A Fond Memory

I’m writing this just after 1 am on Monday, 20 November. I knew this week was going to be a bit weird and disjointed. I’ve just come off three weeks of working an 11 pm to 7  am shift supporting a 24/7 equipment test, and I was looking forward to spending this week easing back into a normal schedule. And then I came down with a nasty cold that has made it difficult to sleep for more than an hour without waking up to blow my nose.


OTOH, being up late when all else is quiet is a good time to sit and think. And remember, in this case a happy event from Monday, 20 November, 1978.

I’ve previously written about How I Met Mrs. Hoge in late 1977. The more I learned about her, the more attractive she seemed, and by the time we were both moving to Nashville, Connie was on my short list of women to court and marry. However, she was romantically interested in someone else as she moved to Nashville.

If you read the post linked above, you know that Connie and I had been introduced by an old friend of mine Henry Martin. Henry hosted a Bible study at his house on Monday evenings which I began attending. A few weeks after I joined the study, Connie joined as well. She had dabbled in Eastern religions while in college, but she didn’t feel that she had the spiritual support to deal with the changes occurring in her life.

The theme of the Bible study was a systematic look at all the reference to the Hebrew and Greek words translated into English as “spirit” taken in a chronological order from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. We were in I Chronicles when Connie decided that she needed to become a Christian. Henry was a deacon at Belmont Church of Christ and had a key to the church building. He offered to open it so that we could use the baptistry for Connie. She said yes and asked me to baptize her. We practice baptism by immersion in the Church of Christ.

It was a typical late November night. The temperature was in the upper 30s, and the heat had been set low in the church building for over 24 hours. The water in the baptistry was cold. I was wearing a set of waders, but as I bent over to immerse Connie, I leaned about 1/4 inch too far, and they filled with water. I got almost as wet as she did.

Connie remained a faithful Christian to the end of this life. I look forward to seeing her again.

And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.

The Afterlife: Two Views

This has been lurking on X (TSMPFKAT)—Here’s an alternate report from Paradise—

The next thing Osama bin Ladin saw after the muzzle flash was the Gates of Paradise and the Angel Gabriel beckoning him in. He walked through the Gates triumphantly, but had only gone a few feet inside when he was struck from behind and knocked to the golden street. He rolled over and saw George Washington winding up to hit him again with a walking stick. He tried to roll away, but he was kicked by Thomas Jefferson. He tried to get up and run, but he was tackled by Patrick Henry who began pounding away with his fists. Shocked, bin Ladin looked up at Gabriel and cried out, “What is happening here!” Gabriel replied, “Oh, those are just some of your 72 Virginians.”

We should pray not only for peace but also for justice.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Brett Kimberlin is quoted in Citizen K as saying that he is an atheist. The TKPOTD for ten years ago today outlines an important difference between him and most, if not all, the other members of Team Kimberlin on the on hand and me on the other.

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A some point several weeks ago, I remember reading a comment (I believe made by Bill Schmalfeldt) that expressed a disbelief in Hell but that assigned some particular person to a special spot in the Inferno because of some annoying behavior. This brings up an important difference between at least some of the members of Team Kimberlin and me.

You see, I believe in Hell. Bear with me for a few paragraphs while I explain.

First of all, I believe in God and that He is loving. One of the consequences of His love for us is His respect for our autonomy in the choices we make. In the end, we are left with choosing to be one of only two types of people. There are those of us who will say to God, “Thy will be done,” and there are those of us to whom God will say in sorrow, “Thy will be done.” That second group will have chosen to be apart from God, and He will not force them to draw near.

The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz wrote an essay called “The Discrete Charms of Nihilism” in which he dealt with Marx’s idea that religion was the opiate of the masses.

A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders are not going to be judged … [but] all religions recognize that our deeds are imperishable.

In his fantasy, The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis paints an allegorical picture of a mundane, boring Hell that may be far more accurate than Dante’s. Lewis notes that we are free to chose to move away from God but that freedom from God has a consequence.

Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others … but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God “sending us” to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.

We choose our path. We can take the one offered by Satan in Genesis 3 or the one that leads us to draw nearer to God.

Here endeth the lesson.

* * * * *

If I am wrong, it will make no difference in the long run, but if I’m correct, …

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has issued a subpoena for FBI Director Wray to testify about the agencies intelligence gathering activities aimed at the Catholic Church. A few weeks ago, news broke of an FBI office targeting enthusiasts of the Latin mass as extremists. It now turns out that the FBI has recruited at least one “undercover employee” to develop sources among the Catholic clergy and other church leaders.

IIRC, the Cheka and its successors down to the KGB infiltrated the Russian Orthodox Church with a goal of separating the people from religion and controlling what little of the church survived in public.

Jūdica me, Deus, et dicērne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab hōmine inīquo et dolōso ērue me.

UPDATE—For those of you who don’t know Latin:

Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the unholy nation, deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.

That’s from Psalm 42, and it’s read as part of the Traditional Latin Mass for Easter Tuesday. It seems to fit the present situation.


Quote of the Day

But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruit of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s at his coming.

—I Corinthians 15:20 … 23

Visibile and Invisible

Cat's PawThis comparison of infrared and visible views of the Cat’s Paw Nebula uses images taken by two of the telescopes belonging to the European Southern Observatory. The visible light image (right) was taken with the Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile. The new infrared image (left) was taken with the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. In the infrared, the dust that hides many stars is almost transparent, allowing many more stars to be seen.

Image Credit: ESO / J. Emerson / VISTA
Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Most of the members of Team Kimberlin have at one time or another claimed to be atheists. This post about Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin on Religion ran ten years ago today.

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Mark Singer quotes The Dread Pirate Kimberlin describing his religious beliefs on pages 35 and 36 of Citizen K.

Until the children hit adolescence, Carolyn often took them to Sunday services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Brett was confirmed there, along with his brothers and sister, but he had no faith.

Brett: “I was the only one who wouldn’t pray. Mom used to tell me to wear a suit and tie to church. I said, ‘Mom, if there’s a God, he doesn’t care what I’m wearing.’ I went to Sunday School and learned the Lord’s Prayer and stuff, but I felt totally alienated from this fraud. From the age of six, I didn’t buy into it at all. No brainwashing this boy. I have a very open mind. For instance, I wouldn’t say that I believe in psychic phenomena. But I believe in the possibility of psychic phenomena. Just as I don’t close my mind to the possibility of some universal force. There are obviously things that we still don’t know about, but all this organized religion I just don’t buy at all. I don’t like any kind of groups. A lot of people got into meditation for religious reasons. The reason I liked transcendental meditation was because there was no religion involved. There were no other rules.”

Yeah, no rules to be subject to.

The Gentle Reader who is familiar with Genesis 3 will remember the lie that Satan told Eve, “… and you will be like God …”

* * * * *

We have very different worldviews which lead to radically different understandings of Truth.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

This post about Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin and Wickedness ran ten years ago today.

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There’s good, there’s evil, and then there’s wickedness. Much of the time that we wind up doing evil, it’s because we are acting thoughtlessly. But there are times when someone exercises a freewill choice to do what he knows is wrong. That is wickedness.

One of the differences between Brett Kimberlin and me is our religious beliefs. He has said that he is an atheist. I’m a Christian. From my point of view, he has fallen for the lie that Genesis 3 records Satan telling: You can be like God. And if you’re like God, you can make your own rules. Self gratification is OK.

I, on the other hand, believe that it is better to exercise my freewill under God’s constraints and guidance. That leads to a freewill choice to love, love in the sense of the Greek word agape, a love that puts another’s welfare ahead of my own. Do I do a good job of that? No, not on my own. God’s help is necessary.

We all come equipped with a conscience, but with enough wicked choices it is possible to sear one’s conscience. Perhaps that is what has happened to Brett Kimberlin. Perhaps he can no longer tell good from evil.

The eminent theologian Bob Dylan put it this way: You Gotta Serve Somebody. I believe that Mr. Kimberlin and I are ultimately on opposite teams. He has the right to his choices in so far as they don’t injure others, but when they do, the good guys have the obligation to protect themselves and others. Whether using Tovex or lawfare, Brett Kimberlin has caused suffering for those who did not deserve it.

It’s time for that wickedness to be brought to justice.

* * * * *

Brett Kimberlin has had motions and appeals going for the last four years to try to have some of his Speedway Bombing convictions set aside. As the Supreme Court considers his appeal, we should pray for justice.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

IIRC, all of the members of Team Kimberlin claim to be atheists. This post from eight years ago today, No, It’s Not Just an Eastern Concept, was about one of their attempts to base an argument on a religious concept.

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Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.

—Galatians 6:7 … 10

* * * * *

Team Kimberlin also seems to have a continuing problem with Exodus 20:16—

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Most, if not all, of the members of Team Kimberlin are atheists, but from time to time they try to hold me accountable for their imagined understanding of my religious beliefs. This Point of Information was raised nine years ago today.

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It has been noised about on the Interwebs that I celebrate adultery or that this blog does. That is not true.

I take what God says about it seriously. I don’t encourage it. I don’t support it. I don’t celebrate it.

I also rarely talk or write about it. This blog isn’t about tabloid journalism. Adultery happens and is sometimes a driving factor in a story, but adultery per se is not a focus of this blog.

UPDATE—An anonymous coward from Team Kimberlin wishes to preach to me:TK20130710aYes, my son is overweight. The problem stems from a side effect of a drug he was taking for serious medical condition. He is now on a different regimen and has lost a significant amount of weight.

The anonymous coward preaches on …
TK20130710bHaughty eyes. Would that be like assuming you’re enough smarter than the average bear so that getting caught is simply bad luck?

A lying tongue. Is that kinda like perjury?

Hands that shed innocent blood. Could that blood come from a man’s leg after it had been blown off by a hidden time bomb?

A heart that devises wicked plans. Like smuggling contraband drugs, or plotting murder of a prosecutor, or lying about selling drugs to a political candidate, or … ?

Feet that make haste to run to evil. Like a recurring habit of stalking one’s critics and enemies?

A witness who breathes out lies. Like a guy who testifies that he did not engage in behavior for which there is clear documentation that he did?

One who sows discord among brothers. Like someone who falsely accuses his wife of mental illness in front of her children?

No, I haven’t forgotten that passage from Proverbs, and I think that it tells us a great deal about God’s sense of justice.

* * * * *

Here endeth the lesson.