Thursday, January 31, 2013

Faith, Pride, and Hubris


Some of you know, I am a sincere, believing, and attempting to be faithful, Catholic; who is in schism with my church (there are certain political and doctrinal issues that I believe are not the business of my church to involve themselves, and which the dictates of my conscience tell me are unrelated to, or wandering from, the true teachings of God through Christ).

I have been having some discussion in the last few days about my personal faith, and my personal religious practices; and those of others, and their churches.

Specifically, we have been talking about these things in the context of "alternative lifestyles"... things that many "mainstream Christians" might choose to reject as sinful... and may choose to reject those who participate in those lifestyles.

This is most commonly thought of in the context of homosexuality and lesbianism; and many churches teach... against the teachings of God as far as I'm concerned (and I have plenty of theological support for it, but I think that's irrelevant, as my conscience tells me so)... the rejection and condemnation of them.

I have a real problem with that.

Actually, a lot of the comments people made, really bother me... Their understanding of Christianity, or the teachings of their churches... really are a problem for me.

I ended up writing this as a sort of omnibus comment on some of these worrisome and disturbing ideas that these sincere and faithful and GOOD people, have expressed.

I decided to post it here, because I have a number of friends who I know have some of these same ideas that I have a real problem with... as well as others who I think will understand or benefit from this perspective.

Each of the particular responses to a particular idea I had an issue with, is separated out... but I'm not including the original comment. I want my expression of these ideas to stand alone, so that they can be understood, and evaluated, by themselves.

I'm going to be... very gentle, but very careful, about the commenting policy shall we say here? I'm guessing this post is going to draw some... interesting... interaction.

--

We are not Gods slaves. God neither wants nor needs slaves. God endowed us with free will for a reason.

Muslims are slaves to God. it is the literal and explicit foundation of their faith. It is even the true name of Islam.

Abject submission to God at all times in all things, and the abnegation of individual self; is NOT part of the teachings of Christ.

Understanding, trust, and faith, are.

Christians and jews are in covenant WITH God. That is not slavery. One makes covenants with free men, not slaves.

I understand that people mostly use the concept of being "slaves to God" metaphorically, and emotionally, and that it's popular imagery in evangelical circles...

...but the concept is antithetical to human dignity, grace, and faith.

And many seem to take it literally.

Virtue, lies in choice. Morality, lies in choice.

There is no virtue in abject submission. In abject submission, there is no morality, only obedience to the will of others. If you have no will, you make no choice. If you have no temptation, you make no choice...

Without free will, and the ability to choose to do wrong, and the ability to reject God, and the ability to sin... One cannot choose to do right, one cannot have faith, one cannot refuse temptation.

If one cannot choose, one cannot be virtuous. If one cannot choose, one cannot be moral.

True slaves have no faith, they have no will, they have no virtue, they have no choice, they have only obedience.

--
Some have used the phrase "they are Gods children too. I dislike that phrasing, because it implies there is an "other" when it comes to being the children of God... and there isn't.

THEY are not Gods children, WE are Gods children.

All men who receive, understand, and accept the true teaching of Christ, are my brothers in Christ. Others are not my brothers in Christ, but they are still my brothers, for we are all Gods children.

All Gods children who do not receive, understand, and then REJECT the truth and spirit of God; are to be accepted in fellowship, as brothers.

Only when you have received, and understood, the truth of God (knowing it was true), and then rejected it; are you to be denied fellowship.

And still, you are Gods child.

--

One cannot be excluded from Gods grace, except by choice. Not by accident, or circumstance, or ignorance... only by choosing to do that which is offensive to God, and separates you from God.

One may stumble and distance oneself from God without choice, or by circumstance... but not be excluded.

 Just remember, inaction, and "choosing not to choose", are in fact still choices.

Even those thus excluded, may be welcomed back into Gods grace, through true repentance, and return to the path of grace.

--

If you know, in your soul enlightened by the spirit of God, that the true path to the father is through the son, you are a Christian.

If you don't... you aren't.

It is the only criteria for Christianity.

ONLY

That doesn't make you a "good" Christian, or a moral one, or a virtuous one; or any other thing, but a Christian.

Not believing in the dictates of a particular church, or ANY church or preacher, or hierarchy, or temporal authority... or even the words written in any particular bible; does not make you "other than a Christian".

It is not the place of man on earth to judge another mans right to enter the kingdom of heaven, or stand in Gods grace; that is Gods place and Gods place alone.

Sin, is that which is offensive to GOD; not that which is offensive to YOU.

Our place is to witness, and be in fellowship and service; with and to, each other, and God.

If you believe anything else, you are substituting the teaching of your church, or your pastor, or some other earthly entity, for that of God.

If you believe that someone MUST follow YOUR way, to be a Christian, or to receive holy salvation, YOU are indulging the sins of pride and hubris.

You can believe you are on A proper path to Gods grace and salvation, and you may encourage others to choose that path; but believing you are on the ONLY proper path, is hubris.

God has granted you no spiritual authority over your fellow man. You are NOT your brothers keeper; Nor is your pastor, your minister, your bishop, or your pope.

You are to care for your brother, to witness to him, to minister to him, to be in service to him; but you are not his keeper.

Your place is to witness, to serve as an example; and if you feel you can serve God and your fellow man in that way, to minister to those who need it or request it; but if they are not accepting of your testimony, or your ministration, it is not your place to force it on them.

Rejecting YOUR teaching, is not rejecting GOD. YOU do not decide, or even KNOW, who has accepted or rejected God, or the "proper" way of accepting God.

You must follow the dictates of your conscience, enlightened by the spirit of God, of course... but always be wary that it is your communion with God guiding you, and not the considerable ability of human weakness, pride, temptation, prejudice, wrath, jealousy... the venality of man, and the earthly world... allowing you to convince yourself of your own righteousness and superiority.

...and if you do feel righteous, and superior... you should take even more care to be sure...
---

We are all sinners. All of us. The most righteous of us are sinners, as are the most debauched, as are the most venal, as are the most virtuous.

We are not to allow our pride, to fool us into believing otherwise; or believing that we are better or closer to God, or more beloved of God than any other.

We are not to allow our pride to lead us astray into believing that other sinners are lesser, or worse, or despised by God.

---

The highest duty of any Christian is to accept God, and his enlivening and enlightenment of our souls.

Once one has accepted the enlightenment of Gods spirit, ones highest duty is not to man, or church; to doctrine, dogma, or scripture.

Ones highest temporal duty, is to follow the dictates of our conscience, enlightened by God; rejecting the many temptations of the earthly world and our human nature, away from the enlightenment of God.

---

Everything else, is debatable, and open to interpretation.

EVERYTHING

YOU may not believe so, but you are not the one who gets to decide, God is. Do what your faith and conscience dictates; but always understand that it's Gods decision, and Gods job, to decide, not yours, not your churches.

Your Church is there to guide, and teach, and help you; but they are not God, nor are they the exclusive arbiter of Gods will, Gods intent, or Gods words. To believe otherwise is pure hubris.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Take Back Your Government


Tuesday night, I spoke before the Bonner County Republican Party Central Committee (all elected county officials in Bonner county are Republicans right now), in support of a resolution (which I had a small part in writing) supporting the second amendment and:

"Strongly urging" the county commission (all commissioners are Republicans) to enact an ordnance

1. Declaring all federal firearms laws in violation of the second amendment

2. Requiring the Sheriff (also a Republican) to refuse to enforce, or allow to be enforced, and to prevent enforcement in the county; any laws abrogating, violating, or substantially limiting our natural and pre-existing right to keep and bear arms for defense of self and others.

This resolution was adopted by acclimation by the county party, and was forwarded to the Idaho state Republican party, so that they can include it (and the similar resolutions of all 44 counties in the state) in the statewide resolution of the Idaho Republican party (which will be substantially similar):

Quote:
A Resolution of the Bonner County Republican Central Committee to be known as
The Second Amendment Resolution 
WHEREAS, The United States Constitution guarantees the natural and pre-existing right to keep and bear arms, and 
WHEREAS, Only laws made “in Pursuance of” the Constitution are deemed valid, and 
WHEREAS, The State and The People of Idaho possess and retain all powers not granted to the federal government, including the powers mentioned in the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution, and 
WHEREAS, Bonner County being a duly recognized political subdivision of the state of Idaho, has the authority of the State of Idaho to honor Constitutional laws and disregard laws not made “in Pursuance of” the Constitution, 
BE IT RESOLVED THAT, The Bonner County Republican Central Committee strongly urges the Bonner County Commissioners to enact the following Ordinance; following the example of the Founders and many States, Sheriff’s and local jurisdictions throughout the United States to wit: 
AN Ordinance, which shall be known and may be cited as the “2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance.” 
To prevent federal infringement of the right to keep and bear arms; nullifying all federal acts in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF BONNER COUNTY DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: 
SECTION 1: The Bonner County Board of Commissioners finds that: 
A. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” 
B. All federal acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations regarding firearms are a violation of the 2nd Amendment 
SECTION 2: PROHIBITION ON FEDERAL INFRINGEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS 
A. The Bonner County Board of Commissioners declares that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations – past, present or future – in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States, and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers; and are hereby declared to be invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, are specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county. 
B. It shall be the duty of the Sheriff of this County to take all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders, rules, or regulations in violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. 
SECTION 3 EFFECTIVE DATE 
A. This act takes effect upon approval by the Bonner County Board of Commissioners
We have been winning this issue on the federal issue for a number of years. With Heller and McDonald; and the great work of Alan Gura (of Gura and Posesskey), Alan Gottleib of the Second  Amendment Foundation, the NRA, JPFO, and others; we are going to keep winning this in federal courts.

But we have to do more. We have to make it clear that we will no longer accept the ratcheting violation of our rights and our liberty.

Further, the most restrictive laws, and the biggest dangers aren't at the federal level; they're state by state, and in some cases city by city. The way to win the country is to win state by state. The way to win each state, is to win county by county, and city by city. 

We need to win these issues locally. We need to take back our government. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm not sure who's worse...



I'm really not sure who's worse....

Retards... rhetorically speaking...

OR...

People who find the rhetorical use of the word "retard" offensive.

...

In fact, the easily offended in general.

You're all fuckwits, and you're fucking ruining fucking everything.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Larry Correia On Huckabee, explaining the stupidity of gun control



I must say I have never seen our case better represented, and I am proud to call this man my friend.

Oh damn... I missed another traffic milestone...

Apparently, according to the increasingly irrelevant and inaccurate sitemeter, I went over 3 million unique visitors sometime in the last 24 hours.

Or at least the widget on my sidebar says so... when I drill down into the stats I'm like a week or so away...

...and as we all know by now, sitemeter isn't even a rough guess anymore...

But what the hell, it's what I've used since day 1 so I'll go by that.

Oh and it also says 4 million or so pageviews... something like two weeks ago.

I'm a month short of 8 years on this blog (first post was valentines day 2005), I average something like 35,000 sitemeter uniques a month, with 45,000 page views (google stats say it's more like 65-75,000 pageviews a month)

And of course that doesn't count RSS readers, which I would guess would be about double that (about 3/4 of my regular readers are feed readers, and about 1/3 of my hits are regulars).

Also, a surprising number of people seem to use Lawdog, MadOgre, and Borepatch as their own personal gunblogger reading list. Like a couple hundred people a day, including folks I know are regular readers, always seem to reach me from their links (them, and the firearms blog, and gunblogblacklist are my top referrers other than google. Google runs something between 1/3 and 1/6th of my total traffic on any given day).

Before "all cancer, all the time" two years ago, I was close to double that... and frankly I think people were reading blogs more then anyway...

I'm actually surprised I've retained that much readership given how little content I've been posting, and how little quality of it... Thanks guys, I appreciate it.


Well... that was ironic, irritating, and kinda painful


Top Tip: 

When you have a dog whose head is as big as yours, it is probably a bad idea to wake him up from a sound sleep in your lap, by suddenly bending down and quickly picking him up off that lap. He may be startled, jerk his head sharply, and snap his muzzle shut...


Ironic moment? :

Doing so literally minutes after hitting "publish" on a post about how cute and cuddly your dogs are.

It looks worse than it is... It's too big to leave without a closure, and deep enough to damage some tissue; but it's not really deep, and it's too small to bother with stitches.

Given the tear, the shape of it, and the flap... yeah, that's probably gonna scar.

Oh well, another one for the collection. Not the worst one... not even the worst one on my face so...

Anyway, It didn't really hurt when he did it, but it's kinda irritating now. Probably gonna bruise tomorrow too... he hit my face pretty hard when he jerked his head, and that whole side of my face is feeling kinda tender right now.

Yes, I have both topical and oral antibiotics. I don't expect I'll need the orals.

Oh and no, Jayne didn't actually bite me on purpose, it was my own fault for being stupid. He literally startled and jerked his head and rammed his teeth into my face by reflex.

If he'd actually been trying to bite me, I wouldn't have a face anymore to take a picture of.

...Seriously, Jayne is half rottie, half staffie, 130lbs of solid muscle and teeth, and his head and neck are literally as big as mine. If he actually bit me on purpose, I'd be hamburger... and utterly destroyed about having had to shoot my dog.

Pics From Around Idaho


Found in a restaurant:




From the parking lot of that same restaurant:




A panorama from the top of the pass north of Lewiston (click to embiggen):



Eva Loves Cuddles




What you can't see in the pic above, is that Eva is lying on top of Wash, while tucking herself into my armpit; and Zoe is curled around my back. Jayne is there just looking on.



That one was from tonight... I kicked her out of her "tucked into the armpit" position, which Jayne promptly took up (but he doesn't fit under my arm, he just takes up most of my lap with his head). So she crawled over the back of the couch, laid on top of Jayne, and put her head into the side of my neck. 


Badger also loves cuddles, but, being a cat, he is harder to capture in "cuddle position"; at least while you can still see his head, and not just his gigantic cat ass.

Can you believe that this skinny scraggly thing from seven months ago, is the same cat:



Monday, January 21, 2013

2 Very Fatigued People...

... one house, 4 doggies, a very insistent cat, and a very resource-hungry unborn baby boy.

We haven't been the most active people online as of late. I've had a horrendous cold for about a week now and was nice enough to share it with Chris. Chris has been overextending himself with a variety of activities and is now not exactly the most energetic.

Really, we do still exist.

The job search still hasn't born enough fruit. Thank you, Congress, for finally dealing with the fiscal cliff nonsense. There's more job listings now but of course it takes 4+ weeks for anyone to actually get hired, and we ran out of reasonable shit to sell weeks ago. Rent still needs to be paid and bills still need to be paid.

On to the not-so-reasonable stuff to sell, and hoping that one of the dozen or so companies that have interviewed Chris lately ACTUALLY GET TO THE HIRING PART.

Ahem.

In the meantime yes we're still alive, just extremely stressed and fatigued.

Mel


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"How can you handle it? I'm sure I'd just give up"

You'd be amazed at how much you can take, and still be OK... even be great...

One minute you think "If one more thing falls on my head, that's it, I'm done". Then it does and... you're not.

You're still strong enough, and there's still hope, and things will still get better...

Because the alternative is... what?

Giving up?

Never.

Failing? Not an option.

Dying? Not a chance in hell...

Enduring, until you change "making it" into "winning it"...

That's what you do.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The best line in the entire series "Elementary" so far



"Hmm... An Arsenal supporter... 
...As if I hadn't reason enough to despise you" 
-- Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Bullet to the Head

...soooo want to see this:


Also... DAMN Stallone looks good for a 67 year old.

My health update for the new year - A.K.A. Woo Hoo... I actually LOST 26lbs over Christmas and New Years

So... in late November of 2010, after years of "ideopathic endocrine disorders" (which we now know to have been caused by endocrine cancer); I reached the peak weight of my life, 497lbs.

This was after having gained almost 60 pounds in less than 4 weeks, and more than 40lbs in less than two weeks; all in excess dependent fluid retention (edema), mostly in the central trunk.

This led to my experiencing a great deal of pain, being unable to put shoes, rings, or a watch on because of it; and finally, having a hypertensive crisis (under more normal health conditions, I actually have LOW blood pressure, and normal cholesterol. This was a question of acute hypervolemia).

I was immediately put on a high dose of diuretics (which took a couple months of experimenting to get right). THAT led me to losing 24 pounds in 48 hours, and over 40 pounds over the next four weeks.

Soon after that we discovered my cancer; but my care team didn't want to operate at the weight I was then at, due to the risk of respiratory arrest, seizure etc... presented by a weight over 350lbs.

Over the next 12 months, I managed to lose as much as 150lbs; getting down to 345lbs briefly... But my weight volatility remained EXTREMELY high; losing or gaining as much as 28lbs in a single day, and as much as 68lbs in a week.

Obviously, mostly due to the fluid retention issue, but I also started regaining real weight over time.

As time went on, I gained more and more weight back, as my endocrine problems worsened. Finally, in the month before my surgery, I had to go off all the medications that were controlling my weight, and I went back up to 468lbs.

We hoped that my weight would start heading back down after my surgery, but it didn't. Then we hoped that it would head back down after my radiation treatment. It didn't.

Or rather it did, but only a little bit, still with very high volatility, and very slowly. Also, my fluid retention decreased, but is still very high.

And guys, I'm barely eating. On a typical day, I might have one meal, 800 calories or so... maybe a snack or two, some cream in my coffee (but generally no sugar)... Most days I'm eating 1200 calories or so. On a heavy day I might eat 1500, and even on thansgiving and christmas I haven't gone over about 2000 calories.

Honestly, with my medications and whatnot, I just can't eat very much anymore, without getting nauseous. I have to take a bunch of vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for it.

So, you'd think I'd be losing lots of weight.

... and I'm just not.

It's been almost five months since the surgery at this point. I had my end of year followup December 21st; and the great news, is that I have no more identifiable masses of cancerous tissue. I'm not entirely recovered of course, but I'm mostly out of the woods on the cancer for now (we're going to followup with additional testing every six months to make sure I stay that way).

... but not on the endocrine problems. There's still a lot of long term damage from the last 7 or 8 years of illness, and of course I'm going to need hormone supplementation for the rest of my life.

In my end of year labs, we found that my hormone levels (particularly my testosterone and thyroid levels) were still very much out of whack.

So, we adjusted my testosterone and levothyroxine dosages; going up to 400mg injectable testosterone every week (2ml injection, 200mg per ml. A very high theraputic dose, but below what weightlifters and athletes would use for "performance enhancement". I had been on the same dosage every two weeks), and 600mcg of levothyroxine per day (a "normal" dose is between 25mcg and 100mcg per  day. 200mcg is the highest dosage pill they sell. 600mcg is actually double the normal "dangerous" dose).

As of Saturday, I'd lost 26lbs in the 12 days since I started the new dosage regime.

It seems to be working.

And that's without going back on my diuretics; which I'm starting back on this week.

Let's see how it goes from here.

I'm sure I can't sustain this level of weight loss of course; but I'd love to lose another 50lbs by the time our son arrives in mid April... Maybe even get back down under 300lbs by next Christmas.

My goal is to get down under 295lbs, and under 18pct bodyfat; with a stretch goal of between 265 and 285lbs, and 12-14% bodyfat.


Friday, January 04, 2013

After We Get Back on Our Feet...

I want to make the back window of the truck look like this:


Right now we're down to so few firearms that it would be rather pointless to keep track like this. But soon, soon...

Mel

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Eva Update

Eva escaped the yard today.

I noticed by about 3 minutes after the breach of security.

I'd made the ultimate mommy/ dog owner mistake: sitting down with my afternoon meds and coffee. Everyone knows this is asking for trouble.

But Jayne was doing one of his "emergency" barks (he has a full range of vocal expressions) that screams "human come help now."

I found Eva at our fence line playing with a black retriever mix just about her size. And she was playing. He was an alpha even (I've seen him play with Wash, our escape artist, before) and she play submitted properly.

Not snarling. No menacing bark. No fearful behavior. None of the behavior that got her sent to us in the first place.

She might as well have been a well-socialized, puppy-class raised, normal dog at the dog park. Or with Wash at the dog-friendly bar in town. She was being that good, at least for the all of ten minutes before I had her wrangled back on to the property.

Heart attack averted and it seems like, at least mostly, mission accomplished. From badly socialized and violent to socialized and friendly.

I still wouldn't put her in a house with the original dog in question (who doesn't even like us apparently) but an equally sized or bigger alpha dog of a bully breed... sure.

Hell, at least point she may be safe with just an owner who knows how to dominate her ala Cesar Milan as long as he kept her properly exercised and socialized and watched her carefully at the dog park.

Seems the fostering process is working out properly.

Now I just need to figure out how she breached the fence and see if she's figured out she can jump the fence because that's a whole 'nother issue.

Mel