Friday, February 29, 2008

Sleepless in America

I freely admit it: I'm often heard spouting thoughts such as "sleep is overrated," or "life is too precious to be spent sleeping."

But rest assured, to those who are worried about my sleep patterns, the facts related in this Reuters article come as no surprise to me.
With late-night TV watching, Internet surfing and other distractions, Americans are getting less and less sleep, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

And all this sleeplessness can be a nightmare for your mental and physical health, CDC experts cautioned, calling sleep loss an under-recognized public health problem.


Nice hat

Prince Harry of England -- a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm a senior -- now, then and always

This is appropriate since it's less then an hour until I turn twenty-four. It seems there are people out there who have a unique vision for me. The best one is this group who apparently thinks I'm ready to retire -- maybe my boss would agree!

No problem! I'll just present this letter next time there is an opportunity for a senior discount.

But the fun doesn't end there. Another group out there wants to call me a senior as well. They just went about it differently.

Hope you can read that. I've circled the date so you know it was sent to me AFTER I got this:

Oh well. I suppose it can't be all bad for them to keep sending me encouraging letters telling me that I'm so close to graduations, and to give it one more shot. But no. I already tried to call them up to tell them to stop wasting my tax money on letters telling me I'm still a senior. No luck yet.

Cheers! I'm a senior!


I love stupid criminals


Friday, February 15, 2008

Militant musings

My good friend Jesse has a post about his views on military service. He believes that it is incompatible with a Christian's calling to love neighbor as self. This was my response to his long and scattered as it may be. You may have to read his piece for this to make sense.

Point 1:
You and I have a totally different view of authority. Authority is given by God -- there is no authority on earth not given by Him. If you believe that the military/government has no morally binding call on us as Christians, then you must be saying that their authority does not come from God.

This runs counter to the plain teaching of scripture. Romans says that the government (a pagan one) does not bear the SWORD in vain. If this was just a metaphor for general oversight, I think Paul could have chosen his words better. Clearly the power to take life is given to the state. Just as the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven are given to the elders of the church, frail, fallible men as it consists of, so is the responsibility placed upon the state to seek order out of chaos, administer for the general well fair of those under their authority, and to BEAR THE SWORD against the evil-doer (off with his head).

Point 2:
Christians throughout the ages have always had to object to pointed commands given by earthly rulers to break God's law. This is literally the point at which rulers go beyond the authority of God, and set themselves up as God (two different things). Christians have always resisted such actions, from the earliest days of the Roman Empire, to the more recent tragedy of communist regimes. Ironically, we are still the only group of people that have historically, by and large, committed ourselves by written doctrine to respect government authority whenever possible.

So should the calling of military service be any different? I have already had to protest on religious grounds imperatives to work on Sunday in my college days and beyond (whether you would agree with that or not), but that did not change my career goals. Why would military service be any different. The fact is, many traditions tell of great numbers of the Roman army itself coming to faith in Christ -- by no accounts, either biblical or traditional do we have those serving in those armies or fighting secular wars being asked to stop serving the state in this way. The call to renounce the faith or act contrary to God's laws was a common problem though.

Bottom line:
Your argument that Christians should stay clear of military service based on the fact they may be asked to do something contrary to God's law is a bit shallow because that happens in EVERY sphere of life.

You "wonder why a person would feel more deeply called to serve their country in that way rather than to commit their lives with the same kind of dedication to the furthering of the gospel..."

This creates a inordinate separation of spheres. There is no sphere of life where a Christians is not called to further the Kingdom of God and the gospel. There are no holiday careers out there. If there were, then I would agree that Christians have no place in them -- however you first have to establish that the military is an immoral institution with absolutely no sanctified calling.

You say that Christians are "called" to serve all men "both the victims and perpetrators of violence." This is very interesting. On its face I agree. I'm curious though -- are non-Christians not called as well to keep God's law perfectly? Everyone is called to perfection, to love God (and neighbor) with a completeness that is beyond our sinful mind's comprehension. By advocating so strongly for non-violence, and prophesying that we can convince people of a less-sinful way of running their countries, you claim that man can be sanctified without being justified. Man is dead in sin. Dead means he is blind, senseless, without any rationality or reason or ability to grasp what is good, or the very thing that could give him life: the saving power of Christ. It is the Church that is called to bring Light to the world. Preach the Word and by all means, LOVE "both the victims and perpetrators of violence." But take care when you say we are called to "serve" perpetrators of violence, since you almost come full circle and endorse military service by saying this -- not to mention you make no provision for objecting to immorality within this service context.

Stated differently, you have an ethical contradiction when you insist on non-violence, but demand inaction on the part of Christians to stop evil.

This is best exemplified in your statement:
"Why would you then submit your life and conscience to the violent defense of these borders and laws, when the gospel - of love, of peace, of justice - calls us to defend the poor and the widows among us?"

Well, obviously we have two very different meanings for the word "defend," since you saw fit to add "violent" to one usage, but in the case of the quote from scripture, you assume that no violence can be involved. It's odd because "defend" always indicates a contest in which the goal is to violate the intentions of another. Do "the poor and the widows among us" deserve no more defense from Christians than that which can be accomplished by mere words?

And just for curiosity's sake -- I've already given the argument that "man-made" borders are set by those charges with the preservation of order and the visiting of justice on the evil-doer; but why should defending them be anything less then protecting the poor and the widows among us?


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Adoption stuff

I figured I should post something here about this.

Here's this week's feature about a number of Lynden families adopting from abroad.

Here's the link for the online version. I've known the Diacogiannis family for a while which made it was doubly cool to see this happen for them.

  Jim and Laurel Diacogiannis didn’t plan on having 13 children by their 25th wedding anniversary -- not even as recently as one year ago, when they still only had 10.
  Laurel had considered the possibility of adopting, but Jim wasn’t as open to the idea. “I was very content with 10 kids,” he said.
  But that was before he read an e-mail from Kelly Sheehan, of Lynden, who was in Ghana helping at the Beacon House orphanage.
  Sheehan’s e-mail asked if they would consider adoption, and she supplied pictures of three siblings: Jacob, 11, Sarah, 9, and Rachel, 6.
  “Jim got the e-mail and made the decision right away,” Laurel said. The Diacogiannises are now the adoptive parents of all three. They left on Sunday to meet them at Beacon House.
  Several families from their church (North County Christ the King) also are adopting children from Africa. Three other families are adopting from Ghana: Dave and Carrie Blaske, Ryan and Kelly Sheehan, and Phil and Amanda Loher. Two families are adopting from Ethiopia: Monte and Kelli Bode and Mike and Kristi Molendyk.

Here's a video of Jim and Laurel meeting their kids in Ghana (thanks Cassie)

Here's some applicable links:
the Diacogiannis family
The Sheehan family
The Lohrer family
The Blaske family
His Kids Our Homes (Lynden)
Beacon House (Ghana)