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August, 2012

  1. Roadblock of the Mind

    August 30, 2012 by Ryan

    On the way home from work tonight, I waited my turn at the light just two blocks away from home. When I was clear, I turned left onto the boulevard, and drove about 30 feet, gradually catching up to the truck ahead of me. The driver of this truck waved to the car at their left (in the center turning lane) what appeared to be a friendly goodbye greeting, as that vehicle made a left-turn into the gas station. Then the truck immediately in front of me put on its brake lights. It was not going that fast to begin with, and I was confused why the driver would be slowing down. I quickly realized that they were not slowing – they had come to a complete stop, blocking the traveling lane. I pushed my brake pedal down harder to come to a stop behind them. My close stop being unexpected provided me very little distance if I were now to chose to make a maneuver to pass the truck ahead of me. Fortunately the other cars behind us also came to a stop at this unusual place in the road. I watched the driver ahead of me, who leaned toward the center console of her car, picked up a cell phone, and put it to her face. The driver appeared to be talking, while parked and blocking the progress of everyone behind them. About a half a minute later, I could still see no apparent reason why we should remain motionless. I was about to sound a friendly “beep-beep” of the horn, when this driver (without signaling) slowly began a left turn into the same gas station, crossing the center turn lane and oncoming traffic lane to do so. I sped up to the full speed limit of the road, and continued on the two additional blocks to reach my home. I felt bewildered as I tried to reason out what had happened and what that driver was thinking?

  2. The best laid schemes of mice and men

    August 22, 2012 by Ryan

    My plans at work for a Friday team training fell apart and were canceled on me. As I reflected on it, I found myself thinking of a line “The best laid schemes of mice and men” and couldn’t come up with the rest, or if it was applicable. I decided to use my extended memory, otherwise known as Google, and search it. I found a poem called “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns.

    The story is that Mr. Burns was plowing his field and turned over the dirt of a family of mice. He recognized that they had carefully burrowed and built this home to be safe for the winter, but he had disturbed it and ruined their entire plan. He later went and wrote a poem.

    The stanza that I was recalling was this:

    But little Mouse, you are not alone,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes of mice and men
    Go often awry,
    And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
    For promised joy!

    So this was a bit overdramatic for my particular situation. Although it rings true often enough in life. Funny thing is, I don’t remember why I should know this poem. With some research, I know that this was a great inspiration for the book “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. That book I do remember reading in High School. I remember it because there was a generous helping of profanity within it. I remember well that my English teacher, Mrs. Charington, explained that we would read it out loud as a class, taking turns reading two paragraphs each as we went around the room. And if anyone was uncomfortable reading the profanity, simply pause and she would read those words out loud.

    When it came my turn, I abridged my sentence, removing the offending word. I didn’t even think about it; my brain just does that as I read. I don’t mean to imply that I read a lot of cursing; but when I do, my brain tends to just remove the offending word or phrase as I pass by. It is a talent or a training or whatever-you-call-it that I quite like. Mrs. Charington didn’t like it. She stopped me, and made me read it correctly, pausing at the offending word so that she could read it aloud.

    In a class attended by 99% Mormon kids, the teacher pronounced a lot of swear words during that book reading. Which she explained was her time of the year to say those words out loud and relieve her frustrations in life.

    At any rate, I don’t remember why the poem was coming to my mind today. I honestly can’t recall when I might have studied it, or why it had any significance to my memory – except maybe connected to that senior year book reading?


  3. A Rooster Wearing a Tuxedo

    August 2, 2012 by Ryan

    I saw a clever portrayal being shared on social media of a supposed hypocrisy of following “biblical principles.” This one was specifically targeting Chick-fil-A restaurants, which lends both financial and edible support to groups who promote “traditional” marriage and family, but also serves pork products with their breakfast meals.

    It was cute, but also showed either a disregard or ignorance toward the Holy Bible.

    The flier cites Leviticus 11:7-8 as evidence that swine is forbidden. “And the swine … is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.”

    The Law of Moses indeed taught this, and the interpretation is correct. Good Jews should not eat pork.

    When we obey the law of God, we are blessed. In the Book of Daniel, Chapter 1, we learn of a young Jewish boy named Daniel, who was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar about 600 BC. Verse 8 explains that “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” He requested an exception be made, and was granted that he could eat from a kosher menu, and he was blessed of God for his diligence.

    The law of unclean foods was actually a revealed part of the Divine plan, and the blessings of obedience were both physical and spiritual.

    However, times changed.

    In the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 10, starting in verse 9, Jesus’s chief apostle Peter was hungry. He fell asleep before dinner, and dreamt that the Lord commanded him to kill and eat the unclean animals. Following this dream, Peter is introduced to “Gentiles” who are likewise unclean according to the Jewish law, but who are clearly feeling the Holy Ghost and want to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. He learns in this experience that the old law of Moses was fulfilled in the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself had declared this, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke 24:44, and now Peter was understanding the full meaning.

    He and Paul and the rest of the apostles go on to teach that the laws of cleansing and purification and circumcision are no longer necessary. Those rules had belonged to the time and season, and have been fulfilled in the greater law of Jesus Christ.

    So that verse from Leviticus only applies up until about 33 AD, unless you want to stop at Malachi and continue being Jewish.

    There are some commands which are given (or revoked) by God for certain people at certain times, according to His wisdom, and by his authorized representatives. Some would argue that this makes God a changeable being; I don’t agree. I see it as a perfectly natural way to respond to the needs of the day and to prove His people and their faith in following Him.

    But hey, guys who made that picture being passed around on Facebook – Here is another angle you could try.

    You could ridicule Chick-fil-A for supporting plural marriage. The Holy Bible is full of examples of men who were married to multiple women at the same time. Abraham, Jacob (better known as Israel), Moses, King David and King Solomon. Even lesser famous men like Samuel’s father Elkanah, who “had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah” (The First Book of Samuel, Chapter 1, Verse 1-2).

    According to “Biblical Principles,” this is acceptable!

    Except that it is not. Though we don’t know exactly where or when, somewhere along the way, the expectation for marriage changed. We read of Paul explaining to Timothy and Titus that men who are leaders in the church ought to set a good example and have just one wife (see The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, Chapter 3:2 or The Epistle of Paul to Titus, Chapter 1:6). Chick-fil-A has implied a leaning toward Christian values rather than Jewish values, so I’m thinking that they are going for the apostolic interpretation of marriage.

    God has the ability to command differently, when His wisdom deems it prudent. Like as the example of Peter and the unclean foods, if God wants to give us different direction, He will do so through His servants the prophets. So far as I’ve heard, however, we currently use the 1-to-1 ratio of marriage.

    But hey, a rooster wearing a tuxedo, surrounded by multiple hens in wedding veils… it could make a really good viral picture to share on Facebook! You can conveniently forget that other stuff and just go for the punch line!