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Archive for January, 2009

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In case you were wondering where you were…metaphysically speaking.

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Bones is so cute…adorable, really.

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It’s ironic that a man whose life and death have been muddied by so many conspiracy theories, was himself a believer in secret societies.

Or was he just talking about Communism?

Here’s the complete text of his speech at this link, which you can read and listen to.

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Li’l Hitler

Ok, this is funny.

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What follows in italics (pun intended) is from The Annals of Tacitus, Chapter 2. Is this a great plot for a movie, or what?

[2.39] That same year the daring of a single slave, had it not been promptly checked, would have ruined the State by discord and civil war. A servant of Postumus Agrippa, Clemens by name, having ascertained that Augustus was dead, formed a design beyond a slave’s conception, of going to the island of Planasia and seizing Agrippa by craft or force and bringing him to the armies of Germany. The slowness of a merchant vessel thwarted his bold venture. Meanwhile the murder of Agrippa had been perpetrated, and then turning his thoughts to a greater and more hazardous enterprise, he stole the ashes of the deceased, sailed to Cosa, a promontory of Etruria, and there hid himself in obscure places till his hair and beard were long. In age and figure he was not unlike his master. Then through suitable emissaries who shared his secret, it was rumoured that Agrippa was alive, first in whispered gossip, soon, as is usual with forbidden topics, in vague talk which found its way to the credulous ears of the most ignorant people or of restless and revolutionary schemers. He himself went to the towns, as the day grew dark, without letting himself be seen publicly or remaining long in the same places, but, as he knew that truth gains strength by notoriety and time, falsehood by precipitancy and vagueness, he would either withdraw himself from publicity or else forestall it.

[2.40] It was rumoured meanwhile throughout Italy, and was believed at Rome, that Agrippa had been saved by the blessing of Heaven. Already at Ostia, where he had arrived, he was the centre of interest to a vast concourse as well as to secret gatherings in the capital, while Tiberius was distracted by the doubt whether he should crush this slave of his by military force or allow time to dissipate a silly credulity. Sometimes he thought that he must overlook nothing, sometimes that he need not be afraid of everything, his mind fluctuating between shame and terror. At last he entrusted the affair to Sallustius Crispus, who chose two of his dependants (some say they were soldiers) and urged them to go to him as pretended accomplices, offering money and promising faithful companionship in danger. They did as they were bidden; then, waiting for an unguarded hour of night, they took with them a sufficient force, and having bound and gagged him, dragged him to the palace. When Tiberius asked him how he had become Agrippa, he is said to have replied, “As you became Caesar.” He could not be forced to divulge his accomplices. Tiberius did not venture on a public execution, but ordered him to be slain in a private part of the palace and his body to be secretly removed. And although many of the emperor’s household and knights and senators were said to have supported him with their wealth and helped him with their counsels, no inquiry was made.

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Cancion de Amor

This is a very pretty song I first heard on an album my dad got from his bank. I’ve been looking for the lyrics for many years now, and finally I found them on a forum on the internet.

Cancion de Amor
by The Sandpipers
Lyrics by Mason Williams (until I hear otherwise)

En mi amor evocaremos
Como el mundo, sin cesar.
Del amor que encontraremos
Un fantastico lugar.

Subiremos las montanas.
Bajaremos hasta el mar.
Con la luz de la manana,
Con la triste oscuridad.

Viviremos para siempre
En completa soledad.
Yo naci para quererte,
Y no quiero nada mas.

En mi amor evocaremos
Como el mundo, sin cesar.
Hasta el dia que encontraremos
Un lugar de amor y pas.

Viviremos para siempre
En completa soledad.
Yo naci para quererte,
Y no quiero nada mas.

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simple-faith

I’m really surprised at the lack of faith in young people nowadays, who I often hear say in Marxian fashion that religion is an opiate for the masses, and a tool to control them.

I don’t belong to any particular church, nor do I consider myself a particularly devout or righteous man, but I have read the Bible, and pored over it like an old fly, and I consider myself a Christian. The laws are pretty clear:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honor they father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor
Thou shalt not covet.

Now how exactly is that keeping me in line? How is that controlling me? Granted, it can be difficult to keep the commandments. I find myself breaking them all the time, and it’s not just ironic or coincidental how closely linked those infractions can often be to my mood or feelings about myself or the world. If I catch myself cursing God, it’s usually because I am upset or angry or I just hurt myself. If I kill something, I often truly feel bad about it, even if it’s just a silverfish that I found living in the back of an old book. If I commit adultery, the ass-kicking I get should come as no surprise. When I catch myself coveting, I only have to count my possessions to wonder why.

The commandments literally set me free. They guard me against all the snares and traps that others might set against me. It makes me morally strong, upright and confident to face the truth, any truth. It doesn’t tell me not to read books, in fact it makes me more curious. It doesn’t tell me I can’t believe in evolution or relativity. It doesn’t make one close-minded, as atheists would have you believe, or do you think Abraham Lincoln was close-minded? His speeches are full of phrases from the Bible. It doesn’t say I can’t drink and have fun. It doesn’t say I can’t smoke pot. It doesn’t say I can’t have sex with a woman (or even a man) of my choice. It doesn’t tell me to close my mind to new ideas. It doesn’t tell me to be a Catholic, a Jew, a Jehovah’s Witness or an Islamic. But it does give me a strong moral compass, and a clue about what God expects of me. Life without a compass or a level has to be disorienting. Moral relativism, without a universal constant like the speed of light to equate the individual outlooks, can only confound and confuse.

The Bible is a great place to look for wisdom and understanding. It’s likely not God’s word, but it does contain His words – there is great truth in the Bible. God has visited the earth. Was he “the” god of all that is and was and will be? Or was he a godly being, one of all the beings in the universe, just trying to help us to be more enlightened individuals? If your religion is telling you that you must follow the Bible verbatim, and uses every word to mould your mind, then it’s probably the wrong church to go, to express your love for God. Much of the Bible that is highly criticized as antiquated or out of touch are ancient instructions for priests, the Levites that were chosen to carry and protect God’s sacred tabernacle in ancient times. Since they didn’t have a stake in the division of the promised land, they received their food and sustenance partaking from the liturgical sacrifices and donations. Not coincidentally, it was they who compiled all the old tales and legends. But even that can be thought provoking.

I don’t hearken to everything in the Bible. I don’t particularly agree with Peter and Paul, and their comments about the role of women especially. They were establishing a religion, having seen what they thought to be great wonders. But I do take great comfort in the words attributed to Jesus in the gospel stories. He was a truly remarkable and devout man, maybe even God himself, incarnate. I don’t know. The Bible itself tells me to guard against false prophets, saying that if the prophet dies, he can’t be God. God, Jesus, God, Jesus, it’s going to be a continual struggle for me to make sure I’m not breaking the first commandment, but I think that’s healthy. When and if I hear from Jesus, I’ll know for sure. But what if God were to present himself to mankind, what if he wanted to see what it was like for us? What would his life have been like, to find himself living among his own creation? Probably not unlike Killer or Doc, two programmers who created WWII Online, running around in their virtual world, everybody gunning for them. I will say one thing though – whenever I’ve tried to approach God directly, to seek his help or wisdom, I often feel like I’m unworthy, like I need an intermediary. Often just thinking of God in human terms, helps me get past that fear and uncertainty.

I love the Lord. I can’t imagine life without Him. I refer to Him as masculine, not because I think he is a man with a white beard, but because I see him as a spiritually involved Father figure, a creator, a protector and a teacher. I could tell countless stories of my spiritual journey through this life, but we all have them if we but open up our hearts to the great moral universe around us.

For those who think their logical arguments disprove in any way the existence of god, I can only say they underestimate God. Our science and technology are pretty advanced, and we can do lots of stuff, but nowhere near the kind of stuff that God can do. Somehow each and every day He finds a new way to blow my mind.

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