Saturday, May 26, 2007

On Right and Wrong

(I may have discussed this before, but that's the problem with semi-prolific blogging and a 43 year old memory. Things happen - again and again...)

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the fruit of knowledge, they gained the ability to discern right and wrong.

Interesting. What is that? Is that truly a gift we all have or is it perhaps misunderstood? This says that animals don't know right from wrong. On the surface of things, that seems true. But what about pets?

When Grizzly makes lemonaide on my nice wood floor, he "knows" he's done wrong. He certainly avoids me for awhile. Isn't that knowledge of right and wrong?

No, it is not. It is knowledge of consequences to a specific action. If we let him, he'd make the whole house his little-dog's-room (which, come to think of it, he does...) Going inside and outside is no different to him, except inside he gets scolded and outside he gets blissfully ignored.

Knowing right from wrong is different than that. No, cynics, it isn't still fear of what God will do to us, it's more than that.

At least is should be. I'm not convinced for most of us, it is, though.

The Fall tells us two things: There is an Absolute Right, and we are capable of discerning what that is.

It's just that most people don't do it. Instead, too many of us deny an Absolute Right (either literally, as in Atheism; or functionally, as in ignoring it or not getting to it). We do what is "right" when people are looking and whatever we think we can get away with when they aren't.

I can imagine some piety going on now: "I don't do that." Yet you have to ask yourself, do you abstain from wrong because it is wrong or simply because it doesn't interest you? Example: illicit drugs have no interest to me. Getting high, stoned, or messed up is not a good time. As a result, I don't get to "is it right or wrong" because it's just not for me. If it WERE something I enjoyed, would consequences have the higher place in my life before getting to right or wrong? I don't want to get arrested, so I don't do drugs?

So it could be an order problem. What comes first in our consideration? Interest, then Consequences, THEN Right and Wrong? Or is it first Right or Wrong (and therefore nothing that follows matters).

Lack of interest of a thing might be a ditch around that thing. Fear of Consequences could be considered a fence around that thing (as could laws, rules, commands). Evil people might seek to build bridges over the ditch to entice the uninterested in crossing over, and if interest is already there, then we don't need anyone else to entice us to scale our fences...

... but look around that kind of world. Ditches and fences everywhere. That is certainly the Old Testament method, with the Israelites even building fences around their fences.

The New Testament method, though, says to fill in the ditches and tear down the fences. Instead of navigating through life bumping and avoiding; navigate through the knowledge of right and wrong (bolstered by the Grace of God). It makes for a clean landscape and a better journey.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dies at 73

I think the power of the media first truly hit home with me when I saw Falwell on a talk show with a gay woman. I expected fireworks, rudeness, and intolerance. I expected that from Falwell, since the only thing I knew of him was from news reports and people talking about the news reports.

Instead, he was warm, humorous, humble and did nothing but show this woman (who was rude, nasty and arrogant) the love of Jesus. I was impressed, it changed my view of Falwell and humbled me about believing the media.

The next day, the news reports were blathering about how Falwell had been rude, nasty and arrogant to this humble gay woman. That's when I realized the power of the corrupt news media.

Rest in peace, Mr. Falwell.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Firehouse Dog

This was a fun movie, marred only by the boom mike dropping into almost every scene. I hope they didn't pay that sound crew. Otherwise, it was a fun movie.

We saw it at the dollar theater, which means one guy in front of us coughing out a lung, little kids chatting animatedly throughout the movie, and babies being rocked in squeaky movie chairs.

Good family flick, worth seeing. Polling the five children we took with us, one saw the mikes and knew what they were, one saw them and didn't know what they were and none of the boys even noticed them. They could have developed movie star Rexxx a little bit more at the beginning, but otherwise it was pretty good (you have to get through the concept that dogs were movie stars in an otherwise realistic world, but then, the boy and his father never heard of the dog movies, so maybe it was an underground cult thing).

C- sound boom
B+ effects
A- Family film

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I had an interesting conversation with a professional golfer the other day, a woman whose name I forget, in which she literally sniffed at the concept of a freelance writer. She felt competing in golf was a much more difficult task than being a successful writer. Naturally, I disagree.

In golf, the path of success is straightforward. If you're really good, you enter a tournament, and if you win you move forward until you're playing Tiger Woods for best in the world. In golf, the best are the most successful.

In writing, and in art, the best are often unpublished. Stephen King is arguably the best writer in America, not just in sales but also in skill. I'm willing to bet, however, that there are dozens who could be equally great (no, not myself, I have no illusions that I'm anything more than an adequate writer who can't spell), but the process of publication is a mystery to them and so their work never sees the light of a bookstore. Especially today, when new writers often need to bring their gigantic market with them, or they won't get published (publishers say really great writing will always find a publishing house, but even they don't say it with conviction). Have a market and you can get drivel published.

So writing and any of the arts is harder than golf because a golfer needs to know how to golf and a writer needs to know publishing, business, marketing, and last-and-very-much least, writing.

Is this sour grapes on my part? ... yeah, maybe. But it's true.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Well, the family is rolling out of our driveway in a brand new Toyota Sienna. Not a purchase, a rental since I wrecked our old van.

Driving to 10-31 from church, a little silver coup decided to over-steer a lane change into a left-hand turn. Unfortunately, that put him perpendicular to me and we struck him pretty hard. One of the odd things about this kind of accident is that you see the faces of the driver and passenger (both oblivious to my van or the impending collision) as they react to the impact, arms flailing, heads screaming and glass from their blown out windows showering onto our windshield. Scary all around. From my perspective, the car just appeared about twenty feet in front of me, drifting across my path. A thousand thoughts passed through my head between realization and impact - it's amazing how fast the mind works.

My right headlight struck his coup between the front and back driver-side door. They rolled off the front of the van and spun into a deep ditch as I pulled over to the far side of the road. Charli and Aly were both with me (Lynette and Ben had stayed home). No injuries other than seatbelt bruising, as far as we can tell, praise God.

No such luck for the other vehicle. The driver and passenger were taken away in an ambulance. The emergency response was phenomenal, by the way. Ocoee police, fire trucks and aid car all there within ten minutes, all wonderful, calm, helpful and polite. Several witnesses to the accident stopped and helped us, and Mike Y. came immediately to watch over the girls and coach me in the right things to do (I was rattled, and fairly scattered).

The other fellow got out of the hospital the next day. He was fully insured and at fault, so the van is being repaired. Right quarter-panel, bumper, hood, and passenger door were banged up. I'll find out about structural damage today, probably. I'm amazed at how little damage was done to the van from such an impact (the air bags didn't deploy, thank the Lord). Unfortunately,I will be surprised if the other car isn't totaled.

God's grace and provision through this whole accident is abundant. Join me in praising Him!