Archive for March, 2008

Societal Evolution

March 31, 2008

Going through Nonni’s writings, I found this one from a couple of years ago.  She was just journaling then, but I thought it was kind of appropriate, considering whats going on now, where even the idea of objective truth is being dismantled. 

Recently I read a comment, I forget where, that our society is in its adolescence.  I skimmed the article, and the point was that our society seems to want to question absolutely everything, tear down institutions and argue incessantly for the sake of arguing, without yet having any well thought-out alternatives.  I would have to agree.  It does seem, looking at history, that societies go through cycles.  When a society is young, its focus is on growth, and much hard work goes on with building as well as increase in numbers.  Such societies usually have some sense of what has gone before, and a strong identification with family, tribe and/or community.  Some societies go into a rapid turmoil of change—I have read that often these societies have large numbers of young adults compared to the other segments of the population.  These societies have all the characteristics of the adolescent society described above.  An adolescent society may end this phase in several ways: 1) war, because weakness results, making them prey to attack; 2) revolution or civil war, because the destruction of society’s institutions causes instability; 3) a repressive government steps in to stop the chaos or 4) if it goes only far enough to scare people, and not too far, the societal institutions may re-establish themselves, albeit perhaps in a modified form.  Some societies don’t survive their adolescence, break up and are absorbed by other societies.  Some societies eventually evolve into constitutional democracies, and their institutions have the cooperation of the populace, yet these too, may again enter the adolescent phase and the cycle repeats itself.  In short, we can’t assume a stable nation with a stable democracy will always be that way, and that destruction of institutions is always without cost or danger.

Written by Nonni, submitted by Michelle

P.S.  Wonder what Nonni will think about what I’ve done with her page?

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Letter to a Young Agnostic

March 31, 2008

I remember as a middle school student, one of my friends said he didn’t know if he could believe in God, and he couldn’t understand the concept of a God having no beginning.  He had listened to the theory of evolution as a good reason for being an atheist.  He had many questions.  I remember talking to Nonni about him, and how she took many hours composing a letter for him.  It was remarkable to me that she would stay up so late at night working on it, because she was still working full time then.  Well, she had kept a copy of that letter, and I found it in the trunk this weekend.  I’m copying it here:

My dear friend, You are saying you don’t think you believe in God, and yet somehow I feel you are asking for reasons to believe in Him.  People have struggled with their conceptions of God throughout the ages, and its quite understandable.  God, if He is to be God, is so much greater than we are, our minds are too small to understand Him.  We know God can’t have a beginning, or He wouldn’t be God.  After all, if He had a beginning, Who or Whatever started Him would be the real God.  So we know God can’t have a beginning, yet we can’t truly understand it.  And that’s not so surprising, considering we know a lot about physics, viruses, Einstein’s theory of relativity and many other things, and yet they aren’t something we fully understand.  If we could truly understand God, he would be no greater than we are, and then not really God. Look around at this world, as people have done forever, and ask yourself if this could have just happened by chance.  I know a lot of people try to explain the earth away by saying everything “evolved”, but they can’t tell you fully how it happened, nor explain the mathematical impossibility that it could have happened by chance.  Did you know that the simplest one celled organism requires 3000 chemical reactions going on constantly in order to keep it alive?  If it is to reproduce, it requires thousands more.  What do you think are the chances that all of these reactions would have happened by chance, in exactly the right order, and many happen simultaneously?  No, chance is not the answer.  God is.  Now can God exist alongside evolution?  Why certainly He could have made the world using evolution if he wanted, or instantaneously created everything ready made.  He could have taken us through billions of years of evolution in 7 days if He wanted to, and left all the evidences along the way, sort of like super fast forwarding a video.  God can do anything.  If He couldn’t, he really wouldn’t be God, for something He couldn’t control would be greater than He is. But He is over it all, and controls it all. Now, God created us human beings, and lots of us don’t know Him.  He loves us though, and wants us to know Him.  Have you ever seen stories of parents who are reunited with lost children?  They did everything they could to find their lost children.  In fact, wanting to be reunited dominated their lives.  God feels that way about you, and wants you to know it.  So God wanted to tell people about Himself.  Well, the first thing God did was to send other humans to tell the world about Him.  They were called prophets.  God actually appeared to these prophets, often in the form of an angel, or of fire, but he SPOKE to them, just like your parents speak to you.  Now it took a lot out of a prophet to speak for God that way, and so God only chose a few for this job, and He spent a lot of time preparing them for the job of telling others about Him.  Well, on the whole, people didn’t listen to the prophets and often treated them like they were crazy.  Can you imagine going around telling everybody you had a vision of God?  Even if you could work some miracles, people would find a way to write you off as some kind of a crazy person.  But God still wanted people to know Him.  The only way left was to come Himself.  He came as a person named Jesus.  You will want to read the stories of Jesus.  They tell you much about what God is really like, what He thinks, what He wants, and much about what He plans.  Look at the stories of what Jesus did.  Ask yourself if anybody ever did such things in all of history.  Look at the accounts about Jesus rising from the dead.  No one else has done this.  Then remember the men who wrote these accounts faced death constantly because they were followers of Jesus, someone who, after all, was killed by the government for being an enemy of the state, and prosecuted by the religious leaders for being an enemy of religion.  These writers were convinced that what they wrote about Jesus was true, and they literally staked their lives on it.  (All but one of the apostles were killed for their beliefs).  So now, my friend, you need to read the stories of Jesus and come to know and trust God.  After all, one day you will die, as we all will.  You will see God face to face.  Will you see the face of a friend you have always known but never seen, or will you see the face of someone so awesome it scares you, and you turn your back and run away.  It all depends on what you do right now, in this life.  I will be praying for you. 

Your friend, a follower of Jesus

Letter by Nonni, submitted by Michelle

Prayer in the Days of Terrorism

March 29, 2008

Nonni wrote this prayer after 9-11.  However its a prayer that could fit lots of troubled times.

 “Lord Jesus, as I look at all the evil, violence and instability all around us, help me remember:

All authority on earth and in heaven has been given to You, and You will give it to no one, nor will you allow anyone to steal it.

You have pre-determined the outcome of everything, and it all works for good for those who love You.

You know everything and no one can trick You nor sneak anything past You.  You never sleep.

You will bring everything to a conclusion that satisfies Your justice, love and mercy–You will never leave loose threads hanging at the end of any story.

You are Love, and we all need to meditate on what that means in all its fulness.

You care intimately – even for the sparrow.  You know every hair on our heads and every cell in our bodies.

We have nothing to fear–You hold us in the palm of Your hand–what a perfect place to be!”

 by Nonni, contributed by Michelle

Intelligent Design?

March 28, 2008

I’ve been studying the logic of the atheistic scientists who scoff at Intelligent Design.  If they are right, and you can’t infer a designer simply because something seems to have a design, then how can we so easily accept that Stonehenge was formed by some ancient civilization.  There’s certainly nothing to point to that.  There is no history, no evidence of the civilization, and it seems that to infer it was formed by humans is all based on the fact that it aligns with the sun at the solstice.  Isn’t that an argument based on design?  Why not just be strictly scientific and theorize natural causes such as movement by glaciers during the Ice Age, or that specific types of rocks arose in certain places during earth upheavals?  Why go to the extreme of theorizing about how men moved the rocks, etc, and were knowledgeable about astronomy?  Isn’t that delving into irrational belief, based on the evidence we have?

Michelle

God Has His Ways of Getting Our Attention

March 28, 2008
Check out these photos and read the caption under the first one before going to the bottom one.


Look Look at the picture above and you can see where this guy broke through the guardrail, See the right side where the people are standing on the road (pointing). The pick-up was traveling from right to left when it crashed through the guardrail. It flipped end-over-end, across the culvert outlet, and landed right side up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which he was traveling.
Now look at the 2nd picture below…
If If this guy didn’t believe in God before, do you suppose he believes now ?

Also, I wonder if all our lives are like the second picture, when looked at from Heaven?
Michelle

A Prayer for a Dog

March 27, 2008

When Nonni lost her little Tessie a couple of years ago, she wrote a prayer for the dog.  Not too bad a way to deal with grief, I think.

 “Lord, I know You loved all creation, even the animals.  It says so in the book of Job, and Jesus, you said the father feeds the sparrows and knows even when one falls out of its nest.  You made Tessie, knowing all along she would be my dog, and You loved her, as You love a single sparrow.  You have also promised that You have redeemed all creation and that the creation longs for the day when it will be freed from suffering and see the new Earth.  Lord, I know this isn’t a specific promise about Tessie, but she’s a part of the creation You have redeemed and loved.  So, Lord, I’ll trust you with Tessie’s fate, not because you’ve given us the complete answer about our pets, but because the more I’ve learned about Your character, the more I trust You.

I loved that dog too, and miss her still.

Michelle

Web Page Can Wreck Your Job Search

March 26, 2008

I found the webpage that can wreck your job search if you are looking to teach biology at the university level.  If you have this link on your personal webpage, it can be curtains for you in academia.  Its www.reasons.org.  If you are job hunting, your name shouldn’t be on any web pages or blogs–yes, they do look you up and research you in advance of your interview, just as you should do your homework and research the place you’ve applied.  Freedom of thought is more prevalent in the real world than on campus, apparently.

 I do mean to post some of Nonni’s things in the next two weeks if I get a chance.

 Michelle

He is Risen: Six Reasons to Believe

March 23, 2008

1.  If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, and the apostles knew it, the movement would have ended.   The successive waves of persecution for the early church lasted over 300 years.  There was everything to lose and nothing to gain for a Christian those first few centuries–hardly fertile ground for a religion, unless the members believed the truth of it.

2.  Matthew 28: 1-15 states the guards at the tomb took the story of a resurrection to the Pharisees.  The Pharisees paid the guards to circulate the story that Jesus body was stolen while they slept, while the leaders would keep them out of trouble (execution).  From this I can deduce that the body of Jesus was missing.  Since guards paid with their lives if something untoward happened on their watch, I would expect them to have their eyes glued open.   They were awake and certainly didn’t let the apostles steal the body under their noses.  I have always wondered–if they were asleep, how could they know what happened? 

3.  Even today the tomb is empty.  The body was never found.

4.  There are no writings from that time period disputing the Resurrection of Jesus.

5.  There are multiple testimonies from the period which could have been refuted by others who lived during that time.  The statement is made that more than 500 people saw him.  They touched him physically.

6.  The disciples risked their lives to spread the message of the resurrection, something they wouldn’t have done for something they knew to be a lie.  People will die for something they know to be true (or believe to be true).  They won’t willingly die for a lie.

 Someone facetiously asked me how many people claim to have seen Elvis.  Thats different.  There are no penalties for that claim.  If people had to pay with their lives for the claim of having seen a resurrected Elvis, that movement would die in a hurry.  See reason #1 above.

 Happy Easter!

 Nonni

The Price He Paid

March 21, 2008

Good Friday reminds me to be so very, very thankful to Jesus for the “inexpressible gift”.  When mankind sinned, mankind lost heaven, and that is truly the real death.  To be forever without God and without good, is unthinkably horrible.  Jesus called it “the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  He also called it “gehenna” which was the city dump, a place full of fire, worms, filth, decay, stench and horror. 

There’s only two places to go and nowhere in between.  God’s heaven, where God dwells, the place we were made for, or the other place, where God is not.  Most people think God will overlook a lot of sin, He will “grade on the curve” and most people will get into heaven regardless of their imperfections.  But wait, Heaven is a perfect place.  It has to be.  God is perfect and so is His home.  If He let me in as I am, it would no longer be perfect.  Heaven would soon be like this earth with people doing self-serving things and hurting each other.  Humans would have to be cleaned and changed forever if they were to enter Heaven, but there would be a price. 

This is where I get beyond my capabilities of understanding, having only a human mind, but what I can understand is this: God’s creation has been trashed, we have even trashed ourselves and someone has to pay the price.  As it was when the levees burst and New Orleans was flooded, someone has to pay a price for restoration.

I picture it this way:  the councils of Heaven convened.  Jehovah Eloihim was there in all three of His manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The angels of Heaven were there, and the third of the angels who rebelled were there with their leader Satan.  Humans couldn’t pay the price of their restoration, it was too great a price. The angels couldn’t pay it, as justice would not be served in that way.  Satan and his demons were holding the humans in bondage, they had won them fair and square when the humans rebelled and came to their side.  And on the great screens of Heaven played the scenes of the passion of the Christ.  Only God could pay the price, for justice demanded mankind should pay it.  It appeared the solution would be that one of the persons of the Godhead should become  fully a man , while remaining fully God.  In that dual state, He should experience “the wages of sin which is death”, while also enduring the worst Satan could throw at Him.

As the scenes of the passion became more and more cruel and terrible, Satan laughed with glee.  “You’d never do this, you’d never love mankind that much.”  And the second person of the Godhead stepped forward and said “I do love them that much.  My name will be Jesus.  I love them so much I will die to win them back”  That was the price of restoration, the satisfaction of justice, the wage for sin.  Satan never thought Jesus would go through with it, but He did.  What He did was accepted by God, as shown when the veil of the temple was torn–the veil that had always separated the people from God’s Presence.  It was torn from the top down, not by human hands.  And then He was vindicated for all eternity when He rose from the dead on Easter.  Our part is to accept the gift with thanksgiving, and spend our lives returning the love shown to us.

 Nonni

Dollar and Discount Stores part 2

March 20, 2008

I was poking fun at dollar and discount stores in my last post, but I truly love them.  There are so many ways to use dollar and discount stores to help people or bring them happiness when you, yourself, are on a tight budget.

One organization that gives the poorest of poor children a Christmas is Samaritan’s Purse.  Every Christmas they collect shoe boxes with gifts for poor children all over the world.  The gifts can be small toys, candy, gum, pencils, toothbrushes, crayons and small color books, notebooks, etc.  Seems so small to us, but to a child who has never before received a Christmas gift, it means the world.  You can fill such a shoebox at a dollar store for about $10.  If you make a few local phone calls, you can find a location near you where they are collecting the shoeboxes, and take in yours.  The organization is called Samaritan’s Purse, and you can find them online to see what happens to the shoeboxes, and how many were distributed last year.

Another thing you can do with your dollar store purchases is fill hospital patient kits for Mercy Ships.  Right now Mercy Ships has both hospital ship-based and land-based surgery facilities in West Africa.  If you didn’t know, West Africa was torn by years of civil war, and many people there have almost nothing.  When they check into the hospital they have nothing to bring with them.  At a dollar store you can get a plastic or canvas or cloth bag, and fill it with a bath towel and washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of wet wipes, a bath sponge, and a hand held mirror.  You can do all this for  about $12 to $15 at a dollar store.  You can send your bag to Mercy Ships International Headquarters in Lindale, Texas.  Check out their website at www.mercyships.org

I’m sure there are dozens or hundreds of opportunities online to do good using dollar store purchases.  When we are on tight budgets ourselves, we are tempted to think whatever we can do is too small to do any good.  Thats not true.  Some very small gifts mean a huge difference to the person who receives them.

When I lost my first child, it was right before Christmas time.  I was in the hospital Christmas Eve, a grieving mom with empty arms.  On Christmas morning, I found on the overhead table, a small stocking.  It had a comb, some candy and a couple other items.  It also had a card inside that said “God has not forgotten you.  He knows you are here.  We have not forgotten you either, and you are in our prayers.”  I don’t know the people who left it, but I can tell you it meant the world to me at that time, and I never forgot it.

Do whatever good you can–its never too small.  Smiles are free, and you never know but your smile may be the only one someone got that day.

Nonni