Friday, January 29, 2016


Most readers are likely familiar with the term, "YOLO".  It is a common cry, meaning, "You only live once."  It commonly used to justify some self-indulgent act, because we only get to enjoy ourselves, entertain ourselves, feed ourselves, dress ourselves, and impress ourselves... ONCE.  What comes after that ONCE?  We die, of course, because you only live... once?

But what if we actually DO live TWICE??


Yep, us Christians believe that every person, in truth, lives TWICE.  Yep, we live in this world first, and then in the world to come.  The world to come?  Yep, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of G^d, our eternal home, heaven.

If the first "living" is very short and the second "living" is quite long, in fact infinitely long, we might should focus on the second life even more than the first.

Get my drift?

So, next time you hear the abbreviation, "YOLO" remember, it really ought to be, "YOLT".  And that second life is the one that ought to be the center of our focus.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What is G^d saying?

One of the most striking passages in Scripture is found in John 12:49 where Jesus says, "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” 

I have mentioned this passage before, but it deserves mentioning again.

Wow!  Just Wow!

Jesus himself didn't speak on his OWN initiative?    What if I did the same?  

It would REVOLUTIONIZE my own speech to say only what the Father gives me... 

That seems immediately impossible, but James tells us, "You have not because you ask not...". 

I am going to ask G^d to give me commandment as to what to say, what to speak.

L^rd, speak to us all. L^rd open our ears that we HEAR YOU!!  Control my tongue that I only say what you command.

L^rd make it so!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Another WWW rant

I guess I shouldn't be complaining.  The WWW is invaluable for many things, and it is one of those things we can easily turn off, so why complain?

Well, marketing has sunk to a new low. The "bait" is some, previously interesting headline.  "You won't believe what happens next...".  Yes, yes I will be able to believe it.

Promises of tears, promises of shock, promises, promises, are NO better on the www than they are elsewhere.  They are bait to lure us... and that should be NO surprise!

But, a few of these still lure me in.  I click on the link, but cannot find the information promised.  But here is one advert, and if I click on the obvious arrow, I will find myself viewing info of absolutely NO interest.  Hey if it were interesting, I wouldn't have to be tricked, right?

So, though my irritation mounts, though I know better, I can't give up on the WWW just yet.  I just need to "say NO" to the WWW trolls.  Nothing good awaits me... or you.

As Christians have asserted before... this world has nothing for us!

True indeed.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Little Planning...

Brenda and I like to plan ahead.  When we KNOW something is coming, we try to anticipate and prepare.  Some folks like to "wing-it", we don't.  We understand spontaneity, we just don't pursue it.

Here's an illustration:

We know that the end is coming, so why not prepare?  We have designed, bought and paid for our tombstone-- and not the pizza kind.

We wanted the cross to be a prominent part of it.  And I suspect that we have one of the few in the country with the bottom slogan.  I insisted that they capitalize the "The" in "The Christ".

Most readers know that the word "Christ" simply means "Messiah", but some less religious folks think that "Christ" is the surname of Jesus.  Plus that "The" is a subtle way of underscoring Christ.  Many folks follow many different things.  We endeavor to follow The Christ.

We know what we are trying to do, so we have a way of evaluating our progress.  We know where we will end up, so we are planning ahead.

How about you?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Science and Scientism

Most of you readers realize that I am a Scientist.  Sure, I am a professor, and profs, teach don’t they? Yes we teach, but in reality, our main job isn’t teaching but science. Science can lead to FUNDED research, and research enhances a Uni’s reputation, as well as their pocketbook. And that pocketbook always wants to be fed.

I love science, and it is a fun and funny endeavor. I enjoy the quest for discovery, and the discovery.  I enjoy asking questions, and research is the means to find answers.  Plus, in our culture, research is very popular with the public,  I usually don’t say much about research, because it can become boringly complex fairly quickly.

Science is the quest for knowledge, but scientism is the fervent belief that science is the ONLY true source of knowledge!  Science may or may not be safe, but scientism is NEVER safe.

Science, by its very nature, confines itself to the study of nature.  Thus, it cannot say anything about things above or beyond nature.  Science deals with the observable, and generally the quantifiable.  As my friend Dan says it, “Science can tell us HOW to kill our mother-in-law; however, it can never tell us whether or not we SHOULD kill our mother-in-law”.  Thus, science is kind of limited in what types of questions it can answer.

And, surprising to some, science is quite often WRONG!!


Yep, science gets it wrong, on many occasions.  Don’t believe me?  Google “Earth Day predictions, 1970”.  That should be good for a few laughs, and should illustrate the errors science makes, but often doesn’t admit.

As the famous scientist, Yogi Bera, said it, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. “

So, don’t let us scientists convert you to scientism.  It will always let you down.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kids, gotta love 'em

Brenda and I have the great pleasure of babysitting our grandkids from time to time.  We enjoy doing it.  When our kids were little we never lived close enough to family to have their grandparents take care of them.

Fairly often we babysit two of our grands together, with both under 3 y.o.a.  This is a good service to them and a good reminder to us.  Young kids are a big responsibility and a LOT of work.

I think back to our five kids, when they were young. Those were busy, busy days, that I had forgotten until we started babysitting.

In late spring 1991, we moved our five to Houston, TX, while I worked down at JSC.  Our youngest was 2, our oldest a freshman in High School, at Clear Lake High.  We survived for about 14 months, before returning to AL. I remember those days, but not the challenges.  It had to have been tough to move to a new town with all those kids.  It wasn't really that new, as we had passed two or three summers there in earlier years, so we had a church and some friends already.  But buddy, that musta been some kinda work!!

G^d gives us a memory, but also a forgetter.  I had forgotten about all the work involved with little kids.  Maybe that is as it should be.  Some things we OUGHT to REMEMBER, some things it is good to forget.

Scripture tells us this.  "Forgetting what lies behind, I press on towards the mark..." Phil 3:13.  But in contrast, G^d reminded the Israelites, "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." Deut. 5:15  We are also to remember other things related to G^d's deliverance of US!!

And, just like G^d delivered those people from the Egyptians, he delivered us from the domain of darkness.  He did it with a mighty hand in our case by the Blood of The Christ.

Now that's something to remember! 

Oh yeah, and remember those little kids too!  Those were the days!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Rich, indeed, get Richer... and Maybe This is Why

It is a common complaint, "The rich, indeed, get richer"!  It is a complaint and often said with a tinge of implication that somehow this is unfair.

Shouldn't everyone have equal opportunity to get rich?

Well sure!  Of course everyone should have equal opportunity. But, individuality always plays a role.  We are gifted differently and some gifts are MORE lucrative than others.  Which is to say, almost anyone has the potential to BE rich, it just comes MUCH EASIER

But I have made some observations about getting rich.  In order to encourage students to do the ASSIGNED reading, each student is able, at/or before the due date, to turn in a 3x5 card with any notes that they want to make.  At the next exam, I give back ALL the cards.

Guess what?

The students with A's and B's have a card for EACH chapter.  The students with D's and F's have... one or NO cards to look at during the exam.

Go figure.

Also, students have the opportunity in my undergrad classes, to do UNLIMITED extra credit, which ADDS to their final grade.  I have never heard of anyone else doing that.

Guess what?

The students with A's and B's do lots of extra credit.  The students with D's and F's generally...  do NO extra credit or only 0.5 points or so.

Go figure.

So indeed, even in the economy of academics, the rich get richer.

And, oddly enough, it is also true of spirituality too!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

No Longer a Recruiter

A friend of mine used to be an enthusiastic recruiter for his University.   He now quotes the Raven, "Never more!"  He will recruit graduate students, but no undergrads.

My friend has a long tenure at his Uni.  He says he still loves it, but it has changed.  He claims he has no problem with the Uni adopting the "business model", he say his objection is simply a disaffection with the "maximum profit model".

So what has changed?  Nowadays, his Uni, like so many, has taken the position that it will happily put 400-500 students in a class, because all those students are paying tuition.  If half those students are out of state, that single 3-credit-hour class will pull in a bit over 1.1 million dollars- not counting fees!!


Yes, in addition to tuition, now Unis charge fees on TOP of tuition.

If there are but 40 students in a class, the class grosses just over $90k, and if a typical load is 2 classes, then the prof brings in 180K per term *2 terms = $360k!!If the teacher is an adjunct, he/she is might be only getting $3-4k per course!!  Pretty good profit, eh?

Of course the quality of instruction could be expected to be much lower when you pack in 500 students.  The chances on a prof calling on any given student is... well 45 classes in a semester is the MOST we ever have, so if we round to 50, and the prof calls on 10 students per class (1 call-on every 5 min) then you would be called upon ONCE per semester!!  Of course if only 20 (out of the 500) students each class had questions, and the prof spent 3 min answering each question, then there is NO time for instruction.

Ever think about calling the roll for a class of 500??  At one name every 6 secs- your 50-min is already gone!! Yep, scary.

Even in a more modest class of only 50 students, and half the students had a question, and each questions took 2 mins to answer, then again, NO instruction time whatsoever!

Wow, if students ever figured this out, and the prof only tested on what he/she covered in the class, then the exams would be really, really easy!!!

Well, besides paying profs, my friend says that the Uni must also pay for buildings, parking, utilities, libraries, and administrators, lots of administrators.

But what about dormitories for students?  Ah, another money maker!  But we'll save that for another blog... maybe!

P.S.  My friend is such a big hypocrite!!!  Just this past week he met with two potential undergrads and their families... and he recruited the stew out of them.   He just couldn't stop himself. Is there a 12-step program for this??

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Theoretical Christianity

Whenever someone asks me to do something Christian, I have a standard reply,  " I prefer to keep my Christianity on more of a theoretical basis, not a practical one!"

It's  a joke dating from 12-14 years back when we were catching a late flight that was making up for the flight we missed out of Yucatan due to a hurricane.  Steve Pogue had been given a first class seat, just to fill up the plane.  Steve is CRU Faculty Commons (faculty ministry) staff, and I was the professor on this trip.  He wanted me to take his first class seat whilst he sat in my seat in coach.  And that moment resulted in my "theoretical Christianity" quote.

Sadly though, it is only partly a joke.  There is too much truth to my "theoretical Christianity". 

You see, I know Scripture pretty well.  I have heard thousands or sermons, thousands of Sunday School lessons, and read the Bible every day.

I know a LOT about Christianity-- it's jsut that most of it is "theoretical" knowledge.   That is, I know, I do NOT act. I know Scripture, I just don't obey it.  I think about good works, I just fail to do many.

It's little solace... but I ma NOT alone!!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Revolutions

Yep, I meant New Year's revolutions, not resolutions!

So what is the difference?  One is ACTION one is simply resolve.  I want to revolt against some things in my life and live differently.

I want to revolt against my selfishness, against my tendency to think mostly of my own ideas, plans, programs.  I want to be no longer CONFORMED to this world, I want to be TRANSFORMED by the power of G^d,

I want to revolt against this fallen world.  I am a rebel, a rebel with a cause, and the cause is Christ.  And I don't want that to be just a resolution, but a revolution.  To revolt is to change direction.

G^d change me.