Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
It’s interesting how ancient Sumerian documents are all the rage in UFO studies these days. UFO scholars actually take the legends seriously as echoing actual interaction between aliens and humans. The comparison I am drawing between Inanna and the apparition at Fatima does not indicate that I think Inanna was a real goddess and that she has returned as Mary. I just want to point out the similarity of devotion between Inanna’s worshipers and that of the Blessed Virgin.
The document is called “The Exaltation of Inanna,” translated by William Hallo, and can be found in The Context of Scripture, Vol. I, Canonical Compositions, edited by William Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, Jr., Brill, 519-522.
This psalm of exaltation was written by Enheduanna, the actual daughter of Sargon the Great. She is so far the first non-anonymous ancient author that we know of. She was a priestess who was pleading for Inanna’s help against her enemies, men who worshiped Nanna the moon god. Portions of verse 1,
Lady of all the divine attributes, resplendent light, Righteous woman clothed in radiance, beloved of Heaven and Earth, Hierodule of An, . . . You have picked up the divine attributes, you have hung the divine attributes on your hand, You have gathered up the divine attributes, you have clasped the divine attributes to your breast.
I could not help, as I read this, to think of Mary with the rosary draped over her hands. Mary has become her own Trinity in a way. She is the Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of Earth, the Queen of the Universe (sometimes the Queen of Heaven). I’ll write more about that in my next post. She heals the sick, and becomes a doorway to God. She claims to be light. She is the Immaculate Conception, and she portrays an Immaculate Heart. (See the two previous posts) But don’t cross her. Offenses against the Eternal Father, her Son Jesus, or against her or the Church will result in severe punishment, such as a flaming comet, the Ball of Redemption, that will cleanse the Earth by annihilating most of the human race. Before that will be a plague taking the lives of many children. Then will come WW III. In that sense, she and Inanna are alike.
Like a dragon, you have deposited venom on the foreign land. When you roar at the earth like Thunder, no vegetation can stand up to you. . . . Raining the flaming fire down upon the nation, Endowed with divine attributes by An, lady mounted on a beast, Who makes decisions at the holy command of An.
The city of Uruk displeased her ladyship because the people would not dedicate themselves to her. She left the city and cursed the inhabitants to barrenness. The lines below are almost a perfect echo of Mary’s insistence that Russia be publically dedicated to her Immaculate Conception.
Because the city has not declared ‘The land is yours,’ Because they have not declared ‘It is your father’s, your begettor’s, You have spoken your holy command, have verily turned it back from your path, Have verily removed your foot from out of its byre.
Even Mary’s special birth, free from original, sin is echoed in this psalm.
You of the appropriate divine attributes, great lady of ladies, Issued from the holy womb, supreme over the mother who bore you, Omniscient sage, lady of all the foreign lands, Sustenance of the multitudes, I have verily recited your sacred song!
Enheduanna addresses Inanna in the same manner that Catholics address Mary.
Let me, Enheduanna, recite a prayer to her. My tears like sweet drink. Let me give free vent to for the holy Inanna, Let me say ‘Hail!’ to her!
Of course, there is one appellation given to Inanna that we won’t hear attributed to Mary. Enheduanna called her affectionately, “My impetuous wild cow.” After listing her persecutions, Enheduanna continues,
Of the heavenly foundations and zenith you are the “senior” queen. The Anunna have submitted to you. From birth on you were the “junior” queen. Over the great gods, the Anunna, how supreme you are. The Anunna with their lips kiss the ground (in obeisance) to you.
So Mary received a heavenly promotion. The junior queen would be revered, but the senior queen has serious authority. The final doxology reads,
For that her (Enheduanna’s) speaking to the Hierodule (Inanna) was exalted – (To) the devastatrix of the foreign lands, endowed with divine attributes from An, (To) my lady wrapped in beauty, (to) Inanna, Praise!
Of course, the similarities between Inanna and Mary don’t negate the possibility that our Mary is who she says she is. However, we will see in the next post that Bayside Mary is very controlling, old fashioned, melodramatic, and absolutely abusive in demanding that rosaries be said, sacrifices be made, atonement be offered, sanctuaries be built, medals and scapulars in her honor be worn for protection, etc. Modernization is taboo for Mary of Bayside, NY. There are so many reasons to be damned to hell and burn forever that one can hardly categorize it all. Bayside Mary split the Catholic Church and terrorized the devout. If you want to know just how, check out my next post.
As for the veracity of Sumerian documents, they reflect the fact that people of ancient times had to deal with the same devils, ghosts and gods that we do. These same entities are reflected in the Bible, which UFO researchers love to ignore. These ancient entities are very deceptive and manipulative. One of the most effective ways to manipulate humans is through religion. The devil just loves religion. But God the Eternal Father loves virtue over religion. He loves us. He wants to be loved by us and He wants us to love one another. He wants us to walk humbly before Him and do what is right. After that, most religious stuff is just fluff.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
One of the most amazing events of the 20th century, well besides WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars, the Roswell crash, the nuclear age, etc., was the appearance of “the Blessed Virgin Mary” to three little shepherd kids in Portugal. If you are a Catholic, it was a big deal. If you are not, odds are you stuff that event in the Weird Closet of your mind with other anomalies like aliens and ghosts and Chris Angel Mindfreak. The closet is locked. There is nothing in there you need, so basically, all those things don’t exist.
Mary appeared during a time of political and social upheaval. It was in May, 1917, during the Great War (WWI), shortly before the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed millions of people. Women were fighting hard for suffrage (the right to vote). It was the era of the Model T automobile, and humans were building the first flying machines. Controversial Pentecostal denominations, with their miraculous manifestations, were spreading around the world.
Most notably was the return of Lenin to the post-Tsarist chaos in Russia. The Germans sent him there in a sealed train in April, 1917, about a month before Mary appeared in Portugal. Throughout the year, Russia teetered between western ideas of democracy and socialism. Lenin and Marx were the catalysts introducing a new, secular, ideologically-driven oppression. In 1917, you could almost hear the wheels of history groaning and turning.
For an expanded explanation of the general message of Fatima, click here. Below is a sample.
“Our Lady indicated to us the specific root of all the troubles of the world, the one that causes world wars and such terrible suffering: sin. She then gave a solution, first to individuals, then to the Church’s leaders. God asks each one of us to stop offending Him. We must pray, especially the Rosary. By this frequent prayer of the Rosary, we can get the graces we need to overcome sin. God wants us have devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to work to spread this devotion throughout the world. Our Lady said, ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and a way that will lead you to God.’ If we wish to go to God, we have a sure way to Him through true devotion to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.
When Sister Lucy asked Our Lord as to why He would not convert Russia without the solemn public consecration of that nation specifically, Jesus answered, ‘Because I want my whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its homage later on, and put the devotion to This Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.’”
If this consecration of Russia were not performed by the pope and the bishops, the errors of Russia would spread throughout all the world. There would be wars, plagues, misery, and death.
Of course the visitations were confirmed with miraculous weather phenomena, a spinning, dancing sun, healings, etc. For extra protection from the wiles of satan, Mary wanted people to wear the brown scapular, a sacramental picture pendant which she had miraculously delivered to a previous visionary. The faithful were commanded to pray the rosary daily, make sacrifices for the salvation of souls and reparations for offenses against Jesus and Mary.
So reading carefully what is stated above, while Marx and Lenin were ambitious to spread the message of Communism throughout the world, Mary wanted devotion to her Immaculate Heart to spread throughout the world. And Jesus is setting her Immaculate Heart right next to his as receptor of devotion and a dispenser of protection and grace. Mary then becomes a doorway to God equal to Jesus. So what in thunderation is Mary’s Immaculate Heart?
A good Catholic explanation can be found here. Basically it does not mean that Mary’s conception was of a miraculous nature, but that she was immediately delivered by the Father from the curse of original sin, a doctrine promoted by St. Augustine. So while other humans are born sinful and separated from God, Mary was never in that state, or was only there for a split second.
Now, if God wanted to do that miracle with Mary, fine. He is God, He can do anything He wants. If Jesus wants us to love His mother, I say why not? She must have been pretty special. However, there are two troublesome aspects to that dogma. One is that it is Catholic Tradition; it is not in the Bible. And here is one of the major divisions between Catholics and Protestants. Catholicism has no objection to establishing major theological streams that come from visions, revelations, papal proclamations, and extra-biblical documents. If the Pope finalizes it with a special encyclical, it becomes firm Catholic belief. Protestants fought back with the concept of sola scriptura. If it aint in the Bible, it aint so.
The other worrisome problem is that it sets Mary up to be a goddess. Catholics deny that, but if you stop and think what Mary became in the 20th century, (and I will elaborate on that in another post), she is truly like the fourth member of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Immaculate Heart was dividing even Catholics at one point. It had no chance of being accepted by Protestants. Why would God fight one of the most pernicious ideologies of the 20th century with a doctrine that isolates the battle to Roman Catholics, and that has nothing to do with the Person of Jesus Christ, our true Messiah?
Our Lady of Fatima is one ambitious entity! The whole idea was so shocking that the Catholic Hierarchy waffled for decades. They were commanded to open a letter from Mary in 1960, and they couldn’t even bring themselves to do that. In 1942, Pop Pius XII dedicated the whole world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The whole dedication can be found here. It doesn’t mention Russia. Below are a couple of the verses.
Queen of the Holy Rosary, Help of the Christians, Refuge of the human race, Conqueress of God’s battlefields, To You and Your Immaculate Heart In this tragic hour of human history We entrust and consecrate ourselves, And the Holy Church.
She [the Church] is the mystical Body of Your Jesus, Suffering and bleeding in so many parts And tormented in so many ways, We consecrate to You the whole world torn by bitter strife And consumed by the fire of hatred, The victim of its own wickedness . . .
. . . All of humanity were once consecrated to the heart of Your Son. All our hopes rest in Him, Who is in all times Sign and pledge of victory and salvation. Forever we consecrate ourselves to You And to Your Immaculate Heart, O Mary, Queen of the World.
How is that not a goddess? I don’t want to bash Catholicism in this blog, because Catholics worship Jesus. I was raised Catholic. It kept me out of all kinds of trouble when I was young. But Mother Mary makes me really nervous. In Part III, I want to turn to a particular document from ancient Sumer that reminds me of what is happening with Marian apparitions in the 20th century.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
In my first post about John Lerma, a review of his book Into the Light, I expressed my discomfort about the long, guru-like monologues that all of his stories relayed. All of the dying patients, no matter who they were or how old they were, sounded like a Lerma lecture. They all called him Dr. Lerma, using his name frequently. Never Doc, or Doctor, or John. They never have meltdowns. In this second book, published in 2009, I got the same squeamish feeling, even when he described the death of his own father.
When Lerma writes, “Dad said the angels told him…” or some other patient says the same thing, it almost becomes “ex-cathedra” dogma, as if Moses or the Pope said it. Who can argue with the angels? It certainly puts Dr. Lerma into the position of an authoritative, sacred scribe transmitting End Times truth. That is if you believe it all.
Dr. Lerma, who was raised Catholic, has worked many years in hospice care in Houston and San Antonio, TX, so I have to assume that at least half of what he wrote is based on real events and people. Many of the incidents are classic PDE and NDE fare, so there is no reason to question or doubt all of what is described. There are some persistent Lerma themes that come through the “angels” in the second book. One is the pre-birth covenant in which people agree to suffer and die to aid the enlightenment of mankind and the salvation of souls. Another is the need for self-forgiveness and self love (as opposed to forgiving and loving others, which of course he would also espouse). The angels apparently have a lot to say on self-forgiveness.
Then there is the theme, mentioned at least four times in the book, where our lower selves must discover our higher selves and the two must be united. That is what Jesus meant (in Lerma’s interpretation) wherever two or three of you are gathered together, I will be in the midst. The two are the higher and the lower self. I cannot begin to accept that New Age proposition as being so important to the angels of God, and I’m sure that that is not what Jesus meant when He talked about two or three being gathered together.
Toward the end of the book, there is another reference to Jesus Christ that takes Him out of the nebulous realm of New Age Christ-force Being of Energy and Light. Lerma tells the story of “Syriana,” a Lebanese girl whose family was bombed in their home during Ramadan. The mother, a sister, and the brother were instantly killed. The father and 15-year-old Syriana survived. But due to exposure to Plutonium shells, she, like many of her playmates, contracted cancer. That is what brought her to Lerma’s hospital and hospice care in Houston.
As her family paused at the gate of eternity, they told her that there was a secret about the One Truth that she would find within. This Truth is something that they had always heard was a lie. She promised them she would never stop looking for it. As a 12-year-old child she had met an entity that she knew as the Prophet Jesus. “He took me into Israel and spoke to me of the richness of the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish faiths.”
This entity continued to guide her in hospice care. At one point, Lerma asked her if she believed that Jesus was the Messiah. She still saw Him as a prophet at that point because He had never told her He was Messiah or the Son of God. She asked Lerma what he thought. He answered, “Syriana, honestly, I will never assume to know what Jesus is thinking or wants.”
Just before she died, Syriana saw Him at the foot of her bed.
“She looked at all of us with tears rolling down her face. ‘Don’t you see him?’ ‘See who?’ ‘Jesus. He said he is Jesus Christ who died for our sins. He was crucified and died for us, Dr. Lerma. Dr. Lerma, when he was washing my feet ever so gently and with a radiating sense of non-condemnation, I felt his wounds. When I looked up to look up at his wounds, I saw all of them. They were not bleeding. They had the whitest light I ever saw radiating from them. Before my daddy died, he told me he saw the light from his wounds as well. He is standing in front of all of us now. He is all white, and the angels, my family, and the other prophets are now singing to him. Oh my! He is God! The one God! My God! I’m so sorry, God! I’m so sorry!’” (p. 217)
Well, if that story is true, that certainly should close the book on who Jesus is. And if that doesn’t do it, the New Testament says the same thing.
However, there is a story about the UFO crash in Roswell, NM in 1947 that undermines the credibility of Lerma’s other stories. A Col. Marsh Bradfield wound up in his care as he died. Because death was imminent, he was ready to tell the story of his experience at Roswell, NM when the saucer crashed. He was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, but he was visiting family on the 4th of July. There were thunderstorms in the region. On the morning of July 5th, Mac Brazel showed up at the Bradfield door to announce that something weird had occurred on his ranch. The two of them drove out to the crash site, arriving just and the Army did. There was time, however, to put some of the pieces together to get a better idea about the symbols. There was one symbol that they recognized. It was the German Iron Cross which was found on Nazi military vehicles and aircraft. The Army then began a disinformation campaign to convince the public that this vehicle, an experiment concocted by imported German scientists, was actually from another world.
I’ve been reading about Roswell for decades. I don’t recall anyone mentioning that such a symbol was found among the wreckage. Furthermore, the Army tried to make the public believe that this other-world incident was really a weather balloon. They’ve been trying to explain it away ever since 1947. I suspect that this tale is total BS, but just in case I know who to call on to check it out. Stanton Friedman, a physicist, ufo researcher, and columnist for the Mutual UFO Network would know of this situation if it ever existed.
In the meantime, there is so much in Lerma’s books that I want to believe. I really would love to pass this book out to all my friends and family as a definitive commentary alongside the Bible as a guide to what the afterlife is really all about. But I keep recognizing things that one would find in books about our quantum universe, remote viewing, ufo contactee lore in which our DNA is evolving to a higher consciousness, things I heard from Don Ware when I wrote the Gulf Breeze Six story, thing from Robert Monroe, things from New Age and reincarnation stories. It’s quite a spiritual, consciousness-raising casserole.
Yet, how could someone who is trying to make the world a better place make this stuff up? Wouldn’t you reap a karmacopia of bad energy? When all is said and done, I don’t know what to think about Dr. John Lerma. I do know I won’t be giving his books to friends for Christmas.
Here is Dr. Friedman's quick response:
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Sources: Wayne Weible, Medjugorje the Message and Medjugorje the Mission. www.medjugorje.com. http://www.unknowncountry.com/journal/white-house-says-were-alone-so-whats-going#ixzz1dKiU8thpv
The quote below from Whitley Strieber’s recent journal is not added here to suggest that Mary is an alien (nor to deny it) but to suggest that apparitions of Mary are part of our strange paranormal/spiritual/miraculous universe. They should not be ignored.
“Everyone involved in these denials [of ufo and abduction phenomena] is an oppressor of the human spirit, and as life on earth becomes more and more difficult, their presence in leadership is going to become harder and harder for people to bear until, in the end, there will be an explosion against it, and whatever is known behind the scenes will finally be revealed. I would not be surprised if it involves a secretive ET presence here. But I would also not be surprised if it turns out that ET is NOT here, and that the origin of the strange phenomena that we see all around us is very much stranger.”
Why investigate Mary?
I want to look at the phenomenon from all sides, pro and con, but first I want to emphasize that these events, which have taken place since the sixteenth century, are Earth shaking, global, and, for better or worse, paranormal/spiritual in nature. I do not believe for a second that they are hoaxes.
Furthermore, it’s very easy for everyone on Earth who is not a Catholic to compartmentalize away these apparitions and just pretend they never happened. Don’t read about them. Don’t think about them. We do that with things that are beyond all possibility of comprehension. Understanding the Mary phenom, or at least noting its influential and mysterious existence, is important. And I have to admit that with all my study, I don’t have all the answers. I only have lots of questions.
Whole books have been written about all of the apparitions. Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico swept thousands of Native Mexican Indians into the Catholic Church and also rebuked the hubris and vanity of the oppressive church officials from Europe. After reading the story, I stomped around for an hour telling God that if He didn’t arrange that situation, He should have. It was something that the Earth was crying out for. It was a huge slap in the face to all that was going wrong in the European culture and the Catholic Church.
A rather ecumenical Mary
In this post, however, I want to address the most recent apparitions which began in the Croatian city of Medjugorje. In 1981, Mary and the infant Jesus appeared on Podbrdo Hill to several teens of the rural village. Six of them became regular visionaries. Word spread quickly, changing the city’s destiny, and later appearance, forever.
Mary’s messages were fairly simple. Pray, pray, pray. Pray the rosary, pray at home with your your kids, pray for peace. Prayer and fasting can stop wars and suspend laws of nature. The way to conversion is through prayer, fasting, and penance. Confess your sins. Give yourselves wholly to God, to Jesus her son, and to her Immaculate Heart and her message.
She seemed to know that bloody, tragic war was on the horizon and had a plan to mitigate it or stop it altogether. But of course, her nemesis Satan was always on the prowl and was trying to thwart her plan, so that aspect of her plan was not successful. From the Balkans to the Soviet Union to the Middle East, war was lurking at the gates and hasn’t ceased even today.
She had some things to say that I found really surprising. (I use the word “she” with a grain of salt because in the spirit realm, what you see is not always what you get.) She verified that she cannot heal. Only God heals. People should pray to Jesus rather than to her. Hell is only for people who are exceeding wicked and really don’t want anything to do with God. Their rejection of Him is total. Most people go to Purgatory. Many are released from there on All Saints Day or on Christmas. Some people in Purgatory who pray a lot are allowed to communicate with the living.
To get to heaven, just live a simple and good life. No one has to do great penance or have a great amount of faith. (She didn’t say you have to be Catholic.) Every home should have one sacred object. Homes should be blessed regularly. (Any Christian who studies ufos or alien abduction could understand why ‘she’ might encourage that.) Respect all religions. Not all are equal, but “people of all religions are accepted by her son.” Basically, religions are similar. This is a crucial statement in a region where Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslims kill each other on a regular basis (See Medjugorje the Message, Chapter 7).
The end of the world as we know it?
She also seemed to hinting at a future apocalypse of some kind. She had 10 secrets to give to the 6 visionaries. The first ones were personal. The 7th was quickly done away with through prayer and penance of the people. The last 3 were serious global judgments would occur close together. They could not be prayed away, but could be lessened. Each visionary was to select a priest to share these last secrets with when the time came for them to occur. I assume that the purpose of the sharing is to verify that the event is God’s prophesied judgment rather than just a natural occurrence. As the secrets come to pass, people of the earth will have to convert quickly or perish. It sounds as if more will die than be left alive.
Medjugorje and today’s charismatic movement
There were miracles. Silver rosary chains would turn to gold, sometimes while in the pocket, sometimes while the rosary was being used. The sun would dance and spin as it did in Fatima; people would be miraculously converted; some were healed of dread conditions; the ethnically diverse and scrappy city quit growing tobacco as a main crop; ethnic clashes diminished; people called into Mary's service would sometimes hear a gentle, guiding voice that corrected them like a mother corrects a child; obstructive difficulties were dealt with in miraculous ways.
Many of the priests favoring the Medjugorje apparitions are charismatic, believing in the gifts mentioned in the Bible such as healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues. They are full of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. So the Medjugorje tree has produced lots of good spiritual fruit. Many Catholics have been renewed in their faith and are living better lives.
Silver chains turning to gold is not much different than some very convincing Evangelical claims that gold crowns appear in the mouths of the needy. Gold dust appears on this speaker, that one finds manna in his Bible, feathers fall from the ceiling and gems are found on the floor. And of course, there are exorcisms and healings in the Pentecostal world. Everyone agrees that the greatest miracle is when lives are changed. Forgiveness replaces hatred, violence turns to peace. These things happen all across Christendom.
The nagging concerns
I would rather cut my hand off than speak a word against something that God really approved of. I would feel awful if I dismissed this whole affair as satanic, then got to heaven and found out that in my narrow, doctrinaire viewpoint I had trashed an important work of the Holy Spirit on Earth. After all, Mary made it clear that she cannot just make her own plans. She cooperates with the will of God.
But there are questions. Nagging concerns. Biblical passages to look at. Connections with Fatima. The Part II post will deal with those concerns, but gently, because the Medjugorje apparitions have born much good fruit and have not belabored the people with a load of dogma and superstition.
Part III will deal with the apparitions of Bayside, New York. When we get there, stand back. I have no hesitation as to what to say about that event.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I am not a nutrition expert, so I do not guarantee the accuracy of what is written below.
For the past several years I have been trying to deal with the weight I’ve gained since the mid-90’s when I was an aging seminary student. As a result, I’ve read bits and pieces here and there about the science of eating, weight gain, and dieting. It’s a grim pursuit. There is nothing but bad news to report, with the exception that early in the morning there are lots of slender elderly ladies exercise-walking at the local mall. Of course, it’s the light weight ones with white hair who are still walking in their seventies and eighties. The heavy ones are using walkers.
So, what do I think I have learned?
Well, people who carry their weight lower down need a low-fat diet and people with all that dangerous toxic fat around the middle need a low-carb diet. So sez Dr. Oz.
The expert lady on the car radio said that when you lose a lot of weight, your metabolism slows down. We all knew that, but what I didn’t know is that it slows down forever. For the rest of your life. The more you yo-yo, the worse it gets. Once you get to the same weight as your friend who was never on a diet, you will have to eat less than him or her forever to maintain your weight loss.
And of course, you have to eat less as you age anyway, because the aging process turns muscle to fat. We all know that muscle burns more calories than fat. That’s why men use more calories than women. That and the fact that women have five times more fat cells than men. O yes and the fact that their fat cells are bigger. But what is fairly new in the you-don’t-want-to-hear-this department is that fat cells, when they sense a consistent negative calorie input, fight back with enzymes that tell you that you are hungry and you need to eat eat eat.
If you eat until you are full and you stretch your stomach, your stomach sends a famine message to your body to store what you ate as fat.
If you try try try to eat less and you get hungry and your stomach starts to growl, your body makes an enzyme called grehlyn (sp?) which tells your metabolism to store what fuel there is as fat.
If you go to bed a little calorie starved because you don’t want to sleep on those carbs, your liver will make up for it by shooting stored carbs into your system while you sleep. That produces insulin just as if ate a jelly donut. Insulin produces fat.
If you go more than 5 hours without eating anything, your liver produces the fuel, which produces the insulin, which calls for fat storage.
If you are stressed, even about your struggle to lose weight, your body produces cortisol, which sends the message to your metabolism to store fat around the waist. So quit stressing about your flippin’ weight!!
The gurus used to tell us that it’s all about calories, so just make a simple adjustment on your diet and do everything else the same. The negative calories will add up and you’ll start to lose weight. Simple math. But it’s not simple math. Your body is not a computer. It’s an organic, responding, changing, morphing, pouting, adjusting, subversive chemistry factory that knows that famine is coming and the Huns are at the gates and you need all your fat cells to bring the hay into the barn. Your body doesn’t know about your bridge club and your Facebook account.
Furthermore, all those fat cells are a toxic waste dump. They store nasty, gooey things that mayhap will be released into your body if you do manage to shrink them a little.
So what’s the solution?
Quit dieting. Change the way you think about food. Change the way you eat, but make it a life change and not a diet, so make it be something you can live with forever. Don’t be thinking you only have to survive it for 3 weeks.
Lose the weight slowly. Firmly explain to your body you are not dieting and hope it believes you.
Don’t give up sweets and goodies altogether, but seriously reduce carb and sugar spikes. Don’t wait until you are 50 years old and are becoming insulin resistant to start that habit.
Eat breakfast, but make it a complex carbohydrate rather than the jelly donut.
Eat more often, but make it be less than a meal.
Put the cookies and cake in the freezer. Eat salad for dinner. Eat your heavy meal in the middle of the day. Go for the fiber. Even if you are young.
Don’t give up all carbs. Just eat less of them. Eat more protein. Have a protein shake.
Have a piece of meat or cheese before you go to bed.
Take a vitamin with iodine in it. Your thyroid needs iodine.
Drink a couple glasses of ice water each day.
Be a little more physically active. (Yeah, right. Easy to say.)
Last of all, have a happy life-change. I hope you are better at following all of this great advice than I am.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
A friend of mine sparked this post by sending me a flyer which advertises educational material published by an organization called Answers in Genesis. They offer seminars, DVDs, books, and have built a Creation Museum. My evangelical friends and I will never agree on the amount of time God spent in creating our beautiful and breathtaking earth, but one thing we have in common is that God’s hand was in all of it. For many reasons, I cannot accept a literal six-day creation. Here is just a few of them. (I tried hard to keep it as short as possible.)
When Genesis 1 and 2 were written down, probably in the tenth century (although we really don’t know when), Hebrew was already a newish language, emerging from Canaanite, Eblaite, and Sumerian, and the Israelites were emerging as a coherent people and state unto themselves. Genesis 2 describes an era in history that was not only pre-Hebrew, it was pre-Sumer. It was pre-historic, pre-writing, pre-walled cities. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have spoken Hebrew. If indeed they were real historical characters, they weren’t Jewish. There was no Jewish.
Nor were they cave people or hunter-gatherers. They lived in the Age of Copper (c. 4000 BCE), when smelting, pottery, animal husbandry, irrigation, and agriculture were still relatively new and exciting innovations. Although serpents and dragons are sometimes depicted on the pottery that has survived since early times, there are no T-Rexes or brontosaurs. There is a vivid carving of a man being killed by a lion, but not one of a child being eaten by a raptor. There are hundreds of species of dinosaurs all over the globe. There are no human or mammal bones in the same fossil layers, nor cave drawings of a stegosaurus.
But there were cave people and hunter-gatherers before there was animal husbandry and agriculture. And Cain, banished from his own family unit, was afraid of being killed by a different and primitive ethnic group that would not recognize who he was.
Now let’s look at the 3 major creation stories in the Bible and compare/contrast them. I’m going to say something shocking here, but bear with me until I can explain. Everyone says, “But Genesis 1 is God’s holy word. How can you deny the authority of God?” Here’s the thing. Genesis 1, isolated from all other Bible Scripture is not God’s word. My finger is not me. A broken egg, some flour and sugar is not a muffin. God’s mind is revealed in all of the Bible taken together, and understood within the historical context out of which it all came.
A skill in understanding the languages of the Bible doesn’t hurt. The thing that is so miraculous about this debate is that so many are so expert about so much that they know so little about.
First let’s look at Genesis 1 versus Genesis 2. I first studied Hebrew at the kitchen table of a dear Rabbi in Lexington, Kentucky. After a year, Rabbi Schwab challenged me to start reading and translating from Genesis 1:1 and see how far I could get. He sat and listened as I read to chapter 4 or 5. But as I read, something dawned on me. The names of God changed from chapter to chapter. I had always argued emphatically that the scholars who claimed that there were several different documents in the early chapters of Genesis were irresponsible evil-doers who didn’t care if they destroyed people’s faith.
At one point, I quit reading and said aloud, “The scholars were right. There are three documents here.” Now I realize that the real evil, or rather tragedy, is the lack of diligent study among evangelicals conjoined with a vociferous certainty that the Bible is easy to understand and it’s the scholars and scientists who don’t get it.
So, in Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, God’s name is always Elohim. The phrase “heaven and earth” are always in that order. Genesis 2:4 is a bridge verse between what came before and what came next. In 4a the name is still Elohim, and heaven still comes before earth, but the concept of “the generations of” is introduced. In 4b, the name changes to Yahweh Elohim, and earth is placed before heavens. Although there are significant differences between the two passages, the author is tying them together without trying to reconcile all the statements. That is because each passage has a theological point to make, and each is considered sacred in its own right.
Genesis 1 is very exalted in tone, very organized, and poetic. Genesis 2 is more of a narrative that is almost casual about the order of creation.
In Genesis 1, the land, sea, sun, stars, trees, etc. were all in place when Elohim created man and woman. In Genesis 2, God created mankind first, because there was no need for herbs, rain, or plants if there was no one to till the soil. So mankind was created to be a tiller of the soil. The harbinger of his creation was a mist rising out of the ground to water it. God was making the ground tillable for the planter-to-be. The time-frame is difficult to picture because the progression of what really came first or second in this passage or how long it took isn’t that important. What is important is that after God made the man, he planted a garden with no reference as to how long it took to do so. He didn’t “create” the garden or “form” it, he “planted” it. That could take some time.
In Genesis 1, the man and the woman were “created” on the same afternoon. All of the land species, including dinosaurs I presume, all of the insects, the ecosystems that work together and are dependent on each other, were all swept into existence out of nothing. In Genesis 2, the man is “formed” from the mud of the newly watered and viable earth. He is alone long enough to study the behavior of animals and realize that he is unique in being one of a kind. He is alone long enough for God to declare that he needs a mate.
In Genesis 2 Adam is put into the Garden twice. In v. 8 God “puts” the man whom he had formed into the Garden. In v. 15 he “settles” the man in the Garden to till it and keep it. In between, the entire Tigris-Euphrates Valley with the two rivers and mineral resources has been described. Adam has to learn about all the flora and fauna of his environment. This could take some time. Finally Eve is “formed” (not created) from his rib.
The third part of the creation story is in Psalm 104. This psalm has a different agenda, but is clearly tied to Genesis 1. Unlike Genesis 1, however, mankind, beasts, and created environment are all rolled together, mutually supportive and all acknowledging the sustaining power of the Creator.
And that is the important message of these three inspired creation narratives. Psalm 104 ties it all together with God’s benevolent care over all creatures being the central theme. God dwells IN his creation, he sees it all, he made it all to work together. If we come away with that message, we will do well. If we carp over inerrant portions of this or that, we actually dilute the whole point and drag the Judeo-Christian reputation into a slough of scientific absurdities.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
The Gulf Breeze Sightings, Part 6, The Ouija Predicts the Coming of the Anti-Christ (And Other Disasters)
In the last blog post, I wrote about Vance Davis’s dream of confronting Satan in a webby, spooky cave. The dialogue between the two was like something out of a George Lucas film:
I felt a strength and resolve come over me that I had never felt in real life. I created a glowing ball of white energy in my right hand and threw it at this being. It hit him squarely in the chest and tossed him across the room. He ricocheted off the wall and hit the floor. The energy had clearly stunned and hurt him, but he rose to his feet.
“They have allowed your training and powers to come to earth with you, Old One,” he growled, “But it is not enough. Now it is time to die!”
Red balls and white flew back and forth until Satan was about to deliver the fatal coup de gras. Suddenly the Jesus entity appears and Vance is delivered by wielding his name.
There are various possibilities as to the source of this dialogue. Vance may have written it himself, or it may have come from God to arm him with his best weapon against dark forces, or it may have come from the Enemy to pump up Vance’s ego and prepare him to view himself in later years as a chosen, End Times warrior. Later, when entities claiming to represent heavenly forces speak through the Ouija, Vance can look back and think, yes, I was chosen for this moment even from my youth. Now it all makes sense.
And thrown into the mystic casserole are notions of the pre-existence of the soul, the age-old war in the heavens (a very biblical concept), and warrior spirits that incarnate to join The Last Battle. If Vance really didn’t make up this dream script himself, it’s quite an ego booster. It seems a little odd that if Vance has incarnated for that battle that the Apostle Paul, the 4 Gospel writers, and Timothy are left incarnate, to talk to a group of young, theologically untrained, spiritually naïve cryptographers through a Ouija Board.
Channeling and Disaster Predictions
Almost every nationally known channeler or fortune teller begins their enterprise by making some exceedingly accurate predictions. Jean Dixon predicted JFK’s assassination. It did no good, of course, because no one listened. But she hit enough bull’s eyes to garner national attention. In the end she became hyper-mystical, and her predictions became less accurate. She predicted that a comet would hit the earth in 1985, which didn’t happen.
Edgar Cayce predicted that Japan would sink into the sea and Atlantis would arise, and the poles would shift. One thing that every abductee researcher notices is that aliens manipulate their contactees with predictions of horror. Ninety-four percent of all humans will be eaten. There will be a nuclear war by such and such a date. Earthquakes, floods, alien invasion… you need us. Without us you will not survive.
The entities of the Board knew how to gain Vance’s attention and possibly that of government administrators. They predicted an earthquake in Iran in which over 300,000 would be killed. It happened. They predicted a terrorist bomb in New York (the first World Trade Bldg bombing, the Gulf War, the break up of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, and the European Union, all of which happened. They warned of danger to a shuttle mission, which may have saved it from exploding.
These are the kinds of nuggets that the CIA eats for breakfast. Presidents thrive on it. The channeler of such tidbits becomes an overnight celebrity. The entities actually know the future and seemed willing to share it with us for our benefit. They were the good guys, the ones we could work with and count on.
What lies ahead? What lies!
It’s really hard not to get sucked into a drama like that. Do I think the Gulf Breeze Six were dumb to believe the entities of the Board? Not at all. The spirits knew everything about all of those young people. They knew their past, their future, what to say, which buttons to push. They supported their cause with signs and wonders. They were really good at what they did.
Some predictions were exaggerated. For instance, when they were told to go AWOL, they wanted to go to California. Safire vetoed that because in 1996 there would be an earthquake in Los Angeles measuring 14.6 (if the scale went that high, which it doesn’t). Seattle? Nope. There would be earthquakes there and then Mt. Rainier would blow between ’93 and ‘95. East coast? Nope. Earthquakes there. New York would suffer a bad one, destroying a portion of the city (p. 113).
None of those events came to pass. In 1994 southern California had the North Ridge quake, which was registered as 6.7/6.9. Because the quake occurred at 4:30 a.m., only fifty-seven people died. Many more would have been killed had it happened later. It was a terrible event, with billions in damage, but it’s what California does. It doesn’t mitigate any damage to lose sleep because of a half-baked, unverifiable prediction.
Other predictions: THE US STOCK MARKET WOULD CRASH. IT WILL RISE TO 4000 BEFORE THE EVENT. MARTIAL LAW DECLARED IN ALL MAJOR CITIES LIKE NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, CHCAGO, PUTTSBURGH, ETC. GOVERNMENT CLOSES BORDERS WITH CANADA AND MEXICO. U.S. AIR SPACE RESTRICTED. 1 AIRLINER SHOT DOWN, 302 PEOPLE LOST. A MAN WILL DECLARE HIMSELF TO BE MESSIAH IN 1998. Etc.
The poles will shift, 50 scientists will go missing, special people will emerge around the world to teach truth by 2000. The seven thunders of the Bible will be revealed. The New World Order will be the new religion. Upheavals of the earth near Florida would reveal lost cities. Bible treasures would be found [like the ark of the covenant perhaps?]. A meteorite will hit the Pacific Ocean by 2005, causing significant damage and flooding (They didn’t mention Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans nor the 2004 9.1 off Sumatra.)
Anti-Christ on the Horizon
The most compelling prediction, besides that they had to leave Germany because a bloody war would soon break out between Europe and the U.S., was that the Anti-Christ would arise in Europe, start a new religion, and establish the New World Order. The Six were all chosen to be warriors in this End Times scenario.
A final letter was dictated from the heavenly messengers. Each one took turns adding something. Just a taste of what was said:
From Mark, “If you listen to this letter…you who claim to be of Christ our Lord…then you will harken unto these words that follow…then leave all and search for the elect and their followers as they are of Gods chosen leaders…”
From Simon Peter, “This is but the last warning from us that teaches of Christ without bloodshed…the elect were chosen…but volunteered when the world was new…follow those that are humble in spirit but ferocious in Christs words…You of the world listen carefully…the time is now to wake up your spirits and heed the warning…I am the last to speak to you ever…now the elect take over the mission of the apostles…God speed.”
From John, “And it was said in the end that a great shout would be heard around the land…then all would see the trembling of the great king of whore…then from the back cometh a great cry of the chosen of God and the mighty warriors led by them….from the earth cometh the elect to render the great king a murderous heart toward the one called Jesus…” etc.
And so, goaded by pleas allegedly from on high, the intrepid group made their plans. With the help and encouragement of sweet Mary and the boys from the Bible, they headed off to Atlanta and the rest of their lives.
I can’t hardly blame them, considering who they were and what they knew. They were trying to do the right thing. They just fell into a really slick, well-played demonic scam. Nothing useful will ever come through a Ouija Board. What really would have helped the Twin Towers and the city of New Orleans is if the people in power had gotten off their ignorant, self-interested behinds and listened to the experts who were predicting those disasters based on solid information. Neither disaster had to happen.