Monday, April 28, 2008

The Missing Gospel?

          Why didn't Jesus write a book?


Allow me to advocate for the devilish questions surfacing now and again in minds ruled by logic.  Only my opinion, encouraging dialogue:

If I were the Son of God Himself come to earth with an important message, would I leave it to chance that my friends and contemporaries would get it right?  Why wouldn't I scribe my messages down for the ages of people I was trying to reach, thereby insuring its accuracy?  Why, I ask, didn't the historical Jesus, the Christ, put His very advanced new notions to paper, like any genius or prophet of that time?

Think of it - God, the Creator of All in the Christian ethic, decides it's time to visit His most beloved creations with the "good news" that the God of the Jews is actually a living God, a loving Father, a forgiving deity waiting only for the acceptance of His children - quite contrary to the vengeful, judging, cold dry God of what we now call the Old Testament.  So, as we've come to know it, He appears on earth in the guise of His only Son, and grew as any child would, at the feet of his parents and little friends, a good and obedient Jewish boy, yet somehow knowing He was set apart.  For wouldn't God, in human form, be influenced by that form?  Wouldn't He be ruled by human emotion and foibles?  I'm not sure.  I've come to think He was 100% human, 100% divine, and aware of both living within Him.  Very difficult to grasp. 

Surely God the young earth-child named Jesus would feel joy and sorrow, cry when He skinned His knee, laugh at something funny or feel hurt by the usual boyhood bullying.  Being raised a good, devout Jew, Our Lord would be held to the restrictions of that faith by His parents, and expected to obey them.  I've no doubt He did, most of the time.  But all through His childhood and young adulthood He surely would've felt the tug of that divine mission He started out on, planned and put into action.  How would that have affected His earthly life?  Was He a hard man to get to know, at say, 20?  Why did He never talk of His early life to His friends, His disciples?  Was He not entrusting them to relate His views accurately?  Did He not believe people in ages to come would be interested in how He lead His life before becoming a self-proclaimed preacher, then prophet?  And how did He keep the secret of His true identity for so long? 

With such an awesome message to bring so many, why did Jesus leave it to others to remember His teachings, and pass them on intact, accurately?  The New Testament seems our only record of this Man, yet nowhere in those pages does He speak.  His ideas, thoughts, sermons, everything He did or said - all left to heresay by others.  Not once does Our Lord speak in the Bible.  Every word He may've uttered comes to us through another.  People with motives perhaps different from their peers.  Jesus seemed to be very confident of the great faith His words and deeds would instill low these 2,000 years later.  Why?  Was it His divinity that inured it so strongly in His mind?  A human mind!  For in human guise he possessed all our frailties, weaknesses, emotions and needs, yet doing battle with the most base of these would have been His much-challenged divinity - being the Son of God.  Jesus held this secret, according to Biblical record, for all His life, almost to the end of it.  When He did reveal His true identity, He started the beginning of the end - or as many see it, the fulfillment of the prophecy that a Messiah would come to save the Jews from bondage by the self-sacrafice He would make.  Imagine what it was like when He made this proclamation!  

I sometimes wonder why it was that particular historical period God decided it was time to walk amonst us, and chosing His guise I think make alot of sense.  Surely He couldn't appear as Himself - but as a man like any other, who speaks of new ideas, new and better, kinder ways to look at one another, I can see how people were drawn to Him.  Then, in absolute silence and with no public explanation, He offered up His life and it was taken in the cruel manner and custom of the day.  Many who believed in His new ways turned against Him.  

The message of Jesus I believe was a very basic one, that His Father is connected to us all, that He loves and cares for us, that we can come to Him in need and be heard, always be welcomed, always forgiven, always loved.  Yet at that time in history such ideas were very radical to the Jews, and of course traitorous to the Romans, in political power.  It's a message of great import - surely it must be if God Himself would bring it to us as His own Son.  

So why didn't Jesus write it down Himself? 

Was Christ Jesus aware of future events the way He would've been as God, Creator of All?  Would coming into human form subtract any part of your divinity from you, if you were a true god?  How did the two co-exist in one man? 

From Biblical record we know Jesus was many times confused and hurt.  He considered Himself a lone voice.  Alone and apart.  Heavy-laden with His mission.  Given to temptations yet able to fight them more ably than most.  Such import to be left to others to record is given to the winds of chance!  And the gospel writers themselves, all contradicting each other, then the Ages of Man in the Church taking out and re-arranging this Testament, then all the mis-translations ... but Jesus felt confident to leave His great message to the vagaries of human-kind, no matter how contradictory.  Why? 

These questions take nothing from one's love of the Lord, for whatever reason and in whatever fashion.  It's just something I wondered ...



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Martian's View


Earth and its moon as seen from Mars.  Neat, right? 

Image taken on October 30, 2007 by the HiRISE camera (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. 

Earth Day, Every Day


Wasn't it a lovely Earth Day ?  You're looking at a picture of what a total solar eclipse looks like from space.  The shadow of the moon covers part of the Earth, this planet, your home, our home and the only one we have.


I thought you might like to read a few interesting facts about this wondrous spaceship:

1.  Rocks can float.  A "frothy" rock called pumice is loaded with gas bubbles.  Some of it can float.

2.  Can rocks grow?  Yes, of course!  They're alive.  Rock crust grows on moutains beneath the sea, about 1 millimeter every million years.  Same rate your fingernails grow every two weeks.

3.  How much space dust falls to earth?   Roughly 1,000 tons of space dust enters our atmosphere each year, making its way to the surface.  Microbes also rain down from space, and one group of scientists claims that extraterrestrial organisms may play a part in flu epidemics.  No proof of this, though.

4.  Is the Earth a sphere?  No!  The earth rotates and bulges at its midsection, giving it a kind of pumpkin shape rather than spherical.  This bulge was lessening for centuries but now, suddenly, it is growing. The cause is the accelerated melting of earth's glaciers which adds equatorial girth.

5.  How far can dust travel in the wind?  Dust from China has actually made its way to North America.  African dust is found in Florida, kicked up by high winds and carried as high as 20,000 feet.

6.  What makes thunder?  Lightening!  The air around a lightening bolt is superheated five times greater than the Sun.  This sudden heating causes air to expand faster than the speed of sound, which compresses and forms a shock wave.  We hear it as thunder.

7.  What two American cities are destined to merge?  The San Andreas Fault is slipping about 2 inches a year, which is causing Los Angeles to move toward San Francisco.  It should take about 15 billion years.


As seen from the space shuttle, the aurora borealis.....




Friday, April 18, 2008

A "Pioneering" Mystery Solved

Remember the first pioneer crafts launched in 1972 sent to collect data from Jovian space?  Pioneer 10 and its twin, Pioneer 11, have done their work.  During these past decades they blazed a trail to Jupiter and Saturn, being the first craft to enter the asteroid belt.  They were also the first man-made craft designed to leave our solar system.  After leaving Jovian space, they traveled onward well beyond the orbit of Pluto, and eventually fell silent.  Pioneer 11 faded out in 1995 and Pioneer 10 sent us its last clear signal December of 2003.             

NASA's intersteller space mission collected much data, but during the years tracking specialists noticed something odd: neither craft was exactly where it was supposed to be.

After crossing billions of miles in space, they were instead thousands of miles closer to the Sun than expected - not a great deal but significant enough to have people wondering if it was a sign that we needed some unknown "refinement" to the theory of gravity, our bedrock of modern physics.

The latest findings and conclusions by JPL tells us no exotic explanation is in order.  Some of this slowing down was due to uneven emmission of heat radiating from the spacecraft.  So it made sense the craft would not be "on track" all this time. 

Pioneer 10 may sound familiar as it was the craft that carries our "introduction" to any life-forms in the outer regions of space it might encounter on its trek through the galaxy.    

 This is the gold-amodized plaque still aboard Pioneer 10 designed in part by the late Dr. Carl Sagan, depicting a human man and woman, a map of Earth's solar system, and other symbols which would help intelligent beings interpret the message and understand its creators, earthlings.  You might also remember the recording of "Hello" in every known language in the world.  Imagine where this craft might be now ...

We did a great job in constructing the pioneers, which outlasted even the programming language and data formats of their launch time.  Just to give you an idea of how well-made these craft were, Pioneer 10 was expected to last only 21 months!  And here it went on for 30 years!  I like to think that someday when the craft are found, by whatever life form, mankind will have survived as a species and be able to welcome the visitors who will certainly want to visit us. 

Thank you, noble pioneers, for the invaluable knowledge you've given humankind about Jupiter and Saturn, their atmosphere, and that section of our system we once thought so mysterious.  A job well done. 



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tape Measure Terrors

Note:  You may remember the incident where one of my brothers insisted I remove his name from my Journal, in fact the whole post which was about my dear parents, and I was surprised he even read my writings.  In the face of protest from some of you I did, and now my sister has made the same request.  She has that right, I just want to clarify so you don't get confused or think I am lol since I'll have her as "M" now.  I'll call her Jane, and her nickname will be Jurc.   This isn't her fault, she's just very private.  ( For she who knows:  We must make allowances, my Maire!! )   Now on to the story:   


"Cath, stop looking like that, it won't be so bad."

That was Jane of Thelma and Louise fame, my eldest sister, nicknamed Jurc.  She's okay, been in Canada for almost 40 years, back in Jersey 3 years now. Anyway.....

My voice was almost a whisper.  "Jurc, I really don't think..."

"That's right Loodie, if you had THOUGHT we wouldn't have to go THROUGH this now, so don't try THINKING anymore, it's too late."  Her voice is clear and to the point, with a kind of clip to it.  And very stubborn at times.  Like this. 

I couldn't even imagine doing what she'd suggested, couldn't, wouldn't, I'd already been there and did NOT like that, would NOT do it again willingly.  But she's so...well Jurc has a presence.

"Listen Loodie it has to be done.  How long has it been?  A few years now?  It's far past time."   She stared at me expectantly.

I lowered my guilty eyes.  "Well actually, Jurc, it's been since, well, I think maybe, MAYBE now, it was in high school."  I felt the blood rush to my face.

"WHAAAAA????  High school??  How old are you now, 58??  Okay now you have NO say in the matter, I'm taking you there and you're having it done, you can't argue, you have no grounds, this is out of your hands, get used to it Loods or you'll never forgive me for the  horrors I'll descend upon your life, you HEAR ME!???!!??  Panting...

"Jane, PLEEEEEEZE? Oh please, NOOO!" The witch! 

I was ready to prostate myself on the floor before her.  Ready to wash her hair for a month.  Ready to clip her toe-mails, call her more often, even clean my bedroom...but this???

"Don't give me that look, Cathy, I'm older, I know all the tricks."

I stopped making doggy-eyes.

"Jurco, I love you.  Don't you care about my mental well-being?  My happiness?  Security?"  I was starting to run out of excuses.  Now I was just sounding plain nuts.  "Jane I'm BEGGING you, SPARE this torture!!"

She eyed me suspiciously. 


"Forget it."  Nothing.  Wouldn't budge.

I tried one more avenue, not a very fair one, but I was desperate. 

"Say Jane?"


Taking a deep breath, I gulped and said, "You know, MOM remembered how much this would traumatize me, how I truly hated it, would run away rather than..."  She cut me off.

"Catherine Susan Dominica you will go  through with this, I will take you there, stand right next to you, and you will stop this babyish whining right now.  The matter is closed.  This is for your own...."

I knew it was coming.


I was lost.  It would happen no matter what.  When my Mother took me for this process it left a memory of shame and discomfort, and I never did it again, never believed I needed to.  But even if the world ended tomorrow, Jurc would make sure I was taken to the lingerie shop where the lady would take a long ugly yellow tape measure to my bare chest and measure me for a bra.  I'm doomed.  @ @




Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcome, NOVA

Okay there was nothing visible in that dimension of space on 4/7/08.  Three days later, Japanese astronomers spotted a 7th magnitude NOVA which by all indications, is huge. 


I know it doesn't look exciting, until you realize what you're looking at.  See the upper light, the brightest light in this picture?  That's a star that was already there, in an area of outer space called Cygnus.  See the other one?  That wasn't there before, now it is.  It's a NOVA and this shot was captured by two Italians in New Mexico with a rented scope.  The new star is brightening, isn't this wondrous?  Isn't life so awesome and inspiring? 

Yeah.    Basics courtesy of AAVSO, Gryphon, Smithsonian Obs.        

Stevie's Good Idea

This is a neat ideaCalling all J~land!!!all you need is a microphone. 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Got Brain?

I have good news and good news - which do you want first?  Okay the good:


This is neat.  Our brains are "plastic" as in malleable, and most people know this, but the extent of their plasticity is far and above what I imagined.  The brain learns all the time, and re-learns way into our dottage.  But not by doing the same thing over and over. 

Did you ever say or hear, "I love doing crosswords, it keeps the old gray cells working."  Or "I do a puzzle a day to keep my brain healthy."  Well that's a myth, all a waste for the brain.  If you do crosswords all the time the brain already KNOWS how to do them.  It's learning nothing.  And when it's not learning, making new inroads and synapses, the brain is not healthy.  It will start to atrophy, get stale, become lazy.  If you constantly repeat an action, the brain isn't learning.   

What the human brain needs to stay healthy is (trumpets)....CHANGE.  NEW THINGS.  DIFFERENT ACTIONS.  If you want to keep your brain working a long, long time, do things you never did before - go skydiving.  Or plant a garden.  Learn sign-language.  Knitting.  Paint something.  Fly a kite, ANY thing that you haven't done before or that often.  The best one?  Fall in love.   

The brain loves new things, it actually remembers how much it "enjoyed" learning this new thing and rewards you with better function - more memory retention, recognition, all the things we worry we'll lose in our old age.  Factually, there's no organic reason our brain can't serve us well into our 90's. 

So if you love someone who's elderly now, introduce them to something new as often as you can.  They'll remember you alot longer for it.      

Friday, April 4, 2008

Repressing Instinctive Anger


How can one reasonably repress the instinctive need to lash out when hurt, to tell a person how badly they abused you, how completely inaccurate they might be about you?  Untrue rumors - cruel statements.    When someone cuts to the quick and draws our private blood of the soul, we want to reciprocate with hurts to their being, just as fierce, just as painful, just as damaging and hopefully, come out the "winner" which of course makes no sense at all and never brings true satisfaction.  Yet we do this all the time.  There must be a better way, a more civil method of curbing the urge to strike out when struck.

I recently became the victim of such an outpouring of criticism, done under the protective guise of the word "constructive".  Though so much of it was inaccurate to my way of thinking, surely these horrors must've originated in some factual base, for my torturer was positive and steadfast in their belief they were right, I was not.  Being told you are "self-delusional" unless you embrace the beliefs of another is not just specious, it also hurts.  The psychic damage may take several introspective, meditative sessions before one returns to self-possession, self-assurance.  How is it that we allow others to utilize such power over us, a power we invest trustingly and perhaps with naivete but nonetheless sincere.  Perhaps it's time to stop sharing ourselves with those who can hurt us.  But how to recognize the sadist behind the sympathizer?  Their disguise is so well crafted!  Point, how do we suppress the urge to repay hurt with more hurt, how do we stop the cycle? 

(Repost of May 2, 2006)