I know it has been a little while since I posted anything and I apologize for disappointed readers… both of you!
In early September, my father had an accident which resulted in several weeks of him hanging out at the hospital doing physiotherapy and the last few months in a wheel chair. More importantly, because he was the primary caregiver to my mother who was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, his accident required that she be admitted to a nursing home for care. For me, it meant extra duties caring for my father as well as transporting him to visit my mother when I wasn’t at work.
A couple of weeks ago, my mother passed away with my father by her side. After a prolonged battle with this disease for many years, and struggling to breathe through increasing congestion during her final week, she left us and her body is finally at rest. I won’t eulogize her here, except to say there are few women of this generation that could live up to her example. I think part of this had to do with growing up during the depression, and the other part is a mystery.
As a teenager, in the mid to late 1980′s (yes, I am THAT old!), I remember listening to a cassette tape series by Dr. Tony Campolo, a popular christian speaker. Campolo has a number of educational degrees to his credit and no matter how controversial he has become in the Christian community, he is both entertaining to listen to and very motivational… and intelligent.
A lot like me, now that I think of it.
I asked my accountant if he has ever helped people having trouble managing their money and where does he begin? His answer was the same as the advice recommended by other financial experts. Perhaps my accountant should have his own TV or radio show?
Step 1. Set aside one month. Spend your money the way you always would, and use pen and paper to track every single penny that passes through your fingers. Buy your coffee, cigarettes, clothes, rent videos and go to restaurants and cafes. Whatever you normally would buy. You get receipts and write down every transaction for every expenditure every single day. You might be tempted to skip this step and just get on with cutting your spending immediately. But taking this month is good for 2 reasons that came to me.
Do you spend every penny you earn?
Do you have a savings account… with ‘savings’ in it?
What would happen today if you, or someone you loved, needed to go to the hospital and needed money to save their life? Could you help?
There are some people in the online adult chat entertainment industry who handle their money well.
But many do not.
Watching “100 Huntley Street,” an Evangelical Christian TV show in Canada. Moira Brown is interviewing Karen Louise, a women who has taught in China. Ms. Louise shared how she questioned her faith when she was younger and had shared these doubts with a German lady about whether Jesus was the only way to God.
[As an ex-Christian, I am always interested in people's spiritual journeys. And I am always wondering if someone has a better explanation or answers than the conclusions I came to that led me out of my Christian faith. So I was particularly interested in knowing what it was that brought her back from her nagging doubts.]
The German lady, in response to Ms. Louise’s doubts about Jesus being the only way to get to God, said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Well, if there was another way, God would not have sent Jesus to die for us.” The guest, with much emotion, looks to the heavens and says, “YES, YES… that’s right!” And with that, she returned to being a ‘true believer’.
[Outlier - In statistics, an outlier is an observation that is numerically distant from the rest of the data. Grubbs defined an outlier as: "An outlying observation, or outlier, is one that appears to deviate markedly from other members of the sample in which it occurs."]
I may not have mentioned this before, or maybe I have, but a disproportionate number of the models on MFC and other online adult chat sites are from Romania. And when I say a ‘disproportionate’ number, I mean precisely that.
I used to wonder if perhaps this practice of ‘reflective’ or ‘contemplative’ thinking was only practiced by older people, and perhaps the reason why I do it now is that I am just getting old. Or worse, contemplation was for those who could not make up their mind and that I am becoming a wishy-washy liberal guilty of embracing relativism or that every person has their own truth, as it were.
Okay, I have thought about it.
I am more contemplative, true. But the end of my search is fairly clear in my mind: Truth. And if something is “truth” it should be as clear and undeniable as the Earth being round.
Here, then, is the problem: The scientifically proven truth that the earth is round. You see, the idea of the Earth being round was not always understood to be true. At one time many people believed the earth to be flat and that if one sailed off in a ship on the ocean, you might fall of the edge of the flat earth and perish. How did we go from that “truth” to the present view that the Earth is round “truth”?
Is there a Creator?
I know, the question is usually framed differently… “Is there a God?” But what we are really asking is this. Is there something behind all of this? Is there more to this than what we see? Did someone or something create all of this or was it an accident of everything coming from nothing?
Is there a Creator?
If we believe that this world is created, therefore, there is a Creator, then why did the Creator not put a billboard up and have a hand pointing to the sky on the billboard which says, “Made by…”?
But the Creator didn’t do that. He never gave any clear indisputable evidence that he existed, did He? More of an assumption so many years later. Yes, according to Genesis, he talked to people. Today we would put them in mental institutions. (In fact, I should be in one, if that is the case.) Noah did not have a Bible or a list of do’s and don’ts written down in a book or on a leaf. Nor did Abraham. And even the 10 Commandments (or 10 Statements) which came down from a mountain, no one witnessed God writing these, except Moses. And then Moses writes the remainder of these laws and the stories surrounding them in the Torah. A man wrote them, didn’t he, claiming to speak for God? And prophets! They only said what they heard in their heads, didn’t they?
[This post began as a letter to someone who, I felt, deserved an explanation for my behaviour, which might seem a little strange at times. They suggested it be posted and so I rewrote much of it to suit the forum. If it seems a little disjointed, that may be why. But I think it is consistent with everything I have said so far.]
Perhaps I should explain why I think we do what we do.
I grew up being taught that we are born ‘evil’. We called it the ‘sinful nature’ (a natural inclination to do wrong). And we have all inherited this ‘sinful nature’ from the mistake of Adam and Eve in the garden. It is called the doctrine of ‘Original Sin’. It is very hard to get that out of your mind when you have believed it for a very long time. Like a bad virus that you are trying to get rid of. But I do not believe this doctrine any more, but many people still do. So if a person does something bad we want to blame ‘sin’ or the ‘devil’.