Thursday, January 20, 2005

Spiritual Warfare in Iraq

We may agree to disagree about the merits of removing Saddam from his tyrannical hold on his people and his use of weapons of mass destruction in the past, but we can all agree that the upcoming elections are very important for not only Iraq, but all of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Yesterday, Blackfive posted a prayer request from a Captain in Iraq.

Here are excerpts:

Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership positions within the emerging government. . . .

. . . There is unlimited potential for God's presence in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail (See Ephesians 6:10-17). . . .

This is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention. A powerful story about God's intervention in the lives of David's mighty men is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-33. David and his warriors were victorious because of God's intervention. We want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom. David's mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel. (Iraqi insurgents vs. God's praying people). They don't stand a chance. I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates here at Tallil.

My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections. Your prayer support and God's intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country. . . .


Saturday, January 15, 2005

What a Day!

Carolyn was not herself this morning.

She did not wake up, and was lethargic, and got sick. It turns out she just had a stomach bug of some sort. She felt, as we used to say, yucky.

She slept until about 1 this afternoon, and then asked for coffee (her code word for chocolate Ovaltine) and tortilla chips.

A relief.

She has had fun playing with her new learning toys Bug Blast, Sea Splash and Who Will Fix the Royal Windows?

We've been playing with bugs and sea creatures all day.

I've been thinking of cousins today too.

First, very thankful that Carolyn's cousin Olivia had a good visit with her doctor this past week. Granulation good news. My Sister is my Hero.

Second, it was a day of toilet training with Carolyn.

With that, I was reminded of my Aunt Midge's daughters. I remember attempting to potty train cousin Kathy with the marauding Indian approach. This approach does not work with Carolyn (OK, it really didn't work with Kathy either), but allowing her sea creatures (first visit was with the seal and starfish) and bugs (second visit was with the garden spider and ant) was a winner.

I also remember how my cousins enjoyed practicing hair techniques on my hair. Oh, how I enjoyed that.

Well, tonight Carolyn had Mr. Garden Spider and Mr. Ant undertaking grand explorations of Dada's hair while Carolyn stated definitively, "I'm going pee pee on the potty Dada!"


As today's scorecard reads: Two BM's and One Urination with Dada!

She will ask, but more often we take her on a visit every hour. This approach has been started this past week, and today was the mother lode for Dada who had not experienced these Big Events yet. My approach is to read or (now) take other friends (hopefully they will want to explore my hair!).

After being sick myself for nearly a week, this was a wonderful day of relaxation. Carolyn even enjoyed watching C-SPAN replays of inaugurations dating back to FDR's '33 bash while getting acquainted with her new sea and land friends.

Oops, where is that rhinocerous beetle?!

Life doesn't get any better than this, and nothing ends the day better than when Carolyn asks me to "Read the Bible, Dada!"

A Picture Worth So Many Words


All I can say is Thank You!

Thank you for my family, and the world we have inherited and my daughter will inherit.

Sirs, you are true Heros.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gen M

Great interview with Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America.

National Review Online: What's the "missionary generation"? Can we call them Gen M?

Naomi Riley: Sure. Generation M sounds very hip. And the missionary generation is nothing if not with it. But the members of Generation M — religious-college graduates — are quite distinctive from their secular counterparts. And the stronger the religious affiliation of the school, the more distinctive they are. . . . They reject the spiritually empty education of secular schools. They refuse to accept the sophisticated ennui of their contemporaries. They snub the "spiritual but not religious" attitude. They rebuff the intellectual relativism of professors and the moral relativism of their peers.

These attitudes mean that the missionary generation doesn't participate in the typical model of college behavior. They don't spend their college years experimenting with sex or drugs. They marry early and plan ahead for family life. They oppose sex outside of marriage, as well as homosexual relationships. Most dress modestly and don't drink, use drugs, or smoke. While they would disagree among themselves about what it means to be a religious person, they all assume that trying to live by a set of rules, generally laid down in scripture, is the prerequisite for a healthy, productive, and moral life.

It's a quick and interesting read.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Sierra Snow

Now we can't even see out our windows (hey, what is snow's R factor again?)!

Snow, Snow, Snow

We have received well over ten feet in the past ten days.

I-80 and US-50 (two of the three prime Sierra crossings -- CA-88 has been closed for over two weeks) have been closed many times over this same time period. Donner Pass is no easier for the Union Pacific Railroad which has been working around the clock to keep the pass open (Amtrak has been forced to reroute at least once in the past ten days). They may soon bring out the rotary plows on the UP! Some say it takes 15 feet to bring out the mighty rotaries, and we presently are at 19 feet on the Pass with upwards of 5 additional feet to fall tonight (we will likely see an additional 3 feet tonight in South Lake Tahoe -- Donner Pass is northwest of The Lake). With the Bay Area currently being pelted with more rain, the Sierra will easily see another 3 feet.

We need the moisture, and the Pineapple Expresses is delivering.

It is humbling, and leaves you with a sense of respect and empathy for the Donner party.

But, ah, when the sun comes out, it is truly glorious.

Learning Together

For those who love to learn and love the flow of learning, a fascinating first entry to a trilogy -- read the whole thing.

A tease:

It often takes weeks of hard labor together to reach such a point. One gets a very hard text and says nonsense about it at first. The talkative one in the group, how often I have played that role, says his piece and re-says it until he learns to be quiet. The silent student in the corner is at last provoked to say something and we discover that the one who has said nothing has something to say. Both are tempered. The louder one is mellowed to leadership, the silent one grows deeper and wise.

I remember many such moments from high school through college (why should it stop then?) -- treasures of a lifetime.

Sad but True?

More interesting observations from The Diplomad via PowerLine:

I see, however, no outpouring of support in most of the world's countries. The oil-rich Arabs? Where are they? But most frustrating and even angering is the lack of concern exhibited by average and elite members of the societies most directly affected. This was driven home in the course of an interminable meeting a few days ago discussing some silly resolution or another calling on the UN to appoint a "Special Representative for Tsunami Relief." A relatively senior Sri Lankan official leaned over and said to me, "Why do we want to bother with this? We all know you Americans will do everything." A nice compliment, I suppose, but on reflection a sad commentary not only about the rest of the world but presumably about Sri Lanka, itself. One would expect the affected countries to take the lead in relief efforts. None of the most seriously affected countries (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives) is a dirt poor country; all have well-established governments and national identities.

In Jakarta, aside from flags at half-staff, we have seen no signs of mourning for the victims: while employees and dependents of the American embassy spent their holiday loading trucks and putting together medicine kits, the city's inhabitants went ahead with New Year's parties; nightclubs and shopping centers are full; and regular television programming continues. At least 120,000 of their fellow countrymen are dead, and Indonesians hardly talk about it, much less engage in massive charitable efforts. The exceptionally wealthy businessmen of the capital -- and the country boasts several billionaires -- haven't made large donations to the cause of Sumatran relief; a few scattered NGOs have done a bit, but there are no well-organized drives to raise funds and supplies.

Begging the pardon of the cultural relativists, but might we not be allowed to raise -- ever so gently, of course -- the possibility that these differing reactions to human suffering, show Western civilization as the best we have on the planet? Maybe, just maybe Western civilization is morally superior.

I remember traveling to Asia on business and observing how fleeting life seemed to be to many non-Christians -- fleeting in the sense that death was a yawn (when it happened to others). Life seemed to be almost "throw-away." An edge to it when you were on the streets.

Is it simply because there are billions in Asia? I'm sure this contributes somewhat, but I also think if your civilization is rooted in a belief that life is precious and a Gift from God, you react differently to the loss of one or one hundred thousand souls. "I'm not my brother's keeper" was more of a rule than The Good Samaritan.

Yes, I'm making generalizations, but I would suggest The Diplomad's observations above echo similar thoughts.

Why wouldn't you want to help your fellow countrymen?

Why wouldn't you want to help your fellow man?

Do you care if you believe your neighbor is nothing but dust who has returned to dust?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Intelligent Design

For those interested in this topic, here is an interesting thread of discussion.

More on this later -- fighting the flu or some nasty cousin.

Time to sleep. . . .