Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Choosing Your God Wisely

On a Saturday in May I was driving a bit of a distance and came across a radio show along the lines of Art Bell’s late night program. I’ve been thinking about this amazing experience ever since. There was a man being interviewed who proclaimed forcefully that we have been visited by aliens from space. He labored over the fact that this is all well-known throughout the higher echelons of government and it has all been hidden from the American public. He talked about the bodies of aliens that our government has captured alive and that are still, today, stored in secret. He even asserted that everyone in the very highest levels of government know the following specifics:

First, they have proof that aliens exist and they have visited earth.
Secondly, they know that aliens have impacted modern inventions and are responsible for our modern technology.
Third, they know that many people have been captured by aliens and have had a variety of painful experiments inflicted upon them.
Fourth, aliens are responsible for many of the “missing persons” throughout the country.
Fifth, President Eisenhower knew there was no God, only aliens, but in an effort to keep the illusion of God and to keep the population compliant and not panicked, he made it a point to advocate for “In God We Trust” to be added to currency and “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

As I drove along, I was impressed with his passion and his confidence. He obviously believed what he was saying. He was convinced, or at least was convincing, of the truth of his words. While driving along, I felt a combination of both incredulousness and horror. Could this be true? Could he be telling the truth? I found myself looking at the three options that CS Lewis and others have used over the years when looking claims made by speakers. Either the speaker was telling the truth, was lying or was deluded. There really aren’t any other options.

There this man was, loudly asserting the presence and impact of aliens on planet earth. He was asserting to anyone who would listen that what he had to say was the truth.

Is he telling the truth? Has he seen these with his own eyes while awake and lucid? Is he one of a few lonely voices trying to get the truth out to us?

Or is he lying? Does he know for a fact that this is not true and says it because it gives him popularity and his fifteen minutes of fame? Does he enjoy horrifying and frightening people with visions of lying under the knife of alien scientist who views us as nothing but another specimen? Is he serious on the outside and laughing on the inside?

Or is he a crazy person who has delusions? Does he have visions in his head and thinks that they are reality? Is he schizophrenic? Is he a person who has visions and dreams and can’t separate them from reality?

Then as I continued driving along, I looked at Mount Rainier and the slanting rays of the afternoon sun lighting up the snow. I thought of my little hummingbird coming to my feeder throughout the winter, looking for his daily food. I thought of my dog and cats, the roses and cosmos growing merrily, and the tulips recently come and gone for another year. I thought about coffee and chocolate, lounging in the sun or swimming in the pool. I remembered snuggling on the couch with husband and kids, watching Apollo 13. I considered Jesus’ words that he “came to give us life abundantly.” He talked about God caring for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Jesus said, “Come unto me you who are burdened and weary and you’ll find rest for your souls.” David wrote in Psalms, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

I considered the speakers alien gods. Gods of fear and terror. Gods who come to inflict fear and pain, gods who come to feed off of mankind and to take people away in the dead of night. Gods to run away from and escape if at all possible. His aliens sound more like the demons of the spiritual world. They have no compunction about lying or leading people astray. Demons come to harm, kill and destroy. They aren’t aliens, but are created spiritual being alienated from the Creator of the Universe.

Jesus has maintained his credibility much longer than this speaker, however well intentioned he may have been. One of them is telling the truth about God, one is lying or is delusional. Jesus has been changing lives for the good for centuries now. The speaker's gods bring destruction and fear. The speaker can have his reality and his gods; I’ll keep the One who said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I will choose my God carefully.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Glorious Summer Morning

What an absolute glorious morning. The sky is blue with not a cloud in sight, light breeze and the sounds of birds chirping merrily. We have the usual morning rush of chickadees and finches at the feeders; it’s too late in the year for the goldfinches any longer. The house sparrows are busily helping the fledgling get better at flying and two swallows are taking turns feeding their hungry brood. The swallows have refused the swallow box two years in a row, and have again opted for the vent holes in the attic. (But we love them, so what are we to do. We just won’t look inside; ignorance is bliss.)

But the best thing of the morning is absolutely new. The hummingbirds haven’t been coming to the feeders at all in weeks. Too many flowers; sugar water is pretty lame as an alternative to nectar. But for the first time today the excitement was at the fountain. [The fountain is a little water feature we purchased three years ago when Lucas Statuary was moving location and putting their wares on sale. It has a little stone pineapple on top (where the water emerges) and two small bowls where water drips each into the one below and finally the larger pool at the bottom.] This morning the hummingbirds were drinking from and bathing in the top level of this feature. Even more fun, the adults would perch on the top of the pineapple and flutter in the cascading water. Two adults were having territorial fights over this, but the winning adult would let what appeared to be a juvenile sit nearby. The blur here in the photo is one of them busily bathing and trying to keep from being washed away. What a glorious morning!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Howling Dog Point Lighthouse

On my recent trip to Japan I was able to visit the lighthouse at Howling Dog Point (although in Japanese it is apparently Dog Howling Point). Inubousaki Lighthouse is the name in Japanese. Ee-new-bow(ribbon type bow)-saw-key Say it fast and you have it - or so I was told.

What a treat for a very part-time keeper to get to visit a lighthouse a third or so of the way around the world. There are a variety of possible legends about why it is Howling Dog Point. One being that a Samurai was killed in Kyoto (across the country) and the dog could be heard howling all the way from this point. A second that the samurai left the dog to go to war and the dog could be heard howling from the sadness of being left behind. My least favorite, and apparently the one proclaimed on the sign is that the dog was demon possessed and the Samurai tied him and left him there to be rid of him. Being a dog lover as well as a lighthouse aficionado, the last legend is a bit of a downer. Another likely scenario is because of a rock that looks a bit dog shaped with “ears” standing up and hence the name of the point.

This lighthouse was built in 1874. We got to hike the 99 stairs to the top to look at the view out to Sea – and there it was, the wide blue ocean with home sweet home somewhere way beyond the view. The tower was very narrow at the top and those of us going up had to lean into the center of the tower and suck in our stomachs to let those heading downward past. There were little signs about each quarter of the way up; the first three encouraged us (if we could read it) that we could make the climb and the last congratulated us on a hike well done.

At the top we could also see above our heads the huge Fresnel lens ready at sunset to flash a warning to ships at sea. Because of the crystals there was a large curtain that protected the lens during the day from the rays of the sun. But on the shadowed side, the lens could be seen although it wouldn’t flash until night.
A port not far north from this lighthouse is a major fishing port for Japan. For the past century and a third, the light has warned sailors of approaching dangers warmed their hearts with its welcoming glow.