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I have been trying to do the Pre-Nativity fast (Philip's Fast
). I am trying for meatless. This is a bit of a dry-run for Lent. So far ... not so good. It is difficult to find alternate sources of protein that don't involve soy or hemp (soy contains phytoestrogens and I have concerns about hemp protein and drug screenings). I bought some quinoa and lentils at Sprouts and I'll start experimenting with them. The monastic ideal is no meat, dairy, or egg.
The world is made of meat. Being a vegetarian is hard because most regular stores just don't carry many options. It seems vegetarian options are still mostly specialty items. Combine this with my weightlifting and I have some serious protein needs that are difficult to fulfill with non-soy vegetables.
However, the point of a fast is discipline
, not to find substitutes so you can be in technical compliance. I have been eating dairy and egg (reserving egg only for breakfast), but no bacon or sausage... and no alcohol. I have been eating fish, again for the protein and in the tradition of a fast, but I like fish so that is not much of a discipline.
The fact is that I could easily give up all meat if I had an adequate protein substitute. A fast should not harm you. Alcohol? I stopped drinking about a week before the official start of the fast. I have had not a drop in about a month. There is booze in my house but I haven't even been tempted a little. Easy-peasy. So, what to fast? Giving up food is not seeming like much of a discipline for me. I'll have to find some other way to practice self-control.
I feel for you vegetarians. A life without meat is a hard thing to do. The world is against you, tries to starve you, and charges you extra for your pains.
A friend asked me about my employment. I told my friend "The Ministry of Sporks. I am a tine counter!" Hey... it's a job. Spork regulation is a must! I have had to reject a number of spork designs featuring only one tine. Folks, a spork with one tine is called a "spoon". I have to refer them to the Ministry of Useful Cutlery and Table Settings.
I didn't mention that I also moonlight for Killjoy, LTD. as a party disorganizer.
"Not given, not blessed by God, it was food whose eating was condemned to be communion with itself alone and not with God. It is the image of the world loved for itself..."
"When we see the world as an end in itself, everything becomes itself a value and consequently loses all value, because only in God is found the meaning (value) of everything, and the world is meaningful only when it is the 'sacrament' of God's presence. Things treated merely as things in themselves destroy themselves because only in God have they any life. The world of nature, cut off from the source of life, is a dying world. For one who thinks food in itself is the source of life, eating is communion with the dying world, it is communion with death. Food itself is dead, it is life that has died and it must be kept in refrigerators like a corpse."
~ Schmemann, Alexander. "For the Life of the World", 2nd ed. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973. Print.
Here is a good case for asking The Lord's blessing whenever and wherever you eat lest you be in communion with that which is dead.
I just read a news article about a McDonald's restaurant in Detroit experiencing an employee walkout. The employees are on strike because their low pay is unlivable at $7.40/hr.
So why are they penalizing the company that provided them a job?
They SHOULD be protesting the Federal Government's fiscal policies that have devalued the money to the point where one cannot support a family on that much pay. These demonstrators are protesting the wrong people.
I have read a lot of relationship advice books in my time of being married. I have listened to counselors. I have read relationship articles on the Internet and in magazines and in newspaper columns. There is lots of advice on how to improve your marriage relationship and not much of it good, even though good intentioned. The topics cover everything from having more and better sex, communication, how to argue and fight fair, be more passionate, tips for dating and vacations together, reignite romance and passion, improve your marriage in 40 steps, how to meditate, take a pill, get some exercise, make time for yourself. Some advice is to just get divorced, but that is not an improvement, that is quitting and is most often the worst possible advice.
All this misses the point. Communication is not the problem. Sex is not the problem. Spending quality time together is not the problem. Raising well-behaved children is not the problem. These are all SYMPTOMS, and is why they don't really work. Aspirin may cure the headache, but it doesn't cure that aneurysm causing it. Most relationship advice centers on personal fulfillment; but marriage is not about that.( Wall of text behind the cutCollapse )
"The Dark Night"
It is a Batman flick on DVD I unwrapped tonight. Describe in one word: "tedious".
I gave up. If I can leave the room and not care or be bothered to hit the pause button then it just sucks.
The National Security Agency, NSA, taps your phone, reads your email, peeks at your pictures, snoops your social networking, and does so on a global basis. I think they have missed their charter. They should be reorganized into a force for true good.
Introducing "No Singles in America", the premier dating agency!
Match dot come is a waste of time. E-Harmony's database is a piker by comparison. The new NSA knows if you are lying on your profile. Yes. The newly formed No Singles in America can find you the TRUE perfect match. Both of your phones will simply ring and, viola!, you have a date! Your perfect match not in America? No problem! There is someone in Portugal waiting for you! Or France! Or Norway! Or Bolivia! The new NSA can find you a match ANYWHERE!
The Catholic church in the United States produces a "Little Black Book" of Lenten devotionals and meditations. The one for today covers some speculation over what Jesus wrote (John 8:8-9). There is one part that got me on my rant box:
"... This isn't unique to the Church, but seems true of any
organization. Think about immigration laws. Which way has
the drift been? Away from softness ("Give me your tired,
your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free")
and toward severity. ..."
The author seems to be setting up a presumption that the United States is trying to block all immigration and is drawing a moral equivalence between legal immigration and illegal. The USA is singularly the most accommodating country in the WORLD when it comes to immigration. The United States has very few tests which will deny someone the opportunity to become a citizen. It recognizes the strengths that come from non-citizens who yearn for a better life and seeks to promote opportunity for that goal. All that the country asks is that it be done in an orderly fashion.
There is a massive chasm of distinction between illegal immigration and legal citizenship. The two are not equivalent. Illegal immigrants:
* steal the hope and opportunity that was promised to those who followed the law
* present the bad face of immigration causing a stain upon and perpetuating negative stereotypes of those that entered legally
* often use identity theft to obtain work
* depress the wage structure by working for less and for cash-only
* encourage human trafficking by creating a market for it
* cause environmental damage to natural areas by leaving a trail of garbage and human waste on major ingress routes
* unnecessarily place their lives at extreme risk by traversing desolate areas
* and present a national security risk
If a country does not know who is entering its borders, how can that country best serve the needs of those entering its borders? The immigration problems of the United States are not one of stopping immigration, it does not seek to do that, but finding a way to prevent ILLEGAL immigration. The rhetoric flying about by the pro immigration reformists is directed to efforts at legitimizing unlawful and destructive behavior.
If it is not allowed in church, why do we allow it in our homes? Are we somehow shielded from God when we walk in our front doors?
... of course, certain sacred acts between married couples are exempted. Places of public gathering would be inappropriate locations to perform your marital duties.
Cussing is bad in church, for example. I need to work on my language. I can sometimes become quite coarse when behind closed doors and alone.
Watching gratuitiously violent or lewd films is not appropriate in church. Perhaps I should reexamine my video library. Do I really need to be watching films with heads being blown off, space monsters bursting from chests, the f-word every five seconds, suggestive or even explicit sex scenes? I do find some of this to be entertaining, but isn't that the problem? I should find such behavior and acts repugnant as a practicing Christian. This is food for thought. What am I feeding my brain?
Lent - this is what it is for: to take spiritual stock of your life. I have lots of work to do.
I pondered a couple of things over the last few weeks:1)
The Nativity is a story we all know All of us are familiar with it: there was no room at the inn. Jesus was born in the simple surroundings of a stable. Going deeper into the story we see it is really a metaphor for the saving grace of Christ. God comes for the impoverished spirit. Christ is born in our humility. We need to humble ourselves so that Christ can be born within us.2)
The atheists love to challenge Christians using nonsense arguments. The object of these false logic arguments is to somehow represent God as being less than all-powerful. The most common one I hear is "can God make a rock so heavy even he cannot lift it?"
The official answer to this question is one of the nature of God and His being unable to contradict himself. If God cannot create the rock, then the atheist can claim He is not all-powerful. If God can create the rock, because He cannot lift it, He is not all powerful. It is a Catch-22 for the atheist.
However, no philosopher worth anything would ever even ask this question. An excerpt from Sermoncentral.com
Essentially, the questioner is asking, “Is there any way that the God who can make all things can make a rock so big that the God who can lift all things cannot lift it?” Worded this way, the inconsistency and meaningless nature of the question is revealed. It’s actually a pseudo-question. It makes no sense. The question itself has no truth value in order to be evaluated as either true or false. It proposes impossible conditions that can never be met.
Trying to answer this question is much like trying to answer “What does the color blue smell like?” or telling someone to think about two boys, each shorter than the other. These types of sentences are called “self-defeating statements,” or “self-contradictory.” Fascination or even obsession with the “big rock” question really says more about the skeptic than about the truth or possible falsity of Christianity. Because such meaningless questions or statements in no way endanger the truth and know-ability of the Biblical world-view, there is no need to be afraid of them.
The “big rock” question reveals false assumptions about the biblical concept of omnipotence. Omnipotence does not mean God has the power to do anything at all; it is the power to do anything consistent with His character and who He is. The question is not really one of power as much as it is of logic and consistency. God cannot do something that is logically contradictory or contrary to His nature. For example, He cannot lie or sin or learn anything new. Those things that are true about His character will always be true, and He cannot do anything to contradict them.
Does it mean the Lord is not powerful because there are things He cannot do? Not at all. It simply means He is a perfect and unchangeable God. Just like He cannot do things that contradict His perfect nature, He also cannot do those things that are logically impossible. For example, He cannot make a square circle. Likewise, it is a logical impossibility—and a nonsensical thing to ask—for God to make a rock so big that He can’t lift it.
This is not the conclusion I came to in my considerings of this question. My answer is an unequivocal "yes". God not only can create a rock, but a piece of timber too heavy to for Him to lift. God, in the Holy Trinity person of Christ Jesus, battered, bruised, and bleeding, was too weak to carry a piece of wood. So weak was He it had to be borne by a mortal man. Can God create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it? Yes. He can. The wonderful thing is that in His inability to carry a simple piece of wood, He simultaneously lifted up the entirety of humankind.
The first in the series was last Saturday. Here are some notable quotes:
"Stewardship is a manifestation of thanksgiving and gratitude." ~Fr. Bob.
"Religious people believe there is a Hell; spiritual people have been there." ~unk
From Russian news agency, and former Soviet communist mouthpiece, Pravda:
"... Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis . O'bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like "fast and furious" and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama's fools and Stalin's fools share the same drink of illusion. ..."
For those of you who support Obama, it is worthwhile for you to consider reading this article written by those who LIVED through the tyranny of communism and see the same things unfolding in our own beloved country.
Full article: Obama's Soviet Mistake