Archive for October, 2011


Posted by on Saturday, 29 October, 2011

For some reason, today I was thinking about my old Bible study group and how we never really discussed anything important. We talked about the Bible, obviously, but there was some kind of unspoken agreement never to mention anything controversial, and not to talk about anything personal. It simply wasn’t done.

At first, I did not care. I was only there to learn about the Bible anyway. But somehow, I lost sight of that. I started to see that group as “my people”, except that I was definitely NOT one of “their” people. That was where it all went wrong. How exactly did that happen?

I remember very early on, I heard someone on Christian radio talking about how Christians have a tendency to spend all their time amongst other Christians instead of sharing the Gospel or whatever among non-believers. I thought that was absurd. I had a particular agenda that involved spending a lot of time at church, but I certainly was not going to forsake my friends for THOSE people.

But then, I did not have to. As it happened, around that same time, all of my close friends moved out of state for one reason or another. With my family already spread around the world, it was not long before I too was spending all my time among Christians. Except that I was not myself a believer. I went from not caring that there was no depth in my Bible group to desiring for it to remain so, because I had secrets to hide. Even though it has been several years since I decided that I could not live like that anymore, that deception is something that I still struggle with when I find myself among Christians to this day.

Movie Reviews Sans Title #1

Posted by on Friday, 21 October, 2011

In spite of the fact that the trailers for this movie seemed specifically designed to make it look HORRIBLE, I watched it purely on faith in the reputation of the film makers. However, for the first twenty minutes or so, I was afraid that I had made a terrible mistake. The story was slow, the villain did not seem archetypically villainous enough and most importantly, the songs were weak-sauce. And what is all this crap about sunlight and flowers? Where are the radishes?

Once the story got moving though, it did get a lot better. I was a little confused because I could have sworn that Chuck was supposed to be in this movie, even though the male lead looked quite a bit like that dude who was on one of the seasons of “24” that I actually watched, now on “Haven”. (Not that I expect anyone else to have ever heard of that show.) In any case, I thought that the heroine’s face was astoundingly expressive, and the movie is practically worth seeing on that reason alone.

Spoiler alert: the prince does not go blind in the end. That may have something to do with the fact that there was actually no prince at all. Did the writers even read the reference story? Although, you can not really blame them. In this post-feminist world, could they really have a story about a girl marrying a prince? Who would get excited about that in 2011? Ahem.

So overall, pretty decent. Not the instant classic like so many of its predecessors, but certainly not immediately disposable like its contemporaries.

In Which the Author Considers Supervilliany and the Nature of Evil

Posted by on Thursday, 13 October, 2011

I spend a lot of time alone in my house doing absolutely nothing remotely of value to anyone. A lot of time. I thought it would be nice if I had some sense of purpose that I was working toward; whether for good or evil, either one would be an improvement at this point.

So I started with evil, because I assume it would be easier, and I am a path-of-least-resistance kind of guy. The quintessential evil plan, obviously, is to take over the world. I do not want to do that, that sounds really stressful. So, a lesser evil scheme then. For that I need a better definition of what exactly is evil.

After some thought, I decided that evil is based on power. But did not Jesus say that “the love of money is the root of all evil”? Yet, when the Devil was cast out of Heaven, it had nothing to do with money and everything to do with power, much as I hate to contradict Jesus. It turns out that A) it was NOT Jesus, but rather Paul who made that statement in 1 Timothy 6:10, and B) newer translations add in “… all kinds of evil,” which in a strictly literal reading is the same thing, but really has a more general connotation of “a lot of evil” and not, in fact, ALL evil.  I do not disagree with the sentiment of modified statement, however, after doing a [very] little research with a Greek concordance, I am not convinced that the addition is justified.

It is not my place to say what Paul did or did not mean. Regardless, money is not power, however money does represent power (among other things). Therefore, I feel justified in saying that the love of power is the root of all evil.

Thus, for my evil scheme, I would need to exert power. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your perspective) I could not think of anyone over whom I actually wanted power. So it seems that evil is just not my thing.

Then I thought, if I could be doing good, but choose not to, is that not also evil? That suggests somehow that not using power that I already have is evil. That contradicts everything which I have said so far.

Also, I do really like to win at board games.

Nevermind the Ghosts

Posted by on Saturday, 8 October, 2011

I had a dream that a guy that I know and I both started renting rooms from a girl that I know. She had a house that she had been living in alone, but with the economy and all, she now felt the need to take on boarders. [This is not remotely accurate in real life by the way. As long as I have know her she has lived in apartments with roommates.] So, I was moving in and arranging my room which was a problem, because it so happens that the places where I have lived for the last ten years or so were already furnished and I do not actually own any bedroom furniture. I just had my air mattress and then everything else I own was just in stacks around the room. I became concerned that this would diminish her good opinion of me. With her already having to deal with the stress of going from living alone to living with two GUYS (which is already a big no-no among some Christians), I thought the idea of me basically living on the floor would be too much.

Perhaps this was a foolish concern, I do not know. It never even came up in the dream, because shortly after moving in, I discovered that at the same time every night, if I was standing in the hallway, the door to my room would open and a ghost would emerge. It looked like the kind of thing children make for Halloween out of a tissue stuffed with a wad of something and tied off to divide the head and flowing ghosty body. Only this was the size of a person. And real. Frankly, the very existence of a ghost in your room somewhat overshadows however silly it may or may not look. I somewhat lucky though, because in my other friend’s new room appeared what I would best describe as a “ravenous hell-hound”, which although it posed no physical threat, being a ghost and all, it still looked terrifying, and it would pounce and maul other smaller ghost-animals, leaving mangled ghost-corpses in the hallway and kitchen.

Our hostess happened to be away on a camping trip or something when we discovered this. When she returned, we had the obligatory what-the-hell-why-didn’t-you-tell-us-the-house-was-HAUNTED conversation. Her bedroom was upstairs, and it too had some kind of apparition that would appear every night, but she was somewhat in denial and when confronted had a guilty “I was hoping if I didn’t say anything you wouldn’t notice” attitude, having actually been previously unaware of the ghosts that we encountered downstairs.

There was a mystery to be solved about the exact hour the ghosts would appear and the connection between them in order to put them to rest, but unfortunately, the dream did not last that long.


Posted by on Tuesday, 4 October, 2011

I happened across this article yesterday. You can read it or not. The gist of it is that some Harvard guys did a survey where they asked people their religious beliefs and then gave them a quiz of trick questions. The example given was:

“A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

The “intuitive” answer of “10 cents” is incorrect. However, they found that intuitive people were one and a half times more likely to believe in God compared with reflective people who thought about it and came up with the correct answer. [Speaking of intuitive verses reflective, I for one tripped all over what exactly they meant by “one and a half times more likely.”]

When I read the question, my immediate thought was, “10 cents”, then I quickly reconsidered and realized that that was incorrect, but I did not want to bother actually working out the correct answer . Which is a fascinatingly accurate analogy for my own belief in God.