Ghost in the Laptop

Thanks to all the feedback from my last post.  For everyone who commented, even those who commented and didn't want their comments posted, I really appreciate everything that was said. 

Why am I creating a new blog post instead of saying this in a comment?

Because, for some asinine reason unknown to me, the comment field will not load on my Blogger account.  So, instead there's a whole new post just to say thanks.  And to Dash, Yes, it makes sense, and No, it's not weird coming from you.

[Title taken from this or this. The latter was probably taken from the former.]


Why Tebow Is Bad for Christianity

Tim Tebow is probably the most famous current half-rate quarterback in the NFL.  He's not famous for his prowess on the field.  He ended the season with a 46.5% completion for 1,719 passing yards, and 12 touchdowns in 14 games.  Denver finished with an 8-8 record.  Compare that to another 8-8 record quarterback with a 78.2% completion for 3,474 passing yards, and 26 TD's.  Mike Sanchez and the Jets didn't make the playoffs.

What's Tebow famous for?  His religion and his devotion to passive proselytizing with his John 3:16 strips under his eyes and his prayerful kneeling after impressive plays.  So why is he so bad for Christianity, as the title of this blog claims?

As Carter Turner, a religious studies professor, points out in a recent article, his actions are bringing the very nature of God into question.  Tebow prays to God for a first-down, or a touchdown, or a victory.  God rewards Tebow's devotion by granting his prayer.  God intervenes in the lives of the devout and prayerful and worthy.  But what happened against the Patriots?  Did God decide that Tebow hadn't genuflected enough?  Did God decide that Tom Brady, with his illegitimate son and his almost-illegitimate second son, was more worthy of the victory?

And what of people who pray ceaselessly every day that their child or parent or husband with cancer be healed?  What of the farmers in Texas who prayed for rain last summer?  Did God ignore their prayers because they weren't devout enough?  Which is why Tebow is bad for Christianity.

For people observing this, it calls upon the nature of God.  Some people will say that God had other plans and not to question the working of God.  Then why pray?  If God has plans that we are not privy to, that sounds a lot like predestination.  God has preordained that something will happen so it does.  Like Tebow's connection for a touchdown.  Or the Holocaust.  Or 9-11.  See where this leads.  Just what has God preordained?  But if God answers prayer requests for touchdowns and football victories, why didn't God answer the prayers of the students at Virginia Tech praying for their lives?

In the very public nature of Tebow's religiosity, he leads people not to finding salvation through Christ but to questioning the existence and nature of God.  Is God the Great Clockmaker of the Deists?  Or is God the Intervener of the Evangelicals?  Does God answer prayers?  How does God decide whose prayers to answer?

And whose God answers prayers?  The God of Tebow who lets two of his teams lose championship games?  What about the God, Allah, of Muhammad Ali who allowed only five losses in his career?

People are wondering whether God is helping Tebow.  They want to know for certain whether God answers prayers and intervenes in our daily lives.  Because in today's world of economic recession, climate extremes, and the general limits and frailties of human existence, there ain't a whole lot certainty.

[The opinions expressed in this article are the sole views of the author and do not necessarily express the views of the blog audience. Should anyone feel moved to leave a comment, please keep your comments on topic and do not attack the author.  And before leaving any comment, read about No True Scotsman before posting.]

Dream Weaver

It was the best of nights; it was the worst of nights.  Saving the best for last, let's delve into what makes a bad night.

It begins by watching a psychological thriller with Deirdre who had her wisdom teeth removed the day before.  She propped herself up on the love seat in front of the fireplace and filled her iPad screen with the movie.  Sitting in the chair next to her, it was hard not to watch and soon the plot pulled me in.  Afterwards, the scenes kept replaying in my mind waiting for the fire to die down and for Deirdre, now tucked into her bed, to drift off to sleep.

Finally getting to sleep myself, it didn't take long for the images and plot twists to wake me.  After a bad dream, a person tries to think of something, anything, else.  Alas, my mind raced to the financial paperwork waiting for me on my desk at work. 

Time ticked by at an unknown speed.  But it felt like eons before sleep came again. 

Jackpot!  Karma can be a bitch sometimes but not then.  She doted on me with such a wonderful dreamscape. 

Dazzling city lights, skyscrapers, uptown-quality street scenes.  Like a modern-day, post-Woody Allen, opening to "Manhattan".  Less of the naval gazing vibe and more of the astonishment vibe.  A party in a modern, glass-walled penthouse restaurant.  Delicious food.  Direct phone line and immediate access to clothing stores and hair stylists.  Mixing and mingling with the swells.  Talking trade secrets with the chef.  But time to leave the party for another restaurant in a sanitized ethnic part of town.

The car was a white convertible, waiting at the front door.  Mr. Gaelic slid into the driver's seat as I sat next to him in the passenger seat.  My hand rubbed his thigh as we pulled away.  No more than a half block and it started to rain.  He quickly pushed the button to close the roof and the rain lightly fell on the canvas top and covered the windshield.  As the light turned green, we started through the intersection to new adventures and another restaurant with another party. 

But, alas...  I awoke before we had made it another full block. 

Even though the exhaustion of originally not sleeping well still lingered, the contentment remained.  Who knows where dreams come from?  But however this one was produced for me, whatever my thoughts and actions were the night before, the nighttime visions were enough to replace the earlier nightmare with serenity and gratification.

[Title taken from this.]


No Words

Two constants in life are death and taxes.  As any semi-regular reader of my blogs knows, death has struck many times over the years, everyone from my father to my priest's wife.  But when death strikes and you can't comfort the grieved, you're at a loss.

Wednesday at work, the flu infected me to a degree that even my co-workers could see the progression over a few short hours.  One scurried around the office with Clorox wipes disinfecting every surface I had touched during the day.  Another insisted that I go home.  NOW!

It was upon checking my cellphone for urgent office email on Thursday morning that my friend's email stunned me.  Her niece committed suicide on Wednesday night.  The girl shot herself.  Her father found her.

The time stamp on my friend's email was 2:34 a.m.  She had wanted to come over for a shoulder of support.  The problem is that she is also the primary caretaker of her elderly parents who suffer from dementia (her dad) and a gaging reflex that requires a feeding tube for nutrition (her dad) to pneumonia (her mom) because of a stroke (her mom).  The last thing she needed was to take my flu germs back to her parents just when both of them were out of the hospital.

So she wrote a lengthy email containing her pain and anguish and despair.  And I was at a loss for words.

Of the two teenage suicides from my circle of friends, they were both gunshots.  There are some sights that can't be unseen.  Death, especially a tragic, traumatic, bloody death, is one of them.  One that no father should ever have to see.


The Only Thinking Girl in America

"Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants as long as it is black." ~ Henry Ford.

If only it was that easy!  Now a trip to the grocery store leaves me mentally exhausted.  There is whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim, organic, grass-fed, soy, almond, goat, unpasteurized.  The cereal aisle alone takes twenty minutes alone sometimes just to find the three different brands and flavors that my family eats.  It would be so much easier if there was only the equivalent of a black car in the cereal aisle.  "Any customer can have whatever cereal he wants as long as it is corn flakes."  Just think of the time that would save!

When Finola asked me what I thought of the SOPA legislation, I realized that even though I work on Capitol Hill I don't know enough about it to have formed an opinion on it one way or the other.  Finola informed me that it would hurt smaller artists and some websites.  Playing devil's advocate, my rebuttal was about intellectual property and copyrights.  I knew enough to know that the recording industry and the motion pictures association support SOPA.  It took Finola's reminder that SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act for me to know what S-O-P-A means.

It would be so easy to just accept what people told me rather than learning about both sides of the issue.  It's more than just having an inquisitive spirit.  It's also having the ability to reason for myself.  It's the time and effort to seek out as much knowledge on issues as I can before making a decision.  There would be more time available for important decisions if there weren't so many other decision distractions.

I still don't know enough about to SOPA to have a fully formed opinion.  And I'm not ready to adopt one position over another just because someone says I should.  Not even if that someone is Mr. Gaelic.  My independence is one of the things that attracted him to me in the first place.  But that's a blog for another time.

What really depresses me is that I don't see that quest for information and knowledge very often in today's society.  Or at least the level that I would expect from a first-world country.  Am I the only thinking girl in America?

[Title taken from this.]