Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bulbasaur, Pokemon # 001

Bulbasaur is the first in the Pokedex,
The first creature on the list.
If you say he’s number two or three,
He may punch you with his fist.
Yes, our sturdy Bulbasaur is a preeminent Japanese fighter.
Poke him and you’ll discover he’s also a first-class biter.

But pray pardon, gentle readers,
Your humble Poke-bard hath misspoken.
For ‘tis not a fist Bulbasaur doth possess,
but a noble elongated stump, unbroken.
It is green, and beneath the stump are three spike-toes.
Now let us all proceed to the nose.

His nose consists of two black dots,
Located above the mouth, in the center of his face.
‘Tis a wide-set lump of a snout, nigh invisible;
Gaze briefly and you’d miss the whole nose place.
Yet the utility of Bulbasaur’s nostrils cannot be understated
Many a time have they sniffed more than was anticipated.

They have smelt fear!
They have smelt flowers!
They have smelt Vulpix!
They have smelt so many crazy smells and what’s really crazy is that sometimes other Pokemon want him to stop smelling because he just smells all the time and so they give him dirty looks but Bulbasaur just keeps on smelling over and over despite their glowers!

Shall I compare Bulbasaur to a dinosaur?
Bulbasaur is like the T-Rex dinosaur- he roars.
He is like the pterodactyl: with wings he soars.
Metaphorically.  Bulbasaurs do not have wings,
If you want to get technical.
But metaphorically speaking Bulbasaurs are also meteorites
that bash crash bang bang bang into Planet Earth
And kill all the dinosaurs with a furious bashing.
No, Bulbasaurs cannot literally fly,
but with such words being written, I bid goodbye.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Magmar, Pokemon # 126

Instead of fingers he’s got spikes.
His flame-head torches anything it likes.
He’s got fire coming out of his tail.
If you battle him, you will fail.

He could beat up a Jigglypuff.
 He could beat up a Wigglytuff.
He could beat up a Snorlax.
He could beat up another Snorlax.

You wanna know if Magmar could beat up
A Jigglypuff and a Wigglytuff
And a Snorlax and another Snorlax combined?
Yes, he could.

Listen! He grunts out “mag…”
Listen! He grunts out “mar!”
And when you follow “Mag” with “Mar,”
You wanna know what you get?
You get his whole name, which is Magmar,
And that’s the name he says over and over, Magmar,
Really, all he ever says is Magmar, Magmar, Magmar!

Anyway, Magmar eats lava!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Is Pope Francis Waffling on Hot-Button Issues?

Dear Readers,

Did I say in the last post I would only write one more post about homosexuality?  What I really meant to say is... uh... no I'm not.

Recently a lot of liberals have been rejoicing over some comments Pope Francis has made about homosexuality.  I just want to give a bit of advice about determining what Pope Francis is really saying.

Read the context.  Instead of reading a few quotes or headlines, read entire articles.  Slate magazine's headline was, "Pope Francis is a Flaming Liberal."  The person who wrote that headline has little understanding of Pope Francis and frankly, little understanding of God.  Primary sources trump secondary sources.  Read the entire interview in question.  Don't read his words filtered through National Public Radio or or the Huffington Post or other liberal sources.  And don't even read the Pope's words through the filters of or World Net Daily or other conservative sources.  Read the primary source material for yourself and see what you think. 

Place more emphasis on the Pope's official sermons, not on his off-the-cuff remarks during interviews.  Remember, it's the media- and Telemoonfa Time, apparently- who are obsessed with the hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage.  But what does the Pope choose to focus on?  He chooses to focus on Jesus Christ.  In that interview, perhaps the crucial line is, "the most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you."  And what do his public sermons focus on?  Read them and find out.  Here's one that I read and enjoyed, called "Truth is a Person."

Be wary of the media's bias and ignorance.  There have been a ka-zillion articles about the Pope's "changing tone" and his "progressive" ways.  When was the last time there was a flurry of articles written about the Pope visiting poor people and preaching the gospel to them?

And if you want to, read my spin on what the Pope was trying to say, which is as follows:

Pope Francis did not change doctrine.  In his extemporaneous responses during this relaxed interview, he did not overrule 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.  He explained that he chooses not to repeatedly condemn gay people because it isn't very helpful.  Pope Francis emphasizes that God loves gay people. 

(I hesitate to use the terms "gay Christians" or "gay people" because those terms reinforce the notion that homosexuality is an inseparable component of a person's identity.  I would rather use the terms, "those who struggle with same-sex attraction" or "those who identify as gay" but they are kind of long and cumbersome, much like this parenthetical interjection.)

In other words, Pope Francis said that God loves sinners.  Is this news?  One of the beautiful things about the gospel of Jesus Christ is the idea that Christ descended from his throne on high and humbled Himself so much that he was born as a baby to a lowly mortal family in the humblest of circumstances, in a stable in Bethlehem.  During his mortal ministry, Christ reached out to sinners.  He broke bread with them, he walked with them, he lived with them.  He dealt with people as individuals.  He knew best how to serve each individual and bring him or her closer to spiritual wellness, perfection, salvation and divinity.  I think the Pope in his remarks is acting very Christ-like.  When Christ encountered the woman caught in adultery, he said, "neither do I condemn thee.  Go thy way and sin no more."  I think the Pope's attitude is that instead of badgering the point that God forbids X, Y, and Z, let's do our best to heal people's wounds, let's tell them the good news of redemption and mercy.  Once a person is converted to Christ, the convert will gradually change his or her life to one that is more in harmony with Christ's teachings.  

The Pope's attitude reminds me so much of the wise words of Mother Theresa. 

We are not social workers but contemplatives in the world….I cannot analyze systems, economic patterns and ideologies… There are in the world those who struggle for justice and human rights and who try to change structures. We are not inattentive to this but our daily contact is with men who do not even have a piece of bread to eat. Our mission is to look at the problem more individually and not collectively. We care for a person and not a multitude.

Those who argue for or against gay marriage are interested in analyzing structures and ideologies.  Don't get me wrong.  Arguing for or against laws, structures and ideologies have their place.  Government leaders have to do it.  But for most of us common people, the best thing to do is to pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost and then interact with people as Jesus did, as individuals on a case by case basis, meeting them where they are, and doing your best to sympathize, to help, and to point them to God. 

Peace be with you.


Scripture, Tradition, Church Leaders, the Holy Spirit: What Do They Say about Homosexuality?

Dear Readers,

OK, one more post about homosexuality and then I can move on to other subjects that we'd all enjoy a little more.

Historically, Christians have decried homosexual acts as sinful.  They draw on at least four sources to justify their position: 1) scriptures 2) tradition 3) Ecclesiastical authority 4) the mystical guidance of the Holy Spirit.  And really, these are the only four sources that Christians have to look to when determining whether anything is sinful.

1) The scriptures that are frequently used to defend heterosexuality and traditional marriage include the following:

Genesis 2: 18 - 25, the creation of Adam and Eve, God's endorsement of their marriage.

Genesis 19: 24 + 25, God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were cities rife with homosexuality.

Leviticus 18:22, the law of God revealed to Moses, which specifically forbids homosexual acts.

Romans 1: 24 - 27, Paul's condemnation.

There is also the general heteronormativity that prevails throughout the Bible.  All throughout the Bible, God's people have been heterosexual, and they have been commanded to not commit adultery.  

2) Tradition.  Modern Christians who honor the customs of their Christian forbearers have got to recognize that Christendom has always been overwhelmingly heterosexual.  This is the way Christians have organized their societies since time out of mind.  There have been experiments with polygamy, as with the Mormons, and experiments with celibacy, as with the Shakers.  But these are aberrations from the norm, and they also fit within traditional understandings of sexuality.  There has never been a widespread, long-lasting Christian experiment with homosexuality.  It just hasn't been done. 

3) Ecclesiastical authority.  To list all the condemnations of homosexual acts by Christian leaders would fill volumes.  A few church leaders who have spoken clearly on this subject come to mind: Joel Osteen, Elder Boyd K. Packer, Cardinal George, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and the guys from Chick-Filet.  Also, gay couples have not been married in Christian churches.  Oh, there may be a few Christian groups who perform commitment ceremonies for gay couples, but these groups are very new and very small.  The men and women at the top of church hierarchies have overwhelmingly condemned homosexual acts as sinful.

4) The mystical guidance of the Holy Spirit.  OK, this source of authority is pretty squishy.  It's very difficult to distinguish the Holy Spirit from emotions.  There are plenty of gay people who claim that they are totally at peace with God, even while continuing their gay lifestyle.  But I'll just go ahead and assert that the Holy Spirit has confirmed to me that homosexual acts are sinful.

Despite these four sources of authority for Christians, some of the faithful have wavered on their stance on homosexuality.  Some have been timid to speak up about the subject, while some have gone so far as to reverse their positions and advocate acceptance of homosexual acts.  Steve Chalke, for example, an evangelical pastor in England who heads a church of 20,000, now openly supports gay marriage.  And then there is a new American group called NALT (Not All Like That).  They're a group of self-described Christians who support gay marriage.  Pastors like Chalke and groups like NALT have developed methods to topple the aforementioned four sources of authority.

As for scripture, they reduce its authoritative power.  They point to errors and contradictions in the Bible, and they claim much of the Biblical text is figurative.  But the chief tool of the "gay Christian," though, might be giving Scripture the cold shoulder.  They ignore it.  Instead of delivering sermons based on a close reading of the Bible, they babble about God's universal love, tolerance and acceptance of nearly everyone and everything.  They preach that everything is hunky-dory.  They tacitly introduce the ideas that maybe there is no Devil and you really don't need to go to church very often and you really don't need to be extreme in your religious devotion.  Just take things easy, they say, go with the flow, and love everyone.  And "gay Christians" love to remind people that Jesus was all about love and mercy and that Jesus was harshest to the hypocritical hyper-religious Scribes and Pharisees, and they love to remind people to "judge not." 

(Personally, I don't understand those Christians who are constantly telling others not to judge anyone.  Are Christians to understand that we aren't supposed to distinguish between good and evil?  Or, are we to understand that when we do distinguish between good and evil, we shouldn't talk very much about the distinction?  Are we not supposed to encourage others to forsake their idol gods and follow the teachings of Christ?) 

2) Christians who support gay marriage tear down the authority of tradition mostly by ignoring it.  They claim a new day has dawned, or that God has created a lot of gay people now, or that Christians in the past were homophobic and intolerant.

3) Christians who support gay marriage diminish the authority of church leaders by disagreeing with them, arguing with them, and disassociating with them.

4) As for the Holy Spirit's authority, it's pretty easy for Christians to claim that the Holy Spirit is telling them that homosexuals are born that way and that they should have the right to marry whoever they love and so on.

Of course, I side with the traditional sources of authority in Christendom.  I think that the Scriptures, tradition, church leaders, and the Holy Spirit are clear.  I think they all point to homosexual acts being sinful.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Homosexual Behavior is Sinful.

Dear Readers,

I wrote this post a year or two ago, and I deleted it.  But now I'm upset that the Matthew Shepard story turned out to be false, so I'll put this back up.  I feel the same way now about homosexuality as I did when I originally wrote this.  I believe that acting out on homosexual desires is a choice.  I don't think people are born gay.  Let me say, though, that I'm a sinner too. Feel free to point out my sins to me.


Dear Readers,

George Orwell wrote that "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four."

Well, 2 + 2 = 4, and homosexual behavior is sinful.

I know this offends some people. I'm not trying to be offensive; I'm just trying to proclaim the beautiful truth that there is right and wrong in the world. I want to add my voice to the many others who assert that God has spoken to us, his children, through scriptures, through prophets, through nature, and through his spiritual influence and He has declared homosexual behavior to be sinful. That's what the Jews believe, that's what most Christians believe, that's certainly what the Muslims believe, and that's what I believe.

We're living in a world that is increasingly accepting of homosexuality. It seems like the voices in favor of homosexuality are growing louder and that the voices opposed to homosexuality are growing quieter.

I've been kind of shocked at the way conservative radio talk shows in my neck of the woods have handled the Sheriff Paul Babeu story. If you haven't heard, Arizona Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is gay. He took a racy picture of himself and texted it to his now ex-lover. The scandal has been all over the news. My beef is, almost all of the "conservative" talk radio shows, mostly the great Mike Broomhead show, have said, "Hey, we don't care that Sheriff Babeu is gay. He's a good Sheriff. Who cares what he does in his bedroom? Maybe he shouldn't have sent the pictures, but I have no problem with supporting him."

Well, I do have a problem with supporting Sheriff Babeu, especially for his bid for U.S. Representative in the new CD 4. I've decided to vote for the other Paul, the dentist from Flagstaff, Paul Gosar. I like state senator Ron Gould, but I don't think he has much of a chance. I think the CD 4 Republican primary is turning into a two man race between Gosar and Babeu. And yes, the gay issue has helped me make up my mind. I'm not alone. I know there are a lot of conservative, religious folks in the rural parts of Arizona- people who Babeu seeks to represent- who won't vote for him because he's gay.

Is it bigoted to vote against Babeu because he's gay? I don't think so. Well, I don't know. Maybe it is. But is being bigoted such a bad thing? And what does that word "bigot" mean, anyway? I think the word gets thrown around too much. It's a way of labeling people, dismissing them, and ending thoughtful conversations. Someone once said that taxonomy is the death of science. Along that same vein, I'm saying that label-lobbing is the end of meaningful political discourse.

See, I don't think it's bigoted to vote against Romney because he's Mormon, either. If I sincerely thought that Mormonism was a Satanic cult, I couldn't in good conscience vote for a Mormon. Romney has to understand that he's going to lose some votes, if only a small fraction, because of his religion. Likewise, Babeu has to understand that his sexual orientation is going to lose him some votes. And I think he lost my vote.

Now, will I support him for Sheriff, if he runs for re-election? I haven't made up my mind yet. There's a big difference between enforcing the laws and making the laws. I don't feel comfortable with a homosexual making laws regarding the family. A homosexual at his or her core can't share my pro-traditional-family, Christian values.

Look, Democrats were tickled pink in 2008 when they had the choice between nominating the first black President or the first female President. Why? Shouldn't Democrats have been more concerned about policies and records, not gender and race? Well, identity politics these days preaches that our elected representatives ought to not only represent our political beliefs, but also our ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and whatever other category the liberals can make up. Today liberals are complaining that there aren't enough Asian-Americans in Congress. Tomorrow they'll be complaining that there aren't enough bronies in Congress.

Well, if the Left can use identity politics when it suits their purposes, why can't the Right? Sheriff Paul Babeu is a gay man. That's his identity. I'd rather not have someone with that identity representing me, or executing law and order. His "alternative lifestyle" goes against God's laws, and God's order. And his homosexual actions may be against man's laws, too. Are there still anti-fornication laws or some vaguely-worded indecency statute on the books?

To be fair, I want to say that Paul Babeu is a great man. He's a hero, in many respects. He has more guts than I do when it comes to defending the country. He was a Marine for 20 years. He keeps me and my family safe from Mexican drug cartels and from local ragamuffins, and for that I thank him. I wish more people shared his zeal for public service and his sense of fiscal restraint and national defense. But when it comes to social conservatism, Babeu's dead wrong.

But I even hesitate to vote for him for Sheriff. Would Jesus vote for him? Sometimes I wonder if Jesus would even be a registered voter. Wouldn't it kind of taint the Messiah's divine reputation if he belonged to a political party? I feel comfortable picturing Christ as a Republican, though. Ha ha ha. No, just kidding... sort of.

Having more gay people in power is bad for the moral fabric of the country. It teaches children that it's OK to be gay. But it's not OK to be gay! It's actually very very bad! Or maybe I should say that it's okay if you struggle with same-gender attraction, as long as you don't act on your carnal impulses. My advice to gay people would be, either go celibate, or get in a heterosexual, chaste relationship, and then fake it 'til you make it!

(This isn't hate speech. This is love speech. I love homosexuals. Christians strive to love the sinner, but hate the sin.)


We Were Lied To About Matthew Shepard

Dear Readers,

Remember how in our high school history classes we learned that the greedy and heartless nineteenth-century white invaders massacred the buffalo as an act of war against the Indians?  We were lied to. The native Americans were killing buffalo in massive numbers before the white men ever did.

And remember how driving a car and using a plastic grocery bag is responsible for the death of countless polar bears?  Well, the truth is, human-caused global warming is a hoax.  IT'S A HOAX!!!  Sadly, millions of people are still being lied to about this.  When is Al Gore going to come clean?

And today I find out that Matthew Shepard was not the victim of a hate crime. It turns out that Matthew Shepard was killed by a bi-sexual guy high on meth.  Shepard's horrendous torture and murder had nothing to do with homophopia, and so Shepard should no longer be held up as a martyr in the cause for gay rights.

Man, the Matthew Shepard thing was such a huge deal when I was a youngster.  MTV broadcasted candlelight vigils and memorial services for the guy for weeks on MTV.  And in college I read The Laramie Project, a popular play based on the murder of Matthew Shepard.  It was all about homophobia and intolerance and how we need to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles.

And we were lied to about Benghazi.  It wasn't a You-Tube video that inspired a riot that got out of control.  It was a premeditated terrorist attack by Muslim extremists on the anniversary of 9/11. 

And we were lied to about Mitt Romney.  He's a good man.  And he was right about just about everything!  I guess there's no use fighting battles that have already been lost.  Gosh, how I wish he were the President today.

So, the government lies to us, and the media lies to us, and schoolteachers lie to us.  Sometimes the liars know they are lying.  Sometimes they don't.  Sometimes they think their lies serve a good purpose, and so are justified.  Maybe that's true. There are cases in which lying is moral.  But lying about Matthew Shepard to advance a political agenda is not moral.

I just hope that after I die I find out the truth about everything.


Friday, September 13, 2013

His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox

Dear Readers, I recently came across this wonderful talk by Brad Wilcox on the subject of grace. This message needs to get out to the world. I really enjoyed it. I thought you might enjoy it too. Sincerely, Telemoonfa

Monday, September 9, 2013

Persecution of Christians

Dear Readers,

Here's a paragraph from Book 8 in The History of the Church by Eusebius, a historian who lived from 260 - 339 AD:

It was the nineteenth year of Diocletian's reign and the month Dystrus, called March by the Romans, and the festival of the Savir's Passion was approaching, when an imperial decree was published everywhere, ordering the churches to be razed to the ground and the Scriptures destroyed by fire, and giving notice that those in places of honour would lose their places, and domestic staff, if they continued to profess Christianity, would be deprived of their liberty.  Such was the first edict against us.  Soon afterwards other decrees arrived in rapid succession, ordering that the presidents of the churches in every place should all be first committed to prison and then coerced by every possible means into offering sacrifice [to the pagan Roman gods].

Eusebius goes on in the next several pages to describe all the persecution of Christians he witnessed firsthand.  He saw men, women, and children tortured and killed by the Romans for calling themselves Christians. Some were fed to lions.  Some were crucified upside down.  If they renounced Christ, they were given freedom, and if they clung to their religion, they were killed.

I have no idea what that level of persecution is like.  I hope I never find out.  I'm glad I live in America. 

Oh, I've been made to feel uncomfortable because of my religion.  I've been given dirty looks on the rare occasions when I've publicly stood up for Christian morality.  But I can withstand feeling awkward and being given the cold shoulder. And being a Christian is a lot easier now that I live in the suburbs.  It was harder when I was an English and theater major at a public University, where most of the professors and students were pretty secular.

But would I really stand up for Jesus Christ if my life depended on it?  I hope so.  I hope I would be motivated by the scripture, in Matthew 10:28, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

So, here in America I think most of the soft persecution of Christians comes from atheists and agnostics.  I think the persecution will get worse over the course of my life. 

But over in the Middle East, in Syria more specifically, the persecution of Christians is insane.  Just like in the ancient Roman Empire, they kill you if you don't bow to their gods.  The radical Muslims will kill you if you don't convert.  See, radical Muslims are going into Christian villages in Syria, and telling the residents, "Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded."

What a crazy world we're living in.