Tuesday, May 22, 2007

---The Religion Market 

13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.

31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. [d] It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.

35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
d. Exodus 16:31 Manna means What is it? ([NIV text note] see verse 15).
Numbers 21
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, [a] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
John 6
30So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the True Bread from Heaven. 33For the Bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives Life to the world."
[Capitals and emphases added to the NIV text.]
Earlier this year, the History Channel aired an episode of their "Ancient Discoveries" series, entitled "Machines Of The Gods" [The episode summary itself is no longer linked for some reason]. This was pretty provocative stuff. A major conclusion of the presentation is that key foundations of modern engineering, such as the work of Heron in Alexandria in the 1st Century A.D. in pneumatics, hydraulics, and-- amazingly---in the precursors of programmable automata, were sponsored by the religious priesthood of the city for use as "magic tricks" to inspire awe and belief---and contributions---from visitors to their temples.

This is, of course, one of the most fundamental requirements of religion, necessary to prehistoric shamans, Egyptian and Babylonian priests, doubtless unnumbered forms of Eastern and Middle-Eastern religious practice, and the past and present Pontifices Maximae (?) at Rome:
If you want to keep the rubes coming back, you have to bring in a new freak every now and then to freshen up the act.
Thus too, the endless modern processions of blood-weeping and milk-drinking statues, images on screen doors and cavern walls, self-flagellations, and so on and on and on.

It seems that Christianity would be at a severe disadvantage in such a “market”. After all:
Hebrews 13
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Psalm 33
11 ... the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
The manna was given to Israel day after day for forty years. It never apparently came in flavors, or got a new texture, nor was repackaged in any way, and before long they came to “detest this miserable food” God provided for them. Likewise, the “True Bread from Heaven” will never change, and the requirements of the eternal life it gives will never change with the “times”, fashions, or the collective attention span of the world around us. Real Christianity is just plain boring....

...unless, like the apostle Peter, you realize:
John 6
68..."Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
This faith isn’t part of the “religion marketplace”. It is the eternal, unchanging purpose of God to provide permanent Spiritual sustenance for the soul, joy, and peace, through the ministry of Jesus Christ. The longer you’ve been starved by “showmanship”, and “miracles”, or even by receiving nothing at all, the sooner and more desperately you need to receive this food.


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

---Kansas, Schirra Dies at 84, VT, JSC, SRBs Derailed, Postal Religion, Hypernovae 

This weblog is now officially behind the times---about two weeks. Can’t seem to keep up with events.

FOXNews.com[AP]- Deadly Tornado Flattens Western Kansas Town
The scene looks more like the aftermath of the atomic bombings at the end of WWII than a weather event The small town of Greensburg was almost entirely erased Saturday by a gigantic F5 “wedge” tornado estimated to be 1.4 miles wide at the ground Survivors---and dead---continue to be found. Although there were warnings about 20 minutes before the storm struck, many were trapped in their basements under collapsed structures, which included a hospital
Tornado and hurricane seasons are just beginning, and it promises to be a very long year, with many more in harm’s way as it progresses Prayer is indicated.

Spaceflight Now---Mercury 7 astronaut Wally Schirra dies
One of the most colorful and influential of the “old guard” of the U.S. astronaut corps, Wally Schirra has died at 84.

My Way News [AP]- Iraq Students Show Virginia Tech Support
One of the more surprising expressions of sympathy for the tragedy at Virginia Tech comes from university students in Iraq---who ought to know the impact of violence as well as anyone

Florida Today: The Flame Trench: " Griffin memo details tragic JSC shooting"
Yet another mind-numbing tragedy, this one literally just down the street Administrator Griffin’s comments are somehow lacking in depth Maybe it’s just my well-trained distrust of the institution, but I just can’t escape the feeling that we still haven’t heard what really happened here, and why---and probably won’t any time soon.

My Way News - Freight Train With Shuttle Parts Derails
A trestle under repair (!) collapsed under the weight of the train carrying the eight of the infamous SRB segments for future Shuttle launches Moreover, this was apparently the second time the train had derailed in the same trip NASA officials---apparently not finding the events particularly ominous--- are inspecting the segments for damage, presumably with the thought of salvaging them for continued service.

FOXNews.com [AP]- Judge: Keep Religion Out of Post Offices Run By Churches, Contractors
Our criminal justice system is still deliberately trying to miss the point---that the only Constitutional “separation” which applies is that what people say about religion is none of their business:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Spaceflight Now---- Stellar explosion brightest supernova ever seen
If the idea of massive stars collapsing into a tear in space and time wasn’t bizarre enough, there is a stellar fate which might be even worse Astronomers have witnessed the brightest nova ever seen, and interpreted it as the death of an rare and even more massive star The extra mass seems to drive the reactions in the collapsing core even beyond the point of fusion of nuclei leading to iron production, to the generation of matter-antimatter pairs The resulting cataclysm is thought to totally annihilate the stellar corpse, leaving nothing behind but an incredible flash of light and expanding debris
Hmmm---then they talk about one of these hyper-massive stars, Eta Carinae, “only” 7500 light-years away that seems to be entering its death throes....should be a spectacular show.


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