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Posts from the ‘Ranting’ Category


Attack of the helpful Zombies

It’s beginning to look like spring in Idaho, and that can only mean one thing…

Spring Projects!

Michelle and I did an early Mass, then stopped at iHop to have some breakfast. This has become our normal Sunday routine, the kids normally sleep in so we take advantage and spend some quality time together, and forcing a teenager to attend Mass when she’s not sure about this whole Catholic thing is NOT a good idea.

Anyway, so we collected up our youngest and headed out to Lowes (she needs the driving experience, and I enjoy the thrill of blood curdling terror when she’s behind the wheel), now let me get this out of the way: I like going to Lowes. They have great stuff for fixing up your house, and more items than any normal human can possibly need. But as we entered the door we where greeted by a friendly employee wanting to offer assistance in our shopping needs. I build guitars, have a fully stocked woodeworking shop, and I’m pretty handy in a pinch. So you can imagine that I don’t need any stinking help, I am a man, and I can find my way around just fine, thank you very much.

So we declined, and where promptly greeted by two more helpful employees. We again declined, and moved on to the first item on our list, only to run again into another helpful employee, another offer declined. By this time my hands where full, so we headed to the front of the store to get a cart, and again had another offer for help. it was at this point we started picking isles that looked to be free of overly helpful employees, especially the ones who seemed to be tracking our every move, which was a bad strategy. Somehow, they can sense a customers presence and show up to make sure that you are finding what you are looking for. We did discover that even if consumed with lost and helpless people, they still somehow where able to call other helpful employees to come and be more helpful. I started having visions of being surrounded by helpful staff members and us beating them off with a set of venetian blinds, and cleaner fluid from isle 12 (its down on the left side, near the bottom).

No strategy seemed to be effective, outnumbered, unable to find clear isles to shop, we obtained what items we could and headed to Home Depot (like idiots) to pick up the supplies that Lowes didn’t have (I’m very picky about sandpaper, and ONLY use a certain kind. Hey I build guitars, I earned the right be picky!). Imagine my horror when we appeared at the front door going into Home Depot and where greeted by an employee who’s only job seemed to be to help lost customers find there way through 299 acres of home improvement goodness!, I almost bolted back to the truck. But once past the gatekeeper, with a firm decline to the help offered. We got through fairly unscathed, with only a few offers for help from the hordes in orange. We purchased our items and headed home to barricade the doors and hope that no more helpful zombies followed us home.

A couple of years ago, I was building a jig for the shop and stopped at the local Ace Hardware. They apparently had adopted a similar strategy of aggressive helpfulness, to the point that while looking at parts we had an employee actually stand a short distance away and watch our every move. If we moved isles, he moved with us, it must be what inmates feel like when being watched by the guards, it was so disconcerting that I stopped going altogether, and wasn’t one bit surprised when the store closed a year later. You can’t freak out your customers, being helpful is a good thing, but if you want to stay in business don’t chase them out the door with zombies who’s only goal in life is to help people.

One has to wonder what these people do in their off-time, do they drive around looking for little old lady’s crossing the street?, do their neighbors hide in their homes until they go to work? It all seems a little creepy and disconcerting to be honest. And the scariest part is that I have to go back, because I need lumber. I know I’m going to be swarmed, but there aren’t many other options. I don’t want to be rude, I just want to shop in piece, especially when I’m part shopping. Maybe I’ll forgo bathing for a week and then go shopping!!!

As the economy continues to go under, it seems that marketing people are getting desperate and that being super helpful is the new thing for large companies. So if your one of those people who make those decisions, go into your stores and just try to buy something when you know what you need. I dare you, I dare you to walk away without feeling like the store is filled with a bunch of bored employees who’s only goal in life is to make customers uncomfortable. Then tell if you think your strategy is still working!!



And in this corner

I’ve been thinking about writing this piece for a while, but I’ve also been reluctant to let it all out. But given the current political climate in the nation, the state of the church and the fact that it’s an election year, I might as well step into the fray.

Let’s start with the Obama administration, I have never seen more idealistic, deaf and frankly out of touch administration than this one. The Constitution seems to have no meaning, they will do anything to push their socialist agenda. So why anyone is surprised that they have used the HHS to push their contraceptive mandates on to church run organizations, is beyond me. All the signs were there during the election, all one had to do was do a little digging, and yet people voted with their emotions rather than their mind. The part that angers me the most is Catholics who voted for Obama, in my opinion they got what they deserved. We attended a meeting on Catholic ethics at our parish, and got a lecture from a bunch of old anti-war hippies about their anti war stances. These are the same people who still have Obama stickers on their cars, I simply can’t understand how you could still support someone whose goal is to restrict your religious freedoms, and still go to Mass.

But the Catholic church that exists in the United States is a shell of what it once was, we have been overtaken with the current psychology of the modern age, and are more concerned about not offending our laity than we are with the truth. We don’t even teach real orthodoxy any more, its all a mixture of light theology and emotionalism. As I’ve stated before, I’ve learned more about the Catholic faith from Orthodox writers than I have more Catholic ones. I’ve been reading the council of Trent, and found it interesting that there is a section devoted to Catechesis and it’s administration. Why are we not following that today?, why are we not back to the Sunday School model and taking the time to make sure the laity are instructed in the elements of our faith? Instead of praise bands, and coffee hours, let’s push instruction and education. We should not be afraid to teach people the basics of philosophy and apologetics, how else are we going to reach the world unless we have laity who are confident and KNOWLEDGEABLE about their faith?

I may disagree with certain points of Catholic Orthodoxy, but I love the Catholic church. It has brought stability to my faith and my life, but because I love it, I can see the faults and want to make it better. However I never became Catholic with the idea that I would mindlessly agree with every point the church teaches, I know there are some who would admonish me for that. But God gave me a mind for a reason, and when I see something I can’t agree with, I’m not going to lie to say otherwise, to do so would be to lose any self respect I have. I can’t stomach believers who become robots, echoing back everything the church teaches them without thought.

We are in the process of dumbing down the population of this country, I don’t know how to put it any other way, or even be polite about it anymore. I work for a utility, on any given week I am submitted to the most mind numbing, paradoxical thinking I’ve ever seen in my life. Everything is spoon fed to the workforce, the company spends an enormous amount of resources selling their agenda to their own employees. After a while people just go numb, you can’t win, you  can’t argue, so you just have to suffer through it. And they wonder why people are apathetic, maybe it’s because instead of treating them like the professionals they are, you treat them all as if they are the lowest common denominator. A case in point is that we as employees had to sit through a week long class on performance in our culture, for me the experience bordered on a new age religion, we where bombarded with pop psychology, told to take the material home and have our family’s evaluate us ( request I refused and ultimately won, but only after getting the ‘it changed my life’ lecture from the instructor). We got the special privilege to hear managers tell us how this program changed their lives, their marriages and their family’s. It was so much like a religion that one gentlemen extolled the virtues by reciting the Evangelical mantra of reading your book everyday and practicing what it taught, it was honestly the same EXACT speech I heard for years in the baptist faith. The difference was this was a company mandated program. The ultimate goal was to make people accountable, but when it came time to do yearly goals, instead of practicing the very system they spent millions on. They spoon fed it the workforce, and wasted time making sure everyone was ‘aligned’. The irony is that had the program worked, simply stating what the goals where and that you are expected to meet them this year, would have been enough. Which is how it used to be done.

The next day two friends and I walked to a new restaurant to get lunch, they had a greeter who’s job as far as I can tell, was to tell us how get in line to order the food. It made me sad that something like that was even needed, the place had good food and a great layout. But if I need someone to show me the obvious then, I shouldn’t be out wondering on my own. I despise restaurants that feel the need to ‘educate’ diners on how their menu works, listen… If your menu is so complicated that I can’t just order the food I want, then I’m going to go eat somewhere else. I don’t need a speech on how to order my frigging food, you have a menu, I order what looks good. What’s so difficult about that? Am I missing something?, are people really that clueless?  I may not want to know the answer to that anymore…

So about this election, let me go out on a limb here and say that I would like to see a good old fashion AGNOSTIC run for president for once. I’m sick and tired of being subjected to the candidates weird religious beliefs and statements. Romney’s a mormon, which has it’s own set of special issues (though I’m told by mormon friends, that he’s a jack mormon at that). The others are all various faiths, but when we get into areas of faith and politics people just say and do stupid things. The media love to find those little tidbits and make mountains out of them, and when you have people like Santorum’s wife commenting that his winning is ordained by God, I just want to go hide somewhere. I’m not actually enthused about any of the current crop, I don’t know where the real conservatives have gone, but boy do I miss them. This whole faith and politics things is such a mess anyway, I argued with a baptist minister one time about single issue voters. He stated that he would never, based on principle vote for someone who supported abortion. I told him that you where never going to find someone to agree with every single thing you believe, these are men, you take the good with the bad. I don’t support abortion, but in reality the President can only effect the issue by creating an activist supreme court. Roe vs Wade, I don’t think, could stand up to a good honest analysis at that level. So I would in fact vote for someone who is soft on the issue, as long as they elect constitutional judges, and not activists to the bench. You can’t think single issue with politics, it’s never that simple. Given the current crop of clowns, I don’t see this country turning around for a long time.

Apple released new products this week, the new iPad is cool and all. But honestly there’s nothing there that would cause me to leave my current iPad2 and upgrade. They really needed something more than just the retina display, I’m wondering if they are still floundering from the loss of Steve Jobs?. I sure hope they can recover. I love my Apple T.V. and MIGHT buy a new one for 1080p, but until the movie industry pulls their heads out of their hind ends and realizes that we now live in a digital content age, I’m reticent to support any format. Everything’s so fragmented, Hulu only shows certain shows on the computer, but not a console. Apple won’t support Hulu, and half the studio’s won’t even release shows to a digital format. I would PAY to see Lost Girl on iTunes, but for some unknown reason SyFy has refused to do so. I don’t get it. Then they go after the internet, using the guise of stopping piracy. Piracy’s not the issue, the industry is filled with dinosaurs who at every technological turn have resisted change, and then once forced have benefited financially from that change. Instead they keep pushing systems where they can control their content and greedily charge you for every viewing, remember DivX, well now they have ultraviolet, which is worse in many ways. I predict that what is going to happen, is the same thing that happened with CD’s, the industry is going to dig in and the rest of the world will simply start producing media through digital outlets, leaving the traditional industry in the dust.

John Piper, the voice of the reformed mindset, and all around narsisistic know it all. Has once again attempted Theodicy regarding the Tornado’s in the midwest. For those who don’t know Theodicy is the attempt to explain how evil can exist with an Omniscient and all loving creator. As usual Pat Robertson opened his big mouth and blathered about it as well, it’s not enough that we live in a fallen world where bad things happen. But these self appointed morons run out and do their best to make the rest of us look like a bunch of nut cases. In Pipers case, his reformed theology means that God is in control of EVERYTHING (this is known as a determinism) and free will is an illusion. So he has to justify the tornadoes, you can read his latest blather here: Fierce Tornadoes and the Fingers of God I don’t understand why it’s not enough that people lost their lives, their homes, and entire towns where wiped from the face of the earth, on top of that you have to tell that God did it. Here’s an idea, maybe the WEATHER caused the Tornado and because people live in a area PRONE to tornadoes, they had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bad things happen, if we are to represent the love of God then we should mobilize support, physical and moral to help those in need. Not blather on about some theological point that no one cares about.

It looks like spring is early this year, we ventured out twice this weekend to go to the driving range, I’m still as bad as ever. Some things never change, but I still enjoy playing Golf, so the love hate relationship will continue unabated. I’m hoping it says nice, and that spring comes early so I can get out more often, it’s been a dismal winter for some reason and I’m ready for some warmth and outdoor activities.

Time to go play… I feel better now :)





I’ve been overwhelmed, it happens every year about this time…

Michelle and I elected to support a family for thanksgiving this year, we are buying the entire meal so they can have a proper thanksgiving, we are more than happy to share what we have been blessed with. In fact we have enough store credits that we are getting a second bird for another family, it’s a small thing but hopefully will help someone in need and brighten their lives. We also give clothes and other items when we can to the local charities, and I love shopping there to give back. We very much believe in giving and sharing to those who truly need it.

But with all the sharing that goes on this time of year, there is a darker side that no one talks about…

I work for a company who pushes community involvement in all it’s forms, on the outside it’s all about helping the community, and a great effort. But the inside reason that no one talks about is that to be quite frank, it’s good and cheap PR. I’m OK with the communal aspect, I just wish they would be honest about the PR portion, instead of spinning it as if it’s something different. I’m quite sure there are people who are gullible enough to buy into each glossy advert and declare it’s purest intentions, and there are those who understand what is going on and join anyway . I’m actually OK with that, what I’m not OK with is tweaking the corporate culture to make anyone who does not participate to be guilty of apathy.

Charities and corporations have become experts at playing the guilt card, I recently saw a message that basically told managers to make sure their people got involved in the giving. The implication was that anyone who wasn’t participating, somehow didn’t care and should be singled out. There is a simple reason that they take this tactic, it works. Guilt is a strong motivator in our society, anyone remember carbon credits? the idea was that you gave money to offset your carbon production habits, and the offsetting would make the world a better place. Never mind that the money actually didn’t go to any other purpose than to line someones pocket, and fleece those unwitting enough to actually pay for their guilty conscience.

In the past few months, I have been solicited for just about everything anyone could possibly want:

  • I’ve been asked to bring in a meal for needy families at work
  • I’ve been asked to help rake up leaves all over the community, including ones that are not my own (and my own kids won’t do our lawn, but will do the neighbors)
  • I’m supposed to bring in canned goods
  • I’ve been asked to help paint houses
  • Give Blood
  • Join in causes for green gardening
  • Carpooling with other employees
  • Riding my bike to work
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs
  • Attending meetings on green energy
  • Giving to multiple funds for multiple people
  • Walking for a cure to multiple causes
  • Give to multiple political causes
  • Donate my car for a cause
  • Bell ringers at each storefront
  • The pet store wants me to give for the humane society
  • Girl scout cookies (even to the point of setting up a cheering section at the corner of an intersection, to bring people in)
  • Stores now solicit charity from me for extra $$$ on every purchase

Then at my front door (I have a sign that says ‘No Soliciting’ by the way):

  • Magazines
  • Insurance
  • Meat from a truck at my front door (seriously!, I had to tell him to leave finally)
  • Mormomism
  • Watchtower
  • Baptist
  • Cookies (ok they always get money)
  • School events

Every place I turn, no matter where, I get asked to give something (usually money). I’m not saying these are bad things (however the Girl scouts should sell gym memberships with their cookies, cause I eat too many every year), but it is completely overwhelming. When I worked in San Francisco, they started the idea of ATM machines that would advertise while you waited, gladly that one hasn’t gone viral.

It’s all reaching a saturation point, and each year I feel a little less sympathy towards these causes. And I get honestly rude over some of the more esoteric ones, like giving from my paycheck to save the whales!. Its all so aggressive and over the top that its hard to even figure out which ones are valid, and which are just a front to line someones pocket.

When the kids where younger I had a showdown with their school over their fundraising, they wanted to kids to sell what I will call Christmas crap, bobbles and other worthless items. And they wanted the kids to canvas the neighborhood, I told them no. If you need money, I’ll write a check, because I would rather you have the money than have 200 kids pestering a neighborhood so they can win a worthless prize (trust me this stuff was all junk). And I’m not sending my kids to school so they can graduate and become door to door salesman!!. They where shocked!, they didn’t understand. How could someone be so, so, heartless. I wondered how someone could be so dense as to think this was a good idea?, if the school needs money then there are better ways to actually help the community, and teach kids to be responsible than sending them out to knock on doors armed with a magazine full of stuff that only carnivals would be able to dump.

Another good example is in our community the firemen do a bi-annual event where they ask you to fill a boot for charity, it’s a great cause! But the way they do it is that they take over EVERY stop light in and out of town. They walk up and down the line of cars begging for money. So not only do you have to wait an extra long time at the light (sometimes making you late), but you get to feel guilty at the same time, Yay Charity!! I give some every year, and two weeks later every year I end up with a sticker that I have to scrape off my window (my reward I suppose). Because if I don’t give them something, they won’t leave me alone. I guess they feel the need to go commando and force people to notice them by taking over the traffic for a day…

If if gave to every effort that we came across we would need to join the programs so we could feed ourselves!! It’s like being locked in a hotel with a bunch of starving Fuller Brush salesmen, no matter where you go, you can’t get away. After a while you just go numb…

Haven’t we taken this whole community thing a little too far? One problem I have always had with charities and programs is that in many cases they make the needy more dependent. I’ve known people who are happy to live off of people too dense to make sure that the person they are giving to is actually needy, they have no shame and figure they system owes them something, and the world is full of people who spend all their time giving what they have to make themselves feel less guilty.

Giving is about blessing someone, it should come from a desire to help your fellow man, not to assuage the guilt some marketing dweeb is heaping on you. The world will always have zealots who pick a cause, and do everything in their power to make you feel guilty. Look at any animal shelter or PETA commercial, you get pictures of soft puppy eyes, terrible situations involving animals, a moving and sad dialog, moving music. And some dweeb celebrity who feels guilty because they make more money in a day, than most of us see in a lifetime. I especially despise the ones who talk about animal adoption, aren’t human children worth more to these people? Why not adopt a child?, or help with programs that help children? (to be clear some do). I love animals, we raise fish, have cats, dogs, and chickens. But animals are easy, you can objectify them, children take real commitment. You can leave your pet while you go out and live your life, but a child requires around the clock care, no wonder so many shallow celebrities choose that as their star cause. It feeds their neurosis and doesn’t require a life change.

So here’s my advice:

If your not giving freely and cheerfully, then don’t give. Certainly don’t let someone swindle you out of money because they can make you feel guilty.

If you are unsure of where your money is going, ask before you give.

Give because others needs it, and because you feel compelled.

Be responsible, make sure your efforts are not going to waste. Give to established organizations who make the most of what they get, beware of corporate organizations, some actually use their money wisely, some don’t. Find out before you give.

If you really feel bad because that bell ringer is getting on your nerves, and the guilt is killing you (just ask the girl scouts how many cases we have purchased). Then set aside a small fund and keep it on hand. That way you can give a little, make them happy and make you feel better.

And never give money directly to someone unless you know them, money given to the homeless many times gets used in ways you would not be happy with. Responsible charities have this all worked out, and make sure that the truly needy are getting much needed supplies.

Now get off my lawn!!!



Crossing the great barrier…

Over at St Joseph’s Vanguard, there have been some conversations about the orthodox faith, you can view them here:

Orthodox Question: Immaculate Mary


The 6 Attractions of Eastern Orthodoxy

and here (read down for a good irenic discussion of contraception):

The Achilles’ Heel of Orthodoxy

I like Devin, I like his Apologetics and he writes about topics that interest me. I don’t always get involved, but I do read every post. The three discussions above have sparked an interest in checking out the Orthodox faith, during our personal conversion Michelle and I did talk about it, but could only find one little tiny church way on the other side of town. So in essence we skipped it, and ended up going Catholic.

I’m happily Catholic after years of evangelical nonsense, but there are Catholic issues that have always bothered me, I’ve been open and honest about that. There is an interesting discussion in the second and third link about contraception and the Catholic belief. From my viewpoint the Catholic position is far too legalistic to make any kind of sense when you bring Grace into the picture. The whole idea of any barrier method of contraception being a sin (and a mortal one at that), and then allowing NFP (Natural Family Planning) which is just a different form of natural barrier contraception is a real problem. Catholic Apologist will bend over backwards to say the two are different, but let’s be honest and admit that the point of contraception, and the point of NFP is to prevent pregnancy. You can argue successfully that contraception has other ramifications, but that misses the core purpose. In my opinion trying to disassociate the two so you can say one is licit (NFP) and the other is not (barrier contraception or BC) is dishonest at best. Just to be clear I’m only referring to non-abortive contraception here, anything else I agree %100 with the church on.

I’ve long held that the Catholic position on BC is nothing more than an idealized view of sex in marriage, with little basis in reality. Apologists will say that the pleasure found in sex is a gift from God and that the sole purpose of sex is procreation, that’s a statement that only someone either celibate, confused, or trying to stake out a theological position would make. I’ll put this as plainly as I can: there is nothing on this earth that feels better than sex. Can anyone truly argue with this statement? (I’m sure someone could, but I’d ignore them as being a crank), and if my premise is true (which for me it certainly is), then why would God make it so? Why take something so exquisite and turn it into a secondary? If your married, can you deny that intimacy in marriage makes it stronger?, if you deny that then how do you explain the Song of Solomon? If there ever was a book that bordered on religious porn, it’s that. Obviously our desires for our spouses is a good thing, so why deny it and subvert it’s obvious purpose?

I’ve heard arguments that the church is obsessed with sex, and in a way I suppose that’s true. To be fair however it is an important topic, and one that the bible constantly refers too, so the church is not out of line addressing it. The problem I have is that their position is so entrenched that they are not capable of taking modern science into view, the church states that it values science, but in this area it will not be budged by any revelation science can bring.

The Orthodox position is actually very closely aligned, with small allowances made for couples who having children could pose health issues, for either the parents or child, or other factors. While still restrictive, the very fact that they are willing to consider alternatives in a valid marriage is very attractive. In what little reading I’ve done, they have a more realistic view of sex in marriage, and yet it’s still very close the Catholic position. One big difference is that they do not believe the ONLY reason for sex is procreation, a view which I wholly agree with.

One issue I want to point out, is that in reading Catholic material on the topic, and listening to various Catholic apologist (Catholic Answers Radio is a constant source of frustration for me ;), it becomes clear that many who write about sex from the Catholic viewpoint, either don’t understand it, or live in a world run by the Disney Animation team. I’m not sure how to say this without offending someone: Sex in marriage is not about angels, candles, and saying a prayer while participating (and if it is, your doing it wrong, trust me on this). Sex is physical, animalistic in some parts, and a very base activity (for both Humans and Animals). That doesn’t make it unholy, God is not interested in our view of how he created things, and to deny this very physical part of sex is just wrong. It’s taken me years, but during our conversion I’ve come to the conclusion that what many people think about things that are holy, are just plain wrong. We are disgusting beings, we sin, we make messes, we are anything but pure and white in our physical being, and yet God loves us. So applying a biblical standard to the common human needs just doesn’t seem to align with a God who would create us this way. Just bear this in mind, can any believer deny that Christ in the incarnation, didn’t have to go to the bathroom like the rest of us? (trying to be polite here). I’m not trying to be disgusting, but to point out that if he was truly incarnate, then he had to do the same disgusting things we do as humans. Meaning that holiness has little to do with our physical nature, if that is the case, then why treat sex (which is pretty darn physical) as something different?

The other issue that bothers me deeply, is just how little some Catholics think about these issues. While in RCIA, a friend was going on about a Catholic speaker who made the statement that “Ladies, remember that birth control was invented by a man!!”, She offered this little gem as is if it surmised a whole and successful argument. I didn’t challenge it at the time, but this type of inductive reasoning makes the Catholic position less defendable (and I’ve heard that kind of nonsense a lot). I could take the same premise and make all kinds of wild statements based on supposition and bad syllogisms. I could have countered: “Ladies think about this: Only MEN have ever been to the moon, remember that next time you feel its romantic effects ladies!!”. Its the same with statistics, every generation claims that they are the worst, or that some moral issue is destroying the fabric of their lives from the last generation. When I was Baptist, it was atheism and darwin. Those evils where destroying everything, but with just a *little* research one finds that the Atheists have a point about how stupid believers can be, clinging to anything that furthers their message, and jettisoning anything contrary to their theology. My point is not to defend Darwin or Atheists, but to point out that in our desperate search for the truth and information that supports our theology, we ignore all those little issues that could cause us to question.

So where am I headed with this, well a couple of things really…

1. While I agree with %98 of what the Catholic church teaches about sex in marriage and contraception, there is a small percentage I think they get wrong.

2. Again we need people in our day and age who challenge what they are told, I am so amazed when people say we live in the information age, you couldn’t tell tell from how little people know about core issues or even think about things and just follow what they are told.

3. I’m finding that on some issues, I am in alignment with the Eastern Orthodox church’s.

Not sure where that will lead, but its an interesting development nonetheless…

Make with it what you will…


P.S. I didn’t cite a bunch of sources, which I probably should have. But doing so takes time and more effort than I have in me right now. There is a logic test next week, and as usual I have to get studying or fail 😉


About Steve…

It’s been almost two weeks since Steve Jobs passed away, and the outpouring of sympathy seems to finally be ebbing. I’ve been holding off commenting for a while, until things calmed down a little. But now seems like a good time to give some thoughts on Apple, our culture and icons.

For all intents and purposes, I’m an admitted Apple geek. I started with a newton, and have since owned a good number of Apple products, I’m writing this on an iPad in fact. In my backpack is my MacBook pro sitting next to me. So yeah, I’ve got the bug.

But the thing about Apple is that they scare me, they represent a new breed of individual who’s concepts of right and wrong overshadow any need for true freedom, google and Facebook in the same way seem to care little privacy and more about the experience. I’ve known people who worked for Steve, and I’ve heard all kinds of things about him. I was always struck by his genius and his drive for perfection, he really cared about the details. Apple has created some great products, but they can be quirky and stubborn, how long did it take them to fix the cut and paste stuff on the iPhone? That was an obvious one even I could have called.

This generation seems to be without hero’s, and it seems to me a sad commentary that so many have placed so much faith in who was no doubt a genius, but also a flawed human being. I would never consider Apples treatment of Adobe a good thing, and I think Steve tarnished his image with his petulant treatment of anyone who disagreed with him.

Where this gets weird is that all most people knew about Jobs was his carefully crafted image, and that more than anything else speaks to the how shallow our culture has become. We live in an age where polish and shine, matter more than substance and character.

I liked Steve, I thought he was brilliant, he will be missed. I will always be an apple person. But Steve was in the end less than the hype, and less than someone I would call a hero.


About Ranting And The Term Idiots…


A rant is a speech or text that does not present a calm argument; rather, it is typically an enthusiastic speech or talk or lecture on an idea, a person or an institution. Compare with a dialectic.
Rants can be based on partial fact or may be entirely factual but written in a comedic/satirical form. (Wikipedia)

Ranting is good for the sole, or so say I. Michelle normally gets to the hear the more creative ones, but there are things that frustrate and it’s cathartic to get them out onto the blog. They may not always be fully vetted, and they may ramble but I’m not going to apologize for doing a rant. It gets it off my chest, and I can move on.

Michelle read one of my posts and commented on the word “idiots”, she had a right too. I know better, in fact I know it’s a sin:

Matthew 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[a]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[b]’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

The word “Raca” roughly translates to “airhead”, and it’s it’s definitely a sin to call brothers in Christ airheads (at least that’s what I’ve always been taught).

But It Must Be Said that some people in this society have stopped thinking for themselves, they get blown by the wind and the waves. They are looking for anyone, someone to tell them what to think. I run into them on a daily basis and it breaks my heart. It also makes me angry, because so much is at stake, even long time Christians will eschew theology. Which is just silly. We all have theology, we all believe something. That’s all theology is, a belief system, nothing more, nothing less.

Our churches are full of people content to let others guide them around by the nose, they don’t question, they don’t ask. The idea of the bereans is foreign to them, and unfortunately that makes me mad. This isn’t about any one church, I’ve seen it in all of them, even the Catholic Church. It’s sad and disappointing.

I’m not qualified to teach, but there’s such a large hole in our understanding that I constantly feel the call to do something about this situation. It’s why I started taking theology courses, and bibliology and hermeneutics and all the other stuff I’m working on. It’s so I can learn, it’s so I can help.

Amazing things can happen when you start asking questions, I’ve challenged two fundamentalist about anything other than the King James Version of the bible and still have yet to get a decent answer why my old New King James was a heretical translation. It’s why I left the baptist faith, I couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy any longer (that’s another story for another time). We have searched now for a full year, I was mortified with Calvinist theology. And when I asked hard questions, I got bad answers back.

But at least I asked, I will never forget one Pastor who was elated that we wanted to ask him doctrinal questions. He said that he wished more people would choose a church based on doctrine and not the style of ministry. We didn’t stay at his church but I was more amazed that he was amazed. Does anyone care what they believe anymore?

I let me passion get the better of me, I really want the best for people. The gentlemen who asked why he should join the Catholic Church is someone who could benefit from just a little research. I’ll give the RCIA props, every meeting they bring in lots of books about conversion and other Catholic topics to get people interested. Some are, but most just want to be told what to believe. That’s OK I guess, but maybe, just maybe someday I can help :)

Ranting over, I feel better now.




Things Heard In The RCIA (and other statements that make me go ugh).

We attended our second RCIA this week, it was interesting, a little disappointing and a little frustrating. Let me see if I can articulate…

First Fr. Len gave about an hour talk on the history of the Church, he did a good job considering that he had to cover 2000 years in an hour. He talked about Luther and the reformation, he was fair and balanced and I was pretty happy with the whole thing. What irritated me was someone asked him why they become Catholic over any other protestant religion, I’m going to sin here for a second so hang on.


Would you ask the Ford salesman why you should buy a Ford over a Chevy and decide your fate based on that conversation??, if your looking for someone to give you all the answers then your an idiot and you might as well just sit there and sit on your hands and not say a word, because *some* of us actually want to understand WHAT the Catholic Church actually teaches BEFORE we commit to anything.

You see in the book of Acts, Paul was preaching the word in Berea and the Bereans they took every word he said and went home and checked it against the scriptures (the old testament), the key here is that they didn’t just believe, they checked, they asked, they made sure that they understood before they believed. It’s important for anyone to make sure they understand what they are believing before they believe it, a few scriptures to make my point:

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools [a] despise wisdom and discipline.

Luke 10:27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

The point is that if you are going to make a decision about your faith and your standing with God, should you not be careful about how to make such a decision. Would you buy a boat for a 3 year journey and just rely on what the salesman tells you??, if so, then head on out. I’ll be standing at the dock watching you leave and hoping you don’t sink. We have a society of idiots in this country, we get our news in little controlled tidbits, we don’t want to be bothered with doing the hard work, it’s all about what we can get now. We want others to tell us we are OK, because it’s too damn hard to make up our own minds. The American spirit is gone, it’s been replaced by this apathetic mentality that just grates me the wrong way.

All that being said, Fr Len did a good job with a bad question, how could he answer?. So he took the same path I would have taken and said it’s a decision and *he* personally thinks that the Catholic Church has the right of it.

The second thing that happened is something that I see a great deal of with people who are teachers, they have a propensity to want to create social situations. So in our RCIA class they had a list of questions like:

Tell about a time you know God was speaking to you
What are you looking to find in the Catholic Church

Those questions are meant to be answered in a group, well I have kind of have an issue with that. I’m there to learn about how the Catholic Church functions, what it believes, what it’s theology is. Not socialize, certainly if I join I’ll be joining a large family. But right now I have problems with that family and I’m more interested in answers than hearing about someones personal accounts that have *nothing* to do with the topic at hand. If I wanted to socialize I would go a church event, I’m there to learn, so do away with the touchy feely and let’s get down to business. I have no patience for anything else, in fact one of the reasons that I hate going to Church is that for us, it becomes about how to avoid being accosted while trying to figure out what they believe. At one church there was a woman who followed my Daughter into the bathroom and waited for her so she could find out all about the new people, that’s more than a little creepy. Of course we didn’t last long at that church, so much for other peoples privacy :)

So it’s a mixed bag right now, I’m still reading like crazy, Francis Beckwith has probably the best book I have ever read on converting to Catholicism. Hands down, it’s rich and informative and has spurred me on to keep reading. I’m also getting some static from my Hermeneutics class about my conversion process, some good points have been raised and I’m having to study to figure this out. I will say that once a Protestant is anti-Catholic it’s hard to have a level discussion with them. They stop being irenic whether they mean to or not, it’s a shame, but it’s also human nature. I have the same reaction to Calvinism, it’s a heresy that should be stamped out, so I guess I’m not any better 😉

That’s all I can muster today…