Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Loving The Beach

After that last post I'm obligated to brag.

My parents lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a while. When visiting at home they didn't care as much about any one thing except spending at least one afternoon on the beach. They used to say that there was something unsettling about living in the middle of the desert, and it wasn't the dry heat or the horizon noticeably absent of mountains. They missed the water.

Our family routine was to go, sit, watch the surf and eat, then walk it. I'm an adult now so I can be a tad more adventurous. There are plenty of things to do, and I like them all. Stuff to see and do:

At the beach in Lincoln City we always visit "Road's End." Cool grandma-voice narrates while I am nodding along:

I've lost many articles of clothing in the creeping tide here. I prefer to believe it's how Japan keeps up with PacNW trend.

Depending on which beach you visit, you can collect or see different things. In my years I've collected all kinds of seashells and sand dollars, clams, agates, and crab shells, and I've seen plenty of washed-up jellyfishes, kelp (30 ft. long), seaweed, starfishes, small whales, seals and other large fish. At one beach there's even a washed up pirate ship (or so my imagination informs me). I remember walking the beach alone with my dog at sunrise in Seaside discovering that there was a small number of people also out to probe the sand as I for what the ocean brought during the night. I watched the people with their buckets and nets "hunt" down the crab that had been trapped in the tidepools of sand.

Probably my favorite beach is Seal Rock, featured below, a 45 minute drive south of Road's End. There are secrets to this beach which I treasure. In the winter when the tide is high there is this long cavern of ocean that gets trapped between two low jagged peaks. Every thirty seconds as the tide rushes in, thunder rolls as the water crashes up toward you and along the walls, spraying everywhere and blowing out the ears. Cool. Those low-lying rocks, inland from where the seals bathe, were formed 35 million years ago. Just about the time primates descended from mammals. Awesome.

What else am I forgetting to mention about the beach? How about how it's only an hour's drive away from home? Who can resist.... Even when temperatures aren't nearly balmy yet, we all seem to think it's great.

Beach, Spring 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rain & the PNW

I've been doing research on Lewis and Clark in preparation for restarting the Reconstructing Jason Lee blog. I hit a tough point in the last couple months because I'm done introducing the story and now must start it. I am going to start it with its most fantastic feature: the beginning. I gotta do it right, though, and it's hard to figure out how to section it and choose its focus.

In the meantime, enjoy this three part slightly irreverent true-Oregonian rediscovery of the Lewis and Clark saga:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

40-cent Friendship

Ten years did little to change three girlfriends. We all looked the same as we did when we were in college; same weight, same hair length, same style. Still, we had the same personalities (though all of us have matured a tiny bit).

I think upon what it means to be a friend. There are seasons where circumstances bring strangers together so that they can learn and be challenged and accepted; the crucibles of life. They are the forces that cause people to bond under pressure and proximity. Then one day, those forces are lifted and people drift apart. Is friendship all about the crucibles? If it were, could it really have been a friendship? I ponder.

These two precious girlfriends listened to me say out loud: "I so much hate that 3-to-4-year stint of people coming and then going out of life, that I am determined to never be like that to anyone else." What I said aloud received nods, but those nods were backed up by a complete lifestyle. There was a particular moment when I was trying to purchase a light rail pass in Maryland and the machine took two dollars whole as punishment for not having exact change. I muttered out loud about the rip-off. A minute later, one of these two girls was sticking forty cents into my coat pocket.

"What are you doing?" I asked confused.
"Well, I felt bad that the machine took your refund," she replied.

I was stunned.

Her love is obvious. She has compassion on me. Her friendship is true, and it didn't matter that we don't have so much in common anymore, that we are parted by lifestyle and distance and other friendships closer to home. She loves me. She would give her heart for mine in an instant. And I know it. And it makes all the difference in the world.

I am thankful for those seasons where people get close even though it may eventually end. However, I'll treasure this forty-cent friendship for a lifetime, as it comes and goes through all the years of my life.

Monday, April 14, 2008


This is in the coastal town of Florence, Oregon. A place of nostalgia for me, my dad's favorite beach. I love to go here because the dunes are amazing, the sun is intense and there are plenty of amazing shells and agates to collect on a stretch of empty beach.

Once we thought we would cross a large dune on foot to the ocean. Big mistake; we climbed to the top and discovered a miniature mountain range between us and water, covered with buggies everywhere that would dip down and suddenly reappear flying in leaps.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Picturesque NY

Here are the best pictures I took with my measly whatever-old-tech-pixel camera.

No tour of NY is complete without a picturesque American flag.

Hints of summer

A gate at Ground Zero: "This is worth protecting"

This reminds me of the ocean, how the sand and water and sky lose their boundary.

It's so crowded in Times Square that the only place to see something is up

Can I park my wartime-era masted ship next to your Hyundai Santa Fe?

I suppose everyone has a good picture of the Empire State Building

Friday, April 11, 2008


Sometimes when I listen to the cries of frustration of my baby, I think to myself, "You too?" I've been admiring this song for some time now. He sings just like a little boy, with tears on a hot little face and a mouth wide open yelling. I like being reminded that I am a babe to my Heavenly Father 'cause as adults we just don't get to throw tantrums.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Christianity and Hominids

One of the definite highlights of visiting NY, NY was the American Museum of Natural History's human origins exhibit.

Visit here to get their virtual tour of the skull, pelvis and foot structures between a chimp, neanderthal, and human, on the link to the left called "meet your relatives."

I saw the entrance to the room from a distance and felt a deep possession take over my whole person. Turning to my girlfriends as we approached I said, "Is it okay with you... would you mind terribly if I just blab and blab, when we're in there, please?"

We spent a lot of time studying the forms and the Laetoli footprints, trying to decide whether what we were looking at could be tacked up to deformations and individual variation within Homo Sapien. I said, yeah, for about half the hominid record; yeah, you could call a lot of what we see not much different from modern-day man at all. It's the whole record itself, particularly the smaller braincase and semi-bipedalism that really can't be explained without some nod to evolution.

I wasn't too different from my two friends, and I admitted enough. Yes, I may have studied the intricacies of morphology on my own for many years, but, now that I am a Christian who adopts the scriptures in a fundamentalist manner, how can I answer what I think I've learned? I searched anew for some kind of theory to explain their harmony or satisfactorily dissuade myself of one for the other.

There are two significant inherited flaws of fundamental evangelicalism which impact our discussion of evolution as evangelical Christians. Those two flaws of historical fundamentalism are:

1. Its militant mood: to re-Christianize our world

[One of the] definition[s] of evangelical comes from the conservative Protestant reaction to the rise of liberal Protestantism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is nearly synonymous with fundamentalism -- at least as that term was originally used and understood. ... The early twentieth century fundamentalists (especially before 1925) were by and large defenders of Protestant orthodoxy with a somewhat militant attitude toward fighting the encroachments of revisionist Protestantism. Evangelical was one of those terms used to identify them. After 1925, the year of the infamous Scopes evolution trial in Tennessee, fundamentalism gradually began to withdraw from the mainstream of denominational Protestantism into its own subculture.... {1}
pg 11

2. The blur made between ignorance and faith, and in some cases the exaltation of dis-education

John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards may fairly be seen as the two great founders of Evangelicalism in the English-speaking world. ... What makes Edwards and Wesley the founders of the evangelical movement is their tremendous influence on church and culture through their persuasive influence on the necessity of radical conversion and experience for salvation and authentic Christian experience. While both men affirmed the absolute authority of scripture and insisted on the classical doctrines of Christian orthodoxy, they also elevated experience over doctrine as the true centerpiece of Christian existence. {1}
pg 37

Watch this 59-second introduction:

One Christian woman interviewed said: "The bible says 'In the beginning, God created...'. To me, that's all I need to know." Is this really enough for ourselves, I wonder, let alone for everyone else who asks for answers?

You may have heard the recent trouble "Intelligent Design" has taken from the courts, because it could not prove itself actual science, in its defense.

This particular tv special was both an upsetting attempt to thrash bible-believing Christians but also a wonderful wake-up call to us for how far we are out of touch from the evidence and all reason our whole world functions upon.

I highly recommend this thrilling and entertaining documentary which covers creationism, evolution, DNA evidence, fossil evidence, the scientific method, and science itself. It is two hours, but like many of the people who are interviewed in it said, "We find ourselves going back to school all over again."

Click here to watch the NOVA special

History of Evangelical Theology. Olson, Roger E. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL; 2007, pp. 11, 37.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quoting Quoting

It's so odd to look out your window and see the wing of the plane, while flying. It's that one of two things which keep you decidedly thousands of feet separated from the earth.

Quoting Jim Carrey quoting William Shatner:

There's... someone on the wing. Some... thing.

--Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A hot cup of steaming, starbucks....

I'm doing my best to get a grip in time for tomorrow morning's flight. It's the passenger regulations that have got me in a tiff. They want me to use a medium-sized ziplock bag's worth of product and that's all I can have. I spent an hour today organizing what I use into tiny little 3-oz. bottles (regulation-limited sized). Here's the list I've got as of ten p.m.:

facial cleanser
facial moisturizer
after sun hydrating gel
contact solution
eye-makeup remover
liquid ibuprofen
hand sanitizer
body moisturizer
acne treatment gel

Yeah; it's not fitting in that baggie.

Actually I have two baggies filled with these items. Julie, international traveling talent that she is, recommended not checking luggage which means I can only have one of those baggies and anything else I have to separately petition. I can feel the scrutiny over these items. Are three different kinds of moisturizer really necessary? Well let me just ask you if you enjoy the thought of using a twelve-dollar moisturizer just for hands?? The after-sun moisturizer is the perfect thing I found to make rough parts feel so soft, and I use it every day. How much fun can I really have if I don't feel like my self after five days of going without? Everything else is pretty much self-explanatory... hey; I'm not high maintenence! Wait a second--I'm having an epiphany.

I used to think I was self-sufficient but now I realized I've turned to the dark side and become one of them--those prissy types. Ugh. Okay. I'll join the club only if I can stick a stubborn foot in the door swinging shut behind me.

Beyond liquids and gels, I'm curious to know what kinds of beauty objects I can bring without them being seen as a potential weapon. I'm getting a kick reading on down through the list whether each item can be carried aboard the plane. Let me share a bit of it with you:

Bug and mosquito repellent Yes-3oz. or smaller container
Cuticle Cutters Yes
Deodorants made of gel or aerosol Yes-3oz. or smaller container
Eyelash Curlers Yes
Hair Straightener or Detangler Yes-3oz. or smaller container
Lip gels such as Carmex or Blistex Yes-3oz. or smaller container
Nail Clippers Yes

Then it lists this object mysteriously in the bunch:

Toy Transformer Robots Yes

Hmm, how does a transformer pose a threat? I can't imagine how. Next listed are:

Umbrellas - allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.
Walking Canes - allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed.

I love these next categories:

Box Cutters No
Ice Axes/Ice Picks No
Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives No
Meat Cleavers No
Sabers No
Swords No

Well, duh. More:

Baseball Bats No
Bows and Arrows No
Cricket Bats No
Golf Clubs No
Hockey Sticks No

Can you imagine being the clerk and this huge guy says, "I'm carrying on my bat"? How about a big messy bag of golf clubs? Yeah right. But the list of regulations isn't finished. Just in case you were wondering:

Axes and Hatchets No
Cattle Prods No
Crowbars No
Saws (including cordless portable power saws) No

Aww, I can't take my saw with!

Billy Clubs No
Black Jacks No
Brass Knuckles No
Kubatons No
Mace/Pepper Spray No
Martial Arts Weapons No
Night Sticks No
Nunchakus No
Stun Guns/Shocking Devices No
Throwing Stars No

No throwing stars, people; come on!

Blasting Caps No
Dynamite No
Fireworks No
Flares (in any form) No
Hand Grenades No

Umm.... Then the list innocently switches like lightning back to jello and whip cream--"only in three ounce containers!!"

Well, here I go, headed back to my "roots." You didn't know? Yeah, I was born in New York, actually in Niagara Falls. I know what you're thinking as you read this. It's the same thing everyone ever says when I tell them where I was born: "Ohh, you were born over the falls!!" I pretend to act amused. Sometimes, just to give a rounded effect to it all I'll add to the story, "Actually, it was just up the street from Love Canal; you know the place where the nuclear radiation was released in the seventies?" And then they always say, "Ohh, that explains a lot!" I nod, pretending amusement once again, and maybe I throw in a little dance of handicap. It's a well rode diddy I can evoke at will from perfect strangers.

I've been on a plane three times before. In 2000, my sister and I flew to Birmingham, England. Now there's something I'll never forget. My sister and I ripped it up learning the English lingo "mind the gap" and "no entry" with a stick figure fleeing against a door that won't give way. We went into a grocery store and walked around laughing and giggling because they had mac'n'cheese in cans and scary characters hovering over breakfast cereral. The young clerk covertly followed us around trying very hard to hide his amusement as our accents gave us away.

Again my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Las Vegas. I spent the whole trip being sick. I carried a little starbucks cup everywhere as we toured the sites of interest--it was a little cup of steaming insurance in case I lost my lunch. The smoke didn't do too much to enhance the struggle.

The last time was when we went to Washington D.C. about six months after 9/11. I remember is how serious and nervous the atmosphere was while we were there.

Well, I'm off, to bed that is. Needing beauty sleep, prissy-girl?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Infant Baptism

Infant baptism was a practice in the church, as I have read, which started after the death of the apostles but before the time of Augustine. Christians practiced it and didn't think much about it; it was the way things had been done; I am curious, though, to find out in further readings if there were any in this era who questioned it. I was recently taught in my class that no one till then had yet justified it by means of scripture. Augustine took this tradition of the church and gave it body when he explained original sin in a further, and more desperate, manner.

Once taking a stance that all can be spiritually regenerated even without personal consent through water baptism, it soon came time for him to explain why some, or many, of those who were baptized did not follow in any portion according to the faith. In this frame of mind the doctrine of predestination was conceived and given form by Augustine.

I am reading along in the writings of Augustine, and find them very thought provoking (link given at the bottom of post). Let me share just a small piece which shows his thinking as I have connected already the doctrine of original sin with infant baptism:
If original sin is a nullity, would it not follow, that not only grace withdraws men from many offences to justification, but judgment leads them to condemnation from many offences likewise? For assuredly grace does not condone many offences, without judgment in like manner having many offences to condemn. Else, if men are involved in condemnation because of one offence, on the ground that all the offences which are condemned were committed in imitation of that one offence; there is the same reason why men should also be regarded as withdrawn from one offence unto justification, inasmuch as all the offences which are remitted to the justified were committed in imitation of that one offence. But this most certainly was not the apostle's meaning, when he said: "The judgment, indeed, was from one offence unto condemnation, but the grace was from many offences unto justification." We on our side, indeed, can understand the apostle, and see that judgment is predicated of one offence unto condemnation entirely on the ground that, even if there were in men nothing but original sin, it would be sufficient for their condemnation. For however much heavier will be their condemnation who have added their own sins to the original offence (and it will be the more severe in individual cases, in proportion to the sins of individuals); still, even that sin alone which was originally derived unto men not only excludes from the kingdom of God, which infants are unable to enter (as they themselves allow), unless they have received the grace of Christ before they die, but also alienates from salvation and everlasting life, which cannot be anything else than the kingdom of God, to which fellowship with Christ alone introduces us. {1}

Here is another quote which, in my opinion, shows the difficulty he has in injecting his belief in original sin as a trespass in addition to personal ones:
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound." Romans 5:20 This addition to original sin men now made of their own wilfulness, not through Adam; but even this is done away and remedied by Christ, because "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin has reigned unto death" Romans 5:21 —even that sin which men have not derived from Adam, but have added of their own will—"even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life." Romans 5:21 There is, however, other righteousness apart from Christ, as there are other sins apart from Adam. Therefore, after saying, "As sin has reigned unto death," he did not add in the same clause "by one," or "by Adam," because he had already spoken of that sin which was abounding when the law entered, and which, of course, was not original sin, but the sin of man's own wilful commission. But after he has said: "Even so might grace also reign through righteousness unto eternal life," he at once adds, "through Jesus Christ our Lord;" Romans 5:21 because, while by the generation of the flesh only that sin is contracted which is original; yet by the regeneration of the Spirit there is effected the remission not of original sin only, but also of the sins of man's own voluntary and actual commission. {2}

Of course, there are many who understand that spiritual regeneration is a washing of the inner man by the Spirit of God, and not something done with literal water. It is unfortunate, as someone who sees the scriptures explain this, to read a whole theological construct delineating who may enter heaven and who may persist to the end, come about from just one false construct.

Do we need a belief in Augustinian predestination with a knowledge of infant baptism being ineffectual? Calvin resurrects this belief later on after the Reformation.

On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants. Augustine, {1}Book 1 ch. 15; {2}Book 1 ch. 20.

Little Detours

The next post was supposed to be about infant baptism. My notes are at home, sitting next to a computer that won't boot. It's on the fritz.

As I write this I am watching over my little nieces and nephew, who are just freshly tucked into bed. I am not sure this wasn't little Logan's first attempt at sleeping in a new toddler bed--when I went and checked on his tossing and turning for the upteenth time, he was gone--curled up next to his little big sister in her bed. Aww.

In two days I get on a plane to Baltimore. Julie and I are flying out to spend five days with Jenn. She flies from Seattle, I from Portland, and we meet in a layover. We'll be arriving late in the evening. Friday evening we'll make a drive for New York City. One night we will spend at her mother's house, another in a hotel. The biggest decisions that haven't yet been made are what we will use the weekend to go see. There has been a buzz going on for several weeks from those two. Me, I go with the flow. All I plan on doing is wearing walking shoes and something hip, and taking a backpack to carry water and my purse and the ten million brochures I'm sure I'll want to hold onto. I'd like to see ground zero. I also would like to visit the museums, but, the ones I would like the most (history) I could see some portion elsewhere and I am not sure my cohorts would enjoy nearly as much, of course. The Empire State Building would be fun to see again, ehh, it's been in a lot of movies. There is a list at least forty long of attractions to spend time and money on, but, I'm content to be led.

She and I arrive back to our homes Tuesday night late. I give thanks to an amazing husband who will stay with our three kids all those weekdays, especially because of a little curious chub who will not have his mommy to nurse-konk him out for bedtime.

I still haven't kicked that infection in my throat; it came back a couple nights right after I finished the antibiotics, so I'll start another series.

Soon, now, life will get a little less abnormal, I'll get back into the swing of things, and just maybe our computer will be cured of its illness, too?

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