Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Deep Thinking

I’ve been sitting here doing some deep thinking in preparation for my lesson out at the prison tonight. I have to have my act together because these guys are sharp as tacks, they are all willing and able to call a “B.S.” on a moment’s notice. One gentleman in particular is traveling through a rough patch with respect to the concept of “faith”. At one point in the recent past he was right there. Then some troubles arose at home external to the prison environment that he had no control over, that he truly wasn’t responsible for, and they are having a negative impact on him and his life in prison. Bottom line, he’s experiencing if not a loss of faith, then a questioning of faith. So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been pondering this issue of faith and attempting to explain to him how and why it works, and attempting to present it within the context of the assigned lesson content; and whatever I say, I have to believe it myself because they will be able to see the truth.
I’ve discussed this with a couple of friends in hopes that they could give me an idea or two on how to present this. In church last week one of my friends mentioned a statement by our leadership “ … faith has an extremely short shelf life …”. I can’t remember the context or who said it because my mind went immediately to this issue, and my pondering precluded me really hearing the rest of what he had to say. I got to thinking, and over the last few days I think I’ve figured out what it means to me. I think I’ll use it tonight. Here’s my analogy on faith, it’s actually pretty simple; simple ideas from a simple mind.
Faith is like a spiritual battery. When it’s all charged up, it provides us with good service. We use it in a wide variety of ways to guide us through our daily/weekly/monthly routine. We make many decisions every day based on faith. It’s our understanding and believes of the way things are when we don’t have sure-knowledge of facts, events, environments, and/or outcomes. But like a battery, if all we do is use our faith, if we don’t recharge our spiritual battery, then it eventually gets weaker and weaker and runs down.
I believe, and you’re welcome to your own opinion, but I believe that we charge our spiritual batteries through good works (any kind of service to others that is done without expectation for reward) and through reading and studying the scriptures. Sounds hooky, but there it is.
But much like a battery, we can ruin our faith with a negative charging cycle. In the best of batteries this can be accomplished with just one wrong polarity charging. Cease to do good service to your fellow man, cease to read the scriptures, or even simply read the wrong materials without comparative analysis to the scriptures and you’ve ceased to charge your battery.
Now much knowledge (different from faith) can be gained by reading/studying other peoples analysis of what the scriptures say. And knowledge will surely impact our faith on any subject, religion included, in both a negative and positive vain. The trick is to truly glean fact from fiction in the things we read (a true-ism regardless of the subject matter).
Soooo, how do we separate fact from fiction when reading someone’s analysis of a religious topic? On an intellectual basis I always try to determine if there’s an axe being ground, a perceived wrong trying to be righted, or questionable or unverifiable claims being made by either side. I attempt to determine if there’s a profit or leverage of any kind attempting to be obtained. And mostly, I attempt to ascertain the credibility of the guy making the claims. If I decide that any of these issues apply then I look at the proposed results with a jaundice eye. That doesn’t mean I totally disregard it; but I carefully weigh all that I know (there’s that word again) and attempt to discern whether or not advantage is being taken in any way.
That’s the philosophical beauty of the scripture. Not what someone tells you about the scriptures, but the actual scriptures; they don’t attempt to leverage anything from anybody, except “faith”.
In my few decades I’ve found many instances wherein someone wrote or said something that got my ire up (pro & con) and made me a passionate believer for a period of time, only to find out later that the conclusions I had come to were without foundation and totally wrong. With I finally figured these things out I usually discovered that I had reacted solely on emotion (… not faith, not knowledge … ) without performing my personal due-diligence on the topic at hand. I had acted either without faith, or in spite of faith; and that my actions had been based on what I perceived to be knowledge. And everyone knows that knowledge is fallible; that’s why we took so many tests in school … to determine the accuracy of our knowledge.
I’ve also discovered when I contemplate someone else’s opinion on scripture that I am best served by personally evaluating that opinion against the actual scripture. I can’t tell you how many times I have found that the opinion being read was being quoted/used out of context, that a false analogy was being proposed, and as such was totally without merit. Once this is discovered, a closer review will reveal that the author had an axe to grind, a perceived right to wrong, or was imply mean spirited.
The last point I’ve learned along this subject line, one that I’ve learned on a personal basis in the school of hard knocks is … we’re all simply human, making hundreds of decisions every day. And almost everyone has far reaching impacts, both good and bad, well beyond our personal vision and/or knowledge. I’ve also discovered that my actions, or the actions of someone subordinate to me, are almost always believed to be sanctioned by those at the next several layers of responsibility. I can’t tell you how many times that as Lieutenant Colonel I was held accountable and responsible for the actions of some Private hundreds of miles away. The presumption was always that I was in charge, they were in my command, therefore I must be responsible. Frequently, almost always, those individuals at higher levels of responsibility have absolutely no knowledge that the specific event occurred, nor do they understand the far reaching effects of the event in question.
So I guess my point is that “faith” is essential to spiritual well being. It trumps “knowledge” every time, and is more reliable than “emotion”. To keep your faith strong you need to be continually doing good works, being of service to your family, your community, your nation, and your God; and you must couple your good works to routine and regular study of the scriptures. To do otherwise will simple run your spiritual battery down and leave you susceptible to nefarious and evil influences. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Southern Claifornia

We just spent the last several days at Disney Land, CA Adventures, and Sea World. I beleive that all had a good time. We are definitly ready for a vacation from the vacation. My poor feet are walked out. Here are some pictures of the events. We started out at Cystal Cove Beach where the boys were told to stay dry so that we could go to dinner next. You can see how successful that was. Next D-Land, and then etc ...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Greetings all, been a while. This being my busy time of the year I haven't had time to post much. Here are some pictures of my latest project.

Just in Case your wondering, its a 1947 Pontiac Convertable with 1990 some thing ventage Camero engine and a beefed up front end. The little Lady says that I need to sale the 1949 Apache to pay for the restoration on this one. Anyone know someone that wants to buy an old Pickup?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cousins Week and the Chinese Restaurant

Today after a trip to take the cousins to Tombstone we went to the chinese buffet for dinner. The fortune cookies were in rare form, here's a sampling:
Grandpa: A smile is a curve that can get a lot of things straight ... in bed!
Grandma: There is no need to move if you can wiggle ... in bed!
Rachel: If there is a no wind there will be no wave ... in bed!
Caitlyn: An understanding heart warms all that are graced with its presence ... in bed!
Leora: If you look in the right places you can find some good offerings ... in bed!
Angie: A short saying oft contains much wisdom ... in Bed (Grandma's translation ... be quiet ... in bed!)
Heston: Allow compassion to guide your decisions ... in bed!

Like the man said, "my future's so bright I gotta wear shades" ... in bed!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Never have kryptonite for BreakFast!

Well it was a tough day in Smallville today. Superman was slipped a kryptonite-mickey in his blender pancakes. We think that Lex Luther, desguised as the faithful family hound, Bosco, slipped a little kryptonite into Supermans Pancakes when no one was looking. This unfortunate cycle of events was not detected until Superman lost his balance while perched high above the limites of a normal dining room chair and plumeted to a near fatal "crash" at the foot of Grandma Jones's table near the staircase landing. Now normally, such an incident would have gone un-noticed by the citizens of Smallville. And likely would have this time too, if it were'nt for stoic demeanor on Superman's face and splattered blood across his chest. At this point we realized that someone had poisoned Superman with Kryptonite. As a result Superman (and his mommy) had to make a rush to the emegency room where superman was given 3 staples to ensure that his brains didn't fall out and a popcycle because he had faced the staple process without fear or crying; well, almost anyway. But never fear, Superman is back on the job tonight making sure that Smallville, and the rest of Cochise County, are safe from illegal border runners, garden chickens, and scarry black bugs. We keep looking for a big Toad, but so far haven't seen one.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Summer Vacation - Part 5

Well, I left my laptop at work, and it has most of my photo's on it. Soooooo, you get to see the end of the Utah portion of the trip now (i.e., Part 5) and Parts 2 (Family Gathering), Part 3 (Navajo Lake), Part 4 (Bryce Canyon), and Part 6 (Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood) later on. I just got the pictures from the Zions portion back from the photo-shop today. I forgot the camera charger and the camera ran out of juice just before we got to Zion's; so I had to buy a disposal camera to capture pictures from Zions.

We spent two days and one night at Zions National Park. We stayed in one of the Lodge's Cabins and did meals in the Lodge restaurant. Leora drug me around all but one of the trails. The only one we didn't do was the "Angel's Landing", we just didn't have time to fit that one in. We hiked to the Grotto, the Emerald Ponds, and the Narrows; then rode the shuttle to all of the other locations (i.e., Prophets Seat (??), the Big Bend, Museum, and Visitors Center). We got to see several varieties of critters up close; deer so close you could touch them, chip monks and ground squirrels that were begging for food, blue jays and wild turkeys that simply ignored your presence, and a whole bunch of lizards. We attended a lecture by a Park Ranger titled "Our Furry Friends" and learned that the furriest beast in the park is the ranger. We attended a 25 minute film at the museum that explained how the park was formed. Unfortunately this was right after all of our hiking and I snored through the back half of the film; what can I say, it was cool, the seat was soft, and I was tired.

We met people from all over the world. A group of Auzzies trying to hike up to the Emerald Ponds. A group of Harley Davidson riding Frenchmen& Frenchwomen that we had met earlier at the Cameron Trading Post. We ran into folks from China and Japan; met some castilian speaking folks from Spain. There was a guy from eastern Europe and several Russians. All of them were truly impressed with the "West"; we heard descriptions like "magnificent" and "glorious".

I got to sit out on the cabin porch and impress all passers-by with my fantastic guitar playing. Well, at least no one ran away screaming.

And our bed was actually much, much, much better than the bed at Navajo Lake (part 3).

All in all, we had a grand time communing with nature. But its all good when your with your Lady.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Summer Vacation - Part 1

I just got back from taking about ten days off. We loaded a lot into these ten days. I've decided to spread this out a little instead of trying to tell you about it all in one swoop. So let's start out with the best. My contemplation of bubbles!

Did you ever contemplate the “Bubble”? Think about it! There exists a thing that is lighter than air; that possesses a skin so thin and fragile that the slightest touch will penetrate it; malleable enough to be stretched and pulled into oblong irregular shapes during its creation, yet when left to its own devises will form a perfect sphere. When fully formed is crystal clear, yet capable of shimmering with all the colors of a rainbow. It can be found under unique conditions to form naturally; and is capable of being manufactured by the dozens for just a penny, one red-cent. Bubbles used in the right circumstances can be quite erotic; but are found most frequently as sources of shear joy by the young of heart!
I’ve often wondered how the world be changed if the most serious of us were subjected to “bubble therapy” as part of our lofty existence. Think about it, presidential debates wherein you had to create a perfect bubble prior to being allowed to express each campaign promise. Or soldiers that were required to qualify with a bubble making machine, then run through the bubbles without popping any prior to graduation from basic training. What if engineers were required to take “bubble breaks” once every morning and once every afternoon just to bring them back down to earth? How about requiring managers in any field of endeavor to play with bubbles at lunch every day as a means of ensuring they retain a sense of humanity and humility?
Think of the educational challenge if you had to measure the viscosity of a bubble prior to completing high school chemistry; or to be able to calculate internal and external pressures of bubbles made from different substance at different temperatures in high school physics? What if in your art class your entire grade was dependent on your ability to paint the rainbow sheen seen on your standard soap bubble?
Ahhh, but that’s way too deep! I think the best use of bubbles is to give the means of making bubbles to a bunch of kids, and then re-learning what pure joy is made of by watching them. The only thing better might be to join them in their merry making.