Thursday, December 17, 2009
The last couple postings have considered the power of words and the nature of water. What if we consider the nature of water with respect to the nature of Jesus?
Here’s just a few thoughts that come to mind as we await the birth of our Lord Jesus:
The Infant Jesus formed quietly in his mother’s womb, in water. (Luke 1:31)
The Missionary Jesus was baptized by John, in the Jordan River, in water. (Mark 1:9)
The Miracle worker Jesus provided more wine at a wedding in Cana, from water. (John 2:7)
The Healer Jesus cured the blind man by telling him to wash in the Pool of Siloam, with water. (John 9:7)
The Powerful Creator Jesus calmed the torrents of the sea, the water. (Matt 8:26)
The Counselor Jesus commanded his apostle Peter to have enough faith to walk, on water. (Matt. 14:29)
The human Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane, shedding tears of water. (Matt. 26:36)
The soldier pierced the Redeemer Jesus who hung on the cross. From his side came blood, and water. (John 19:34)
There are many ways in which an author knits a story together: allegory, simile, description and symbol. Woven throughout the life of Jesus is the symbolism of water and I believe the Creator, the Ultimate Author interlaced water as a symbol for us. What do you think?
May you have a joyful and peaceful and Merry Christmas.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thoughts have been brewing in my mind over the last couple weeks. I have a love for the topic of water, even more than I knew. When a couple of readers voiced questions concerning the true “science” of my topic last time, I wanted to address those concerns.
The main complaint was the concern that Dr. Emoto’s work with language and water crystals might not be a true science. So today, I’m going to give a couple reasons why I believe that water and communication are a real part of science.
First, God created language. Not only did He use language in creation (Genesis 1:3) when He said, “Let there be light”, but He gave language to mankind to communicate with each other. Jewish tradition (Baal Shem Tov) holds that “Let there be a firmament,” was God’s utterance that allowed the universe to come into existence. God used language in creation.
Second, we know that sounds are vibrations on different wavelengths. We know that sound is carried through water (just think of the “pings” that submarines send from ship to ship) as well as air. Different wavelengths of sound are part of speech as different inflections give off different waves.
So combining wavelengths and language not only make sense but show that science is involved with language.
Here’s where I think it gets more interesting.
Our bodies contain on an average 60 percent water. Water covers approximately 70 percent of this earth.
So if we consider Dr. Emoto’s work on speaking words to water and the corresponding crystals they create, have we considered that the things we say to others have a repercussion as well?
Does the water in our body vibrate the same way as the water then photographed as crystals? Why wouldn't it? If we admit this, then is there a possibility that there may be repercussions of what we say (and do) that affect the world?
With respect to our bodies, we know that domestic violence both physical and emotional has increased. Are the ugly words we use with others and our anger affecting our health? Are our cells being generated with malignancies because they are crippled by the devastating words we use? Is this why there is an increase in cancer?
I did just a little research on El Nino to see when it started, what its indications were, and how long people have been recording the effects. A quick glance indicated corresponding time periods between the happenings of the world and the happenings of El Nino.
I believe these are all things to contemplate during this time of year when we consider the coming Christmas season.
Did you know that El Nino was named after the Christ Child? El Nino typically begins around Christmas time and thus the people named it after Jesus.
I don’t believe in accidents. I don’t believe that the same creative God that formed water molecules or our human bodies left things like sound waves or language to chance. I believe that He created a universe in which we are all connected. We are in symbiotic relationship with each other and with nature. And I believe the Master still creates. What a blessing that we can be part of that creative process. With the simple action of saying "I love you," we create. What a gift. What a life! What a blessing.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
We’ve talked about pain and suffering and found that it is part of our human condition. But how do we ease suffering in the world?
The power of words can be a sword for truth or for hate. And the power of words can either heal or injure.
Doubt it? Dr. Masaru Emoto is a scientist in Japan whose work has been to photograph different types of water in their crystalline form…with a twist. Not only has he taken water from different sources, but he has spoken words to the water as well. Yes, I said he’s talking to water. Odd? I thought so too until I read his New York Times bestselling book, “The Hidden Messages in Water.”
The pictures are amazing and the idea is revolutionary with regards to how we view nature’s most precious resource. The above link will show you some of the pictures including some of the words Dr. Emoto has spoken to water before he’s crystallized and photographed it. Quite breathtaking.
As you scroll down you see pictures of different crystals and how they react to different spoken words. The words “I love you” or “thank you” create beautiful crystal shapes, while the words, “You stupid fool” or “I hate you”, create malformed crystals. Don’t believe it? Try the experiment for yourself.
So the words we speak can transform—and if you read about Dr. Emoto’s work you see that because humans are made up of water, those words affect our very being. Three pictures caught my eye especially on that webpage. The words, “thank you,” “love and appreciation,” and “You make me sick…” Also further down I was intrigued by the idea that praying changed water too.
Recall a time when something to awful was spoken to you that rocked the very core of your being. Now remember a time when you heard the melodic words, “I love you.” I don’t know about you, but even now those experiences are still with me.
The simplest words of love and prayer have powerful effects. Our words contain consequences for suffering. How many times have we prayed for someone and stopped to wonder if our prayers, our words had any effect on the situation? Here we see it! We see that God has put into our very environment the simplest way to see the effects of prayer. If He created water to have this result, how much more is He listening to our very inner most thoughts and prayers?
Knowing this trait of water, understanding that our words mean something, does this affect what we say to each other? How will you greet your loved ones now that you know your words mean everything?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is an intense posting, so be prepared! I've broken all the rules, including the length of this posting. But the topic is important, in fact it's critical in understanding our human nature and where we exist as part of Creation. So good luck and hope you enjoy!
Two weeks ago we talked about science versus medicine and the human condition. I also said I would talk about why pain exists.
Have you ever had a chronic condition or a long term cold that was miserable? How did you feel after the cold or condition ceased? Relieved, peaceful, grateful? Maybe all those things. Pain reminds us of what we have when we enjoy good health. It also reminds us that our time on this earth is temporary.
Paul says this very well in Romans when he says, “Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Rom 8:18) While Paul was talking about the persecution of Christians, he was also considering the temporary state of our being.
To be human for me means that for a short while, we live on this earth and we live in relationship with others and with God. Our bodies are a temporary state, designed to carry us through this short-term three-dimensional experience. The pain we endure comes from living in this state and no one escapes unscathed. But, it is temporary and pain does provide purpose. The death of this body is inevitable, no one has ever avoided it. The endurance of the spirit is eternal and not limited to this body.
Though intellectually we may understand what this means, it is still hard to endure and hard to incorporate. We all experience self-preservation. Plus, Jesus healed many people, he did not tell them to suffer. It is in our very nature to want to heal those who are suffering and it is directed so by Christ during his humanly mission He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food…ill and you cared for me…Amen I say to you, what you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 35-40)
Recently Pope Benedict XVI wrote an encyclical entitled “In Charity” in which he describes the many ways in which we should live. He talks in detail about being stewards of this earth and each other on topics that include fair trade, helping the poor, using the stock market responsibly, and taking care of the earth. He also talks in detail about the role of technology with regard to human dignity, in particular how we use medical technology to better society. He says, “In this type of culture, the conscience is simply invited to take note of technological possibilities. Yet we must not underestimate the disturbing scenarios that threaten our future, or the powerful new instruments that the “culture of death” has at its disposal. To the tragic and widespread scourge of abortion we may well have to add in the future — indeed it is already surreptiously present — the systematic eugenic programming of births. At the other end of the spectrum, a pro-euthanasia mindset is making inroads as an equally damaging assertion of control over life that under certain circumstances is deemed no longer worth living. Underlying these scenarios are cultural viewpoints that deny human dignity.” (Chapter 6, #75)
This means that technology should be used to help suffering, not to eliminate the sufferers. For example, technology allows us to know before the birth of a child whether or not that little person has debilitating birth defects. However, most times, if birth defects are discovered, the life of that baby is eliminated, snuffed out. Very few times is technology used to help repair the birth defect. Instead of eliminating the suffering, we’ve chosen to eliminate the sufferer. There are many more examples like the case of Terri Schiavo, aiding those to kill themselves, etc.
Do we see that in these cases, technology has not helped at all? In fact, it has hurt us. No longer do we show mercy and engage in helping the sufferers, instead we see our job as showing mercy by “putting them out of their misery.” But are we putting them out of their misery or ours? Is this simply a case of convenience for the rest of us, instead of an opportunity to reach out in mercy. Have we forgotten the beatitudes set forth by Christ? As said in the previous posting, we have eliminated hope.
Our attitude toward medicine is a sterile reverence towards science. We try to solve many of today’s sociological problems by applying science, by employing what we’ve learned through science. However, what if instead we took what we’ve learned through science and applied it with what we know about God and creation? What if we looked at solving the world’s problems with both science and love? Have we bothered to look at the problems from our Creator’s point of view? Should we?
Lots of questions, but necessary to contemplate if we are truly interested in improving this world we temporarily call home.
Next week, we’ll bring it full circle as we talk about mending the suffering in and of this world. See you then.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I saw an orthopedic doctor last week to help me address the nagging problem I probably received from all my years of volleyball and softball. As the doc was explaining the issue, he showed me how the different muscles and tendons moved. Twice he said, “We’re poorly designed.”
The first time I heard this I ignored it as a slip of the tongue. When he said it again it hit me right between the eyes. Do all doctors think we’re “poorly designed?” The fact that we get diseases or broken bones or encounter arthritis or a multitude of infirmities, does that make us weak?
To me, the fact that we can move at all, shows tremendous thought in our design. The idea that I can think about moving my fingers across my keyboard to write this blog means that I am more than just a poorly designed creature. I am human.
What is a human? We could go on and on about the myriad of definitions of what it means to be human, but what would we accomplish? We know we have a form, we are body, mind and spirit, we have a conscience, etc.
What if we asked a different question? What if we asked, “What does it mean to be human?” Now that question could take some time to answer. What do you think?
Has the human condition benefited from science and medicine? Undoubtedly, yes! For a long time we’ve realized that the practice of medicine is not enough. If we are body, mind and spirit, then we need to address our spirit in order to keep us whole.
Science has regrettably left out half of the story, which in turn leaves the facts of the human condition sterile and cold. The fact is there is no redemption in medicine.
Dr. John Bruchalski agrees. “What happens in medicine is that science and technology bring progress; they don't bring redemption. The only person who brings redemption is Christ. So if you can't tie the two together, you're lost.”
Without redemption there is fear. Again, this doctor reminds us the truth. “What happens is, science and medicine have literally confined faith into the realm of private experience. And by making it private, it deprives the world of hope. The answer to fear is ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’”
Visit next week when we look at why pain exists and we address our “poor design.” In the meantime, share what you think it means to be human. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We look up at the stars at night in wonder. They are so far away, but they have so much light to share. We’re so enamored by stars; we call those human beings who are famous or popular, “stars.” We say things like, “You are the light of my world,” “he is a rising star in the sports world,” and “I want to be a superstar.” So what is it about stars that we want to be them?
Some would say it’s just a metaphor for shining bright, but I think it’s something more.
I looked up some famous pictures of celestial bodies (stars) and read about them. I read about what makes a star bright. While looking at some NASA photos, I came across the following definition:
Fusion: A process where nuclei collide so fast they stick together and emit a great deal of energy. In the center of most stars, hydrogen fuses together to form helium. Fusion is so powerful it supports the star's enormous mass from collapsing in on itself, and heats the star so high it glows as the bright object we see today. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/lib/glossary.html
Do we know why stars were created that way? What is the thing, that fusion, which keeps them from collapsing?
Looking deeper into the definition of fusion, the online Merriam Webster dictionary gives these responses:
2: a union by or as if by melting: as a: a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole 3: the union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous quantities of energy when certain light elements unite
Hmmm. Can we apply this same fusion to human beings…“a merging of diverse, distinct or separate elements into a unified whole?” We each have diverse feelings, separate elements of our being that we build on. Many times, we want to be happy but are sad, we want to help others but are afraid, we want to be better people, but have forgotten how.
What happens when we ask God with our whole heart for help with these diverse elements?
He NEVER lets us down. He gives us the strength to find solutions to our nagging issues, and ultimately gives us peace to handle whatever situation we need to mend.
You know that feeling you get when you are so happy—that warmth, contentment, and love that builds inside? When we feel this way, we feel as though we can take on the world! That positive energy keeps our enormous mass from collapsing in on itself. That is the fusion of God with our souls. That is the “union by or as if by melting,” that is our heart in union with God.
The same energy that the stars in the heavens contain is the energy that we contain when we unify ourselves to our God. We can do that in our daily tasks, or in some big problem we feel overwhelmed with, or in some special thing we’d like to accomplish.
Feel like a star today—because you are. Shine bright today because you can. Live life to the fullest because, “with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I took the summer off my blog and spent it with my kids doing all the fun summer things. As a family, we took made the annual weeklong trek up to Rocky Mountain National Park to hike, relax, and enjoy the fun things about the town of Estes Park. It’s become almost a ritual for us. Every time we go, I renew my love for those beautiful mountains and all of God’s amazing creation. (Today there’s even a picture of RMNP for you!)
Today I talked to a relatively new friend who lives back east. He saluted the Cape Cod area and New England in general. He boasted that New England was the best place in the world to live. He even (I’m still shocked) boasted that it was better than Colorado!
Imagine my shock! Well, we went at it for a while, but neither party won the other over.
However, it did get me thinking. Isn’t it amazing all the different places, climates, mountain ranges, deserts, oceans, and islands God created just on Earth alone? There is literally something for everyone. It’s as if God sat back and said, “I’m going to create these amazing creatures called humans. I’m going to tell them to be fruitful and fill the earth. Subdue it, and be stewards of it. So I better make it an amazing place that they can live in and thrive.”
A few blogs ago, we learned that the Hebrew translation for the first six words of the Bible is, “In the beginning of God’s creating…” We reasoned that the active word, “creating” meant that creation never really ends.
We see that today in the thousands of new species of plants and animals that pop up around the world each year. Australia alone found 1300 new species of both varieties just in the last decade. One of the most popular has been the flesh-eating pitcher plant that can “consume small rats, mice, lizards and even birds.”
God’s creating process doesn’t end there. Each day approximately 216,000 new human beings are born. Each of those precious little ones carry their own unique DNA rich with traits such as eye color, personality characteristics and qualities that no one else has.
We live on a planet lush with constant new creation. Something for everyone! I know I couldn’t be that creative, could you?
Sometimes we are so stuck in our everyday routine that we forget to appreciate the constant creation around us.
God doesn’t. I think that’s why he waits until we’re quiet to talk with us. He calls us to Him in the beauty of the flower, the stroke of the breeze, and the song of the bird. He kisses us goodnight in the splendor of the sunset and beckons us to arise with each brilliant sunrise.
Still doubt the love of God? Revisit my blog from November 21st of last year and remind yourself of how much God really loves you.
In the meantime, while my hat is off to my friend back east, I will sit on my Colorado porch and enjoy the creation the Lord has given me. Thanks, Gerry, for your wise counsel, you helped a great deal. And don’t worry, I’m sure Cape Cod is just as spectacular as the Rocky Mountains—maybe…
Friday, June 5, 2009
I did it. I took the plunge. I went to the Nature Conservancy website and took the test. Just what is my carbon footprint? How am I affecting the planet?
I cheated. I took the test twice and used first me as an individual and then me in a family of eight. Neither one are true.
Nevertheless, I wanted to see what effect one person has versus a larger family with regard to carbon dioxide emissions. Current articles argue that large families are an “eco-crime” and that we need to be “phasing out the human race.” Really?
This is what I found out.
As an individual driving 10,000 miles a year in my small gas-efficient car (work and back), no air travel, eating meat at meals in a house that is energy efficient and recycling everything I can, I will create 41 tons of carbon dioxide per year—which is above the national average. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?
Changing my profile to be part of a family of eight, I drive a large boat (less than 20 miles to the gallon) a mere 20,000 miles a year, with no air travel, eating meat at meals in a house that is energy efficient and recycling everything possible, my family will create 120 tons of carbon dioxide per year—which is below the national average. Perplexing. (A family of eight creates less carbon dioxide than three individuals. Hmmm.)
As an individual I’ll use more carbon dioxide than if I were in a family of eight according to this calculator test. I’m missing something.
Planet conservationists are too.
These environmentalists see me and you as mere numbers and calculate us by our carbon dioxide emissions. They don’t account for the following: We are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:28) and that according to the Creator, we are so important that He sent his Son to die for us, to save us from our sins. Why would a God want us to eliminate ourselves from His plan?
In fact, what we’ve eliminated is trust in God and an ideal of stewardship. We have forgotten that God created the Earth and that HE has a plan for everything in it. We have forgotten that God left us as stewards of this Earth and that it is our task to take care of it, not by the way of removing ourselves from it, but by being responsible citizens of it.
A godless society has reduced us to carbon dioxide output. Do we really think that God sees us that way? Should we see ourselves and others that way?
A while back I read an article where a British woman chose to sterilize herself to reduce her carbon footprint. Do we really think that a God that created us in His image, wants us to think so little of ourselves? Does this woman think so little of herself, that she’d like to just disappear?
What happened to the God who said, “Look at the heavens and count the stars. If you are able to count them, so shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5)
Did God not mean what He said? Did he abandon us?
No, we’ve left Him.
It’s time to come back.
We are not defined by our carbon footprint. We are defined by our actions, our beliefs and whose Footprints we follow.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Last time we talked about Dr. Spencer Wells and his genetics work. He spent over ten years gathering human DNA samples from all over the world to show that the first man came from Africa about 60,000 years ago. He uses a marker in the Y chromosome that remains unchanged from father to son to help him determine human ancestry.
However, what we didn’t talk about was something that Dr. Wells found that is more applicable to who we are today. The genetic makeup of human beings from around the world is more alike than we think. Though humans have over three billion base pairs in 23 chromosomes, “…we're all incredibly similar. 99.9% identical at the genetic level.”
So, though we have green eyes or brown eyes, we come from Europe or South America, we are all related—99.9% related. That’s an extremely high percentage, isn’t it?
Does it make you pause and consider the implications for humanity? Does it encourage your mind to reflect on a God that designed us?
Christians, Jews and Muslims know there was a first father and mother, but science has muddied the waters and encouraged us to believe that the Bible is just a series of stories—stories about belief, not of reality. Jesus came along and reiterated what his Father had accomplished with the creation of man by telling us, “Love thy neighbor…” and “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers…”
The movement to keep science and faith separate is divisive as well as counterproductive. It is only when we take ALL evidence and put it together that we get the full picture. Science uses nature to deduce how the world works. That is only half the story. The Bible persuades us to remember that there is more than HOW there is a WHY. It beckons us to make sense of our purpose.
The cooperation of these two disciplines (yes, theology/faith is a discipline) will allow both sides to see the world differently. Science allows faith to see the miracle that the Earth is in a special place and the delicate balance that it maintains to support life. Faith allows science to question the meaning of why the Earth is here. You cannot fulfill your destiny as a human being without answering BOTH questions.
What would happen if we looked at science from a faith perspective? What if we looked at how molecules work and said, “Hmm, the way these molecules work reflects the love of God.” Perhaps we could find a cure for cancer if we looked at the problem from the eyes of our Creator. We could ask what is missing, versus how do we kill this. It’s all in the perspective.
Going back to Dr. Wells’ research, we see that in his discoveries of the origin of man he has discovered something that Christians already know. A reporter made the following comment to Dr. Wells, “You are very critical of racism.”
To that, Dr. Wells simply responded, “Yes. We are all much closely related than we ever expected. Racism is not only socially divisive, but also scientifically incorrect. We are all descendants of people who lived in Africa recently. We are all Africans under the skin."
Though Dr. Wells may believe he is keeping science separate from faith, he has just made Jesus’ case for why we are called to love our neighbor. I wonder if he recognizes that. I wonder if we recognize that.
Typically, we use the term Neanderthal to describe someone who does not see others as equals or when they refuse to use logic and forward thinking. While the DNA of the Neanderthal may be extinct, unfortunately they still exist.
Friday, May 1, 2009
The Neanderthal is dead. Yes, contrary to popular belief, these species are dead and they’re not coming back. How do we know? I’ll get to that in a minute, but first let me tell you how scientists came to this conclusion.
You may have first heard of Dr. Spencer Wells when he used DNA samples to show that the first man came from Africa about 60,000 years ago. He used a marker in the Y chromosome that remains unchanged from father to son. For more information, follow the link to the rediff.com website, or the Princeton interview of Dr. Well’s book, The Journey of Man.
In a scientific movement started by Dr. Spencer Wells, National Geographic has taken on this new line of thinking with the name: The Genographic Project. This project has taken scientific data from many different disciplines including archeology, anthropology, climatology, and genetics to name a few.
The goal of the Genographic Project is to take data from these and other disciplines and put it together to form a bigger picture of the human journey on Earth. For example, the migration of humans from Africa took place somewhere around 50 to 60 thousand years ago. Dr. Wells’ researchers looked at how the continents were connected during this time period, then used this data in conjunction with the many DNA samples they have taken all over the world and matched everything together. What I like about this type of research is that Dr. Wells doesn’t work in a black box. He takes data from all different disciplines to come up with his theories. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? The different disciplines shouldn’t be independent of each other. In fact, they are interdependent of each other, which allows a thorough scientist to come to more complete conclusions about the history of mankind.
When the skeletons of Neanderthals were found, it was assumed that because of their skeletal similarities, they were our ancestors. However, recent Mitochondrial DNA has shown that they are “a distinct species and therefore an evolutionary dead end.” Neanderthals are not our ancestors, never have been.
In other words, scientists were wrong. Would the correct version of our hominoid history have happened if we had kept scientific disciplines separate, if we just looked at skeletons and make predictions within that small discipline? Probably not. We would most likely continue to grasp at theoretical straws and make wild guesses in a closed environment.
What’s most fascinating to me is that answers to human history exist in our DNA. Our Creator put these markers there for us to find, which reminds me that God always has a plan. He understands our need to know where we came from and where we are going.
But do we remember where we came from? Do we remember God? What would happen if we took all this scientific data and tried to match it with Biblical data? Though Dr. Wells states that Biblical people began much earlier, I wonder what would happen if we took Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s Hebrew understanding of the Bible and matched it with the Genographic Project. Hmmm…could be interesting!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Happy Earth Day! Fox News and several other news agencies are reporting that Antarctic ice is actually growing, not shrinking. You would think this would be big news, right?
Well, there seems to be some discussion on this topic (see the linked blog for a good conversation between several individuals). Indications show that west side of the ice is melting while the east side is expanding. Scientists are in a funk.
I highly recommend you read the above blog and feel out what the people are saying. In the end, one person suggests that the reason that Antarctic ice is melting due to an underwater volcano that is heating it up. I guess that would be contrary to evidence that it’s global warming. The pro-global warming scientist who maintains the blog doesn’t respond to this suggestion and in the end, she admits that, “there is no clear temperature trend.” No temperature trend means that any evidence of global warming doesn’t come from the Antarctic.
Some scientists believe we’re going into another ice age and others warn us about global warming. My take? No scientist is considering that the earth is a living thing too. It is a changing and independent creature. All living things change; they do not remain static.
President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren is so worried about global warming that he and others are considering “dire” options to combat global warming. They say geo-engineering techniques that include reflecting the sun’s rays by shooting artificial volcano particles up into the atmosphere would help stem the soaring greenhouse gases. However, other geo-techs remind us that volcanoes carry their own atmospheric issues.
What can we take away from all this discussion? We have a lot of chicken little’s and no trust in God. Are we so careless to think that God won’t take care of us? Do we think that God looks at us as just little ants and He cares so little about His creation that he’ll just sit and watch us flail? This is just another indication that our society has forgotten God…not the other way around.
What should we be asking? (1) Are we looking at the global warming/cooling problem from God's perspective or is it all about us? (2) Are we looking at the earth as a living creation or something we need to control?
The conclusion: either we trust God or we don't.
Come by next week when I discuss carbon footprints and leveling. Curious? Tell me what you think that topic will be about.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Today has happened less than a dozen times in the history of man.
Today the sun appears in the sky in the same place as it did on the fourth day of creation according to Jewish tradition. Therefore, the Jewish community celebrates this day as the Blessing of the Sun. The Blessing of the Sun comes once every twenty-eight years. Therefore, this is an awesome day.
Today also begins the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Jewish community remembers the day that the Lord saved His people from Pharaoh and the Angel of Death. The Angel of Death passed over the land of Egypt where the Jewish people were enslaved, and saved the first born of all who had the blood of an unblemished lamb above their doorpost.
Christians recognize the sacrifice of the blood of an unblemished lamb as the Savior, Christ personified. Thus, tomorrow begins the most important four days of the Christian calendar; Holy Thursday, which commemorates the Lord’s Last Supper and the introduction of the Eucharist, and Good Friday, which ushers in the day that Jesus died on the cross. Easter Sunday fulfills the promise of Christ in His Resurrection, signifying that he opened the gates of Heaven that had been closed since Adam’s taste of the apple. To Christians, sacrifice and salvation cannot be separated. For Christians, this coming Sunday marks the Blessing of the Son.
So why has this day happened less than a dozen times? Only once in a thousand years does the Blessing of the Sun come on the same day as Passover. Today I celebrate the friendship between my lovely Jewish friend and myself.
Happy Passover, Dr. E. Thank you for your friendship and guidance. I thank the Lord above for you!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Have you ever wondered why we’re so enamored with the stars? Is it their light? Is it their distance? Their awesome size? What draws our gaze to them? Maybe it’s something supernatural…
What makes up a star? “…stars are big exploding balls of gas, mostly hydrogen and helium..." according to the Northwestern University website.
The periodic table shows us that a hydrogen atom has an atomic number of one and a helium atom has an atomic number of two. Added together bring the value to three—the number of persons in the Trinity.
Right now, we’re just scratching the surface. Let’s look deeper into these elements and atoms in general and see if there are any other mysteries to be found. “Atoms make up all the matter around us including ourselves… (atoms contain) three smaller particles…called subatomic particles.” (from the Green-Planet-Solar-Energy website) These subatomic particles include neutrons, protons and electrons, another Trinitarian symbol using three.
Neutrons are the largest and have no charge, while the protons are smaller with a positive charge. Electrons are the smallest and maintain a negative charge. “The protons and neutrons are clumped together in the middle of an atom and the electrons orbit around the outside.” (from the GPSE site) If you follow the link, you can see how the electrons orbit the neutrons and protons. The shape is a never-ending circle, symbolic of God as He was, He is, and will ever be.
The hydrogen atom itself mirrors our relationship with God in a number of ways. First, this element with the atomic number of one reflects our one God. Secondly, hydrogen also enjoys the unique position that it is the most abundant element in the universe and is present in water and in all organic compounds, reflecting that our God is present in His creation. What a wonderful thought for us!
How hot are the stars?
“Scientists think that the core of our Sun (relatively cool by scientific standards) is a 15 million degree Celsius plasma, a soup of electrons and protons that are stripped from hydrogen atoms. This ‘soup,’ called plasma, makes up 90 percent of the Sun. Every second, thousands of protons in the Sun's core collide with other protons to produce helium nuclei in a nuclear fusion reaction that releases energy. Just outside the core, energy moves outward by a process called radiation.” (Northwestern U.)
Symbolically our God is on fire for us. He sends us heat everyday that kisses our skin and all of earth’s creation, reminding us of His undying love.
Are we drawn by the Trinitarian nature in creation? Is that why we look up to the stars?
What a gift nature is for us! And in understanding more about creation, we learn more about our God. And when we learn more about our God, we begin to grasp His love and His great plans for us. Enjoy the wonder, feel the Love.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
“We are not long for this world. “ While this idiom is usually refers to a single person’s life, today I am speaking of our human species—and the culprit is not what you may think.
The topic of natural selection is usually reserved for classrooms and scientific debate between philosophers and scientists. However, I believe it’s time for us to recognize that among the concepts of nature that God created, natural selection is the one humanity is most abusing right now.
The concept of natural selection is part of the theory of evolution and is worth your time to investigate at biology-online.org. “The key thing to remember about evolution is that it favours more preferable genes in the gene pool, and over time, these preferable characteristics become more exclusive in the gene pool.”
If you follow the link and read more about the concept, you will come across the concept of non-random mating. I am putting in the following quote from that piece for you to read carefully.
“…non-random mating is also known as selective breeding, where the breakthroughs of Mendelian genetics have allowed us to predetermine what genes are present in offspring. As advantageous genes are desired by the breeder, some of the less 'popular' genes are lost due to this random mating, therefore decreasing genetic diversity.
It is important for a species to have a large gene pool, because in the event of danger, some alleles will allow the species to survive and reproduce to produce a larger and more variant gene pool. For example, an extremely contagious disease may threaten 99% of a species, though the remaining 1% may possess an allele that provides them with resistance to the disease. If this allele was not present in the population, then chances are the entire population would be wiped out.”
Today we see the effects of Mendelian genetics with regard to purebred dogs. Many of those dogs have different diseases because of in breeding. For example, Shelties typically have weak backs; other breeds have a predisposition to cancers or digestive problems.
If we look at the second paragraph, the author points out that “it is important for a species to have a large gene pool…for example, an extremely contagious disease may threaten 99% of a species, though the remaining 1% may possess an allele that provides them with resistance to the disease.”
Each year there are 1.2 million abortions just in the U.S. alone.
With 303,824,640 people in the U.S., that means that a little less than %1 of the population has been killed by abortion. While that number seems small, if we look at the concept of natural selection, what if that %1 is the percent that saves the human race?
Because these people are missing, their immune systems are missing in our gene pool. Their genes that contain the “allele” that allows the “species to survive and reproduce to produce a larger and more variant gene pool” are missing.
God put natural selection into place for our own survival, but through abortion, we have interfered with God’s plan for humanity. Have we humans put our own species at risk? Possible.
Do I think that pro-abortion advocates will listen to this scientific evidence? Probably not. If we review pro-abortion Camille Paglia’s statement from a few postings ago, we see that it is sheer selfishness that drives abortion, not science, not ethics and certainly not religion.
“Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.”
There are times when you can’t convince people of the truth, because they are not looking for it. It is in those times that you use the most powerful weapon you have…prayer.
Diseases of different kinds are on the rise here in the U.S. Everything from chronic breathing problems to digestive problems are becoming an everyday occurrence. We often ask why diseases are on the rise, but have we considered the idea that we’ve done it to ourselves?
There are consequences for every action, good and bad. Just something to think about.
Monday, March 9, 2009
So did you see last week’s news about the new posh L.A. fertility clinic? You can now determine such traits as eye color and hair color for your new little family addition. What could possibly be wrong with this?
I can think of a number of things, but the simplest is that this procedure builds off in-vitro fertilization in which multiple embryos are created just to get one to survive when implanted in the mother.
With this new procedure, once again we are toying with things we don’t fully understand and human life is disregarded. This process used by scientists also creates multiple embryos and screens them, changing individual genes (gene splicing) around until they get just the right blend. What happens to the other embryos that don’t make the grade? These children are discarded.
Besides the obvious life issues, there is one concern getting lost in our quest for control. Though we’ve “mapped” the human genome, we still do not know many things about how characteristics work across separate chromosomes. For example, if you change eye color (these genes actually exist across three different chromosomes), what effect will this change have on the rest of the chromosomes? We do not have a good grasp on how genes interact with each other. How do we know that changing that one “C” to a “G” won’t change this child’s brain chemistry down the road?
We don’t know. But scientists are willing to take these risks…with someone else’s kids. Why are we allowing them to get away with this? Why do we sit back and allow these types of procedures to happen?
We claim it's science so it’s okay. We claim it's science and since we don’t understand, we shouldn’t get involved. But it’s not okay, and if we don’t stand up and say something, who will? Is there a big ethics committee somewhere who will put the kibosh on this? If you are waiting for Congress, then you’re looking in the wrong place.
We must learn not to shy away from science topics. It is our responsibility to be informed and to act on our knowledge. That is what it means to be a good steward of this earth, of God’s creation. He gave us the awesome responsibility to “fill the earth and subdue it,” (Gen 1:28) but that didn’t include the right to abuse creation.
That is what we are doing. We are abusing our privileges as stewards of this earth. We worry about global warming and greenhouse gases, but those issues won’t mean a thing if we are not here because we’ve mucked around with our genes and killed off humanity. (Think I've gone too far? With these gene changes, what will happen when this child grows up and tries to have children?)
There is another scientific issue we haven’t even touched here. Natural selection. Have we thought about the effects gene tampering on this scientific phenomenon?
Come back next week to discuss natural selection with regard to gene splicing and a completely different topic that has influenced humanity's future.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Yes, it has been almost a month since my last posting. I’ve had so many thoughts going through my mind but I haven’t been able to put them into words. I decided that the only way I could put my thoughts down was to go back to the beginning…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John1:1)
God gave us language to communicate with each other and it is a pity that we’ve come so far with language, but have forgotten what it is about. In order to go back to the beginning, I needed to include language in my discussion.
The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew and true Hebrew is never taken lightly. According to author Rabbi Michael L. Munk, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are everything. They keep the universe together. In his book, The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet, Munk says, “ The twenty-two sacred letters are profound, primal spiritual forces. They are, in effect, the raw material of Creation.” (pg. 19)
Why is this important? If we are to have an honest discussion about science and faith, we must be true to the letters and the words that make up our thoughts.
There is currently no greater science discussion than that of the creation of the universe and of our world. Scientists postulate ideas like Big Bang and Evolution, while theologians consider the meaning of the creation story. As my pastor said yesterday, religion addresses why, while science addresses how. That implies that we are talking to each other on separate planes and will never meet.
Nowhere have I seen this more clearly demonstrated than a website that I ran across lately. AnswersInGenesis.org (AiG)is a website dedicated to debunking all science that does not lead to the Creationism theory. At first glance, I was interested to see what it said about the story of creation and the age of the earth. Although I know that radioactive dating has its issues, I don’t think it can be completely eliminated as author Mike Riddle suggests. Any and all theories are based on criteria and assumptions of our current knowledge. Yet, that is where we seem to get stuck in the primordial goo that is our human brain. For more on what this website says, follow the link.
As I was reading this webpage, I thought of another author that I so enjoy, Dr. Gerald Schroeder. His works include The Science of God and The Hidden Face of God. This physicist has many other titles, but the one I’ve continually come back to is the former, The Science of God. I love chapter 4, “The Six Days of Genesis.” It uses physics to show how the Creation Story fits with science’s version of the age of the earth.
I investigated further. I thought that maybe this website didn't know about Dr. Schroeder. Right?
A simple search actually gave me the answer to the contrary. So I read that article as well. Then I read another piece that asked the editors of the AiG website why they were so hostile to the ideas of Dr. Schroeder. Their only defense was to point to the physicist’s “gross misuse of Hebrew.”
So I sat back and asked myself the following question. Which version of the Bible is this Christian website using?
In order to find this answer I had to go back ALL the way to the beginning…
In the beginning of God’s creating (Gen1:1)...
“Wait!”, you say. That’s not what my version says. If not, then you are not using the authentic translation of the original Hebrew. And if you’re not using the original Hebrew, then THAT’S the “gross misuse of Hebrew!”
Why? Because there are entire volumes of philosophy written about the importance of those first words.
I could relay volumes to you, but that’s not what this blog is about. Instead, I’m going to give you a couple tidbits in which you can begin your own research.
BeReSHiYT BaRA ELoHiYM are the three words of Genesis in Hebrew. (I've taken these from my Jewish friend's Hebrew Bible, and it's English translation, Art Scroll TaNaCH - (Torah , Prophets, Writings - Mesorah Publications Ind. 1996)) I’ve capitalized the consonants and left the vowels lowercase. In Hebrew, each letter contains its own meaning, rich in symbolism and philosophy. Original Hebrew did not contain vowels and I wanted to show that to you. This will eliminate any discussion of the different Jewish philosophies as well (for those of you who do know Hebrew), since vowels can change the meaning of words.
BeReSHiYT—In the beginning of
The first letter is B or Beit in Hebrew. It’s form is shown in the picture below. You can see open side on the left of the letter. According to Hebrew philosophy, this means to start with the declaration that God is the Creator, and humans cannot fully understand anything or everything before this. It is closed to us as humans.
In the end, what this says to me is that we can fight and argue about Creationism and Evolution, but we will never fully understand the process of Creation. The only thing that we can do is open ourselves to meaningful dialogue between science and faith and be eager to find what Truth remains in both. And most definitely we must start at the beginning.
Monday, February 9, 2009
It seems that our world today exists in a state of disharmony. Neighborhoods can’t get along, communities bully each other and governments oppress their people. Violence surrounds us in many aspects of our lives and even invades our homes when we turn on the television.
Violence comes in many forms too. There is loud destructive music, sirens that herald someone in peril, horns that sound as warnings to others, words spoken in anger and hate, and weapons that “bang” warning of death.
So how do we eliminate the disharmony of a violence that surrounds us? Is there hope for harmony on this planet we call home?
Dr. Masaru Emoto believes there is. He says the way to a harmony that swells and conquers the world is represented by the simple words, “Love and Gratitude”.
Dr. Emoto has spent his career testing water and photographing water crystals. He has come to believe that water holds the key to understanding and healing the Earth. He speaks a bit about God, but a great deal about the intricacies of exposing water to words and vibrations.
He uses a special microscope to photograph water crystals exposed to a variety of stimuli. For example, his biggest and most important realization came when he took photographs of water that had been exposed to the words, “Love” and “Gratitude” before it was frozen. The crystals were intricate and beautiful.
He then exposed water to the words, “Hate” and “Kill”. The resulting frozen water revealed no crystals at all. In fact, they were devoid of any shape. Their forms were chaotic at best.
Of course, Dr. Emoto expanded his research to include speaking in pleasant tones versus angry and ugly tones, exposure to classical music and violent heavy metal music, and many other stimuli. He used different types of water. Water from polluted lakes to pristine rivers, all gave different results. If you are interested in seeing some of these pictures, go to WellnessGood.com.
Dr. Emoto summarized his thoughts on the power of words in his book, The Hidden Messages in Water. He said, “The vibration of good words has a positive effect on our world, whereas the vibration from negative words has the power to destroy.” (pg xxv)
I think we can see this in many ways around us. Whether it is how we speak to our children, or make a passing remark to a stranger, words and tones make all the difference in the world. For Christians, we already know this in our hearts.
For Jews and Christians, water is symbolic in many ways. In the Old Testament, water is at the very heart of creation on the second day, Noah and his family experienced the flooding of the Earth and Moses parted the Red Sea. In the New Testament, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, his first miracle was to turn water into wine, he walked on water towards the apostles, and the soldier who pierced his side found blood and water. There is an identity that we must consider in a more serious way than Dr. Emoto presents.
We must internalize the teachings of our religion with the findings of science to produce an attitude that we know must exist for this world to continue. Together, science and faith sound the trumpet of truth that we cannot deny, love and gratitude must be our state of being.
Dr. Emoto expresses this thought in his book when he says, “Water has taught me the delicacy of the human soul, and the impact that “love and gratitude” can have on the world.” (pg xxvi)
In our hearts, we know this to be true. As humans, we have the responsibility to carry this burden as part of our stewardship of the earth. Dr. Emoto agrees as he points out that humans are the only creatures who have the extreme variations in tones and voices. “Humans are the only creatures that have the capacity to resonate with all other creatures and objects found in nature. We can speak with all that exists in the universe. We can give out energy and also receive energy in return. However, this ability is a two edged sword. When people act out only on their own greed, they emit an energy that serves to destroy the harmony within nature.” (pg 51)
In the book of Genesis, God spoke to Adam and Eve and said, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” (Gen 1:28)
What an awesome responsibility God gave us! To give dominion doesn’t mean to destroy it, but to nurture it.
What we say and do has an effect on everything around us. It is no longer acceptable to say that we live in a bubble. We do not. What we say affects those around us, which in turn relates to what they say to others. Our actions in either denying or nurturing life will directly affect the state of the earth and those who inhabit it. Actions are never just done to one person; they spread out to others.
Living in a pool of fear and greed leads to stagnation and death. Living in an ocean of love and gratitude escorts us to unlimited life. Which would you prefer?
(The crystal image is from the same link as above, it is water from Sanbu-ichi Yusui Spring.)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I’ve had a hard time this week dealing with our new president’s first actions in office. With the stroke of his pen, President Obama ushered in the use of federal funds for abortions in other countries. So now our tax money, like it or not, goes toward women across the world killing the life that is within them.
For a long time I grappled with what science and faith topic I could elaborate on that might explain why abortion really is murder. In my previous blogs, I’ve talked about the fact that a person has all the DNA they’ll need to become a unique individual from the time of conception. This is a scientific fact. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion. I even used the Scientific Method to discuss whether the preborn child is human. See: http://lorettaoakes.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html
In today’s society, there is no excuse for ignorance on this subject. The plethora of information on the formation of the fetus from conception to birth is all over the internet, churches, and science books. So what’s the real problem?
The Webster Dictionary describes fear as:
To feel a painful apprehension of; to be afraid of; to consider or expect with emotion of alarm or solicitude.
So why do I say the real problem with abortion is fear?
The hard-core feminists who push abortion as a right are truly fearful. They fear that if the abortion debate is removed, they will have no platform on which to exist. There will be no reason for feminists to exist if the topic of abortion is obsolete. It isn’t that they don’t understand that the fetus growing inside a mother’s womb isn’t human. They do! It’s that if they admit that abortion is wrong, no other feminist arguments exist. They are afraid that their reason to exist will cease to exist.
Let’s look at something feminist Camille Paglia recently stated in Salon.
“But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand. My argument (as in my first book, "Sexual Personae,") has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature's fascism. Nature herself is a mass murderer, making casual, cruel experiments and condemning 10,000 to die so that one more fit will live and thrive.
Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman's body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman's entrance into society and citizenship.”
Here is a grown educated feminist actually stating that abortion is murder.
So what are we supposed to take away from this? Two things: People know abortion is wrong, and people believe they are in control.
Even though people know abortion is wrong, they are fearful of losing what they perceive to be a freedom: the freedom to do what they want with their bodies. Ms. Paglia loses rational thought when she says that a baby is the mother’s biological process. The developing child has its own biological processes. Even from conception, that child sends its own personal messages to the mother’s body in the form of lymphocytes and later stem cells. Literally the two are mingled. For more info see:
If two humans are mingled together, where does one leave off and the other begin? An abortionist may scrape the developing child from a mother’s womb, but does he go in remove all the stem cells that baby has given her mother? No, and what Ms. Paglia has failed to comprehend is how that mother has and will continue to grieve that loss emotionally, spiritually and physically. That child is forever a part of her—literally! No amount of scraping will take that away.
The feminist argument is based on a false hope: the hope that a woman maintains her own life—that she’s in control. No one is control of his or her life, we all live on borrowed time.
Fear drives control. Yet control is a façade. It doesn’t matter if you are an atheist as Ms. Paglia, or a devout Christian, we all have to admit that sooner or later we are not in control—even of our own lives. Yet that is what drives feminism. Control. Therefore, to admit a lack of control would mean they would have to change their mantra. It would leave them with nothing left to grasp, but the unimaginable. God.
Letting go is feminism’s Achilles heel.
That’s what makes this last week so sad. Signing the agreement to allow money to flow to other countries for abortion only fuels the façade of control. While President Barack Obama’s campaign ran on tag line, “Hope”, really all he fueled this week was the continuation of fear. And when we live in fear, we have lost hope.
(Thank you to my dear friend, Jane, who guided my thoughts for this post.)
Below is a link to an interesting way to talk to people about abortion. I hope you will follow up on it.
Monday, January 12, 2009
We’ve made it through the holidays! I hope your Christmas season was truly blessed with quiet moments of divine reflection and a hope for the future.
It has been a rollercoaster for me. Emotions from the extreme joy with our kids during Christmas, to the emotion of sheer sadness at learning that one of my dear friends is battling a type of bone marrow cancer, have taken me to both extremes. Some days it’s left me speechless, some days I’ve cried. During the holidays, another dear friend’s husband was in a motorcycle accident. He is still struggling to recover.
All of these things really played havoc on my mind as I tried to focus on the season. Then a mixed blessing happened. A friend of mine dealing with dystonia (an early form of Parkinson’s) asked me why it had to happen to her. She is Jewish in her traditional thinking , but she is not a practicing Jew. Therefore she has a different concept of salvation.
I sat down with her and we talked for a long time. I don’t know that I was able to help her much, except to listen and share my faith with her, but she helped me a great deal. I realized what a great blessing my Christian heritage provides. It gives me hope, day after day. I know that this life is not the end of everything. I know that God has created me in His image and that I will have eternal life. I know that God’s own Son, came down from heaven, lived a human life and opened the gates of heaven all to enter. I realized just how vast my God is.
After considering this, I heard a song that mentioned the following (if anyone knows the author, please help me out): “my God is not the sun or the moon, but the One who created them; my God is not the earth and what it provides, but the One who created it.” I’ve paraphrased here, but the theme is what is important.
Each day heralds a unique sunrise and sunset. Everyday provides me with a new opportunity to do better than the day before. I can assess my actions, make improvements and do things better. Each day is a blessing rich with time with my kids, my husband and my family.
I may be rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off being taxi-mom or whatever, but I’m rushing around with my kids, having pleasant conversations and sharing each other’s company. I’m having just a few quiet moments with my husband, laughing and talking about the day’s events.
I’m praying very hard for my friends and their trials, and I hope you will too. But in the end, I hope you will see what a gift time is for us all. One of my favorite quotes comes from Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf says to Frodo, “That is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I hope you will share some time with me this year as I explore new and interesting topics of creation and how the Lord is ever present in our lives. I look forward to a new year full of surprises, good and bad, and I look forward to having fun on this rollercoaster of life. Thanks for spending a few moments with me.