Archive for July, 2012

Watch the video below. Really, what does it make you think about the times we’re living in?

July 11, 2012 – In the neo-natal intensive care unit at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, nurses give baby Grayson morphine every three hours to help ease his painful withdrawal symptoms.

“He’s currently on 160 micrograms,” said nurse Andrew Pressnell.

Other newborn babies shake and scream as nurses rush to administer care around the clock. Nearly half of the infants in the hospital’s NICU are suffering from opiate withdrawal — most from prescription painkillers.

Baby Grayson was quaking when he was admitted to the hospitals NICU at just 48 hours old. He was born with a serious drug dependency because his pregnant mother was addicted to painkillers. Grayson was brought to Children’s Hospital from another hospital to wait for a spot in its special unit for newborns detoxing from painkillers. This specialized unit, just for babies going through withdrawal, is now full.

In fact, out of the 58 babies in the hospital’s NICU, 23 of them are going through withdrawal from prescription pills, including OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone.

“I know people probably think I exaggerate when I say they have this very fearful look in their eyes, well they do,” said Carla Saunders, the NICU’s head nurse.

Saunders is helping develop a treatment program for these newborns by using a powerful combination of drugs, trial and error, and lots of love and care. It can take weeks, even months, for these tiny bodies to withdrawal from whatever their mothers were hooked on. It costs $53,000 per baby to wean them, and 60 percent of the cases are on Medicaid.

Saunders said she used to go home in tears after watching the newborns suffer, but over time, she has grown accustomed to it. She now pours her emotions into helping the little ones.

“When I started, you maybe had a withdrawal baby once in a while and then it was once a month, and then it was once a week and then it was once a day,” she said. “We got six this weekend, all at one time, within almost 48 hours.” – Source

For those that think “Friends with Kids” does not promote this, see the (secular) movie review at the bottom.

In July, 2009, Newsweek ran a feature article on “relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners,” entitled, “Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution.” Last week, Showtime launched a reality TV show called “Polyamory: Married and Dating.” To quote from Newsweek’s 2009 article, it’s “enough to make any monogamist’s head spin.” And all this, of course, is being touted as a great thing, a celebration of love and freedom, a deliverance from the monotony and constraints of monogamy.

The Showtime promo [warning: sick content] pulls no punches and makes no excuses:

Narrator: The polyamorous lifestyle may shock some. But with American divorce rates hovering around 50 percent, these families are on the front line of a growing revolution in the traditional monogamous relationship.

Michael: I want people to know it’s okay to live a life this way, it can be good. Because it is. It’s beautiful. We love it.

Jennifer: I want people to know that monogamy isn’t the only way.

Vanessa: If it were socially acceptable, I think there would be way more poly people.

Tahl: It feels like how we really should all be living.

Natalia Garcia, director: I really believe that a lot of people are going to watch this show and their jaws are going to drop. And they’re also probably going to wonder, Am I poly?

Narrator: Follow two not-so-typical families –

Kamala: Mommy and Daddy are going to ask Jen and Tahl to come and live with us. How would you like that?

Kid: Yeah. I like ‘em.

Narrator: – that are changing the way America thinks about love.

Yes, it’s all about who we love, a statement we’ve heard before – repeatedly – in another context. Perhaps President Obama needs to allow his views on marriage to “evolve” just a little bit more? After all, don’t all Americans have the “right” to be with the person (or persons) they love? – Source

Secular movie review:

Although the movie does capture this characteristic of parenting, it actually focuses on a concept that some may find controversial: two people who are friends, but not lovers, having a child together so they can experience the joys of parenthood without the perceived pains of a monogamous relationship.

The film starts with a cell phone ringing, and the clock reveals it is very early in the morning. Jason Fryman (Adam Scott of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) answers the call from Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote and directed the film) asking him a joking question regarding ways he would prefer to die. Fryman’s response and the ensuing conversation immediately gives the audience the idea that Fryman and Keller are the best of friends and sets a comedic tone that is prevalent throughout the film.

Fryman and Keller make clear their parenting beliefs right from the onset: everyone is doing it wrong. Their mutual friends are two married couples, Alex (Chris O’Dowd) with Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Ben (Jon Hamm) with Missy (Kristen Wiig), who have had tremendous problems keeping their lives together since they had children. Using their friends and the general American population as examples, Fryman and Keller determine that their concept of child rearing while in a polyamorous relationship is superior to the standard, monogamous relationships most couples in America culture choose. Their concept skips the fighting and the inevitable divorce and goes straight to a shared custody system. With Fryman being a sex addict, Keller’s biological clock ticking and both of them wanting kids, the decision to conceive was not difficult.

What is scary about this concept is that many Americans growing up in families torn apart by divorce relate to this situation and many viewers might see this system as a real solution to their problems.

Check out Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

Download audio segment 1 & segment 2.

When heart-wrenching tragedy (like this & this) strikes, what do you tell people that ask “why would God allow this to happen?”

For people less intimately involved in a tragic event, see also the intellectual problem of evil, in this post. Obviously intellectual reasoning has nothing to offer a heart that is overwhelmed with deep & unbearable grief.

The following true story illustrates, the deliverance & real power over adversity and even joy that people can & do find, through Jesus. Make sure you listen to the audio above also (or download here).

I was a college student when I met Mabel. It was Mothers Day, and I was taking some flowers to the county convalescent home to brighten the day for some lonely mothers and grandmothers.

This state-run convalescent hospital is not a pleasant place. It is large, understaffed, and overfilled with senile and helpless people who are waiting to die. On the brightest of days it seems dark inside, and it smells of sickness and stale urine. I went there once or twice a week for four years, but I never wanted to go there, and I always left with a sense of relief. It is not the kind of place one gets used to.

On this particular day I was walking in a hallway that I had not visited before, looking in vain for a few people who appeared sufficiently alert to receive a flower and a few words of encouragement. This hallway seemed to contain some of the worst cases, strapped onto carts or into wheelchairs and looking completely helpless.

As I neared the end of the hallway, I saw an old woman strapped up in a wheelchair. Her face was a horror. The empty stare and white pupils of her eyes told me that she was blind. The large hearing aid over one ear told me that she was almost deaf. One side of her face was being eaten by cancer. There was a discolored and running sore covering part of one cheek, and it had pushed her nose to one side, dropped one eye, and distorted her jaw so that what should have been the corner of her mouth was the bottom of her mouth. As a consequence, she drooled constantly. I was told later that when new aids arrived, the supervisors would send them to feed this woman, thinking that if they could stand this sight they could stand anything in the building. I also learned later that this woman was eighty-nine years old and that she had been here, bed-ridden, blind, nearly deaf, and alone, for twenty-five years. This was Mabel.

I don’t know why I spoke to her – she looked less likely to respond than most of the people I saw in that hallway. But I put a flower in her hand and said, “Here is a flower for you. Happy Mother’s Day.” She held the perfect flower up to her distorted face and tried to smell it. Then she spoke. And much to my surprise, her words, although somewhat garbled because of her deformity, were obviously the product of a clear mind. She said, “Thank you. It’s lovely. But can I give it to someone else? I can’t see it, you know, I’m blind.”

I said, “Of course,” and I pushed her in the chair back down the hallway to a place where I thought I could find some alert patients. I found one, and I stopped the chair. Before I could speak, Mabel held out the flower and said, “Here. This is from Jesus.”

That was when it began to dawn on me that this was not an ordinary human being. We distributed the rest of my little supply of flowers in the same manner, and I wheeled her back to her room. There I began to learn more. She had grown up on a small farm that she managed with only her mother until her mother died, and then she managed the farm alone. Her social life was limited to the country church near her home, where she had played the piano from the time she was a girl. Finally blindness and sickness and poverty sent her to the county convalescent hospital. For twenty-five years she got weaker and weaker, with constant headaches, backaches, and stomach aches. Then the cancer came. There was little medical care for people like Mabel, people with no money merely waiting to die. For company she had three roommates, human vegetables who screamed occasionally but never spoke intelligibly. They often soiled their bedclothes; and because the hospital was understaffed, especially on Sundays when I usually visited, the stench was overpowering.

Mabel and I became friends, and I went to see her once or twice a week for the next three years. Her first words to me were usually an offer of hard candy from a tissue box she kept near her bed. Some days I would read to her from her beloved Bible, and often when I would pause she would continue reciting the passage from memory, word for word. On other days I would take a book of hymns and sing with her, and she would know all the words of the old songs. For Mabel, these were not merely exercises in memory. She would often stop in mid-hymn and make a brief comment about lyrics she considered particularly relevant to her own situation. I never heard her speak of loneliness or pain except in the stress she placed on certain lines in certain hymns. Once, for example, while singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” following the line, “Is there trouble anywhere?” she murmured softly, “Oh, yes, there is.”

It was not many weeks before I turned from a sense that I was being helpful to a sense of wonder, and I would go to her with a pen and paper to write down things she would say. I have a few of those notes now (I wish I had had the foresight to collect a book full of them), and what follows is the story behind one scrap of paper.

During a hectic week of final exams I was frustrated because my mind seemed to be pulled in ten directions at once by all of the things I had to think about. The question occurred to me, “What does Mabel have to think about – hour after hour, day after day, week after week, not even able to know if it is day or night?” So I went to her and asked, “Mabel, what do you think about when you lie here?”

And she said, “I think about my Jesus.”

I sat there and thought for a moment about the difficulty, for me, of thinking about Jesus for even five minutes, and I asked, “What do you think about Jesus?” She replied slowly and deliberately as I wrote; so slowly that I was able to write it all down. This is what she said:

“I think about how good he’s been to me. He’s been awfully good to me in my life, you know. . .

I’m one of those kind who’s mostly satisfied. . . Lots of folks wouldn’t care much for what I think. Lots of folks would think I’m kind of old-fashioned. But I don’t care. I’d rather have Jesus. He’s all the world to me.”

And then Mabel began to sing an old hymn:

Jesus is all the world to me,

My life, my joy, my all.

He is my strength from day to day,

Without him I would fall.

When I am sad, to him I go,

No other one can cheer me so.

When I am sad, he makes me glad.

He’s my friend.

This is not fiction. Incredible as it may seem, a human being really lived like this. I know. I knew her. I watched her for three years. How could she do it? Seconds ticked and minutes crawled, and so did days and weeks and months and years of pain without human company and without an explanation of why it was all happening – and she lay there and sang hymns. How could she do it?

The answer, I think, is that Mabel had something that you and I don’t have much of. She had power. Lying there in that bed, unable to move, unable to see, unable to hear, unable to talk to anyone, she had incredible power.

How the media insists & thrives on hype vs. truth:

GENEVA — “We don’t call it the “God particle,” it’s just the media that do that,” a senior U.S. scientist politely told an interviewer on a major European radio station on Tuesday.

“Well, I am the from the media and I’m going to continue calling it that,” said the journalist — and continued to do so. Source

You would see many articles like this one “How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story of our Creation“, which has no substance in empirical science – it merely does some “naturalist world view cheer-leading”, and at best illustrates the euphoria in the physicist scientific community after decades of trying to prove this – and actually well deserved for those that did this work i.e. the authentic empirical science involved here & don’t try to make this discovery more than it really is – i.e. confirmation of the standard model, and not anything else.
Making the implications of this discovery plain :

  1. The Higgs Boson or “god particle” is only applicable to the standard model of physics. Before the Higgs Boson particle was proven, the standard model of physics was not in doubt, it was trusted already and nobody tried to use it to “disprove religion” or endow this ‘potential particle’ with other massive significance.
  2. It is well known that the standard module of physics does not apply to the time when the “big bang” occurred (hence the subject of this post). Two other physics models apply then, except that they do not exist yet – the early versions of these potential models are called the Grand Unified Theory & Quantum Gravity Theory (during the Planck era or phase). See also “Physics beyond the Standard Model” & listen to the audio in this post further explains where these models fit in.
  3. Do you know why this particle even got the name “the god particle” in a book on this topic? You may be surprised to know (mentioned in audio).

Be sure to listen to the audio segments – you can download them here: segment one, and segment two or over at the Reasonable Faith site.

Also note that I’m not really dogmatic over young or old earth creation, even in the “old earth creation” model (i.e. a less literal reading of Genesis) can be very well supported through very detailed & authentic cosmological argumentation & reasoning – as in the book Reasonable Faith. See also the Kalam Cosmological Argument & responses to critiques thereof. I do lean towards literal interpretation, however.

Broadcasters had challenged several FCC decisions on “fleeting” instances of indecent speech and nudity. In the narrowly written, unanimous opinion, the justices overturned the FCC’s enforcement actions on the grounds that it had acted without giving broadcasters “fair notice” that fleeting expletives and nudity violated indecency rules. – USA Today …in their “opposing view” article – not their actual stance. They support allowing this on TV.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are an awful lot of lady parts being discussed on broadcast TV these days. And they aren’t the only ones exposed — the male anatomy is explicitly mentioned on prime time as well, markedly more than even a few years ago. “Broadcast networks say they have to compete against cable and that’s why they’re pushing the envelope like this,” Winter said. “They’re forgetting that they’re broadcast networks that use public airwaves and go out to every single person who has a TV.” – LA Times

Check out, The Briefing. Listen to full audio here.