Sunday, July 29, 2012

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 3

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus, Himself, used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation.

This time, I want to talk about math class--

When I was a senior in high school, I took pre-Calculus/Trigonometry, which is rather advanced math for high school. In one of my other classes, another senior was talking about her math class. Apparently, they'd gone to the gym to learn about angles of incident/reflection. I'd learned that 3 years before, never having been taken to the gym to learn it.

I realized that we were at totally different places when it came to understanding math. My math papers probably had more letters than numbers, and if I'd shown them to a 3rd grader or even this other classmate, they probably would wonder what I was talking about- "There are no numbers, therefore it can't possibly be math!" But having learned everything up to that point- multiplication tables, division, fractions, algebra, geometry... I understood that sometimes, letters and pictures DO have a place in mathematics.

Unlike in high school, there is no clearly defined hierarchy of spiritual understanding... but I firmly believe it exists. There are churches that teach only the most basic and simple doctrines, ideas, and practices that are required for salvation. There are churches whose teachings are a little deeper, requiring a little more effort to learn, understand, and apply. Then there are churches whose teachings, when compared to the most basic and simple doctrines.. don't even look like the same thing!.... Works and faith really do both have a place in obtaining salvation.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guns, guns, guns!

With the shooting in Aurora CO, there's been a lot of noise about tightening up gun control laws. Yes, the knee-jerk reaction is to reduce the number of guns out there. But that doesn't work. See, criminals, by definition, have little of any regard for the law.

You see, to a criminal, this sign:

 looks an awful lot like:

... or even:

Frankly, I'd be a lot more comfortable in this establishment:
At the same time, there are those who feel that it's dangerous to put guns in the hands of "everyone," because how can we tell who's a crazy and who's not, right? To which, I say:

(found on FB- Thanks to friends who shared and reposted)

I read a story a while back about a Kansas HP traffic stop.
A Kansas State Highway Patrol officer made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS.

The officer asked for her driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to him. In with the cards the officer was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. He looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glovebox.
Something --- body language, or the way she said it --- made him want
to ask if she had any other firearms.

She did admit to also having a 9mm Glock in her center console.

Now he had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse.

He then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked him right in the eye and said, "Not a f*** thing!"
No, I'm not a "Bible-thumping, gun-toting, hating conservative terrorist." But an armed society is a polite society. I want my concealed carry permit, I'm shopping for "the right gun," because I don't want to be just another sheep, a potential victim for any passing wolf.
Labor Day, 2011, "I'm more than a little impressed!"
Edit: This is the gun I wanted for a long time, but it's only a .22- not as much stopping power as I want, but it fits my hand well. If any of my readers know of a gun that fits the hand similar to this.. in a bigger caliber, please let me know.

Edit again: This is why I don't like restrictions on civilian gun ownership... well, a couple of the reasons.
Tyrants do, indeed, enjoy a nation full of unarmed cattle.. er, civilians?

And to bring it a little closer to home...

In conclusion:
"Murder rates in 'gun controlled' areas, such as Mexico and South Africa, are more than twice as high as those in the United States. Conversely, countries such as Switzerland, New Zealand, and Israel, which have household gun ownership rates comparable to those in the United States, have much lower rates of crime and violence."
Markus T Funk, Gun Control and Economic Discrimination: The Melting Point-Case in Point

An armed society is a polite society... and a safer society.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm So Sorry

The tricky part of long-distance relationships is that they're not entirely real.

While Niecy may have different values and standards, there is a lot of truth to what she says... particularly number four:
The relationship isn't really grounded in reality. There are things that can't be seen when your only contact is IM or Skype or phone calls. Sometimes people are less than full-disclosure honest. Sometimes there are behaviors or behavior patterns that can't entirely be understood until lived with. There are some things we don't really know about ourselves, so we're unable to be honest about them.

So what do you do when you relocate and things turn out to be not quite as they appeared? How do you handle it when you love the other person, but you know in your heart of hearts that someone won't be happy.

Prayer. Make sure you check that ending things is for the best.

More prayer. Ask for guidance in breaking the news gently- location, setting, tone, word choice, behaviors.

Do it. Rip the bandage off. Make it as clean a break as you can, and do it as soon as possible- the other party rarely appreciates a pity-lie.

Compassion. Don't be a jerk- be gentle, be patient, don't rub things in their face, and don't cast blame

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I wish things were different. I'm so sorry.