Showing posts from April, 2009

Devotional Thoughts: He will bring justice ...

Job 35 ...

Elihu continued ...

Then Elihu said:
Do you think it is right for you to claim,
‘I am righteous before God’?
For you also ask, ‘What’s in it for me?
What’s the use of living a righteous life?’

As you can see, am using a more contemporary translation today!

Elihu seemed to be putting up a bit of a straw man here. I don't know if Job has gone this far. I guess I'd summarize Job's situation as, I'm not perfect, without sin, but I've tried to live rightly and right now it seems that whether I live right or not, I'm suffering!

I will answer you
and all your friends, too.
Look up into the sky,
and see the clouds high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect God?
Even if you sin again and again,
what effect will it have on him?
If you are good, is this some great gift to him?
What could you possibly give him?
No, your sins affect only people like yourself,
and your good deeds also affect only humans.

Elihu seemed to ove…

Science: Swine Flu 2009

The "swine flu" started hitting the news about a week ago.

As someone working in medical research, I have followed the story with some interest reading what what I find and talking with clinical people.

Key ideas to keep in mind:

How transmissible is this variant?

Generally, flu moving directly from an animal to a human is usually pretty difficult but it does happen. That was a big fear a few years back with the Avian Flu and thus the mass culling of chickens in various countries. Flu viruses are sometimes a mix and matches of flu viruses found in pigs, birds and humans. Some strains are more readily transmitted from person-to-person but usually lose some of their severity with increases in transmissibility. It appears that this strain can spread from person-to-person fairly well.

How severe is this strain?

The Spanish Flu from World War I killed more people than the war! People were literally dropping dead in the streets. So far, there is no indication that this strain i…

Culture: Will Lyman's Voice

Does that voice sound familiar?

Its amazing how many different places you hear this guy's voice. You have heard it on many PBS documentaries and various commercials.

In case you are curious, he is Will Lyman, the man with the world's most distinctive voice!

UPDATE: In the TV ads, the "most interesting man in the world" is played by Jonathan Goldsmith. HT: Everything's Better With Brentter. More thoughts on the ad campaign from Salon's Seth Stevenson.

Politics: How far do you go to protect the nation?

24 is a fictional show.

The show has always asked the question directly and indirectly, how far should one person and one government go to protect its citizens?

We are now watching that issue play out in the real life debate with the recently released memos from the Bush administration that authorized aggressive (some say torture) interrogations of terrorists.

Hugh Hewitt points to this NY Times piece that frames the issue clearly. Excerpt:For both sides, the political stakes are high, as proposals for a national commission to unravel the interrogation story appear to be gaining momentum. Mr. Obama and his allies need to discredit the techniques he has banned. Otherwise, in the event of a future terrorist attack, critics may blame his decision to rein in C.I.A. interrogators.

But if a strong case emerges that the Bush administration authorized torture and got nothing but prisoners’ desperate fabrications in return, that will tarnish what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have claimed as their g…

Non-profit of the Month: March 2009 - Mt. Hermon and Hume Lake Christian Camps

For many years, I was involved with West Coast Chinese Christian Conferences. It is still actively providing opportunities for Christians of Chinese ancestry to learn more about their faith.

The Conferences that I attended were held either at Mt. Hermon or Hume Lake.

These place will provide the facilities for your church group, organization or in the case of WCCCC multiple church groups so you can concentrate of developing the program for the retreat. And of course, these wonderful people run great camps for young and old where you just show up because they take care of the facilities and the program!

There is just something special about getting away from the big city to reflect on faith, to hear good teaching and to share life with others on the journey.

Non-profit of the Month: April 2009 - Autism Speaks

One of my friends is participating in Walk Now For Autism this Saturday. It is a fundraiser for Autism Speaks.

Their mission:We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.1 in 150 kids are diagnosed with some form of autism.

Please consider supporting this group or others like it!

LA Scene: Salonen Farewell Concerts

I've been a subscriber since 1999. While on a European vacation in 1999, I attended two orchestral concerts (Prague and Vienna) and an opera (Vienna). When I got back, I figured, we got our own world class organization in LA, why not subscribe?

And so began my personal experiences with Salonen's gifts. Not being a music expert, I simply enjoyed the music and the creative programing of Salonen who often paired familiar works with newer works. I had been told that the Dorothy Chandler was not a great acoustic environment. I felt it was cavernous and the orchestra always felt a little "small" even though it was so big. But I enjoyed the music anyway!

When time came to renew my subscription to the Phil when they moved to Walt Disney, the price went up and for a moment I hesitated about renewing. I decided to renew. As a reward for "my faith," my first concert there I got to hear Rite of Spring in the first of the ultimately ill-fated programing experime…

Movies: Well sort of ... can't wait until Star Trek

Until then ...

Yup, I'm a nerd.

Devotional Thoughts: Should one who hates justice govern?

Elihu continued in Job 34 ...

Elihu further answered and said:
“Hear my words, you wise men;
Give ear to me, you who have knowledge.
For the ear tests words
As the palate tastes food.
Let us choose justice for ourselves;
Let us know among ourselves what is good.

As a tangent, I can't but help but feel that in today's society, words seem to mean less. It is so easy to send an email where it is informal, casual and often filled with misspelled words and poor grammar. I'm guilty of this. Or text messaging where everything is truncated into short hand abbreviations and other moves to say keystrokes.

Elihu, agree or disagree with him, recognized that words have weight.

For Job has said, ‘I am righteous,
But God has taken away my justice;
Should I lie concerning my right?
My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
What man is like Job,
Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity,
And walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits …

Politics: Tomorrow is Tax Day

I got the following press release (see below) in my email box.

When I blog on political matters, I tend toward the center-right, thus, they figure I'd be sympathetic to the cause.

It would seem that people across the USA are planning on Tax Day Tea Party Protests. It will be interesting to see how much support the rallies garner and what the main stream media coverage will be like. As for me, I'll be at work that day so I can pay my taxes ...

Friends! Brethren! Countrymen!
“By Land and By Sea” South Bay Tax Day Tea Party Protest
Dockweiler State Beach (off Imperial Highway), El Segundo, CA
April 15, 2009 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
El Segundo, CA April 7, 2009 – The South Bay Tea Party, a bipartisan group of concerned local citizens working in conjunction with the national FreedomWorks organization, invites all residents of the South Bay and its neighboring communities to join us on Wednesday April 15, 2009 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m at Dockweiler State Beach to peacefully …

Life: Where do we find such men?

Stunning and swift end to the Maersk Alabama story.

Navy snipers killed the 3 pirates and thus freed Capt. Phillips on Sunday.

Excerpt:The on-scene commander gave the shooters approval to open fire after seeing that "one of the pirates had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," Gortney said.

Seas in the area were getting rough at the time of the rescue, Gortney said, and the Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat presumably to calmer waters with a towline about 82 feet long.

A senior defense official told CNN that each pirate was shot in the head.

After the shooting, special operations personnel shimmied along the tow rope to ensure the pirates were dead and freed Phillips, the official said.

The official added that the pirates had become increasingly agitated over the past day, and negotiations were not going well.

The fourth pirate was aboard the Bainbridge most of the day and told military negotiators that he wasn't going back to the other pirates, according to a defense o…

Devotional Thoughts: Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!

Mark D. Roberts discusses why the Resurrection matters.

Here is an interesting article responding to the charge that the Gospel accounts must be wrong because Jesus died too quickly.

If Jesus stayed locked in death, no one would care about the Gospel stories.

And so the resurrection is everything. And if resurrection were not so, Christianity would be nothing.

Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!

Devotional Thoughts: God does all these things to people twice, even three times

It is Holy Saturday as I write.

In the season of remembering what Jesus did on the Cross, Holy Saturday is the one I know the least.

In the Southern Baptist church that I grew up in, the special days of these season we marked were Palm Sunday which recalls Jesus entry in to Jerusalem. Good Friday, the day of Crucifixion. And Easter Sunday, the day of Resurrection.

In more liturgical churches, there is also Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. The ashes marked on the forehead in the shape of a cross is a sign of repentance which is an essential element of preparing the believer in remembering the events of holy week.

There is also Maundy Thursday which recalls the last day before the Crucifixion with emphasis on the foot washing of the disciples, the Last Supper, the prayers at the Garden of Gethsemane and the betrayal by Judas.

And lastly, there is Holy Saturday where in the more liturgical churches the services held are very sparse. This is in line with what the disciple…

Life: ... This little chap who follows me

Saw this item over at Bruinsnation with a clip of Coach Wooden reciting a poem as part of a Gatorade ad.

A visit to Wooden's site and a click on the "favorite maxims" tab leads to a menu of quotes of which "the son follows the father" link leads to Coach talking about how he came across the poem.

A google search yields multiple hits on any of the key phrases from the poem.

Here is one of them.A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me.
I dare not go astray,
For fear he'll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whatever he see me do, he tries.
Like me, he says, he's going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see,
That little fellow who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Thru summers' sun and winters' snow.
I am building for the years to be,
In the little chap who follows me.