December 16, 2017

Saturday Ramblings – Jan 31, 2015 (Jim Cantore Edition)

1957 Rambler Custom Car in Snow

1957 Rambler Custom Car in Snow

Good morning iMonk community! Pastor Dan is away on a prayer retreat this weekend, so I’m filling in.

And I say, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! We made it through Winter Storms Juno and Kari (reports below), now this weekend we’re facing WS Linus here in the Midwest. Where I live we’ll probably only get a few inches of snow, but anything measurable will far exceed the pitiful dustings we’ve had this winter. I am a four seasons kind of guy, and am hoping for something a little more significant. Plus, I’d really like to take my camera out for some winter wonderland shots.

But wherever you are, and whatever the weather, come on, let’s ramble!

• • •

snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLWe’ll get this first one out of the way . . . fast. Here is my vote for groan-worthy church sign of the week:

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And yes, I am sorry to report that some are making up their own versions of “Christian” songs from this lyric. ‘Cause nothing says “Jesus” better than taking a pop song about a woman’s naughty bits and changing it so that it’s about the Lord. Right? See for yourself . . .


snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLLet’s move on to something only slightly more ludicrous: CBS News reports that plastic surgery for pets is on the rise. That’s right, according to Petplan claims data, U.S. dog owners spent $62 million in 2011 on plastic surgery treatments. And according to the company that makes them, 500,000 male cats and dogs received a new set of “Neuticles” (testicular implants) after having been neutered. Because, you know, Fido and Garfield still want to be playas after the big snip.

To be fair, many of the procedures serve to correct real medical conditions that pet owners didn’t foresee when they purchased the particular breed of dog or cat they chose.

All I know, is that with a product like Neuticles available as a sponsor, there is sure to be a reality show based in Beverly Hills on the horizon.

photos-2015-jan-blizzard-whale-034snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLNext, here’s a report from one of our Northeast iMonks about the big storm this past week. I received the following from Ted who lives on an island off Downeast Maine:

Hmmm.   I won’t say it was a non-event because we did get a foot of snow (I think—there’s bare ground over here and drifts over there) but mostly it was just plain NOISY, cold and drafty, and the living room and dining room windows proved that they’re obsolete (snow between the inner and storm windows).  Gusts to hurricane force at times, and an unofficial report of more than 100 mph. We didn’t lose electricity (yet, and I’m optimistic that we won’t) but I had dug the portable generator out of the corner of my shop just in case, and have plenty of gasoline in Grand-Dad’s old outhouse.  There’s three feet of snow drifted in front of the outhouse door, but it’s the dry and fluffy stuff so even if Grand-Dad were still alive and had to go, or if I needed the gas, it wouldn’t slow us down much. All boats in the cove are OK because a northeast wind puts them in the lee here at Little Cranberry Island—but the day afterward becomes the real test, when the back side of the storm pulls air out of the Arctic and the boats are more exposed.  But, anything in the water in January will be on a pretty stout mooring (mine is 4400 pounds of granite, and I’m serious about having good chain) so it’s rare for anything to go ashore.  The last time a lobster boat went adrift was the Ground Hog Day storm of 1976, although summer boats do go adrift on a predictable basis because summer people don’t really know how to handle boats.  One little yacht went ashore during the 4th of July hurricane last year, but that was excusable—after all, a maple tree got dumped on my roof the same day. The big event of this storm is yet to be determined—whether Triomphe, the dead 36-foot humpback whale that washed ashore Christmas Day, is still down on the back beach in front of the old Coast Guard Station.

In an update, Ted reports the whale is still there, but the wind moved her down the beach a bit (see picture).

snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLsuper-bowl-parties-cheap-potluck-buffetFrom The Salt and other sources, here are a few food facts for Sunday’s big game:

  • Americans will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings while watching.
  • 1.25 billion wings weigh 5,955 times more than the combined weight of the Seahawks and Patriots players.
  • Americans will consume an estimated 325.5 million gallons of beer on the day.
  • With Sunday also being the day the most pizza and tortilla chips are consumed, the average person will consume more than 2,400 calories during the game.
  • This Sunday is the second-largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day.

What are your plans? Is this national holiday one that you observe?

snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLSoviDAmOur friend Randy Thompson gives us another storm report now. Randy lives in Bradford, NH, and here’s how they saw Winter Storm Juno:

I really wish I had something dramatic and first-hand to tell you about the Big Snow Blow we had Tuesday in eastern New England, but unfortunately, this was just another snow storm here in central New Hampshire: Fourteen inches of snow on the driveway to dig and blow. Or, in other words, a two-visits-from-the-plow-guy storm. For the folks south of here, though, it was the weather equivalent of the Left Behind series and a Roland Emmerich movie come true. One of our Forest Haven Board members, Inter-Varsity’s Scott Brill, reported there was over 30 inches of snow in Worcester. Southern New Hampshire got pounded as well, especially around Nashua. Some place in Maine had wind gusting over 70 mph, my wife tells me. However, for you meteorology fans, the big weather news in New Hampshire is always Mount Washington, on top of which blizzard conditions are part of the normal routine. As I write this, the temperature up there is six degrees (F) with 62 mph winds, gusting to 72 mph, which means the wind chill temperature is minus forty-two degrees. For Mount Washington, this is no big deal.

snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcL3d1c6c7abce5fbab02d06a085292b2d394 year old Siegfried Meinstein has a dilemma. NPR calls it “the plight of the living dead.” Nice.

You see, when Meinstein filed his federal taxes electronically last year, the system kicked out his submission immediately. Why? Because he’s dead. At least that what their records say. Einstein’s Social Security number appeared in their records showing just that. So he called Social Security. Not their problem, he was told, call the IRS. So he did. Not their problem, he was told, call Social Security.

On top of that runaround, he then received a notice from the IRS saying that they had $14,000 for him in refunds. Only problem is, said the IRS, we can’t locate your tax forms — you need to submit them.

Cue Joni Mitchell . . .

And the seasons they go round and round 
And the painted ponies go up and down 
We’re captive on the carousel of time 
We can’t return we can only look 
Behind from where we came 
And go round and round and round 
In the circle game

snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcLWinslow Homer A WINTER MORNING, SHOVELLING OUT 1871From her home in Maine, Joanie sent me this nice picture of a Winslow Homer work called, “A Winter Morning Shoveling Out.” However, folks in her neck of the woods apparently didn’t have to do as much of that as they feared:

Hi, Mike. Even though all State offices yesterday (1-27-15) were closed in Maine, where I live in the foothills of the mountains, we didn’t get a lot of snow. At 9 pm last night, it was 6 inches. We will measure it again this morning. We had a lot of wind, though. In Lewiston and Portland, places got 27 inches of snow.  All State offices are open today although some courts are still closed.  A lot of schools south of me are closed today.

[1-28] . . . So, total inches for us was 7 inches!  No photos taken today. I have coworkers further south in Maine still shoveling out at 4 pm today.

If you live where any of these storms has made life more interesting this past week, please let us know. It’s a proven fact that relationships are built through talking about the weather.

Finally, this is just way cool.snowflake-clipart-transparent-background-bcyE66qcL

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This week, Canadian ice climbers Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken became the first to ascend a frozen Niagra Falls. They climbed a 30-foot-wide strip of spray ice that formed along the left edge of Horseshoe Falls, which rises up 150 feet as it straddles the border between the United States and Canada.

Red Bull sponsored the climb, and had intended to keep it secret until after the Super Bowl. But the news leaked out and so the company released the story. Horseshoe Falls is the largest section of Niagra Falls and is considered the most powerful waterfall in the world. As far as anyone knows, it has never completely frozen.

Gadd was one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year and is renowned as an extreme athlete. He said the most difficult challenge of this historic first ascent was not the climb itself, but the year of red tape he had to negotiate to get a permit for the climb.

Even this brief video of Gadd’s climb is breathtaking.

 

Comments

  1. Meanwhile in California we had no storm but could really really use one.

    I am grateful that Christian musicians are the most original, innovative musi…. oh, who am I kidding?
    Did any of the innovators have similar takes on, oh say, Purple Rain when it came out or is this more of a recent thing? (This is what is sounds like when the Lord cries…)

  2. Faulty O-Ring says:

    I didn’t get the Meghan Trainor reference, and had to look it up to understand the joke, but now that I have done so, I see that it is less a “pop song about a woman’s naughty bits” than a catchy anthem of self-confidence aimed at women whose bodies diverge from the mass media-promoted “ideal,” in particular the ample-bottomed.

    • Yeah sorry, FOR. I probably should have just said a song about big sexy butts. That makes it better.

    • Vega Magnus says:

      And we all know that reference to a 2014 hit pop song will NEVER become dated. This is a big reason why pop culture should not be emulated by churches. Pop culture is extremely ephemeral. Any reference you make to it will be dated in six months. You’re cool for a little while, but then you have to go mimic something else once everyone forgets about All That Bass.

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        By then they’ll probably change the sign. Anyway, don’t we still remember “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Hotdog in a Hallway”?

      • Robert Moore says:

        CCM has ALWAYS been derivative, and ALWAYS at least one step behind popular culture (usually two or THREE steps), which is the reason why I stopped listening t the stuff many years ago. I’d much rather liten to the original (and much BETTER) stuff than a weak imitation.

        • A lot of the CCM makes me cringe, because the popular culture music originals come to mind when I hear the derivative Christian stuff.

        • I give CCM a pass on the charge of being “derivative” . Music as a whole is intensely derivative and overall performers have a herd mentality – because people, their consumers, exhibit the same behaviour. Of all the art forms I can image only cinema being more derivative and herd like.

          Mostly I criticize CCM for just not being any good.

          • I’m with ya there, Finn. It’s not the derivativeness that bothers me as much as it’s not very good (which is exactly the same as secular music.)

            That said, there is some good quality Christian music out there.

          • doubting thomas says:

            Not very good????? How can you not like “I fix my eye eye eye on you ou ou ou ou” ?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Caught any clips from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In lately?
        Cutting-edge Hip & Relevant — “GROOVY, MAN!”

        • Actually, yes. And that’s a show that did NOT age well. Ugh.

          • It was not born well, either. Ugh.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Yet Laugh-In never pretended to be anything more than a topical comedy revue. Not the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

            The only thing that ages worse than Over-Relevance is Pretentious Over-Relevance.

  3. 325.5 million gallons of beer on Super Bowl Sunday? That would be about a gallon of beer per American.

    I also read that 5 million new televisions will be purchased, and 7 million people will call in sick to work on Monday.

    • That Other Jean says:

      Somebody is going to have to get roaring drunk to make up for the fact that I won’t be drinking my share of the beer. Somehow, I doubt that statistic.

      • Yeah I had that same thought. There’s no way that’s right. That’s basically every single American drinking a gallon of beer, regardless of age. A gallon of beer is 8 pints. Who’s making up for the millions drinking nothing, and who’s making up for the adults who will just have a beer or two?

        • Me, mostly…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The guys at the sports bar tables in the pizza joint last night were making a pretty good bid for it — as in ordering a pitcher apiece and using the pitchers directly as beer mugs. Loud and drunk; we had to leave fast when they started arguing LOUD about some sports minutiae and it looked like a bar fight was imminent.

          • Why leave fast? It sounds like it was just starting to get good.

          • > Why leave fast? It sounds like it was just starting to get good.

            +1. Sounds like the entire point of sports [violence] was about to come to the fore. Sit back and enjoy the real game.

          • >arguing LOUD about some sports minutiae

            Come now, there is no such thing as “sports ***minutiae***”. It is TRUTH! And TRUTH! is always worth wailing on the other guy – who understands that better than we the religious. 🙂 .

            Beer is the liquid of communion for sports fans, it reveals to them the full shining glory of their truths.

      • Robert Moore says:

        Oh c’mon Jean! Join in! At least 12 ounces won’t hurt. ;

        • That Other Jean says:

          Only if it’s a fruit lambic. I really don’t like hops.

          • My wife is slightly allergic to hops. It makes her neck and face blotchy and itchy. She prefers Redd’s Apple Ale, not too sweet and just dry enough.

      • Does that imply an ethical obligation to imbibe? If you don’t drink your fair share, then someone else will have to make up the difference. Hmmm, not sure it’s a good defense against a public intoxication charge, but it might be worth a shot….

      • “Somebody is going to have to get roaring drunk to make up for the fact that I won’t be drinking my share of the beer”

        Even if its Lite Beer. Ick! But people drink it, for some reason.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Which is worse — Coors or Corona?

          Riding Amtrak back Friday night, there was a hockey game at Anaheim Pond (across the street from the station) and the train was packed like a Tokyo Subway. (I have NEVER seen the Surfliner that packed, only Metrolink Stadium Specials during baseball season at Anaheim Stadium.) Most with a Corona in hand and sounding like they already had a few in them.

          • Coors, without a doubt. Ew.

            The South Short heading out of Chicago after the Cubs get crushed [is there ever any other outcome?] is a great trip. The wailing, sadness, and wild if-only speculations. There is an aspect of a religious pilgrimage to what Cubs fans put themselves though; a pilgrimage to the shrine of a very disappointing god.

  4. Vega Magnus says:

    No snow here in South Carolina. It’s been a bit cold and quite windy, but that’s it.

    Sorry to break the light tone of this week’s Ramblings, but I’d like to discuss something a bit more serious. The existence of hell has become possibly the theological issue that will determine if I bail out on Christianity or not. I cannot serve a God who tosses everyone who didn’t believe in him into eternal torture. My evangelical background that says that God can do whatever he likes to us because we are the created and he is the Creator no longer will suffice as an answer. Also, in all likelihood, vastly more people would end up in hell than in heaven, so who really wins in the end? From a strict numbers standpoint, Satan would win by a lot. Yeah. he’s technically still the loser, but he did enough damage to almost be considered successful regardless.

    On the flipside though, complete universalism seems lacking in justice. On a visceral internal level, it just feels wrong to have people like Hitler and Ted Bundy in heaven. It also doesn’t help that the primary source for supporting universalism I’ve read is someone I don’t at all like. (coughJohnShorecough.)

    And finally, annihilationism seems… kinda hollow. Yeah, no one suffers forever, but they’re permanently dead, so it still isn’t a happy ending, although it probably is the most… just, I suppose, of the three options I’d say.

    This is one of those things where I’m not comfortable with throwing my hands up and attributing it to the mysterious workings of God. I need some sort of interpretation that I can say I believe with a reasonable degree of certainty because this massively affects how one interacts with others. I’m tired of thinking about whether someone is going to hell or not. I can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance of allegedly loving people and yet casually accepting without any difficulty that millions of normal people will go to hell. I know that is bad theology. One shouldn’t change one’s mind on something just because one doesn’t want to believe it, but my life has been negatively impacted by belief in hell numerous times and I can’t deal with it anymore.

    • I feel your pain. I don’t answer that one anymore. I just live with the question but it doesn’t cause me much consternation. Maybe I’ve become uncaring or unreflective but just can’t concern myself. I simply tell people the truth about my uncertainty of how the whole thing plays out. Fear of hell has got to be the lowest level of response to the love of God, if it can be considered a response, anyway. If folks are motivated by that than they are planted on rocky soil. Taking away all threats do we still love our Lord? That would be the least part of the love story going on between God and humanity. Still, it is a source of angst as is all negativity, negation, destruction, suffering, etc. Why the necessity in the Master plan? Why a crucifix? Getting the full grasp of that in the now probably answers the negatives in eternity. One last note; while considered silly and unbiblical by some, the continued evolution and purging of a being after the death of the physical body holds great intrigue. This is Saturday right?

      • For me, this is part of the Mystery, and I just try to move along without a definitive answer to this question.

        In the end, my hope is that I’ll be “graded” on my willingness to follow Jesus in spite of all my shortcomings and failures and falls along the way. Religious teachings and communities can help, but I’m certain that a lot of non-church people (perhaps even non-Christian people) will get to Heaven, for God is Merciful.

      • I tend to accept some form of purgatory; given where I am now at 55 years of age, I don’t see how I could possibly be in a fit state to endure eternity in the purity of the Beatific Vision before I die, so I have to assume that some purging will be done after death. From what I can tell of my experience with others, the same could be said: I haven’t met many who seemed ready to me.

      • Robert Moore says:

        +This is the weakness of Calvinist and Reformed theology: Some are created for heaven, some for hell, and there is nothing either group can do about it.

        Arminian theology is, at least SOMEWHAT better: YOU are the one that makes a choice, independent of a God who remains aloof from the matter, but one slip and , BAM!, damnation.

        I don’t like it either, but what other choice do I have? Christ alone has the Words of Eternal Life.

        • That is a very bad mischaracterization of Arminian theology. One slip… don’t know any Arminians who believe that.

          • I purposely over characterized BOTH sides to make a point. After 20 years in the Assemblies of God I can confidently say that I HAVE heard it stated that way. The Calvinists are less forthcoming, choosing to play word games rather than to admit their OWN consequences.

    • VM, you’re right that this is a bit off for Saturday, but I can see it won’t wait for open mike. No one knows the answers you are seeking for sure, but your questions are being asked a lot these days. I haven’t read all the literature on it, haven’t found any of what is readily available very satisfying. Here are a few things to consider.

      1) Heaven and hell may not be so much places as they are states of consciousness, and we may already be in those states to some degree now in our life on Earth, depending on our choices and responses to life situations.

      2) The dichotomy of Heaven and Hell maybe be simplistic and misleading. There may be levels in each. There may be intermediate conditions. The concept of purgatory as given in the Roman Church may not be correct in detail but may contain elements of truth. Binary thinking may be a dead end.

      3) The idea that we are forever locked into whatever state we find ourselves in on the other side may be false and even pernicious. As ChrisS says, “the continued evolution and purging of a being after the death of the physical body holds great intrigue.”

      4) The kind of thinking associated with an angry and punishing God demanding justice and torturing souls forever may just be part of low level stages of spiritual evolution based on fear. We all have to start wherever we are. You don’t have to stay at someone else’s level.

      5) If it is possible to choose to follow the Light on the other side and the door to hell is not locked, why would anyone stay there? I dunno, why does a heroin addict continue to shoot up? Why are there people who despise God and would suffer unending torment forever before bowing in submission?

      6) The possibility of continued progress and growth on the other side depends on free will. This would include the right to remain in hell if so chosen. If you don’t believe in free will, or you are immersing yourself in a group that doesn’t believe in free will, none of this will make sense. I believe that a high level of free will is the bedrock of what sets us apart as human beings and potential children of God.

      7) Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The tradition of belief which is causing you this unrest is not the only tradition honoring Jesus as Messiah. The door isn’t locked unless in your mind. Look around.

      • Robert Moore says:

        And who says that hell is not just a continuation of THIS life, but UNENDING? Personally, I’d rather be dead and unknowing rather than to suffer the indignities of this life without hope of salvation. Sort of like a perpetual slavery without end.

        • Yes, this is how it works out in much Eastern thought: there is a fear of perpetual slavery without end, since one can go up and down the scale of being, and inevitably does when free-will determines outcomes. Hinduism talks about the hope of escape from the wheel of birth and death through a multitude of lifetimes, but it’s understood how difficult it is to stay on the straight-and-narrow for age after age, and not perpetually slip backward at least as far as one has gone forward. Human nature is the same throughout the world, and Indian people know themselves well enough to know that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of staying on the wagon. That’s why they pray to a multitude of saints and spiritual masters to help them do what they know they cannot do themselves.

          In Mahayana Buddhism, this conundrum of perpetual becoming and its attendant torments is resolved by the magic of asserting that nirvana is samsara, that the world of becoming and impermanence is already completely and totally adequate and at rest to those who have eyes to see. In other words, what the average believing Hindu fears, being forever trapped on the wheel of becoming, is embraced as the most desirable and perfect state of being/becoming.

        • Touche.

        • I’m exploring the metaphor that if heaven is eternal life, then perhaps hell is eternal death. Like how even now, we are dead men who are all slowly dying, to have the pain and misery of this life prolonged and intensified seems bad enough.

          • Miguel,

            the Greek aionion can also be translated as “of the age” – as in, of the age to come. Most Jews in Jesus’ day believed that after this present age, and after God did the big thing he was going to do, the age to come would be way different… When you come upon the phrase “eternal life” in your bible, try swapping in “the life of the age to come.” See what happens. That is also why, in the Orthodox version of the Gloria Patri, instead of “world without end” we say “unto the ages of ages.”

            Zoe aionion is not so much about the length of that life, but the character of that life.

            Dana

          • “Zoe aionion is not so much about the length of that life, but the character of that life.”

            HUGE breakthrough in understanding for me.

        • Donalbain says:

          Really? Do you hate this life THAT much? I am sorry to hear that, but have you thought about seeking professional help?

          • Eternally growing old, becoming enfeebled, becoming sick, enduring pain and loss, ALL without hope of it becoming any different, PLUS knowing that others who have not followed the same path are participating a more glorious life and Light.

            I have an elderly friend who is now in his late 80’s and is finally bedridden. I’ve watched him, over the years, lose his vitality as his body began to break down. Once a vigorous 70 year old he presently cannot speak and cannot walk, when only one month ago he walked with a cane and could speak. Two weeks ago he was admitted to the hospital for gallstones which quickly became more complicated as an infection set in. His prognosis was not hopeful, given his age, and he was placed in a convalescent facility because doctors could do nothing more for him. Last week he indicated that he just wanted to go home to die in his own bed. He is getting his wish.

            There may be testimonies of people in their 90’s who run marathons and participate in vigorous activities, but these are the exception, not the rule. I am in my 60’s and I am coming to terms with a reduced vigor as my back and knees are letting me know that the activities of youth are now claiming their due. Sight is slowly dimming, hearing is failing, all of which act as an isolating factor.

            As Nate says below “isolating themselves from heaven and from each other more and more, eternally.” Is THAT what YOU want? Or, rather, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

        • Reminds me of the Great Divorce. The ones who stay in the Grey Town live a life that is not recognizably “hellish” in its nature, they are just progressively isolating themselves from heaven and from each other more and more, eternally.

      • Some very good points, Charles Fines,

        As far as I am aware, there is no dogma on Hell in Orthodoxy. My understanding is that “heaven/hell” are states of being in the presence of the Love of God. for one it is bliss, for the other is awful. Many Orthodox have wondered about an ability to move or progress post-mortem. Many of the Fathers espouse the hope of universalism. Then there are the toll houses (which are a metaphorical purgation). We know there is a judgement and we know it is best to prepare for that in this life. What happens beyond that on the other side is more or less unknown.

    • Vega Magnus, have you ever looked into Karl Barth’s view in these matters? I’ve only recently started reading some Barth, in little bits and pieces, here and there, since I can’t afford to purchase his huge Church Dogmatics. But from what I’ve been able to glean, he developed a view called potential universalism, grounded in his interpretation of the Scriptures, which asserts that we can neither presume upon nor put limits on the workings of God’s grace. In Jesus Christ, God is for humanity, and has both endured condemnation and claimed redemption for the whole human race; when the Scriptures speak of election, either to salvation or damnation, they are speaking of Jesus Christ, since he is the sole Elect One of God, elected both for wrath and blessing.

      On the basis of his Scriptural exegesis, Barth says that we cannot determine beforehand who ends up where, to put it crudely, or how many. When the Scriptures speak of the narrowness of redemption and the few who will be saved, they are speaking about the singularity of Jesus Christ as the only one who God elects to, and is worthy of, salvation; in Jesus God is for humanity, and the grace that is extended in and through Jesus cannot be quantified. But if we look at Jesus, we are seeing the character of God in full, and we have warrant to trust that God’s grace toward all humanity will be as extravagant as Jesus giving of himself in his life, and his death on the cross.

      I obviously cannot do Barth justice in my few and meandering words. I think he might be able to help you.

      • I have not read Barth, but I have been getting indications that I ought to. I think VM may find some help from Robert Farrar Capon. I recommend starting with “Between Noon and Three.”

        Here is a quote, which I believe comes from the introduction to “Romance of the Word.”

        “I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.

        But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning.”

        • These paragraphs from Capon are in close agreement with Barth’s thinking on this subject, to the degree that I know Barth’s thinking. I think such an understanding resolves the whole human autonomous agency/ divine sovereignty tension by applying scriptural language about election to Jesus alone, and including the entire human race as the beneficiary of the saving work of Jesus Christ., This means that all humanity shares in the benefit of Jesus’ election to salvation, as we harein the benefit of Jesus having been divinely elected to assume our alienation from God and bear the divine wrath (for those uncomfortable with language about God’s wrath, I understand this to mean that God turns away [speaking metaphorically and analogically about God, which is all we can ever do { and not just about God, but also about human things}] from the evil doer and his evil).

          I believe in hell not because of what Scriptures say, but because I’ve experienced it in my own heart. Left to my own selfish and deceptive inclinations, my own imperfections and fear and ill will, left to myself with only my own inner resources, the hell in me would undoubtedly metastasize into an all consuming state of being. Sartre was wrong: Hell is not other people; hell would be myself if I were ever left completely alone forever. So hell would be abandonment to myself. This I know from experience.

          So, to my understanding, Jesus doe not threaten hell, but talks about the hell that already exists in me, and promises that in him I am, but also will be, delivered from that hell. In Jesus’s cross God took the alienation of his own turning away from my evil into himself, and suffered the consequences of the resultant abandonment himself; this is the wrath of God. God turns away from me when I crucify him, and at the same time he assumes the burden of my turning away.

          In the resurrection of Jesus, God turns back to me once again, back to humanity again (I am after all human, no?) with forgiving and life-bestowing hands, and gives me the good news to share with all whom I may and can, and all who suffer similarly, that he has trampled hell underfoot by entering hell and destroying it from inside (salvation as Trojan Horse). The linchpin for my faith is then in the fact that I truly believe that the resurrection occurred; I have confidence in the witness to that event given in the Scriptures, and in the ongoing life of the Church.

          Talk about going off on a tangent….

          • God turns away from me when I crucify him, but to put it more aptly; God allows me to turn away from him, and to turn him away from me, by letting me crucify him.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        “we can neither presume upon nor put limits on the workings of God’s grace.”

        Well put. I like that.

        On this issue, I’ve come to trust both God’s justice and God’s mercy. The Gospel encourages me to do both and. I’m comforted by focusing on God, not on who’s going where.

    • Vera Magnus,

      All good questions. The existence of hell is certainly important because the bible reports on it, but to what extent does Satan “win?”

      You said, “complete universalism seems lacking in justice.” Exactly, and justice may be the best reason to believe in hell. It gives most people a hope that God will set everything right. Remember that it’s God, not Satan, who calls the shots.

      You also said, “From a strict numbers standpoint, Satan would win by a lot. Yeah. he’s technically still the loser, but he did enough damage to almost be considered successful regardless.”

      I don’t think the numbers work in Satan’s “favor,” in fact I don’t think any positive description applies to Satan, so I’ll put them in quotes. He doesn’t “win” by a lot, nor is he “successful.” Everything he does loses.

      We’re told that “if you don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you will be condemned to the eternal fires of hell,” or words to that effect. That may be a good motivation for missions and evangelism (job security, after all), but it also hamstrings the work of Christ on the cross. It condemns the vast majority of those who have never heard, past present and future, and all of those too are ones Christ died for.. And even if they’ve “heard,” accepting becomes another matter, and our own presentation may in fact repel them from Christ. By the numbers, you’re right, Satan “wins by a lot.”

      Still, Satan doesn’t “win,” and I think he’ll be surprised and disappointed by the score.

      It’s dangerous to recommend this book, but Michael Spencer did, as did Jeff Dunn a few years ago: Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three: Romance, law, and the outrage of grace. Capon presents (almost) a case for universalism, which I reject flatly, as do you it seems, and in fact Capon fended off critics saying he is not a universalist. But to an evangelical it’s a dangerous book nevertheless. Whatever it is, the book is entertaining and challenging and may serve as a “cartoon” that illustrates the problem better than a 1000-page theology text.

      • …and Dave Denis recommends it, too!

      • Donalbain says:

        THere is nothing even slightly just about the idea of an eternal hell. Eternal punishment for a temporal crime is an abomination, not an act of justice. And then when you add the fact that a lovely Hindu grandmother who spent her whole life being good to people gets the same punishment as a serial killer, you have a disgustingly vile system.

    • +1 This is something I struggle with also. At this point, I only know for certain that God will be just. I have little idea of how that will look, but I have a feeling it will be a lot more nuanced than evangelicals’ and fundamentalists’ largely simplistic views of eternity.

      After all, I’ve seen more than a few decent pagans who exhibit more fruits of the spirit in their lives than some believers. And I’ve seen fundamentalists rail on even Billy Graham for saying that there’s a wideness in God’s mercy.

      If eternity is anything like the character and actions of Jesus, and I have a feeling it is, I think those who would limit God’s grace and mercy are going to be in for some surprises.

      • Joseph (the original) says:

        RE: the concept of hell and the condition all of us will experience in the next life (existence)…

        I am an almost convinced annihilationist, with a smattering of purgatory thrown in to help with the vast gray area between the most extreme opposite poles…

        Here is what I do accept as one of possible scenarios: since God is eternally focus on relationships and everything that either strengthens or supports healthy relationships vs. those elements that do damage to others due to negative relational elements, I do believe all of us will have to face each and every person we have wronged. This encounter will be on an individual basis between perpetrator and victim in the presence of the Just Judge. I realize this is conjecture, but it seems God expects a level of responsibility for all of us being created in His image. And since all people capable of causing some harm to others enjoyed the blessings of this life, it seems He alone can make the distinction regarding those that abused their privilege of this existence…

        To use a common pariah in this equation, Hitler then has to deal with each and every individual that suffered due to his political ambitions and warmongering. Yeah, this could take quite a long time, but even though events for us will pass in a recognizable, chronological order, there will be no tiredness, forgetfulness, confusion or escape. And in this scenario, there would be some people in Hitler’s life that would be addressing injuries they caused him…

        These encounters meant to show us what God prioritizes and cherishes. The encounters meant to face the wrongs done, but it could be there is also a possibility for either party to make appeal to the Just Judge. You know that scripture about God wiping away all our tears (Rev 21:4)? I believe this will be part of that fulfillment…

        Nobody gets away with anything. There will be no exceptions or exemptions. But God is not cruel or vindictive. And what results in punishment will not be the nth degree of Hell’s eternal Hot House of Horrors. I do believe all wrongs not adequately addressed in this life will be dealt with appropriately and in proportion to the abuse. But there will not be any demons involved with handing out punishments or observing the events. It will be a private meeting until all issues have been addressed, then there could be a public announcement of sentences declared and whatever results are then proclaimed will result in the corresponding level of punishment in groups, whether such results are temporary or not…

        Just my own effort at trying to reconcile what is shrouded in mystery and really outside of my theological purview…

        • Sounds much like purgatory.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Have you ever heard the speculation that Hell and Purgatory are the same state? That if you grow out of it it was Purgatory; if you never grow out of it, it IS Hell.

      • Randy Thompson says:

        If God’s ways are not our ways, then I think it’s safe to say that God’s justice is not our justice and God’s mercy is not our mercy. Or, maybe it would be better to say that God’s justice is more just than ours, and His mercy is more merciful than ours. When we encounter God’s justice and mercy face-to-face someday, we won’t have anything to complain about. That’s my hope.

    • Christiane says:

      ” I can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance of allegedly loving people and yet casually accepting without any difficulty that millions of normal people will go to hell.”

      pay attention to your discomfort with this . . . your discomfort may be the effect of the Holy Spirit pointing you back to the Christ Who calls all of us out into the deeper waters

      That you are craving a greater understanding is born out of your compassion and your sense of justice . . . and in this you are joining many who seek to know more about the One who feels compassion towards those who are lost and confused and without a shepherd . . . this involves less ‘assurance of personal salvation’ and more ‘trust in the One Who leads us into life’
      . . . it is not difficult to trust in the One Whom we call the Great Physician, the Good Shepherd, the Lord of Life;
      especially when we feel within our own souls a contempt for the ‘smugness’ of Pharisees, and a need for the God Who justified the humble publican who knew he was not worthy but longed for the mercy of God.

      There is a great army of people who are humble before the Lord seeking His mercy, and not one of them is sitting around assured of their own safety and pointing at those for whom they have contempt.

    • I don’t feel compelled to hold a strong position on Heaven/Hell/et al. The passages in Scripture concering The-After-Life are vanishingly few, all impercise, and often wrapped in parable. I do not understand how there is even a cohesive Christian doctrine on the The After Life held by any serious person.

      “says that God can do whatever he likes to us because we are the created and he is the Creator no longer will suffice as an answer”

      Sufficient answer or not, that is the basic concept of Soveriengty. I suppose the question is more what of “whatever he likes” is.

      “On the flipside though, complete universalism seems lacking in justice.”

      I am willing to forgoe justice. Mercy trumps Justice.

      “I believe with a reasonable degree of certainty because this massively affects how one interacts with other”

      It does??? This baffles me. This sounds like Living Theologically which I can only say, IMNSHO, is a *TERRIBLE IDEA*.

      We are commanded to love our neighbor, walk humbly, etc… None of these commands hinge on whether the consciousness of my neighbor ascends upon death to an idyllic paradise, is damned to the furnaces of perdition, or is reincarnated as a parasitoid xenomorph on the fifth satelite of Kepler-444.

      “I’m tired of thinking about whether someone is going to hell or not.”

      Then just stop doing that.

      “I know that is bad theology.”

      I increasingly wonder what the Good kind of Theology is. I advise reading less theology.

      “One shouldn’t change one’s mind on something just because one doesn’t want to believe it,”

      True. But one is also not compelled to have a specific doctrinal statement about everything, that is Living Theologically. Not knowing something and saying so, or just not taking no position on something not immediately relevant is not just OK, it is healthy.

      • Vega Magnus says:

        “It does??? This baffles me. This sounds like Living Theologically which I can only say, IMNSHO, is a *TERRIBLE IDEA*.”

        Agreed, but it is a remnant of my fundie self.From a fundigelical perspective, at least in my experience, avoiding hell is a pretty common motivator for conversion and even more common is mentioning hell as the ultimate destination for people who don’t believe. So of course if one cares about people and does not want them to go to hell, one will frequently have a person’s salvation status on the mind while talking to them, especially if they aren’t a Christian, thus affecting how one talks to said person. Also, when one believes in hell, one has to not only believe that we’re fallen creatures, but also that we deserve eternal torture. For example, say you’re at a funeral for the lovely Hindu grandmother that Donalbain mentioned. Yes, you will be saddened by her passing, but on top of that, you’ll also be thinking that she’s burning in hell right next to Stalin and that such punishment is just for both of them, so even though you’re upset by this, you still have to be okay with it. And even beyond that, if you believe that everyone deserves hell, it is difficult to actually think through the implications of that belief and retain said belief without becoming a misanthrope. I personally think that most people who believe in hell don’t even really comprehend the full consequences of what it means for the world.

        • “From a fundigelical perspective, at least in my experience,”

          I know, I was a Fundamentalist. You experience sounds familiar.

          “avoiding hell is a pretty common motivator for conversion”

          Yes, at least for awhile. It seems the furious terror and urgency is hard to sustain for a life-time without some seriously deleterious effects on one’s psyche as well as one’s relationships.

          If something doesn’t work, demonstrably, the sane thing is to begin to question it. If your car never starts in the morning, eventually you give up trying, that’s healthy.

          and even more common is mentioning hell as the ultimate destination for people who don’t believe. So of course if one cares about people and ”

          “does not want them to go to hell, one will frequently have a person’s salvation status on the mind while talking to them, especially if they aren’t a Christian, thus affecting how one talks to said person”

          Agree. Experienced that. And the emphasis is really on “talks *TO*”, as with this perspective one cannot *LISTEN*, so one cannot ‘talk *with*’, one is just ‘talking *at*’. Not great for relationships.

          “but also that we deserve eternal torture.”

          Yes, enter obligatory self-loathing. Good times. Only problem is there is notable lack of self-loathing in Scripture. It is not a thing normal healthy humans engage in. At least it does nothing to help you love your neighbor or help your neighborhood; so it should be objected to on at least pragmatic grounds.

          “For example, say you’re at a funeral for the lovely Hindu grandmother that Donalbain mentioned. Yes, you will be saddened by her passing, but on top of that, …”

          Yep. Although I don’t DISbelieve in Hell, I don’t believe in at least That Hell. As it is not in Scripture, you cannot find it there.

          “if you believe that everyone deserves hell, it is difficult to actually think through the implications of that belief and retain said belief without becoming a misanthrope.”

          Yep, see above about serious deleterious effects.

          “I personally think that most people who believe in hell don’t even really comprehend the full consequences of what it means for the world.”

          Sure, this is true of most Theological Truths. They are Truths, if they are that at all, which are hard to do much with other than worry about and fight over.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Vega,

      This question troubled me, too. For a long time I simply relegated it to the “I don’t know for sure” area of my consciousness. I hoped for something better than what I had been taught as a Catholic and a Prostestant, but didn’t really expect to find it…. Until I found out that the Orthodox have a different way of looking at this.

      First of all, there is not much said in scripture about what it’s like after we die and what the Judgment will be like. Orthodox theology actually does not cotton to speculation beyond what’s in scripture, so there’s not a big industry in the Church on this topic. The consensus is that when Jesus returns, he will rule on earth forever – no separate “heaven” and no separate “hell,” either. God’s not into torture. When we encounter the fullness of the Living Christ, our experience of him will depend on the condition of our heart. For everyone, this will involve some amount of inner “torment” as we come to terms with how we have failed to love and give ourselves to God and others, becoming the humans that God created us to be. Most O. theologians think the possibility exists for this state to go on forever, but Orthodox are still enjoined to pray for those departed, because this is actually what many Jews did, and there is some sense that this helps somehow. Again, nobody has pinned down exactly how.

      There is a “minority opinion” that has never been anathematized, so is still on the table. It is that, when confronted with all this truth about who God is and who we are and just how good God is and how much God loves, we will experience inner torment as above (nobody gets off “Scot free”) – and we will all eventually choose to give ourselves to him. God will still not force anyone’s love, but how could there be eternal refusal of this kind of God? The idea of “justice” is more a reflection of our own thirst for vindication, our projection of our own sh## onto God, and the only thing we can really say about “God’s justice” is to point to the cross. I happen to be sitting at this corner of the table, with St Gregory of Nyssa and St Isaac of Nineveh.

      Again, none of these ideas about what lies beyond death is “official dogma” in Orthodoxy – only “He shall come again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end.”

      If you want a good round-up of theologians and writings on this second opinion, Fr Aidan Kimel has assembled plenty of stuff on his blog Eclectic Orthodoxy (afkimel at wordpress dot com). Check under “Readings in Universalism” at the top, and “Isaac the Syrian” in the Categories section, or just read through the archives.

      Dana

      • David Cornwell says:

        Dana, once again, thank you very much for this. This is a different way, and one that makes a lot of sense. And there is a lot about it I can accept easily. Keep writing.

        • David,

          not only in this but in many other ways, you are very kind.

          I needed to find a God who is Good!!!

          D.

      • dana! that was wonderful. i just started following that blog, it is amazing. me and my Fr Confessor were just talking about some of this the other day… I am only a recent convert and still have to un-learn the convert by any means necessary attitude i still carry with me.

      • David Cornwell says:

        ” Again, nobody has pinned down exactly how.”

        Some theologies seem to think they have it all figured out. Which is nonsensical arrogance, or we would all be in agreement. Theology, at its best, is a discussion about the Story. I remember arguments we had in English Lit classes so many years ago about the meaning of the story we had just read. We all had an informed opinion. But, just maybe, the author wrote it the way he did with the idea that we would never quite figure it out. We need to get over our absolute surety. We know enough to give us hope and to live a life of joy.

        ” none of these ideas about what lies beyond death is “official dogma” in Orthodoxy – only “He shall come again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end.””

        This seems to me to be good.

    • To me, this is exactly why Jesus died, that so through His work on the cross people are saved. I no longer really worry about who He saves, when He saves, how He saves. I just know He saves.

    • Donalbain says:

      This baffles me. If you find out that there exists a god who has a hell, would you stop being a Christian in that you would stop believing in him, or would you still believe he exists but stop believing he is worthy of worship?

      • Faulty O-Ring says:

        That God would be a devil, unworthy of worship. Eternal demnation would be preferable before bowing the knee before such a monster.

    • Senecagriggs yahoo says:

      Bro Vega, if you “bail” on Christianity, the theology of hell will NOT be the reason. The reason will be, you want the faith to reflex YOU. It, of course, doesn’t.

      [ If you ask me a question on the ‘net, I’m gonna give you an answer straight up.]

    • I remember when Rob Bell came out with “Love Wins” a couple of years back and caused a ginormous ruckus in the evangelical world–pretty much everyone condemned him as a universalist for raising some ideas which differed from the conventional evangelical wisdom on heaven and hell. I do believe in heaven and hell, yet I believe that an awful lot of what we believe about heaven and hell presently comes from Dante, Michelangelo, and Thomas Kinkade rather than Scripture.

    • Hi everyone this is my first post here. This is an awesome site. The biggest problem with this topic is we’ve made eternal torment a hot-button test of belonging. It makes a good God out as a vengeful tormentor. Christians have resolved this in a variety of ways over the ages, including purgatory. I think the best view that fits the scripture is that the ultimate end for those who would adhere to evil is entire destruction. Please consider what it says on this web site. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/25-bible-verses-that-disprove-eternal-conscious-hell/

      Best wishes in your seeking.

      • Thanks for your first post, Rob! You hit upon something I was thinking about too, this idea of hell/salvation equating to “belonging.” When I consider my own salvation story, “accepting Christ as a means to avoid Hell” was indeed an element to me beginning to follow Jesus. Then, once I was “saved,” I was “IN.” Yay for me! (I think this is the case for a lot of Christians.)

        But the more I’ve “matured” (aka the longer I walk with Him – 28 years now) the less I think about salvation as me being “IN” and the less I think about Hell and the more I think about my relationship with Him and His love for me, His grace, etc. etc.

        I think Hell and Damnation concepts are used because 1) there’s some truth to them; and 2) they’re easy for Christians to toss around at those un-saved to get them to want to “belong” and be “IN.”

        • Decline of evangelicalism brings great fear. They’ll try to scare their friends into orthodoxy and they end up walking away even more. The teaching is sometimes linked to evangelism. But having been involved in evangelism, it’s actually a stumbling block. As far as motivation to evangelize goes, it’s patently obvious that people need salvation. Perhaps a richer and more connecting understanding of salvation would just set the issue aside. Reducing salvation to heaven instead of hell when you die seems shameful. I’d rather be Catholic. For them the Church is salvation. You might not agree but what an exciting church building project that would be. It would certainly inform your ministries. Right now I just want to champion that we allow some diversity of opinion on the question of hell.

    • Patrick Kyle says:

      VM,

      It seems to me, given the Scriptures pertaining to the subject, that we aren’t let in on the complete story. While I am not comfortable with some of the RC or EO speculation/dogma on the subject, I suspect that much more is going on with people’s eternal destinies than we have been told. So we stand with Abraham and ask ‘Will not the judge of the whole world do what is right?’ The answer to that is yes, He will. We serve a good and gracious God, and on that Day we will say a hearty ‘Amen’ to what He has done and agree that it was right. I think there are going to be a host of people in the new heavens and earth that will shock and surprise us. At the same time I have a hard time believing that those who hate Christ, His word, and His people their entire lives, and repeatedly refuse His grace are going to magically change their minds when He shows up and want to hang around. I have found CS Lewis and Robert Farrar Capon to both be very helpful on the subject.

  5. cermak_rd says:

    I did get surgery for my dog. It was orthopaedic surgery as her knees have always been backwards and one finally gave out so she couldn’t use it. So we got the surgery on that side. Every now and then I’ll see her favoring the other one and slouching on the corrected side. Because of her age, the doc is hesitant to put her through another surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    I consider the neuticles to just be strange, but folks have done cosmetic techniques on dogs for forever. Ear cropping is pretty much standard for dobies and tail bobs are common for some breeds, too.I’m not a big fan of these operations either, seems like if the AKC wants the dogs to have erect ears or bobbed tails, this is where selective breeding can come in. On the other hand if it makes a working breed dog’s life easier that’s another matter.

    • cermak_rd says:

      And we didn’t exactly buy our baby. We adopted her as an adult from a shelter. We resisted the impulse to name her “As-Is.” Her condition was apparent at the time. But she was sweet and needed a home and we needed a dog so it seemed like kismet.

  6. That picture of the Rambler reminds me of when I was about five years old in Pompton Lakes, N.J. We used to stand on a 3 foot high wall at the end of my street watching the traffic go by. The highlight was giving a truck the signal, fist in the air and pull down, and getting him to blow the horn. For some reason, still unknown to me, whenever a Rambler would go by we would all yell, “Booooo Rambler” with verve and disdain. No idea what that was about.

    • “For some reason, still unknown to me, whenever a Rambler would go by we would all yell, “Booooo Rambler” with verve and disdain. No idea what that was about.”

      You probably received an implant from General Motors in one of your vaccinations. Perhaps would still show up in a CAT scan. Sadly it seems to have worked, the Rambler is no more.

      • Lol! And I feel somehow, partly responsible for its demise. Damn those GM hoodlums and their nefarious use of small children. We never had a chance.

        • ChrisS, for most of the first four decades of my life, I lived in Oakland, NJ, right next to Pompton Lakes, and like Pompton right alongside the scenic Ramapo River.

          • We are about the same age so we had the same stomping ground as yutes. That’s Joe Pesci for youths. Nice part of Jersey.

          • And here I was about to think that I was being made an honorary member of a native American tribe…

            Yes, nice part of Jersey, but one I can no longer afford to live in. I had a privileged yute, but my life has followed an unAmerican arc of downward mobility, mostly because of poor life choices that I’ve made. I used to feel a lot of anger and resentment about it, and envy of those who followed the upward arc and the American dream; lately, though, I have found myself released from the envy, and I can only attribute that to God’s mysterious work in my life, because I know I could never be that magnanimous from my own inner resources.

          • Beautiful Robert!

  7. In our household we ignore football, the Superbowl included. I also wish I could ignore snow.

    • Dana Ames says:

      We do too. I remember one year when my kids were 11-13 years old. The game was on, but I was doing a project in the garage, so not watching. After a while I went into the living room, and the whole rest of the family was asleep in front of the TV – during half time…

      We still need more rain and snow out here in CA.

      And, I have been and will be praying about the influx into the host city of mostly trafficked young people and their p$mps. I hope the law enforcement there can catch them all, and that the p$mps and johns will be buried under all the law books thrown at them. This is a superb owl statistic that hardly anyone talks about.

      Dana

    • David Cornwell says:

      Football is difficult to totally ignore But I’ve lost respect for the “game” and all it stands for. And that includes all aspects of this sport. This did not happen overnight because in high school and college I followed it closely. But it’s changed into something unrecognizable.

  8. All my life has been this walk even when I didn’t want to go.( most of the time). My gnarled hands ache more than they ever have and work is 7 days a week. My latest section in poem writing is called keep moving and under it I have written 30 or more so far. What choice is there in keep moving. Oh hell I don’t want to stop anyway.

    What caught my attention was the 4400 pounds of granite and really good chain. All the stuff I’ve been through and my thoughts go to Vega and somehow I just know. So the bottom part of the poem that started yesterday ended this way.

    Where things are not able to fill me up
    To love an overflowing cup
    In the places I seem forever stuck
    In the proof like image I am struck

    What is it I have been made
    To love in a way already paid
    On sturdy foundation prepared and laid
    In strongest storm my feet are stayed

    Like the moorings tethered to granite rock
    I come from a hearty, sturdy stock
    The special key that fits my hearts lock
    The same hand holds mine on this walk

  9. senecagriggs yahoo says:

    About that beached whale; a few sticks of dynamite strategically placed and VOILA, problem is solved.

    I think it worked off the Oregon coast 20 years ago or so.

  10. Robert Moore says:

    When I read that mayor DeBlasio declared the storm to be the worst in history I then KNEW that it would NOT! And it WASN’T! Although parts of New England got slammed it still wasn’t “the worst”. Some people love scare tactics because they enhance their own sense of power.

    • Yes, but… when Sandy hit, there were a ton of people who went to the quickie mart to pick up a bag of chips in their mini vans and mini coopers. They all got stuck on the roads and turned the highways into parking lots which obstructed emergency vehicles and power repair workers. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. It was, at the very least, good to hear an enforced “get off the roads” in order that all unnecessary traffic was curtailed. This also allowed people to legally stay home from work without consequence. Top 10 in history? Not even close. But win or loose, it was better to be better prepared.

    • Who are you? And what have you done with Oscar?

    • I saw some of the photos taken at Marshfield and Scituate, MA where the sea wall gave way and the streets were filled with icy water. In addition to the snow and ice, several houses were completely destroyed from the flooding. Very sad. Of course, this wasn’t the storm predicted but to those people who lost everything, it was horrific. But then, I wonder if they’ll come back and declare to rebuild on the coast again. Mother Nature always has the last word.

      • Well, how would you unload a property that has this kind of flooding if you wanted to get out? How does that work? Or are you stuck?

      • This topic reminds me of what I’ve heard about surgery: It’s only “minor surgery” when it’s done on someone else.

        This storm may have not been the big-mother-daddy everyone was expecting, but for those who got nailed, it was pretty darn bad.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Don’t forget the East Coast Storm Survival Rations:
      BREAD & MILK! BREAD & MILK! BREAD & MILK!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6zaVYWLTkU

  11. Is it just me or is the media more hyped up about snow this year? Growing up in Illinois we knew we would get snow in the winter and we dealt with it. The only news I was concerned about was whether or not school was cancelled (which it rarely was). Now snow seems like a big deal.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Is it just me or is the media more hyped up about snow this year?

      Because Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse is a Sign of GLOBAL WARMING! GLOBAL WARMING! GLOBAL WARMING!

      Because “if it bleeds, it leads” and nothing bleeds like It’s-All-Over-but-the-Screaming APOCALYPSE.

  12. The media gets hyped up about under-inflated footballs.

    Details at eleven!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “The popcorn you are eating has been pissed in. Film at Eleven!”
      Kentucky Fried Movie

  13. Brianthedad says:

    Robert F is on a roll today! Funny stuff up front with the song lyric suggestions, some deep thoughts on purgatory and eternal hellfire, and finishes strong with a Moby Dick reference.