Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something a little different...

Normally I use this blog as a creative (sorry to my 2 friends who claim writing is not creative) outlet for my random, sarcastic, and occasionally-cynical observations and views of the world. However, today I was reading about Terry Jones and his "Burn a Quran" day and am so bothered by it that I would rather address that.

For those of you who don't know, Terry Jones is a pastor for a small church in Florida who plans to burn copies of the Quran (a book which Muslims revere as sacred and holy) on September 11, 2010. He plans to do this as a form of protest against Islam (he maintains that Islam is a church of the devil) and terrorists.

I find this offensive and intolerant. I am dumbfounded by it on many levels, but the fact is this is completely out of line with the teachings in the bible. In Matthew 5:43-48, Christ states:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Christ spent His time doing good and spreading His message. Not tearing down the beliefs of others. I fail to see what cause Terry Jones believes he is promoting or problem he thinks he is solving with this offensive display.

In the face of criticism over his plan, Mr. Jones said, "How much do we back down? How many times do we back down? Instead of us backing down, maybe it's to time to stand up. Maybe it's time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior."

What does he think we are backing down from? I agree that there are times that we must stand for our beliefs, but I fail to see what beliefs he is standing for by offending hundreds of millions of innocent people.

As a Christian and a member of a church which has faced and continues to face persecution, I would be very offended if the scriptures which I hold as sacred were burned in a self-serving mock-protest.

Two final points:
  • I find it sad and ironic that Mr. Jones hides behind the Constitution and the freedom of speech (which the Constitution ensures) to disparage and disrespect another religion when that same Constitution also guarantees the freedom of religion.
  • It will be a great day when members of society can discuss our difference without responding to hate with hate.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tell Me Lies... Tell Me Sweet, Little Lies

Lately I have been having a numbness problem in my left hand. I lose feeling in my left pinky and down the left side of my hand on a regular basis. I have had the problem for years - I attribute it to an elbow injury suffered in a game of ping-pong in high school, but that is a story for a different blog post - but lately it has come more often, so I figured I would get it checked.

Turns out it is "moderately-severe" pinched nerve (isn't something either moderate or severe?). Nothing super serious; the doctor is supposed to call me and tell me what he thinks we should do next.

During the process, however, I did have an interesting experience. When I went to have the nerve test done, the nurse took me back to the exam room to prep me for the doctor:
Nurse: Have you ever had a nerve test before?
Me: No.
Nurse: Are you nervous?
Me: No.
Nurse: Okay, good, because it is really not that bad. What the doctor is going to do is hook some sensors to you and then give you little shocks. They don't hurt. It can be a little weird, but it doesn't hurt.
Me: Okay
I knew all of that and really wasn't concerned.
Nurse: Also, there is a needle involved... Are you afraid of needles?
Me: No.
Nurse: Okay, good, because it is just a little, tiny acupuncture needle that doesn't hurt at all... Really it is nothing... Not a big deal.
Me: Okay.
Nurse: I mean really, I have never seen anyone even flinch.
At this point I wanted to say, "Alright! I get it - not a big deal. Check." Especially since I don't mind needles anyway.
Me: Okay
Shortly after that, she left and the doctor came in. Everything was going fine; the shocks were nothing. Then the doctor says, "Okay, now I need to use a needle and this is going to pinch." So she sticks the needle in the my arm and it didn't really hurt, but was more than nothing. The really strange part is that you have to flex and relax your muscles with the needle in. Then the doctor move to the next spot on my arm and the next spot and so on. None were painful, but the nurse definitely understated the role of the needle. Finally, the doctor says, "Now, this is really going to be uncomfortable." Then she shoves the needle in the palm of my hand. That one caused a little flinch - which the doctor said was impressive.

However - while the doctor may have thought I did well - as a man, my pride was a little shaken because the nurse said nobody reacts. I don't like to think of myself as a wuss, but I flinched a little.

As I was walking out the nurse saw me and said, "So, how'd it go?"
Me: Not bad at all. Although, you weren't completely forthright about that whole painless needle thing.
Nurse (chuckling): Yeah, but would you rather I did that or made you worry the whole time?
I don't want to hurt you, therefore, I lie to you... Hmmm. That seems like flawed logic to me. What about the fact that I trust the medical profession even less (I wasn't all that trusting of them in the first place, but this didn't help)? Or the fact that I questioned myself? I know, it seems crazy, but it is true; for a moment I doubted my toughness.

Which brings me to my next point:

Spoiler Alert!!
If you still believe in Santa Claus (or the Easter Bunny) just leave now and pretend you never were here.

I am waiting...

Ok, are they gone? Good, it is just those of us who have learned that for the better part of our childhoods our parents lied and misled us. And for what?

There are some who say that kids need Santa to make Christmas fun. Really? Don't kids enjoy their birthdays? Don't kids enjoy any time they don't have to go to school and they get presents? Even without the aid of a fictitious character? Would a child really not be excited to for Christmas if they were taught something along the lines of, "Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth and in honor of His gift to all of us, mommy and daddy (and grandma and grandpa, etc) give gifts to you. Some people say that Santa brings the gifts and that is just their way of celebrating."?

Parents want their children to trust them on everything, but they don't always say trustworthy things. And they teach their kids not to take food or candy from strangers, not to let strangers in the house, and not to go around sitting on strangers laps, yet Christmas and Easter are all about breaking those rules.

I don't see the upside here. I would pay money to see a parent trying to get their son or daughter to do something and this conversation to take place:
Parent: Just do it. You will be fine; I promise... don't you trust me?
Young Child (reluctantly): Yeah right. That is what you said about that whole Santa bit... and look how that turned out for me. I can't believe I was so foolish... a grown man going down a chimney... FOOL ME ONCE!