to stop incontrollable frequent seizures --and the other half of the brain takes over the functions of the missing half.

So our brains can be altered. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." The verse suggests we have a WILL that can choose how and what we think. Jesus suggests we are RESPONSIBLE for what we think, responsible for our sin. We also know it is inevitable that we have this sin nature --a mind inclined to sin. But we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds when we give our lives to Him.

Did we hear Olympians this year praising God for help in sport? No, we heard how proud the winners were of themselves --or how they did their best and were proud of themselves for doing that. You don't hear the losers tell how they stayed up too late partying or should've practiced harder --and maybe that's not the case. But we didn't hear winners say that they "PRESSED TOWARD THE MARK OF THE HIGH CALLING OF JESUS CHRIST" in the race of life. And maybe they were forbidden to do so. That wouldn't surprise us. Or maybe Olympics is all about victory for me --unlike the missionary star of Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell, who said he felt the pleasure of God in Him when he ran --and said He ran for the glory of God. He refused to run on Sundays, as Sunday is "The Lord's Day."

I suggest that if we are fully committed to God, we will accept our bio-assignments to be male or female. There are birth defects and abnormal conditions in life from flawed genes --but so far, we have not found that sexual confusion in our culture has anything at all to do with our brains or our genes --but with "vain imaginations" and the selfishishness that is intrinsic to our sin nature.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Monday, August 11, 2008


Once again, vacation was possibly more work than pleasure. Hubby worked on office stuff until the last minute --such that the vacation didn't start until Wednesday --and our toilet line plugged up just before we left, and toilet water backed up into the adjoining shower. We have a newer bathroom that has always given us problems because the contractor and his plumber didn't do something right. But we put a bunch of vinegar down --and after the 2nd toilet on the line overflowed and splashed on the floor getting all over hubby's shoes --the clog finally dissolved--I called off the plumber who was coming--and we left the house!

We get to the lake, and our neighbor sends his dogs to our yard to do his business --and my daughter yelled through closed windows at the offender, "NOT IN OUR YARD!!!" And we know the 2 neighbor guys noticed --as they looked at the house. Did they come out with a pooper scooper? Of course not. But we are tolerant --because he has mowed our yard some springs before we got there --maybe once a year.

Before we arrived, our daughters who got there earlier called to say the brand new air conditioner wasn't working -- and there was a leak under the new sink. So the plumber came out --said there was an earwig in our AC. He got everything working.

I noticed in my new bathroom a flaw in the wall paper where the carpenter had a 2 inch diameter tear where he put in the towel bar. He had stuck it together. It's right where you would notice it if you were sitting on the stool! I asked my daughter if she had noticed that when we were cleaning up and finishing up with the carpenter --she said yes, but she felt sorry for him--because I had gotten him to do an extra job after I paid him. There was a PLANT growing on the roof --and since he had been up there previously to take out the chimney (to make room for the sink in the bathroom, we had taken out a chimney chase,) I thought he could have removed the plant and whatever debris was cultivating it. We were fixing the cottage as a prize for a music booster fund-raiser --a teacher's family was going to spend a few days there --and I didn't want them to see a plant growing on the roof. Plus, he helped her rehang the window valances --all of 5 minutes worth. So she didn't want to point out that he had ruined the new wallpaper already. He also put in the baseboards even though he knew he should wait for the heating guy to give him the new register cover --he didn't know exactly what size it would be --but he put the baseboards in anyway. And then he had to remove the baseboard off the new wallpaper and cut it to fit the register cover. And there was some flaw afterward in how the baseboard butts against the wall, not quite square. I think he was trying to speed up the whole process before I noticed his wallpaper damage.

I paid to have that paper airmailed quickly from England --and paid top dollar to a decorating company according to the price in the wallpaper book. Afterward I found the same paper at Lowe's for 1/3 the price --and would not have had to pay $75 shipping.

O well, when I feel gypped, I just tell myself I'm helping the economy.

Re: the bathroom --You used to be able to sit on the stool and brush your teeth at the same time, not that anybody did--but it was so close, your skirts had to swish against the toilet when you used the sink. By taking out the chimney, getting a new furnace that doesn't use a chimney, we were able to get the sink and toilet on the same wall.

Anyway, I got my young carpenter (in his late 20's) to get a ladder from the garage and the plant off the roof. And I didn't know that he had spoiled my new wallpaper. Some people I know would make him get the bathroom done over. Even to repair it and re-do a section would cause new horizontal seams and not be as nice as it was when the paper hanger did it. So, we're letting it go. It's still a beautiful little cottage bathroom--and so much more user-friendly.

On Saturday, we took the old dusty 1987 Four Winns deck boat on the Chain of Lakes tour through canals and 7? lakes. And in the last lake --after the ice cream and bathroom stop on Marble Lake, my son was driving and the boat started to sound funny and smoke poured from the gear shift area and the motor area. First thing was to move the 2 grandmas in their 80's to the front of the boat instead of by the engine in the back --Grandma's walker was in the way, making this a tough job with too many feet and panic aboard. Though there was no screaming --but minds racing to think what we should do. I was ready to open bottles of water! We should've thought to put on our life jackets and prepared to jump over. The gas tank could've ignited and exploded. I hope we'll remember the lesson learned for any future episode --and have better presence of mind. Hindsight is always best, sad to say.

Son took fire extinguisher to the back --where there were not any flames yet --Husband turned off the ignition--finally. Many boats slowed to inquire how they could help and we didn't know. Fortunately, Jon had his cell phone and called the sheriff. We were drifting under low hanging branches when 2 sheriffs show up. Do they have ropes on their boat? Of course not. Why would the Marine Patrol have tow ropes? So they left us under the trees with daughter squealing over possible bugs in branches --and then they returned and tied us to their tow rope. We had one but not long enough. Right away, their Boy Scout knot knowledge proved deficient --and the knot untied. So they tried again --I think my husband did it finally--he was a Boy Scout and knows his knots. And they pulled us to public access --where we eventually got permission to leave the boat overnight at a neighboring private pier. The sheriffs were very cordial --and I was so relieved that I actually had current boat registration in the boat when they asked to see it--and that they didn't examine our 1980's fire extinguisher.

The next day, our boat was picked up (for a hefty fee) by our boat-shop-owning neighbor to his place of business. He called the next week to say, "Good news --only $1000 of damage --water pump went out and lots of stuff was damaged but not the motor itself." My husband never thinks $1000 is good news.

My husband hates the boat --it's hard to get the grandmas in and out of it and half the time it won't start --but it did on this day. He wants a new fancy pontoon --so he can give them 2 rides a year or so on his 7 days or so at the lake. We do have an old pontoon that works --and we did take a couple nice rides in it with the mothers --but it doesn't go fast --and we needed to make time on the chain of lakes tour --as we had promised to give some other relatives from down the road a sunset cruise on the pontoon later. Besides, our daughter-in-law had never taken the ride through the canals and the lakes and she likes the faster boat, too.

The next day, before leaving for home, I hoped to go Seadooing with my husband --and my Seadoo started to balk and stall right away --after working all week for everybody else. This time I didn't pray it into running --the inspiration was lacking! Once it started up with the help of some guy whose house I stalled in front of --after my husband got a tow rope --so I shot at top speed through the "no wake" zone, not wanting to stall again. I knew I was breaking the "no wake law" --but figured the sheriff would understand the need to get home before stalling again. But here came a pontoon with a bossy young lady telling me that I wasn't to go through that no-wake zone fast like I did. I said I knew that --but had met the sheriff yesterday and figured he'd understand an exception since I needed to keep going fast so it wouldn't stall again.

But it did stall, and while she was scolding me, Hubby was trying to tie me to his seadoo --and the way he did it, had him pulling me sidewise --and I almost tipped over when he sped up --and so there we were, yelling at each other out in public. He wonders why I can't hold the rope such that it won't pull me sideways --but of course, when the slack goes out of the rope, I can't control that rope at all; it's too tight. So he had to be content to pull me home at a snail's pace. Had he been able to reach the place on the Seadoo where the tow rope was supposed to be tied, it wouldn't have gone crooked --but that ring is practically under the boat and he couldn't reach it without getting in the water --and then he wouldn't have been able to get back on his boat.

Otherwise, we had lovely meals, all planned by and shopped for by my daughter (I'm the clean-up crew), enjoyed the new bathroom and the AC, and the new vinyl-sheeting Armstrong Oak-like flooring --also a project of the summer. That was the flooring recommended for swimmers' water. It is a great improvement --though I think I see what are 3 nail pop-ups in the walk way, and have to go back and see if the flooring installer can replace that section and have it look ok. We do have left-over material.

I had one good Seadoo run by myself. And joined in one afternoon of swimming with most of the family.

Also enjoyed visits with some cousins I had not seen for a long time.

Our mothers were both there; my mom stays in her sister's fancy house at the other end of the island --and she spent her days with us --and she is getting forgetful at 88? I've lost track. I'm forgetful, too! She was forever worrying about whether her sister would have other people needing her bed --and with whom she was to have dinner --and where she had left her purse.

Jon's mother, on the other hand, is better off mentally but more frail of body --having broken a hip and having severe osteoarthritis and porosis such that she can't stand up straight very easily. Her legs are like toothpicks and they said her bones are very brittle --but she thinks it's cute to seriously beg for a Seadoo ride and to ride the adult tricycle we have -- It's part of her charm to act like a school girl, always ready for some risky adventure --so she giggles and begs for the rides she wants. And as an only child, she is used to getting what she wants. Fortunately, nobody indulged her this time. We used to take her on most of our vacations to Florida --until she broke the hip (femur, actually) stepping out of a bathroom--and my husband spent the whole week with her in the hospital.

I'm a good wife.

The grandsons had no mishaps and lots of good times --and some fish were caught and cleaned and served by Grandpa. One large lethargic bass was caught with a net --he was just hovering near the pier --and he wasn't taking an interest in the worms. They let him go, thinking he was not in good health.

We also visited the Coldwater Free Methodist Church --and found it to be a thriving congregation with a young dynamic preacher. What was the sermon topic? RELAX! the importance of taking time away from work, and the pursuit of money, for vacation, relationships and church.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Our 39th Anniversary was Saturday, and we decided to go to a movie and buy the junk food P's: hot pretzels, popcorn, pop and a relish tray --without guilt! Plus hotdogs! That was our special dinner out! And it was my idea as we both had busy day and I liked the idea of leaning back in a theater seat over an uncomfortable dining room chair.

SWING VOTE stars Kevin Costner as a ne'er do well, working class drunk. At least, he drinks too much. His daughter is about 5th grade, I'd guess --and she's the grown-up in the house. And she REALLY wants Dad "Bud" to vote --so she registered him by mail. She also wants him to quit his chronic cussing --says "Jesus is the Savior for billions of people." This is not a laugh-line.

Due to a fluke at the polls, his vote doesn't fully register ---and the state of New Mexico's 5 electoral votes are the ones to determine the presidential election. And his one vote is the decider.

His re-vote is set for 10 days later, and Air Force one and the Republican team fly in to curry his vote --and the Democratic party throws a big party for him. All the social issues groups are camped out in the small town of Texaco, Mexico. The media is there --and the whole world is watching Bud and his daughter Molly.

The story points out that there is nothing sacred about party values when it comes to getting the vote. Campaign managers would sell the souls of their mothers. One of them denies that --and then in an after-thought, says, "Well, you don't know my mother!"

The Democrats do a pro-life ad for Bud's attention as he said about being pro-life, "Isn't everybody??" And the Republicans do a pro-gay marriage ad which gays won't like for the silly stereotypes --and it is comical --and probably too true that political campaign managers don't care about issues as much as winning.

But our candidates have pangs of conscience --and Bud concludes at the final debate, for which he asked, that both men are admirable, worthy leaders.

Bud makes a heart-felt speech about his own life of disinterest, his own lack of sacrifice for ideals and country, his own unworthiness to cast the vote --after a last minute epiphany prompted by his idealistic daughter.

The end is satisfying --and not at all politically polarizing. And the Republican president, played convincingly by Kelsey Grammar, comes across well in the end --surprising for a Hollywood movie. Both candidates are depicted as men of character, in the end.

It moves a little slowly at points, but overall is a thought-provoking, touching and humorous story on the value of every vote. The impact of bad parenting, particularly not keeping our word to our children is part of the story --the sadness and resentment it causes. We see the correlation between one's attitudes, effort and life habits with low income status --in a country that DOES provide opportunity, as Bud notes in his final speech. He had lost his job on election day --and deservedly (and humorously) so.

I like this movie. I think the performances are excellent and the message uplifting.


"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Most Insightful Criticism of Communism

I read this about a month ago on wikipedia and thought it was brilliant. It's from the Dali Llama:

I think the major flaw of the Marxist regimes is that they have placed too much emphasis on the need to destroy the ruling class, on class struggle, and this causes them to encourage hatred and to neglect compassion. Although their initial aim might have been to serve the cause of the majority, when they try to implement it all their energy is deflected into destructive activities. Once the revolution is over and the ruling class is destroyed, there is nor much left to offer the people; at this point the entire country is impoverished and unfortunately it is almost as if the initial aim were to become poor. I think that this is due to the lack of human solidarity and compassion. The principal disadvantage of such a regime is the insistence placed on hatred to the detriment of compassion.

original source

While most critics will cite the loss of incentive as the principle problem with communism since everyone would ideally get the same amount of goods and services, which I think is a good point, I think this criticism goes further to the heart of the problem.

The Dali Llama for this reason considers himself a half Marxist. He, like most communists doesn't believe that the governments that champion Marxism really represent the system. According to him, though the implementation of Marxism has often been a disaster, Marxism itself is founded upon moral principles of equality while capitalism is based upon personal gain.

I think both systems can fail for the same reason. They both treat the human situation as primarily economic. Capitalism only works best when you have good people who will use their resources not just for themselves but for others and for the long term good. But Marxism cannot be good thoroughly as it is a godless system.

Reflecting on the Dali Llama's comment, it seems to me that Marxism has worked out as an affront to humanity itself as it flies in the face of the most important goals for humans. It stands as an outright perversion of the second greatest commandment to love one's neighbor, where in Marxism we are called to love 9 out of 10 of our neighbors (in a materialistic way) but to hate that one in 10 who has more than the others and take his possessions by force to distribute to everyone else. Of course it is explicitly Godless as well which is an affront to the most important commandment.

Of course some people see the economics of the early church as communistic. For one, they forget that communism is an explicitly Godless system, so that identification will never work out. But scripture as a whole and even the new testament more specifically doesn't completely fit these descriptions of communism nor capitalism. There is an instance in acts where many in the early church held goods in common, but at the same time, there were other churches where Paul encouraged those who were able to support widows to do so thus the church would be able to use its resources in other ways. Clearly the implication is that people had funds that were their own.

The point here is taking care of one's neighbors, but there's no way to do that set in stone.

But what else could we say of scriptural economics. On the one hand, there is the parable of the vineyard owner who paid everyone a denarius no matter when they came to work demonstrating that the vineyard owner paid each according to their need. Of course it is emphasized that the owner and workers freely entered this relationship. On the other, the parable of the talents shows a king who rewards hard work by giving more power to the most successful servants. And there were those churches were people held goods in common. What we have here is meritocracy, rulership by the most competent and most successful and privatized socialism. No majority put it to a vote to force the wealthy to give up their wealth and there certainly was no bloody revolution. We do not see nameless faceless bureaucracies doling out checks and food stamps to people with no relationship of gratitude. People of their own free will and their own resources took care of each other.