Saturday, February 28, 2009


Tonight, Saturday, we went to the all –church Family Quiz Challenge –a fund-raiser for the HFM (my church) Bible Quiz Team (9 or 10 teens.) They need help to go to New York State for nationals which will be held on the Roberts Weslyan U. campus. Any team qualifies for nationals after a year of monthly quizzes in their region.

My daughter Stephanie's family was one team with Jacob, 8, and husband Bruce. Jon and I were a team and we sat my Mom, 89, between us as a team member though she didn't know ahead of time to study --and she does have dementia, so I'm not sure she could have kept up. But she enjoyed the event immensely. (One of my S.S. students was supposed to be 3rd member of my team instead of Mom, but his divorced father came to town to take out his children.)

Bruce’s sister and daughter, 8, were a team. There were 3 youth teams, mostly grades 6-9 (the official quizzers of our church) and another team of young mothers and another family team—so 8 teams altogether. Rob was a quiz master and he also made soup for the event as did Steph and a few others. Soup, salad, rolls and dessert were the menu after the quiz.

I quizzed out in one round and almost the 2nd (answering 5 questions correctly means you have to quit) –There are 15 questions per round. Jon answered a couple. I got 4 in the 2nd quiz and maybe 3? in the 3rd quiz against my grandson and his folks. I studied some by note-taking and reviewing through the 2 chapters. There were 3 rounds before the all-star quiz between the top 2 teams which were our daughter's family and our official team of 7th graders. To answer a question, you stand from your chair that has a little electric plate to sit on--when you stand up you light up a panel and answer in the order of the lights --whoever is up first answers first. Of course the young people have the art of getting off the chair in lightning speed! If you pre-jump, you have to finish the question verbatim. If you answer the pre-jump wrongly, the question goes to the other team.

(I was very glad to do so well, as I've wondered if Alzheimers was coming my way --when I can't think of words or names--when I substitute wrong words with silly effect (I meant to say "the lady with the orange apron" pointing out someone to my mother, and started to say, "the lady with the orange drapery") --and also when I'm going down the road and suddenly wonder where I am, so lost in thought I am, and my familiar road doesn't look familiar. Just a few little things like that.)

My daughter's team won –with young Jacob answering questions word for word from the scripture –as did Stephanie. Bruce used to coach quizzing –and Steph and he first knew each other as quizzers from competing churches. Bruce coached our team to state championship when he was in college. His sister followed up after him and took our church team to a national championship. The trophies tonight were laughably 2 Barbie dolls painted gold mounted on little platforms--supposed to resemble Emmies, said the quiz coach Andrew Winckles, grad student constrained by low budget.

The study chapters were Luke 21 and 22 –appropriate pre-Easter chapters –up through The Last Supper and Judas' betrayal.

When studying for quizzing you notice details you did not notice before. E.G., Luke says an angel appeared to Jesus to strengthen Him on the Mt. of Olives before his famous prayer to have this cup pass from him. I didn't remember that. It seemed new to me to read that Jesus told the disciples to sell their cloaks to buy swords --and then when they decide they have 2, he says that's enough and something about fulfilling the prophecy that he would be numbered among transgressors (sword bearers?) Of course, he was numbered among them by being crucified as a criminal. It is one of these swords which is used by a disciple (Luke does not say Peter) to cut off the ear of the chief priest's servant. The RIGHT ear, mind you.

When I quizzed as a teen in the United Brethren Church quizzes, I first REALLY read scripture for total comprehension and detail and it came alive to me as Truth, as history coming to LIFE, like never before. I can't over-recommend the experience for young people. Some think competing over Bible memory is improper --but it's actually very wholesome challenge to your own mind, quick thinking, quick comprehension of the questions coming at you, strategy, thinking on your feet --good for the experience of speaking and concentrating under pressure. Of course, the greatest benefit is the exposure to the Word of God in such a way that we "hide God's Word in [our] hearts, that [we] might not sin against thee."

IF YOU'D LIKE A CHURCH THAT HAS SUCH WHOLESOME ACTIVITY FOR TEENS, WE ARE IT: 6605 Angola Road, Holland, OH, north of Spring Meadows Mall (which is on Airport Hwy.) We also have mid-week CLC for children, K-6 and separate meetings for jr. high and high school, the latter with Timberlake Church youth at our church under the local YFC/Campus Life director for Springfield H.S. 7 PM.

We counted at least 60 people in attendance. Teams paid $20 for entry and spectators paid donations for the meal.

All you businessmen out there can get your name on the quizzers' T-shirts if you want to sponsor their trip to Nationals! Any reasonable donation will make you a sponsor!

Next month, quiz teams of teens from several Michigan churches will convene at our church for competition on the 2nd Saturday, about 10 AM to 3 PM. Hopefully, the back of our church will be finished by then. We're almost there! It's looking beautiful. Our pastor is like Jesus, being a carpenter, and he made a beautiful welcome center for the rear entrance of the church, off our main parking lot. We just need a millionaire benefactor to give us new windows on the eastern side of the old part of the church, the last remaining eyesore!

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

Friday, February 27, 2009


A million dollars--$ 1,000,000 --is a thousand thousands of dollars. With today's prices, it's no wonder that the lotto winners spend through it quickly.

A billion dollars --$1,000,000,000 -- is a thousand millions of dollars --or a million thousands of dollars.

A trillion dollars --$1,000,000,000,000 -- is a thousand billions of dollars or a million millions of dollars.

Correct me if I have this wrong, Someone --I'm not a math person, but if I'm right about these figures, what Obama is doing is STAGGERING, STUNNING, ASTONISHING!

Here we are, already in national debt --10.8 trillion on Feb. 26, 2009.

So what can we do???

Oddly, hypocritically, we heard about the staggering budget deficits and national debt being all GWBush's fault --yet congress would not let him reform Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or any other entitlement program. AS YOU CAN'T GET ELECTED BY GORING ANYONE'S OX! RIGHT? They could not cut their earmarks, reduce spending --and some of them like Daschle, couldn't even pay their taxes! Additionally, as a nation, we were generous beyond belief for all the natural disasters, rebuilding Iraq to better than pre-war infrastructure; we borrowed money to help the victims of terrorism, AIDS, war --with no idea of how we were ever going to be able to pay it back. But how do politicians who need votes ever get in power if they don't give to everyone who asks??? Consider also that those who did this disaster relief work and other labor for the gov't. have CHARGED TOP DOLLAR! Everybody wants to be a millionaire and charges a fortune for their services. INFLATION of that sort has much to do with our deficit and debt.

From Mark Knoller's Political hotsheet, CBS NEWS:

Tony Fratto... served President Bush as deputy press secretary and as a spokesman in the Budget Office and Treasury Department.

He calls the Obama Administration's budget "the height of audacity."

Speaking for himself, Fratto charges the current White House is trying to "mask huge spending increases under the cloak of 'fiscal responsibility.'” And he rejects the current president’s charge that the previous Administration's budgets were full of hidden numbers and omissions.

"Our budgets were honest, open, and transparent. Every dime spent was presented, debated, voted on, and counted," said Fratto in a statement e-mailed to CBS News.

And he defended the Bush White House practice of putting war spending in “supplemental” appropriations bills.

"(It) was done to avoid permanently baking those appropriations into the Defense Department's baseline budget. That's good budgeting, not a 'gimmick.’”.

Until now, Mr. Bush ran up the biggest deficits and the largest amount of National Debt in U.S. history. The National Debt increased $4.9-trillion on his watch.

The new budget plan shows the title of biggest spender will fall to Mr. Obama.
(emphases, mine)

That's what perplexes me. If Bush's deficit spending and his increase in the national debt were so terrible, why are the Democrats rushing to outspend him???? BY TRILLIONS!!!!! with all the bail-outs (which I understand because we don't want our pensions, insurances, and bank savings to disappear --but they will anyway through taxes and inflation) --but not just bail-outs, but NEW programs, NEW spending by gov't hoping that higher taxes on the few wealthy Americans will pay all these people's salaries in the new make-work programs. The bite in taxes will hurt business even further, causing more lay-offs, bankruptcies.

We really are playing Robin Hood --trying to help all groups --even if they made their own messes --and the people we are penalizing and expecting to come up with these trillions, are the small business folks and above, in income. So, many more will lose their jobs and be in financial trouble.

I wonder how many of our banks' short-falls, came from those who failed to pay credit card and education debt, bought houses and cars they could ill afford. All that credit spending without paying it back is part of the banking problem. The constant building of new malls, restaurants, and homes --puts people to work --but also puts people and places out of business. Investors hoping for a windfall on a sure thing found that we don't have enough consumers who aren't already in debt up to their eyeballs to sustain all the new businesses. After all, we aren't getting married and making babies anymore! A majority of Americans have been living above their means for years --and average per capita debt is several thousand in each household.

What a mess!

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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Christian Life Club --a Grand Valentine Party

Actually, it was a Missions Night --"Tastes of Africa." Kathy Heisinger and her young helper, Catelyn Claytor, prepared several authentic African recipes and my 15 Trail Blazers (3rd and 4th graders) served them into 50 little cups so that all the Christian Life Club members and teachers could taste them. Kathy admonished them to not say "I don't like it --ychh!" and to say, instead, "It's different!" if they couldn't say they liked it.

I found all the dishes quite tasty, actually. And I was proud of how neatly the kids dished up the tasting cups, even carrying trays of ginger ale (they have that in Africa!) to the tables without spilling or getting tripped. Kathy told them to wash their hands, first thing, and then gave them each one plastic glove to wear. My assistant Bea laughed at the nose picking and hair smoothing she saw with the gloved hand. O well. What I don't see doesn't bother me!

The TABLES! BEAUTIFULLY adorned with Cotton fabric in bright African prints by Sue Conklin. She pulled the church's artificial plants and trees into the large foyer where she set up the tables --for an elegant African theme -with carved giraffes and elephants on the tables.

The teachers donned attire that demonstrated the different roles of our missionaries in Africa: nurses, doctors, teachers, ministers, builders, mechanics.

AFter that we retired to our classrooms where I had one half hour to help them make paper plate baskets. At each place setting I had baggies with 16 peel and stick foam hearts of different sizes and colors, and 2 red styrofoam plates, and a pre-cut sparkly ribbon. Treats were set up on a different table with a gospel booklet titled, "The Way to God." They took large red plastic cups, filled them with one each of the various kinds of candy, gum, hot chocolate packet, and a large heart lollipop. These they placed between the plates which they stapled half-way around. I punched a hole for the ribbon and they tied a handle for their paper plate gift basket, which they decorated with the pink, white and red hearts.

They were told to take these home and give them to someone and share the gospel booklet by reading it to their friend, preferably a neighbor and someone not in our church or the club. This was to fulfill two badge requirements --being kind to someone, preferably a neighbor, with a gift --and sharing Christ with them with the Gospel booklets.

Two girls brought treats to share, lollipop and cookie for each, knowing it was a Valentine Party.

They also got to fill a snack baggie with candies for themselves --and ended the evening with Dairy Queen ice cream bars. We got done in the nick of time ---and concluded in the chapel with the others, singing an African Christian song from the Wototo Choir kids from Uganda --who came to our church the year before to do a concert. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," African style. "Ju ju ju ju ju" --"higher higher higher " --"Lift up Jesus HIgher!" and then "Chini chini chini chini chini" which means "lower, lower, lower--lower Satan lower."

That good old dualism! I sure do know it exists --as we see kids wrestling with temptation to do evil instead of good --to be selfish or not --to be mean or to be kind! CLC --is on the good side of The Force!

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Proposed Revolution

From Mudrake's Blog, Feb. 11, 2009

Up the Flag wrote:

...How many of those rural states will vote to change the composition of the Senate and therein substantiallly reduce their

February 10, 2009 9:53 AM

mud_rake said...
The answer to your question is 'none.' That's why we need a revolution to really shake up our government.

February 10, 2009 11:33 AM

uptheflag said...
And, the purpose of the revolution is? Why should citizens sacrifice their life, families, and wealth to make a revolution? How does the revolution began? What kind or type of revolution will it be?

Delacrox and 'up the flag' is definitely romantic, but how will it win the day?

February 10, 2009 3:05 PM

mud_rake said...
It will be bloodless and quick. We will round up all right-wingers and libertarians and put them in boxcars...

February 10, 2009 4:19 PM

Tell me this was not serious, MR. Previously you suggested detainment camps.

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

Mr. Rogers, an Authentically Good Neighbor

by Rob R.


Here's an article on Mr. Rogers with many fun facts. For example, he was a friend of the first college-educated gorilla. He was a tough interview because he befriended reporters. He saved the VCR and he got into television because he was disturbed by pie violence. He also started every day with hours of prayer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cannibals Have an Amazing Language

by Rob R.


I'm not posting this for any political or theological reason. This I thought was just something of a Ripley's Believe It or Not- style of interest.

It turns out that in this Amazon tribe which is in the news for cannibalizing a farmer, the men speak a different language from the women!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Former KKK Member Reconciles with Black Senator

by Rob


Both Senator John Louis and Elwin Wilson were political activists in the early days of the civil rights movement. Elwin Wilson was a KKK member who had attacked Louis in the past during civil rights demonstrations.

Wilson sought out the Senator to apologize for his actions and when questioned why he pursued this reconciliation now, he mentioned that someone asked him where he thought he would be going after he died and he figured it would be Hell. Senator Louis noted that this meeting testified to the power of love and grace.

This is just one more example that shows that there are religious concerns that have instigated racial reconciliation.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Holocaust-Denying Bishop to look for "Proof" of Gas Chamber Executions

by Rob R


Seems to me that when one has already conceded to a conspiracy on such a massive scale as the Holocaust, what could possibly be construed as proof? While conceding that there were deaths in the hundreds of thousands of Jews, it's not like Bishop Williamson has the time or means to investigate the individuals of the 5-plus-million Jews murdered in the Holocaust to see if they actually existed and actually died in this period, not withstanding whether any of them died in the gas chamber.

What this highlights is that even for such "undeniable" events in history, we are dependent on others for knowledge, as the majority of mankind cannot have direct access to this event. Most of our knowledge is dependent on the greater community and thus requires a degree of faith in that community.

And of course, there is the problem that if the Bishop is willing to concede to such conspiracy theories, how can he even trust the Gospels in the slightest?

Abortion Doctor Loses license Over Murder of Fully Born Baby

Clearly abortions or at least late-term abortions aren't just bad for the baby and the mother. They apparently have a Nazification effect on the people who perform the procedure.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why belief in God is Natural in Children... and Atheists as Well

by Rob R

Fans of the Scooby Doo cartoon series may recall a phrase that sleuth nerd extraordinaire, Velma, would repeat over and over again, "Science has proven a thousand times, there are no such things as Ghosts." Most fans wouldn't realize that this phrase was closely paralleled by Soviet communists who reportedly said, "Science has proven over and over, there is no God."

One might question just when and where either of these "scientific" discoveries was published. While neither claim can be substantiated, it is interesting to note that as formerly communist Russia rebounds toward the Orthodox church, the Scooby Doo franchise of recent years features "real" ghosts (as opposed to masked old cranks scheming to get some inheritance or real estate property who end up cursing "those meddlesome kids" for spoiling their plans.)

While science is ill-suited to approach most spiritual and metaphysical questions, especially with conclusive direct answers, there are scientific approaches to related issues.

New Scientist has published an article approaching the question of why religion/spirituality is believed to be hardwired in the brain.

Author Michael Brooks notes two previous suggestions about this question. First, that there is a specific area of the brain responsible for religious belief, and second, that religious belief is a result of adaptation. He sees reason for rejecting both claims, suggesting that religious belief is linked to a variety of mental functions, thus related to regions of the brain, and not just one area. He rejects the idea that these mental functions directly arose through adaptation for survival. Rather, he suggests it is an indirect result that through all these mental functions spirituality becomes natural.

Brooks cites Yale psychologist Paul Bloom who describes a "common sense dualism" that begins in infancy where babies distinguish between people and inanimate objects and later develops into a tendency to distinguish minds from bodies, noting a universal ability to think of the mind as distinct from the body and the ease with which one can even conceive of the mind as separable from the body. It is then a small step to conceiving ghosts, gods, and life after death.

One study where the mind body dualism demonstrates itself was by researcher Jesse Bering, who put on a puppet show for preschoolers in which an alligator eats a mouse. The children were then questioned about the implications of this show. They were asked if the mouse can still get sick or if it needs to eat and drink, to which the children answered no. But when asked spiritual questions such as whether the mouse still thinks and knows things, the children answered yes.

Children also demonstrate a tendency toward teleological beliefs, seeing design and purpose in the world around them. Here, the children claim for example that birds are here to make music or that rivers exist so boats will have something on which to float. This sort of thinking continues into adulthood when adults tacitly admit to a teleology, for instance, trees are here to make oxygen so we can breath.

Bloom says that we are all hard-wired for religious belief and that this programming doesn't go away with childhood. Another researcher, Olivier Petrovich, notes that even atheists possess this wiring. Bering has observed atheists who've attributed some purpose or agency behind traumatic experiences in their lives. He notes that "They don't completely exorcise the ghost of god - they just muzzle it."

Michael Brooks seems to attempt neutrality here noting that these findings conclude nothing about the existence of god, but I suspect he has more of an atheistic bent as he draws a connection with the ability to build fictive worlds. It should be noted that science depends on our ability to build fictive worlds, so this feature should not be linked with irrationality or delusion.

Of course, the atheistic approach to these findings would be, "How might it be that nature leads us toward these deceptions?" But of course, these findings fit a better unified picture where our hard-wiring assists us to see the truth that spirituality is stamped into our very flesh. After all, to view the mind as universally hardwired toward deception is the greatest paranoia one can have with bad epistemic results.