Posts made in August, 2012

Dawn on Vesta

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Science | 0 comments

NASA’s landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover on Mars was one of the most amazing feats of human achievement I’ve ever witnessed, even second hand.   They had the chutzpah to send a lander to Mars that used a sky crane to drop a nuclear powered rover onto the surface.   To do that they had to have it preprogrammed to land on an alien planet without any human interference.

Depending upon where Mars is in its orbit compared to Earth it can take anywhere from 4.3 minutes to 21 minutes for a radio signal to make the trip, one way.  That means if there had been a problem the craft would have had to first send a signal 4.3 minutes, minimum, to get to the people at NASA.   Then they would have had to send a correction or some communication to solve the problem, another 4.3 minutes for the return trip.  That’s assuming they knew instantly what to do to correct any issue.  That’s 8.6 minutes minimum before any kind of help arrived in the event of trouble.  The space craft only had 7 minutes from the time it entered Mars atmosphere until touch down.  It had to do it on its own.  That still astounds me.  They used all new technologies, had one shot with no recourse and it worked.  Yay!

The folks at NASA  have been up to something else just as amazing that has been kind of overshadowed by Curiosity though.  I didn’t even know about it until I got an issue of Discover Magazine that featured it.  They have landed a little space craft called Dawn on a dwarf planet called Vesta in the asteroid belt.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120830141842.htm

Dawn has an ion drive.  Yep I said an ion drive, something right out of the pages of science fiction. Dawn has huge solar panels too.  But she has an ion drive for a very special purpose.  She will be the only space craft we have built that will explore one body in the solar system, then lift off and set down on another.  Dawn is about to lift off from Vesta and head for a dwarf planet called Ceres.  I had no idea there were asteroids so huge, or so round.  They look like small moons.  (That’s no moon.)

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/ceresvesta/

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2010/33/image/f/

 

This is what we can do when we work together. This is what we can achieve.  This is exciting. This is something good that we as a people have accomplished.  NASA is important for the function it serves in exploration, in learning and discovery.  During dark times it points to a brighter future for ourselves and our children.  A lot of our new technologies come from the engineering and problem solving that goes into space exploration too.   NASA has given us things like the memory foam in the new super comfortable mattresses that are very popular.  Also  things like scratch resistant lenses for our glasses., invisible braces,  cordless tools and long distance telecommunications.  The GPS you use?  NASA put the satellites up there.  Let us not forget about aerosol cheese.  Who doesn’t love aerosol cheese?

 

 

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Is the Tea Party the American Taliban?

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Politics | 0 comments

Is the Tea Party The American Taliban?

 

The fact that that term exists is very disturbing to me and it should be for any American.  We are a nation built upon personal freedom and the Taliban is all about religious control of people’s lives on the most intimate levels.  It is our duty as Americans to determine if there is any validity in such a term, to discern any truths that might be behind such a term and to stand against anything that might give credibility to it.   This is America, we believe in freedom we don’t just pay lip service to freedom while supporting lawmakers who would deprive our neighbor of freedom.  That’s what they did in Germany in the 1930’s, that’s what they’re doing in Egypt right now and that’s what has happened in the Middle East in those places where elections are even allowed.   When we say we believe in freedom for all we mean it, even if everyone makes choices we don’t agree with.

I stumbled upon this YouTube video of a fictional show that took all of its information from real news headlines.  This show is doing what our journalists should be doing.  I remember reading those headlines.  Watch and see it all put together:

American Taliban

Now I have been called a false prophet for using the term “Christian Taliban” and I’ll admit that I did some soul searching after that.  I do not want to be false so I re-evaluated the evidence I had  and that led me to find the term valid in the given circumstances.   That term is even more disturbing to me than American Taliban because Christ died for the sins of the world, not to enslave women or anyone who doesn’t believe.   That term drives the lost away from a loving God because of the slander it does to our faith.

Has the term been earned?  Yes, the fundamentalist segment of our population does believe that women are beneath men, that women are to obey their husbands.   They do not allow women to preach, or hold positions above men in the church.  These are the people who would never vote for a woman for President of the United States of America.  These are the people who use phrases like “legitimate rape.”  These are men who believe they have the right to legislate what kind of health care, when and how a woman can receive it.  These are men who are backing legislation to force doctors to lie to women about health conditions.  Is it true to what our faith is all about?  No.  This is a perversion and a debasement of Christianity.

I did not coin the phrase Christian Taliban and I have to agree that American Taliban is more accurate because the Tea Party doesn’t care which religion they pervert, they just need one with a lot of followers who won’t ask any questions.  That being said there are parallels and I’d rather be called names then stand silently by while fanatical politicians posing as clerics take over, debase and defile my faith.

Christianity is about love, salvation and grace.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that none should perish but all should have eternal life.  This is a faith of compassion, of inclusion and of service.

For comparison sake, let’s take a look at the list of doctrines the Tea Party believes and preaches:

v  Radical fundamentalism

v  Ideological purity

v  Compromise as weakness

v  Fundamentalist belief in the literalism of scripture

v  Denying science

v  Dismissal of facts

v  Undeterred by new information

v  Hostile fear of progress

v  Need to control women’s bodies

v  Severe xenophobia

v  Pathological fear of the American government

v  Tribal mentality

v  Intolerance of dissent

v  Demonization of education

Yes I took those from that clip because it is the most concise listing of what they believe I have yet found.   I could have simply given countless examples.  The worship of ignorance, the racism, the sexism, the hatred of women, gays, Latinos, blacks, the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill; this all falls under the above list.  The climate deniers, the intelligent design people who misread, or just don’t read the Bible and fanatically state that God created the Earth in 6 days and the ones who think the government is out to get them all fall under that list.  The ones who don’t want to pay taxes because they worked hard for what they have, who don’t want to help the poor because if they do, they will breed like stray dogs or wild animals all fall under the above list.  They ignore everything the government has done for them, the infrastructure, the education, the freedoms and the opportunities.  No, they think the government should be reduced to a military complex and nothing more, thus setting us up to live in a police state, just like Palestine or Iraq.

These beliefs underlie a religion, and make no mistake the above list are the tenants, the doctrine, of a religion. This religion has led to a percentage of our population who are unreachable.  They cannot be reasoned with because they haven ‘t reasoned out their positions.  They believe in their religion zealously and they don’t have to think about it, it is their belief system.  They can only be manipulated by their fears and their need to control others.

America was founded upon the principles of personal freedom.  Denying someone, anyone, the freedom to do with their own body as they will is the greatest affront to freedom there can be.  We don’t force people to be organ donors yet they want to force women to carry any and all pregnancies to term.  They don’t care if the fetus (not baby, not child but fetus) is nonviable.  In the words of Georgia state rep Terry England its just like when cows and pigs deliver.   In the minds of these men, women are no different than cows and pigs, no more human and neither are the children they deliver.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/09/georgia-lawmaker-compares-women-to-cows-and-pigs/

It is no mistake that the language of the pro-life movement is the language of slavery.  That’s why we are now, finally seeing the truth of what these men think about the horrific and violent crime of rape.  That women lie about rape, that women are hysterical, that rape never leads to pregnancy and that rape is just a detail.   They want to wholly control women.  You think I’m making that up?  Would that I were.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/26/745691/gop-platform-chair-rape-a-detail-in-the-abortion-debate/

Todd Aken said that women never get pregnant from rape because as has been setting the internet on fire for the past few weeks, “Women’s bodies have a way of just shutting that whole thing down.”  To him rape is no big deal.  Tom Smith of Pennsylvania said that getting pregnant from rape is similar to having a baby out of wedlock.  Meaning what?  That women should be equally ashamed of getting raped as having a baby out of wedlock?  That rape is the woman’s fault?   I guess we should be grateful that he at least admits that rape can lead to pregnancy.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/27/751971/pennsylvania-gop-senate-candidate-getting-pregnant-from-rape-is-similar-to-having-a-baby-out-of-wedlock/

Paul Ryan topped them all though by calling rape “just another form of conception.”  Which is what these men really think, how they express their need to control women’s bodies.  We’re not just talking about being anti-choice, we’re talking about being pro-rape.  Make no mistake, these men have been taught by the church that rape is always the woman’s fault.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-slansky-/paul-ryan-said-something-_b_1832377.html

What I find appalling is that the church does not teach that rape is wrong.  They only teach that women are of value solely for their virginity.   I have never once heard a sermon or lesson about how men should not rape women.  I’ve heard plenty about the evils of sex, any sex, all sex, especially gay sex or premarital sex.  These men are obsessed with sex.

This is why they need people to vote for their religion.  This is why they have conflated their political party with a religious cause.   This is why people need to check the facts and seek the truth for themselves rather than believe whatever sounds good to them.  Google for the headlines mentioned in that first YouTube video.  They exist.  They are real.   I wish they were not.

The tea party and the republican party  claim to be the “Party of God” and perhaps they are, once you realize their god is Mammon.  They are not the party of the God of the Bible.  Their attitudes, their platform, their approach to other human beings is the opposite of what the God of the Bible says Christians should be like.

Once more the above clip was correct and it was in saying that the man who is the greatest threat to these people is Jesus Christ.  This means that Christians should be standing up and speaking out against these un-Christ-like beliefs, just like people who love America and Americans should.  You cannot love America and hate Americans.  America is not a place, it is an idea.  The only way ideas can be defeated is for people to shut off their minds and refuse to think.  This is why the fundamentalists demonize education.  This is why they deny facts and science.  This is why they refuse to consider new information.  This is why they are trying to prevent people from voting who don’t buy into their false religion.  They have done a very slick and evil bait and switch wherein they have switched out faith in God for faith in being a Republican and being a Republican for being a Tea Partier.  That is why these people are unreachable.  That is why to question anything they say, any lie or prevarication they spout is taken as an attack upon themselves.  They worship at the altar of the Tea Party.

 

 

 

 

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Voter Suppression is anti-American and un-Christian

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Theo-Philosophical Treaties on The Issues of The Day | 1 comment

Voter Suppression is Un-American and Un-Christian
The United States of America was founded upon the principle of free elections, upon a government of the people, by the people, for the people. A key component of that ideal is that everyone gets one vote. Anyone, or any party, that tries to suppress the votes of others is acting against what America stands for. Any party that doesn’t care how it wins, even if that means not allowing people who disagree with them to vote, is not a party of America.
In America we are a single people, Americans, all of us. We may not always agree on how something should be done, or even if something should be done but we respect everyone’s right to participate in our form of Government through our right to vote. To deny a group of people, especially to target a particular political party is an affront to our heritage and to everything that we as a people and as a nation stand for.
If someone votes for a party that commits such treasonous acts against our democracy, they are condoning it. These people should not be surprised when the political winds change and they are the one’s denied their right to vote. They will be, but they have no right to be. To condone such underhanded, deceitful and oppressive tactics is Un-American. Anyone who loves America must condemn such actions in the strongest possible terms. Anyone who loves America would not associate with a political party that would do such things. They would not associate with a party that would rig an election. That is not American.
A “My way or the highway” mentality is un-American and un-Christian. America became great because of innovation. Innovation requires, is predicated upon the ability to think in ways that are original and creative. People who only do what has always been done are incapable of innovation. To force people into a one size fits all anything is a sin against God because God created everyone unique and individual and He did so for a reason. America became a great nation because of all the different ideas and approaches that went into building her. America became great because she was the great melting pot of the world. America took what other countries threw away and proved these people to be the best and the brightest. This is because they were all allowed to participate in government, in the free market of ideas. Anyone or anything that shuts down that freedom, the free market of ideas is demonstrably anti-American.
These things, and voter suppression are also un-Christian and do not reflect the nature of God. To deprive someone else of a right that you enjoy is evil. The word for that is hypocrisy. God loves all of His children equally. God created every one of us with a unique purpose in life. When we come together and work together we can do great things. One of us God calls to preach, another to sing, yet another to champion the poor and another to champion minorities. No one of us can do it all but together, all is accomplished. I cannot champion every good cause. I don’t have the strength. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters who are able to champion causes I believe in but have not the time to champion myself. Together we work towards a greater good than just our own comfort or enrichment.
This is what God intends for us. We were made to work together, to be in fellowship one with another, to learn from others. We all have strengths and weaknesses. When we isolate ourselves, when we accept only those who think like us, who are very much like us, we amplify our weaknesses and diminish our strengths. Only when we include those whose strengths complement our weaknesses and whose weaknesses we compliment with our strengths do we create a whole greater than the sum of our parts. It is no mistake that Jesus refers to the church as the body of Christ. One body, with many parts.
America is like that also. America is one nation but with many people, many parts. To oppress one part is harmful to the whole. You would not cut your nose off if it smelled something unpleasant. Rather you are grateful for the ability to sense something that is bad, rotten, no good. So it is with the people that some politicians and a particular political party want to disenfranchise. We need them to be whole. We all need one another. We need their input, their point of view to continue to build our nation as something great in the future.
To lie is a sin. To steal is a sin. To defraud someone is a sin. Voter suppression is all of those things. To treat a human being like a non-entity is an affront to their humanity and to their Creator.
Our nation was founded as an experiment by our forefathers. They created our American democracy. They had a vision of an entire nation working for the good of all, not for the good of a few, the wealthy, or one, the king. When everyone gets their rightful vote, then the strength of a nation can be brought to bear upon the problems and troubles that we as a people face. One may champion the poor, another community involvement, still another infrastructure and another still champions better conditions for business to grow. When those who would cheat others out of their rightful place in our democracy are accepted, are allowed to push their anti-American agenda, then there is imbalance. We lose something precious that we may never get back.
Our forefathers died so that we could each have a say in our government. When we send our young men and women in the armed forces overseas they are risking their lives for our rights to each have a say in our government. Is there any greater insult that can be given in the face of such sacrifice than to try to cheat those you disagree with out of their voting rights?
No one should be so in love with a political party that they stop looking at what kinds of policies it supports. No one should be so in love with a political party that they condone anything they do, even things that are morally, legally and ethically wrong. When people do that, when they love a political party more than they love the truth, when they love a political party more than they love what is right, then that political party has become their god.

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A little church in Wichita, KS

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Local Issues | 1 comment

Today’s blog entry is to bring more attention to a little church in Wichita Kansas called Mosaic.  Now, they don’t all know I’m blogging about them but I did ask Mike if he minded.  That being said they may not want to be associated with me as this blog takes off because I’m an unapologetic feminist but their cause is just and good and they are in great need right now.  I can’t do much for them but I can try, in my own small way, to get the word out for them.

What Mosaic does is minister to the poor and the homeless in the Wichita area.  They do their best, to the point of giving everything they possibly can of themselves, their time and their passion, to minister as Christ calls them to.  They feed the homeless and befriend them.  They get to know the people in their community who are less fortunate than others.

The trouble is that they are often doing it alone or with very little support.  They can only do so much and they are getting burned out.  They need help, they need prayers, helping hands and food to feed the hungry with.  They are willing but they are getting discouraged because the task is so huge and they have so little to work with.

To show the love of God for those in need is grace.  It is paying forward the love that they have been shown.  It is not comfortable or easy to work with people who have needs that might make some feel uncomfortable at their own excess but these people do it and they do it out of love.  These people do what they do out of a deep caring and compassion for the other people in their community.

That caring is what underlies this blog.  I care about people.  I care when they are misled, I care when injustice is practice upon the weak.  I care about America and I care about God and the church.  That is why I am compelled to point out where they err.

It is fitting and right that the first real blog for this site is about a small church that is doing the right thing and doing it the right way.  These people represent an ideal that we as a church, we as a nation and we as a people, as human beings, should strive for in showing compassion to our brothers and sisters who are without, who are hungry.  We have so much, surely we can spare a little.

Mosaic is currently run by Mike Furches and this is his FB page:  http://www.facebook.com/mike.furches

Take a look, send them a prayer.  If you are in the Wichita area maybe you can stop by and give them a hand.

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Welcome to Theologician

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Theo-Philosophical Treaties on The Issues of The Day | 0 comments

As the title and blurb state, this is a blog where theology and logic will dance together.  Likely philosophy, politics and social issues will join in.  It is my sincere hope that my apologist posts will always be well reasoned and truthful.  That is my goal.  When dealing with interpretations and opinions I will do my best to analyze them deeply and well.  If I err, and I will, it is my sincere desire that I err to the side of compassion.

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