In defense of staying home

Dawn on Cadillac Trail.

About once a year, I see these custom maps making the rounds on Facebook. The ones that ask you which states or countries you’ve been to and then produce a colored-in map showing the extent of your travels. Sometimes it’s a world map and other times it’s one of the US. I look ok on paper when it comes to the world map. I’ve been to the Philippines plus over half a dozen countries in Europe. That’s respectable, I guess. My US map would look less impressive. I’ve been all over the deep south but have only strayed beyond those borders a few times. Wisconsin when I was younger, a music festival in rural Illinois (three times), two trips to New Mexico. But these maps can be … [Read more...]

Let folly be our cloak!


‘Despair or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the enemy! For he is very wise and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.’ ‘At least for … [Read more...]

The Walking and the Resurrected Dead: Is Jesus Relevant after the Zombie Apocalypse?

Church scene from the first season of The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead isn’t really about zombies. I mean, there are definitely a lot of zombies on the show. But these “walking dead” mostly serve the purpose of creating a horrific and dangerous post-apocalyptic world. The question the show tries to answer is not “What’s the best way to deal with zombies?” but “How do humans behave when faced with horror and tragedy?” Zombies have long since ceased to be be the main threat on The Walking Dead. If anything, they serve to make the circumstances of the characters categorically different from the hardships faced by the viewer. For the most part, the show is set up in a way that the viewer is forced to admit that normal societal norms can’t … [Read more...]

Help Meets and Ebenezers

Michael Cain: A great Ebenezer, a terrible wife.

A funny thing going around the internet these days is this post about the 10 types of women Christian men shouldn’t marry. I’m not going to deal with all the craziness there. I just want to talk about one word; “helper.” This guy uses Genesis 2:18 to argue that women should have less authority than men because they are to be “helpers” to their husbands. In this passage, God says he will make a “suitable helper” for man (that’s how the NASB translates the phrase). Adam looks at all the animals and can’t find a suitable helper, so God builds him one. The King James Bible translates the words as “help meet.” The Hebrew words are ezer kenegdo (עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּ). Kenegdo means something … [Read more...]

Seed Catolog Season is here!


I. Love. Seed catalogs. I just get so excited about EVERYTHING inside. I've ordered seeds from several companies over the years so I get lots of catalogs around this time of year. They start pouring in around the middle of December and it’s not too much of a stretch to say I’m just as excited about seed catalog season as I am about some of the other seasons… Se, here are some of my favorites: Baker Creek - This is easily my favorite seed catalog to look through. Excellent photography and literally thousands of rare and heirloom seeds from all over the globe. The family who runs the company is… kind of weird. I can’t tell if they’re some kind of vegan, Amish-wannabe cult. Or if they … [Read more...]

Fantasy and Materialism in the Star Trek vs. Star Wars Debate

Nerd Alert. On screen.

I recently saw an article discussing one of the most important questions in the world of nerds: who would win in a fight between Star Wars and Star Trek? I have had this discussion numerous times. And I’m ashamed to say it may have become a rather heated argument on more than one occasion. I grew up watching Star Wars and was eager to defend it against my trekkie friends. Only recently did I get into Star Trek. I’ve seen all of the movies and every episode of Next Generation and Deep Space Nine along with most of Enterprise and a dozen or so episodes of the original series and Voyager. Still, I’m not exactly unbiased. Star Wars is my favorite, without a doubt, but I definitely have a love … [Read more...]

Interstellar and the force which moves the stars


The challenges in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar are gigantic. Matthew McConaughey and Company have to save humanity. They also have to figure out what humanity actually is: the sum of the individuals on the planet or the just the species as an abstract concept? They also have to "solve for gravity." And they have to live in a world without okra. I'm not making that up. That part is actually in the movie. So, yeah, a lot to deal with. In the near future, the earth is exhausted and deteriorating. The food supply runs dangerously low and a terrible blight threatens both crops on the surface and the air we breath. Against this terrible future, a group of scientists explore a newly formed … [Read more...]

Religious eating and the real ethics of food

Volunteer sweet potato and flower from my garden this year.

I wrote a while back about what we know in regards to health and eating. I argued that we really don’t know all that much. Very different diets seem to produce healthy and long-lived people. Yet, here in the west, many different groups strongly advocate diets promising everything from weight-loss to a cure for cancer. Curiously, these diets are sometimes polar opposites. Ketogenic diets prescribe mostly fats with no carbs. Raw fruitarians swear by a diet almost completely made up of fruit. The only similarity here is that the respective practitioners are committed with an almost religious fervor. This level of devotion is increasingly common. Many people who avoid certain foods ascribe a … [Read more...]

Sandy Claws, Jack Skellington, and the true (terrifying) King of Christmas

Move over Sandy Claws. The true King of Christmas is on his way.

Disclaimer: Don’t take this too seriously. Jack Skellington is not your typical Christmas movie hero. Not because he’s a skeleton. And not because he is the horrifying Pumpkin King of Halloween. But because he is neither a scrooge nor an outcast. Every Christmas movie needs a scrooge or an outcast to learn the true meaning of Christmas. But Jack is the beloved and magnanimous tyrant of his dark kingdom. Still, Jack comes close to falling for the absurd “spirit of Christmas” trap. When he stumbles into the Land of Christmas, he sees the lights, the snow, the elves busy at work. “What a wonderful thing!” Jack thinks, “This feels nice!” So Jack decides to make Christmas his own. He … [Read more...]