Friday, November 24, 2006


This is a poem I wrote that addresses the impossibility of expressing emotional reactions to other human beings:

I was on the edge of my seat,
When the play ended.
I could not stand up
For a full five minutes.

I was shaking.

Never had I seen something
Like this,
That so moved me, I could
Only express myself in groans.
Words were insufficient.

As the words slowly trickled
On the way home,
I told my friend I had to
Get the album.

I listened in the car
Over and over again.
“Johanna, Johanna…”
In a world of my own,
All that emotion
Flooding me,
Heating me,
Watering my eyes.

In the back of the store, cleaning the mats,
I wanted to share my passion.
I started singing, and I got
I was told to keep it down,
This was work.

How do you share a passion
That is so deep, quiet words
Cannot do it justice?
How can I make you feel
What I feel?

I see
Why artists are poor.
A vibrating soul
Cannot be bought
Or even shared.
I can never truly communicate
With words.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quote On Biblical Time-Frame Language

"When a writer says that an event will shortly and speedily come to pass, or is about to take place, it is contrary to all propriety to declare that his statements allow us to believe the event is in the far future. It is a reprehensible abuse of language to say that the words immediately, or near at hand, mean ages hence, or after a long time. Such a treatment of the language of Scripture is even worse than the theory of a double sense*."

-Milton Terry

* 'Absit a nobis ut Deum faciamus o,.i,glwtton, aut multiplices sensus affingamus ipsius verbo, in quo potius tanquarn in speculo limpidissimo sui autoris simplicitatem contemplari debemus. (Ps. xii. 6; xix. B.) Unicus ergo sensus scripturae, nempe grammaticus, est admittendus, quibuscunque demum terminis, vel propriis vel tropicis et figuratis exprimatur.' -Maresius.
(Far be it from us to make God speak with two tongues, or to attach a variety of senses to His Word, in which we ought rather to behold the simplicity of its divine author reflected as in a clear mirror (Ps. xii. 6 ; xix. 8.) Only one meaning of Scripture, therefore, is admissible: that is, the grammatical, in whatever terms, whether proper or tropical and figurative, it may be expressed.)

William Shatner Comedy Central Roast

My wife and I came in about 30 minutes late on this show tonight. I am disappointed, but more than that, dumbfounded and angry.

I remember well the Dean Martin Roasts of the 1970s. Some here probably thought them unfunny, and I know they were staged and phony, but I laughed at them. I realize this is no longer that decade. Things have gotten raunchier in public and celebrities do much less than they used to do to maintain somewhat of a dignified image.

This was supposed to be a roast of Shatner. What I saw and heard were a succession of unfunny comedians making explicit jokes about anal sex, fellatio, and odorous vaginas. I mean, these people were really unfunny.

We all heard about George Takei's coming out a year or so ago. Well, a number of us Trekkies knew this 30 years ago but no matter. He didn't discuss it and neither did we.

What I saw Takei do was unravel any modicum of dignity he had left, and giggle like a 13-year old boy seeing his first porno film. After naming all the women on the stage (including poor old Betty White, Farrah Fawcett and Nichelle Nichols), the wittiest remark he could make was, "It sure smells like @#%$ in here." Takei went on to compare Shatner's wig to Fawcett's pubic hair. I mean it...that's the level of "humor" in this show. He alluded, well, more than alluded to performing fellatio and laughed heartily as others referred to his being on the receiving end of anal intercourse.

This is how to end a 40-year legacy? Their careers are over, or near over, and this is how they want to be remembered?

I know that behind closed doors at the Friar's Club, things were blue. I don't doubt that Bob Hope, George Burns, and others used this kind of language. But to a national audience?

I'm 45, and I know my tastes have changed. But this as good as they can do?

Sad and embarrassing.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm Now a Social Liberal?!? What?!?

Well, I took this test and here are the results:

You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(26% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Sunday, May 21, 2006


You know, in many ways, I think the Christian Church is a negation of itself. In trying to draw people closer to God, or preach the gospel, they employ methodologies that have the opposite, or unintended, effect.

For example, this morning at Coast Christian Fellowship, Pastor Joe Gil gave a great message on the importance of silence, and used many Biblical examples of how people sought God's voice in silence. He explained how our "devotionals" were meant to draw God close to us, not offer something to God.

He began with a great illustrative video, from the point of view inside a television looking out at the speaker on the couch, channel surfing. The speaker gave a few statistics about white noise, and how difficult it was for Hollywood sound men to gather uninterrupted nature sounds (15 hours of recording for one hour of unspoiled nature sound in 1968; 2000 hours for one hour today). The video then proceeded to ask questions about our ability to maintain silence for about five minutes in a graphical manner of white words superimposed on a black background. Nothing on the soundtrack. It made its point beautifully as we all watched in silence.

At the end of this great sermon, Pastor Joe offered a prayer for our ability to seek God in the silence, while the worship leader tinkled on his guitar in the background. Then, the worship team proceeded to sing a loud, cacophonous song about seeking the Lord in the "quiet place." I wondered if anyone but me caught the incongruity of the situation.

We just don't get it. Today was a great example of how the church negates its own message. No wonder people are seeking alternatives.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Why are we uncomfortable with ambiguity?

I have accepted that life is ambiguous. Things are not often what they seem. There is a binary opposition between image and reality.

For example, America likes to posture that we are the side of "good" against the terrorists, who are "evil." Certain Muslims see themselves as fighting a "good" fight against the "evil" Americans. We consider ourselves "civilized," yet we see thievery, murder, rape, and all manner of depravity throughout our "civilized" country. However, it is much more complex than that. We are all a mixture of our ideal, "good" selves and our true natures, which may diverge greatly from the image in which we view ourselves. It is often a mixture of both.

As a Bible reader, I see this ambiguity throughout Scripture. It is often unresolvable. For instance, we are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Yet, Revelation 20:12 says: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Ambiguity.

How about Genesis 1:22? "Be fruitful, and multiply." I've heard Christians say God has not revoked this commandment. But Paul says, in his opinion in 1 Corinthians 7:8, "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I." Yet, we will refer to 1 Corinthians 7:8 as a verse from "the Word of God." Ambiguity.

How about the unresolvable ambiguity over eschatology (last things)? There are many renowned Christians who disagree over whether there will be a Rapture, pre-, mid-, post-trib, or no trib at all, or past trib (preterism). These differences will remain. The truth is it's ambiguous.

What about the afterlife? I am a result of my life's experiences. "Me" includes everything, good and bad. In Heaven, where will the "bad" part of me go? Will I be a Stepford version of "me," with my "bad" parts removed? If so, then, I will cease to be "me." So, what's the point? See the problem? This is unresolvable ambiguity. It stems from trying to put earthly images and clothing on non-corporeal, spiritual things. The Bible uses language that evokes certain images in our heads, but these images are likely not the reality. The references are inadequate to describe the reality, even if they are meant to do so. Thus the Bible fails to convey the truth of what will actually be. This is because it is simply not possible to do otherwise; the writers could only write according to earthly references, just like any of us could.

I am comfortable with this ambiguity. I realize that we cannot resolve the answers to these problems. It is like trying to describe "blue" to a blind man. Others are not comfortable. My belief is that we cannot know the truth in some of these cases, unless we were to speak directly to the authors of the books themselves, which is not possible for obvious reasons. Even then, we would likely not agree on what the author's intentions were.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Funny Paradox

I find it funny that most (not all) of the FW: type emails I receive from people (you know, forwards of "incredible" stories or "good luck" chains) come from professed Christians.

Shouldn't Christians be on the forefront of truth?

I have a question for all of them:

You are quick to point out Scriptural admonitions vis a vis worship, prayer, and Bible study. You say that "God showed me" some truth about something or someone. You say "God led me" to this or that.

Why didn't God lead you to to check out your phony story first? This site was started by Rich Buehler, a long time Christian broadcaster who is probably as bugged by these bogus emails as I am.

Do you realize it is pure superstition to think that if I send a talisman to 20 people, I will receive good luck or an "answer to prayer?"

Time to grow up. The God you profess to know is bigger, much bigger, than that.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Ever Felt This?

Have you ever read a really good book, watched a deeply moving film, or tasted some exceptional cuisine, then tried to share the experience with someone else?

Were you met with a tepid response that caused you to feel like maybe you overstated your case? Did you feel like maybe you were alone in your experience?

Were you somehow humiliated? Did it make you not want to ever do that again, that is, try to share a deeply moving experience with someone?

On the other hand, did you ever share something with someone and their response resounded with yours? A tremendous “YES?” A feeling that you found a soul-mate who understood your deepest stirrings?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Heavenly Oscars?

I have an issue with the notion of "rewards" in Heaven. Paul uses sports metaphors in his epistles (I Cor. 9:24, Hebrews 12:1 though Paul's authorship is questionable) to compare "running the race" to living a Godly life. But what about the central notion of "rewards" themselves? Are not rewards carnal in nature, in that they play to our covetous and prideful desires? If eternity is spiritual in nature, and we are to be freed from our carnal desires, of what significance are "rewards" and "crowns?" (I Cor. 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, too many others to list). Granted, some of these references are symbolic, where "crown" and "reward" represent eternal life itself. But I do not live my life a certain way in anticipation of some kind of Heavenly Oscar ceremony. I want to be freed of those sort of competitive, "me first" desires that plague me here on earth.

Could these references be the "human" influence of the epistle writers in their works? Does this speak to their carnal natures?

I don't want to hear eternal acceptance speeches in Heaven.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I've Calmed Down a Bit

My last post was a little hysterical, perhaps. But did I hear Pastor Guy Takashima refer to us today in closing prayer as "the last surviving generation of Christians?"

I have walked through doors of knowledge others have not, or are afraid to. There is no turning back once you acquire knowledge. This is not about being smarter, or thinking I have all the answers. This is about questioning what we think we know.

We are not in the last days. I would be willing to place a large wager on it.

All "Left Behind" eschatology is likely wrong. All of it. God is not a racist. Being Jewish doesn't matter to God. Accepting His forgiveness matters to Him.

There will be no rapture. Don't fool yourself. Do the research, and see how this doctrine came about. You'll be surprised.

Luther may be the "Father of Protestantism," but he had his opinions. He hated the book of James and disliked Revelation; he thought they should be removed from Scripture. So much for "Sola Scriptura" (and we Protestants think tradition has no place in the church. Ha!). He also thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. Again, do the research. It's all there.

Educate yourselves. Don't believe everything you hear. And don't trust people who say "God showed me" or "God told me" if you can refute it empirically. Facts will always trump "God told me." Okay, maybe that sounds atheistic. It's not. I just mean acknowledge that you know less than you think you do.

"The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false. "

"Beware of the person of one book." St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)