Thursday, July 26, 2007

Same Rainbow . . .

Same double rainbow - other side. What struck me about this was how vibrant the colors are. These photos, althought good, doesn't do it justice.
I wonder if Steven Spielberg was in town?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ever see a Double Rainbow?

I'm sure this has some significant meaning but I haven't figured out what it is yet.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

When Free Enterprise hurts . . .

According to this recent report, there is a shortage of doctors in America. In a free-enterprise system, this just shouldn't be with a profession as highly respected and lucrative as medical doctor. The draw should naturally fill the void.

Logical conclusion: Something is in the way.

Here are my thoughts:

First - It is far too expensive to become a doctor. This is why whole families become doctors. Once one of them is in, he/she can afford to send their children to medical school. A quick scan of my local phone book confirms this hypothesis.

Second - Cosmetic surgery has become far too commonplace in our culture. Unnecessary surgeries such as breast augmentation (I'm not talking about women who had breast cancer) use up valuable human resources.

Think about it. A woman who just wants to improve her physical appearance either because she is a stripper, adult movie star, just happens to live in California, has succumbed to the unfair pressure put on women to look a certain way, or has a first class jerk for a husband - all use up valuable medical resources. In order to have their surgery, they need doctors, nurses, medical equipment, supplies, and a hospital bed.

But let's not forget the doctors who perform these operations. I know it's a free country, but they obviously know that there are people who need life-saving operations waiting for a doctor to become available. So, where is there soul? Their compassion?

These doctors obviously know that they are making a choice. They can either help a woman fill her sweater or they can remove a tumor, set a child's broken arm, operate on a wounded soldier, etc. etc.

There is a list of professions that I have a disdain for. I'm sure your list is similar to mine:

Lawyers, politicians, Insurance executives, etc.

Well, I'm adding one more to my list. The Nip/Tuck crowd. Doctors who strictly perform cosmetic procedures on otherwise healthy individuals while ignoring the real medical needs around them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This is my friend Hank.

Yes, I really was that close. He came right up to my boat.
Most alligators shy away from boats, but not this guy. I think he wanted my sandwich.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

How does your pastor define success?

I finally got around to watching an entire Joel Osteen broadcast. I am not surprised by his popularity. Joel mentioned the word success over and over and over. He listed examples of material rewards for faith in God's power to move in our lives. Who doesn't want to hear that God wants you to have a big house, a new car, and a great job.

But does He really? Silly little ignorant Dayle - of course He does. God said He will provide for you, He will fill your cup to overflowing, He wants the best for you. He wants you to prosper.

Okay, fine. But our definition of success in our lives and God's definition may be polar opposites. Our humanity makes it difficult for us to see beyond our earthly life span. Our human spirit will define success based on our human desires and temptations. But to God, success is making the decision to accept His gift of perfect love, which is the sacrifice of His son Christ Jesus. It is there for the asking and overflows for all of eternity. Cars will rust, marriages will falter, mansions will eventually rot and return to dust, but God's love will never fade away.

To the contrary, as our life on earth begins to fade, and we are no longer blinded by our selfish human desires, the light of God's love will shine even brighter in our lives. Because it is then that many will realize that life on earth is but a twinkle of an eye. Eternal life with God is the greatest success we can attain. True fulfillment is not a new dress, or a new car, or a bigger house--they are only temporary distractions.

Just as I was about to write Mr. Osteen off as another prosperity preacher, he saved it. He finally mentioned that although you should always prepare for success, you won't always get it. He spoke of his father who prepared to leave the hospital and enjoy his human desires again, but died anyway--but was richer because he died in faith, not depression.

So I will give Joel the benefit of the doubt, for now. But I am troubled by his continued definition of success as material and financial gains.

Consider this from 1st John, 1:15-17:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings
of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and
does--comes not from the father but from the world. The world and its desires
pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

How does your pastor define success? How does Joel Osteen? Any other TV Evangelist you may watch? Does it conflict with scripture?

Does he/she confuse God ordained success with "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, or the boasting of what he has and does"?

In Luke 18:18-30, Jesus did not tell the rich ruler to follow Him and he'll become richer. You will also notice that Jesus didn't say "give me your money" and you will become richer. Jesus told him to sell everything he owned and give it to the poor and then he would have treasure in heaven.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Peace Like a River

I finished Leif Enger's book about a week ago and I'm still not sure what to make of it. The similarities with To Kill a Mockingbird are obvious.

Swede = Scout

Both have father's that always do the right thing

And both are beautifully written.

Usually style over substance doesn't work. And, I'm not saying that's what this is, but it might be. For me, reading To Kill a Mockingbird was like a lounge pianist watching a virtuoso and realizing that he'll never get there. You just have to accept it and go on. I felt the same way about Peace Like a River.

As an aspiring novelist I'm looking for a great story to tell. Give me a bad plot and I'll write a bad novel. Give me a great plot and I'll-at the least-write a good novel.

My point is: I'm not sure if Peace is a great story as much as it is a good story written greatly. I don't think the writing reaches the level of Mockingbird, but who cares as long as you're even remotely close.

As I've said: Style over substance doesn't work, but in this case the style might be so pure, so authentic, and unforced that it lifts the story to a height unattainable in the hands of most writers.

Anyway, if you haven't read it, buy it and enjoy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Review - Something That Lasts by James David Jordan

Three Stars ...

As a respected community leader, Reverend David Parst had a lot going for him . A growing congregation, the love of a committed wife, and the joy of fatherhood.

In fact, things are going so well for him that he becomes arrogant and ungrateful for the blessings that God has bestowed upon him. He has no doubt he could have even done better in life. So, why not test those waters?

In a moment of weakness, he makes the same mistake that most people make, he loses sight of the big picture - the far reaching ramifications that are temporarily veiled in the brilliant, but short-lived blinding light of temptation.

Choices do have consequences. And in a culture where marriage has been downgraded to dating and our entertainment industry teaches that if it feels right, it is right, many don't realize how horrible the long-term repercussions can be until it is too late.

In Something That Lasts, this truth is clearly portrayed. Because of one mistake, many innocent lives are damaged or destroyed. Some beyond repair. Including the one who made the mistake. The story explores the effects of David Parst's mistake on his life and the lives around him. The characters are real. David's wife, Sarah, is strong and memorable.

Although the story is a sad one, Jordan does an excellent job of keeping the overall tone a hopeful one. But a hope where it truly belongs - in our future with God - not in our faith in man. A perfect future with Him awaits, but we must first endure at least some sadness here on earth.

I highly recommend this book. It is very readable and a nice change of pace from the suspense novels that I usually read.

Author's website -

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Catholic Bashing

For years I have defended the Catholic church against the Catholic bashing that is prevalent among some of the protestant churches.

I have argued for years that just because the practice of confessing your sins to priests and praying to saints is clearly not Biblical, that is no reason to judge the state of salvation of practicing Catholics. Please debate the theology all you want, but leave the salvation of the rank and file out of it.

Unfortunately, I have actually heard members of some pentecostal denominations actually say that all Catholics are going to hell because of these practices.

But now, after all these years of defending them, I have been blindsided. Today, according to the Associated Press, the Pope has reissued a statement that says all Protestant and other Christian denominations were not true churches, but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation".

I hope this is not true or taken out of context. But, here it is in black and white.

Oh, well. I will still defend the lay Catholic from the charges that they are going to hell because of the theology of their leaders. But it would be easier if that hierarchy didn't believe that I am going to hell because I'm not a Catholic.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Option is Yours . . .

Inherent in our humanity is the incapacity to understand the ways of God. We can choose to ignore this natural law and build a prison of philosophy, rationalizations, or flawed theories that attempt to explain our existence.

Or we can choose faith. Faith in a God whose vision extends beyond our limited sight, whose intelligence cannot be comprehended by our meager brains, and whose love encompasses all of creation and surpasses all of mankind's.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Christmas in July

I was watching a documentary where a scholar rehashed the tired argument that Christmas was a former pagan holiday commandeered by Christians and the idea that Christ was born on December 25th is silly and misguided.

So what? Nothing new, right?

It's not the debate, it's the tone that bothers me. They say these things as if they are providing some great revelation to us simple minded Christians - who just never got them no good learnin.

I guess they think our reaction will be " What? Jesus really wasn't born on December 25th? Oh No! I've been wrong about everything. My whole faith is a sham based on a lie. "

News flash to anti-Christians: We are a lot smarter and sophisticated than you think. We know that it is unlikely that Jesus was born on the 25th of Dec. WE DON'T CARE. We picked a day and we went with it.

And so what if every Christian holiday replaced a pagan one. Isn't that what Christ came for? To do away with the old misconceptions and reveal Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

By the way - Holiday means Holy day. So, from now on, you anti-Christmas proponents cannot refer to Labor day, Presidents day, New Years Eve, etc. as holidays.