God’s Gifts To Us

The greatest gift of God is that of his son who gave his life to ransom ours but there are many other gifts God gives us, this world, the people he puts in our lives, the lessons we learn, the tasks that we’re given, all of these things are gifts.

I regret that I did not see things this way in my younger years, did not see my wife as the gift from God that she is, or my friends, or parents, or pretty much anything of value that God put in my life.

That’s not the way I see things anymore, but one thing hasn’t changed and that’s my sense that we, humanity, are throwing away a gift of God and that’s this planet he has entrusted to us while we are here.

It’s true the Bible does say that God will make a new Earth, and it does say that man is to have dominion over the other animals.  But it doesn’t say when, and it does say we can’t know the time, only the season, so it may not happen in our life.  And also having dominion over animals does not lesson their value, they are still a gift of God and destroying them or the habitat God created for them is akin to throwing that gift back in God’s face, it is wrong.  The fact that God will create a new perfect world, one that is not subject to decay, stained by sin, does not take away the value of this world that we are in now.

I find myself in a strange place politically, because I can neither align myself with the republican conservatives who say it’s okay to destroy any non-human life, greed is good, etc.  Neither can I align myself with democratic liberals who say it’s a woman’s right to take a life if it’s dependent upon her body.  If we were to add up body counts, I’m not really sure if more people have been lost to abortion or war, but I don’t like either, I feel life is too valuable to throw away, all life.

I am not happy with what we are doing to this planet, what we are doing is not sustainable, but I think people are foolish if they think they can force God’s hand to create a new planet sooner by destroying our existing planet.

It does now appear with fracking technology that we won’t be running out of hydrocarbons for some time, at least twenty years, maybe a hundred.  That’s unfortunate because fracking technology hasn’t increased the amount of atmosphere or the ability to sink carbon dioxide one bit.  I was hoping this was a problem that was going to take care of itself by hydrocarbons simply becoming scarce enough that burning them was no longer a viable option but clearly that’s not going to happen in my lifetime.

So now if anything positive is going to happen with respect to our environment, it’s going to have to be by choice, our choice.

There are clean options, such as hydrogen fusion, that could be made operational much sooner if only we were willing to take even a small percentage of the resources we squander on war, and put it into research.  This technology has gone from being a scientific problem to an engineering problem, and the engineering problems appear solvable but it takes time to test materials and configurations to find those that are optimal.

Even though the capital expenses of hydrogen fusion are large, once built the fuel is for all practical purposes free.

There are many other options that we’re not developing, that we really should.  Wind and solar are variable but Germany has proven that they can make a much larger contribution to the electrical grid than they presently are here.

Converting long distance power transmission lines from AC to DC would cut transmission losses, eliminate electromagnetic radiation from those lines, eliminate susceptibility to solar flares and other space weather, allow interfacing of grids of different frequency and phase, eliminate cascading failures, and make practical the transmission of electrical power over much longer distances thus allowing the variations in solar and wind output to be averaged over a much greater area, allowing them to make larger contributions to the grid.

For base load power there is an ample supply of geothermal in the United States.  There is in fact enough geothermal resources to meet ALL of our electrical needs if we choose to exploit them, and exploiting them heavily in Yellowstone might just delay or prevent a super-eruption that would destroy most of the continental United States.  Yes, we might sacrifice old faithful, but I think given the prospect of another super-eruption that might not be a bad sacrifice.

When I was younger, I often had these dreams of being on an Earth where the air was pristine, the water in lakes crystal clear, not clogged up with algae from all the run-off and waste we discharge into rivers and streams, and I think those dreams were of the new Earth, but it also seems to me, we could have that here on our own planet if only we chose to take action to use sustainable energy sources, to use organic farming and more sustainable farming where proper crop rotations are done, drip irrigation is used so that nutrients weren’t leached out of the soil into rivers, streams, and lakes, and ultimately the ocean, and ground water wasn’t depleted faster than nature can replenish it.

Nuclear I’ve got mixed feelings about.  I think it has the technical capacity to be a clean energy source, one that doesn’t threaten melt-downs and massive contamination and one that doesn’t produce 100,000 year radioactive waste, but I think greed and politics will prevent that from being realized.  Such a system would require inherently safe designs, that is reactor designs that no active components need to function in order not to melt down or leak.  Such designs exist, but whether they could be built economically is doubtful.  The other thing that is needed are fast-flux designs that can consume transuranic long term waste and turn them into short-term fission products that only require short-term storage to decay and not 100,000 years.  Again, such designs exist, but economic feasibility is the issue.  Since the nuclear industry, like all industries, is driven by the profit motive, I am skeptical that a safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly nuclear industry is possible.  I also don’t really think it’s necessary here on Earth, though might well have applications in space, should we decide to colonize other planets, particularly since those available to us would be farther from the Sun and lack geothermal activity.

God told us to be fruitful and multiple, but multiplying beyond the point where we can feed ourselves without destroying our environment is not fruitful, it’s suicidal, but that appears to be where we are heading at present.

Before Babel

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It is frustrating being confined to such a narrow slice of time.  This video deals with the idea of a common language from which all languages emerged.

Often, we can understand where things are likely to go in the future by looking back into the past, but with language there is a game changer that never existed before, cheap, widely available, global communications.

During man’s history, he was always expanding outward from his origins, but we’ve reached a point where almost no portion of the globe is totally unpopulated.  There is no where unpopulated to expand in to, on this planet.

So I wonder, will language eventually meld back into a common language, and if so, how much will it resemble the original proto-language?


Repeal Section 1021 of the NDAA

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Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act gives the president the authority to order the military to detain anyone, including United States citizens, suspected of terrorist activities to be declared enemy of the state and detained indefinitely without a charges, hearing, or representation. This act completely guts the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution.

This Life – Gasoline Prices

Few could have missed the recent hike in gasoline prices.  Over the last few years, shortages in crude supplies have been largely to blame, but not this time.

This time you’ve got refineries being shut down or operated under capacity to intentionally cause a shortage of supplies and higher prices.  Add to that speculators who are aware that this was in the works have capitalized on it further driving prices up.

West coast refineries are operating at 79%, domestic crude supplies are abundant presently so it’s not as though they can’t get the raw materials.

I’m not convinced this is a bad thing, while the crude supply is ample now, and it appears that fracking technology will likely keep it that way for 15-20 years, there is only so much atmosphere, and it’s better to save some crude for chemical feedstock instead of burning it all up.

If the oil companies, through their own greed, price themselves out of the market, in my view that’s a good thing in the long run even if it’s painful in the short term.

Only sustained high fuel prices will encourage people to opt for more fuel efficient vehicles and vehicles capable of using more sustainable energy sources such as electricity and biofuels.

So go ahead, be greedy you bastards!  The sooner we’re rid of you the better.


My mother’s recent passing has me thinking a lot about the afterlife.  The Bible tells us a little but really not a lot of detail with respect to what to expect.

Years ago, we had a big storm, and I was thinking it was the Inaugural Day storm of ’93, but now I don’t think so because I remember it being cold and snowy not just windy.  Also, I remember just two kids then and ’93 would have had three.

At any rate; we had a storm, it knocked power out, and I was sick with the flu.  A water bed really sucks when the power is out because without the heater, it sucks the heat right out of your body.

So I’m sick, have a high fever and shivering on an unheated waterbed with no heat in the house because the furnace doesn’t run without electricity.

I went into a dream, only it seemed more real than waking reality.  I was in heaven with God, and it was home.  I knew it was, I had awakened from the dream of my life on Earth and I was more awake and alive and aware than I’d ever experienced.

And I had a choice, I could stay or I could go back, and I thought of the kids and I had to go back.  As soon as I thought that, I woke up, and the fever had broken, I had 98.6° F temperature and got up and felt fine.

But there were some things I brought back with me from that experience, a sense of connectivity there that I’ve never been able to totally get with any human being here. The most intense sexual experience doesn’t come close.

I also got a sense of that being home, I had been there before, it was familiar, relaxing, comforting, secure.  A feeling I’ve never really fully had on Earth.  Here, on this planet I’ve always had a feeling of not belonging.

Now that my mother has passed, there is a part of me that really wants to return to that place.  The only thing that prevents me is that I know God didn’t bring me all this way for no reason, I’ve got work to do before it is my time, and even though I don’t know what that is, I know cutting my life short would in effect be refusing God’s assignments and gifts.

So I’m in kind of a deep mental funk, really feeling tired of this life, a life in which I know two of my kids hate me because of what I’ve done, I’m not really sure if how my father feels about me but I know I’ll never earn his respect and I’m not sure about his love.

I love my wife but I don’t feel like she really shares the intensity of my emotions, so I feel very alone in them.  My situation doesn’t really provide me any method of blowing off steam and unwinding and that’s difficult to deal with at times.

I’m sure God has a reason for the path I’m on but I keep asking what I should be doing and so far the answer doesn’t seem to be forthcoming and that is difficult and frustrating.

I want to be home in a way that is secure, in a way I can really relate to people at the deepest level, and right now in my life that’s just not happening.

Russian Meteorite

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This happened early in the morning when people were on their way to work.  I think this would be more effective than ten cups of coffee.

The current NASA estimates are that this was a stony meteorite of about 55 feet in diameter, weighing approximately 10 tonnes or 10,000 tonnes (depending on the source, anyone with a pointer to a definitive value please let me know), and traveling about 46,000 miles per hour. The energy of the resulting blast is estimated now at 500 kilotons.  There is no explosive involved, this is the kinetic energy of it’s motion being dissipated as it is slowed by atmospheric friction.

It’s interesting that the Russians checked for radiation and continued to check throughout the day.  Given the size of the shock wave being roughly equivalent to the largest submarine carried nukes we possess, I can see where they might be concerned that perhaps this wasn’t natural.

God’s Presence

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, sometimes when I really want to feel God’s presence, like the night I was watching my mother struggle for every breath just before she died, I don’t and yet I know God is there just as he was all the time I was in prison, even the first month where I didn’t feel his presence.

Today’s Daily Bread, a devotional I read and read the verses it points to each day, the radio version ended with the assurance that even when we don’t feel God’s presence, he is there.  I know that, but still emotionally it helps to have that reinforced from time to time.

And this devotional, because I’ve found it helpful in my life, I’ve added a new section entitled Christian Resources to the right and I invite you to explore it as well.

Life Update

I attended my mothers’ funeral on Saturday, Feb 2nd.  The person my sister had arranged to do the service did a wonderful job.  Missed of my mom’s early occupations like usherette and cord board telephone operator but overall did a good job.

Tried to sing The Old Rugged Cross, but was too choked up even though I sang it probably a hundred times in prison.  I wasn’t the only one, by the end of the song most people had lost it and the only person still singing was the one up front leading it.

I know I’m entering a new phase of life now. I will see mom again some day but depending on what all God’s got for me to do here on Earth, it might be a long while.