Dec 25, 2008

The End of Days

Wish I knew the future like some seem to know it. They have predicted so many things of late. Prognosticators have abounded over the centuries and no doubt will continue unabated until the end of days.

Speaking of the end of days, I’m tempted to wonder out loud at times, about that. Indeed, I’m so tempted, I’m going to succumb and unload my mind on the subject. It should be quick and relatively painless. I’ve only three points to make.

Sep 13, 2008

How to Set Priorities in Life & Stay Alive

It can be difficult to be faithful to blogging. I wish I had more commitment to it, but when there are so many competing duties, it becomes a matter of prioritizing one’s life. There are absolute duties, some less than absolute, and some things that fall into the category of desires and wishes.

I’ve had to arrange my duties in the past year and am committed to doing those that are absolute duties, first. Other things move down in the meter of importance. I found there was a host of things that I really, really want to do. And, they are all good things. Then, there are things I really should do...but don’t have to do. If they never get done, well, no big deal, I suppose.

Aug 9, 2008

Whole Foods and Immigration

Recently, I was browsing the Whole Foods web site, looking for a nearby store. I became fascinated by the place. It is a rich source of information and there's even a blog that is very interesting and eclectic, and chock full of organic products. Apparently, there are a variety of posters. I especially loved the posting made by Alex Crane entitled "Grameen Guatemala – A Glimpse into the Life of a Borrower." It is a great story. Whole Foods Foundation has established a program in Guatemala (and other places) where financial assistance is made available to poor women to start businesses. The blog details a visit by Alex to interview one of the women who obtained a loan for her business in Guatemala. In the blog, Alex said something that is, in a real sense, rather extraordinary, for he gave an excellent (partial) solution to the immigration issue. He said: "I think about the cement wall that some believe is the solution to curbing Latin American immigration to the U.S and feel it wouldn’t do any good. We need to build bridges, not walls. Bridges to span the gaps in opportunity. Education bridges. Economic bridges. Community bridges. Bridges leading to the fulfillment of dreams. These bridges need not cross borders; they span cultures, communities, families, hearts and minds."

There is a lot of truth in what he said. If we would follow the Whole Foods Foundation model as a nation (and we do, in some things), if other large corporations would make the same kinds of investments via foundations as Whole Foods has done, I'm convinced that we'd not have the hordes of Latin American citizens wanting to come to America. No one would have to leave home. While not a perfect solution, it would make a dent.

Currently, the only dent being made is in our collective heads as we beat them against the walls.

Also, whilst browsing the site, I came across a most unusual place: The CEO's blog. This is a blog for comments made by and/or about John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Whole Foods. He is a very interesting, and unusual CEO. I like his candor. I liked the fact that, in spite of some recent problems and attacks (that from my research seems to be unfounded) that in one of his blogs, he actually posted the comments of his critics. Some were very caustic. As someone who has had invective hurled at him unjustly and been hated a time or two without merit, my sympathies were with him, but my esteem for the man rose the more I read about him and the company he founded. He shows character. It's reflected in the company itself. I like that.

I'm definitely a fan of Mr. Mackey and his company.

Copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover

Jun 13, 2008

Food Riots. Possible in America?

The strains in our nation are evident to all by now. We’re hearing the collective groans of the millions of us who are digging into our pockets to pay gas prices that keep quivering with efforts to rise to $5.00 a gallon. Many are whimpering in disbelief at the many weather related disasters of late, with flooding and tornadoes and fires. And crime has become almost numbing to the conscience. We’re stunned at the violence that surrounds us. Horror stories keep leaping to the front pages and shock our conscience to the point that we’re almost immune.

Our population has grown now to over 300 million people–a staggering number when you stop and think about all the demands that 300 million people place upon an environment. We must have food, so we consume over 200 lbs of meat (red meat, poultry, fish) per person, per year. We grow and also import millions of tons of fruits and vegetables annually for consumption. Fish and poultry are now produced in massive quantities in the effort to stay up with the demands of so many people. Every day, 300 million people must eat two or three meals. That comes to millions of tons of food consumed on a daily basis in America alone.

What if it all stopped one day? Suppose catastrophic weather conditions hit America and the grains and fruits and vegetables become a scarce commodity? What happens? Well, the first thing is that imports would drastically increase. So would our prices. But, suppose weather conditions hit other producers, such as Mexico (which supplies America with millions of tons of fruits and vegetables)? What then?

What happens the day America can’t feed most, or a substantial portion of its 300 million citizens adequately?

The day that happens, we will begin to see a breakdown in our society that already has roots. It’s roots are in our lower income citizens. Currently, they are able to subsist on government assistance. They are able to eat. But, many of the lower income citizens have grown up on the mean streets of poverty, and there is an element there which is used to taking what they want. There are gangs of young men and women who will beat, rob and even kill to survive. If the day ever comes when food is a precious commodity, they will go looking for food. When they find it, they will take it by force. They’ll take first from their neighbors. But, eventually, they will come searching for food from wherever they can find it. There will be food riots–grocery stores emptied and trashed. There will be anarchy.

It will not be like it was in the Great Depression. There were no massive uprisings of anarchy and food riots, though there was hunger throughout the land. During that time, there was a shortage of food, money, jobs and even shelter. But, America put on its brave face, became stoic and endured the worst economic times of our history.

It will not be the same this time. There are too many criminal elements in our midst. Those elements will not be stopped by laws or locks or alarms. They will hunt much like the hunters of history did when they sought food on the open plains or in the woods. Danger will be everywhere because hungry people will be everywhere. We know that humans who are addicted to Meth or Cocaine will rob and become violent in order to feed their habit. But, their numbers are relatively few in comparison to the whole population. We have been able to contain them, more or less.

Imagine what would happen if the number of drug addicts was doubled and then doubled again, and then again. We’d be overwhelmed. That’s the kind of numbers of hungry souls that we will be dealing with if ever true famine hits America. And, far too many of them will do whatever they need to do in order to eat.

They are addicted to eating.

They are addicted to living.

We’d better plan for the lean years, lest we have a society that completely falls apart under the weight of massive anarchy.

We also might do well to pay attention to the wisdom found in an ancient writing which told about crop failures. It reads like this:

"When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers. (The Book of First Kings, chapter 8:35-40).

God gave us America.

It remains to be seen whether or not we’ll acknowledge our need for Him.

May 16, 2008

The Evolution of Life - A Glob to a Blog

What is life? What does it mean to say "I live." What are we?

We call ourselves "humans." We've explored our bodies and our minds, and we've searched our "souls" trying to make sense out of our existence. Over the thousands of years we've populated Earth, we've come to a wide array of conclusions as to many of these questions. Darwin concluded we were but an offshoot of an original organism that thrived in some primeval "soup" which enabled life to grow into its millions of shapes, forms and species, including plants and even bacterium. Of course, his conclusions can no longer stand up under the scrutiny of real scientists who practice real science.

But philosophers have also wrestled with those questions. Most of them got no closer to the truth than Darwin. Indeed, most of the philosophers spent their time and energy speculating about the existence of life from a perspective that was not based on origins, but based on existence itself. Summed up by Rene Descartes, "I am. I exist." (In an earlier work, he expressed it differently, to wit, "I think, therefore I exist.") Descartes found his solace in numbers where he felt there was some certainty. He set out in his quest to make sense out of the questions about life by forcing himself to doubt everything he learned. Descartes decided to suspend belief about everything "which I allowed myself in youth to be persuaded without having inquired into their truth." Thus, he begins by seeking to establish truth by working towards conclusions about life that will lend themselves to understanding life.

One can find hundreds of answers rendered to the questions raised, by tens of thousands of humans. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. Everyone feels he or she has a pretty fair grasp as to what "life" means. Some are rather simplistic in their approach, like Descartes. They live, and for them, life is being alive, nothing more. While that may sound somewhat circular, nonetheless, it works for many. They are no that concerned as to the deep meanings of what "life" means. They live. They have life. That's enough for them. They don't want to know how the heart works. They're not interested in the physiology of the human body, nor do they have an interest in the inner workings of the brain, nor do they care whether the body has something called a soul or a spirit. Life for them, is something they have and something they enjoy. Their thinking carries them no further than that.

Others are more speculative. They have conjured up some rather fascinating conclusions as to what "life" means. One group, for example, has concluded that life is a never ending circle of lives in which we live again and again and again, as different humans at different times. Others have opined that life is what you see, to wit, humans of varying shapes, colors and sizes, who eventually die. That's it. Once they're dead, there is no more life for them. It is finis.

Religion has, of course, placed its indelible stamp of authoritative approval on a wide array of conclusions about life. Some hold that gods of one sort or another, have populated the earth with humans and rule unseen from the heavens.

Others, such as the Jews and Christians, hold that a single being called God-as opposed to "a" God-created life in a single moment of time, and hold that this life will continue on a different plane of existence, a spiritual one, when the body dies. In other words, their view is that life goes on.

If one truly examines the question, "What is life?" it becomes rather critical to come to some kind of conclusion as to the beginnings of that life. The simplistic solution of Darwin is, of course, unacceptable. Life is too complex. There are simply too many variations of life. There are animal species of countless variations and kinds. There are plants and bugs and trees and bacterium and cells that are so widely different that it becomes impossible to believe all life evolved from a single source. We must ask this question as well: How did life begin? We know life exists. We see evidence of our existence. We see evidence of the existence of other forms of life, ranging from tens of thousands of species of plants, animals, and insects, to strange species that live deep within our oceans.

How did all of these come into existence?

The complexity of the human brain is but one example of the staggering complexity of the human systems and argues against an evolutionary process. Judson Herrick, Professor of Neurology at the University of Chicago, states that: "If a million cortical nerve cells were connected one with another in groups of only two neurons each in all possible combinations, the number of different patterns of interneuronic connection thus provided would be expressed by 10 to the 2,783,000th. This, of course, is not the actual structure, as we shall see; but the illustration may serve to impress upon us the inconceivable complexity of the interconnections of the ninety-two hundred million [9,200,000,000] nerve cells known to exist in the cerebral cortex."

Michael Denton, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has written two significant books dealing with the complexities of life, entitled Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Nature's Destiny. In his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Denton writes "In crude terms, the human brain is a natural computer composed of 10 to 100 billion neurons, each of which connects to about 10,000 others, and all of which function in parallel. Neuronal systems take about 100 processing steps to perform a complex task of vision or speech which would take an electronic computer billions of processing steps."

We must ask another question. How finely-tuned is life? How precise are the parts and the whole of humans, and of other life? What are the odds of this complexity evolving naturally, on its own? What are the mathematical probabilities of this highly intricate web of systems of life somehow creating itself into perfectly nuanced systems? Those are questions being answered by scientists like Denton and Herrick and many other very learned scientists.

Once we begin looking at the precision with which the parts of life fit, we begin to realize that "life" is far more than mere existence. Life begins to take on a different meaning. The precision with which life on our world is put together and the incredible complexities involved in the capable functioning of life, whether it be plant or animal or human, begs a new question to be answered. How can this be?

Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University and author of the book Darwin's Black Box (Behe 1996), speaks of the complexities of blood-clotting and compares it to a mouse-trap, opining that if you take away any one piece of the trap, such as the spring or baseboard, or the metal piece that traps the mouse, the trap ceases to function so as to catch a mouse. In like fashion, take away one component from our blood and it ceases to give life.

Behe notes that if any one of the more than 20 proteins involved in blood clotting is missing or deficient, as happens in hemophilia, for instance, clots will not form properly. This is but one single example, out of tens of thousands, of phenomenally complex and intricate elements in the human make-up and the plant and animal make-up that defy the conclusion that such intricacies somehow "evolved."

Those critical of Behe and other like-minded scientists fail to grasp the essence of his and scientists like Behe's findings. They also fail to realize that the debate is not about Behe, nor is it about evolution. The real debate is about life and how it came to exist. The real debate is about the quest for truth. In order to understand the issue, those who profess to be scientists must one day put aside their pre-conceived notions and biases and ask themselves this question: How can it be that tens of thousands of intricate systems have come to exist and work within humans and animals and plants? They have never asked that question. Instead, their question has always been on the heels of Darwin, to wit, "How did evolution evolve?" The simplistic approach has put them into an intellectual straight-jacket in which they now struggle.

Many scientists, some former skeptics, are turning away from the shaky platform of evolution. In 2006, three University of Michigan professors added their names to a list of scientists who have concluded that evolution cannot explain the complexities that exist in life. Ronald Larson, chairman of chemical engineering, Phillip Savage, a professor of chemical engineering, and Kenneth Ludema, an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, are among about 500 scientists worldwide who have signed "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.''

The petition was signed by 514 people, with nearly a fourth of them biologists. The other signers include 76 chemists, 75 engineers, 63 physicists and 24 professors of medicine. The signers include some nationally prominent scientists such as James M. Tour, a professor of chemistry at Rice University; Rosalind W. Picard, director of the affective computing research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Philip S. Skell, an emeritus professor of chemistry at Penn State who is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

The petition reads, in part: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.'' Citing his extensive training in chemistry and physics, Larson noted "that evidence for natural spontaneous formation of living cells from undirected chemical reactions is virtually nonexistent.'' While Ludema refused to go so far as to say he supported the creationist's views on evolution, he remarked that the mathematical probability that the elaborate structures existing in life could emerge from random processes was minute.

Professor Savage said he signed the petition because of those (evolutionists) who have asserted that the origin of life has been fully established scientifically, when in fact the evidence does not support that. Tour echoes Larson, saying his experience in chemistry and nano-technology showed him how hard it was to maneuver atoms and molecules. He found it hard to believe that nature was able to produce the machinery of cells through random processes. He concludes that the explanations offered by evolution are incomplete.

How can such precision, such incredible variety, and such marvelous intricacy exist within all of the forms upon the earth that have life? Clearly, life could not have simply sprung into existence on its own. And no one who has the ability to reason can conclude that life "just happened" by chance. The chance of life "just happening" by some fluke or lucky break is incalculable. It simply could not happen by chance. And, if life did not happen by chance, then we must conclude life happened on purpose. If life happened on purpose, then that suggests intelligence behind the existence of life. Once you reach this conclusion, as one must, if he or she is a true intellectual, then you must make a conclusion called "Intelligent Design." There is simply no other explanation for the existence of life-all life.

Here's a very excellent video on the subject entitled The Miracle of the Cell

If you have not seen the Ben Stein movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Required, you must see it. This is such an excellent movie dealing with this subject. It will make you think, and if you're an evolutionist, it will make you blink.

Richard Dawkins blinked.

Copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover

May 10, 2008

What are your needs?

Ever consider your real needs in life?

God says He will provide all our needs. But, suppose I get real sick? Is that something I need?


I know at least one man who takes that position.

Our view of life is very different from God's view. He sees our lives as completed already. We've already been placed in His hands, indeed, in His kingdom. We have a presence with God that is very real. Our vision, our perception is too limited, too earth-bound to grasp that vision.

When it comes to knowing what we need, though, we usually err. We simply cannot grasp the concept of something "bad" being good for us. But, consider the Apostle Paul. Read his report about suffering with a "thorn in the flesh," which was something physical that he felt was causing to be less effective in his ministry. Jesus rejected Paul's request for healing and told him, in simple, but profound words: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

But, Paul suffered far more than that. Would you say that the "needed" the to be beaten? Or robbed? Or to suffer hunger and privation? All these things, and more, he suffered. Eventually, he went to prison and was executed.

Sometimes, we need to be sick. Sometimes, we need to hunger. Sometimes, we need to suffer. Sometimes, we need poverty. Wealth and health are often hindrances to spiritual growth and retard the desire to seek God. For example, if I have a bank account that is pretty good and a home that is secure, and a pantry that is full of groceries; and if I'm in good health, enjoying life to the fullest, how apt am I to fall on my face before God and utter the following words: "Lord, give me today my daily bread?" Or, how probable is it that I'll be on my knees asking God to bless me and give me what I need? Ah, but give me a sickness that draws me nigh unto death, and I'll be like Hezekiah, crying out to God to spare me. Or, let the pantry be bare and let the bank account be empty, with a family sitting at the table hungry, and you'd be more apt to find me on my knees before God.

This is not to suggest that all the pain or grief you have suffered or will suffer in life is a "good" thing. It is to strongly suggest that for a child of God, this verse is still applicable, and God has not abandoned you.

Apr 16, 2008

Child Molesters in the Church

Most Protestant churches do not have a “church policy” regarding child protection.

That’s unfortunate, because it can have serious consequences. The irony is that if you asked the pastor of most churches whether they had such a policy, they’d indicate they do have such a policy. Sadly, they don’t even recognize what is meant by that term. The position of some, radical though it may seem, is that since everyone is against child molesting, then it can be said that it goes without saying that the church is against such things, thus, there is a “policy.”

Others are a bit more sophisticated.

One church I know held a view that sounds something like this: Every church member is against child molesting and for child protection. We take steps to watch out for this kind of thing. It’s a heinous thing and we don’t want any child harmed. Our church has certain standards with respect to the lives of our workers. If a worker is found to be living in sin, we will dismiss that worker immediately. We make sure a worker meets our standards even before they are accepted as workers. We will handle these kinds of issues ourselves. We know what to do. [and blah, blah, blah...]

Still other churches hold to the view that they watch out for such things and are very aware about the need to beware of sexual predators who might victimize a child under their care. They have security monitoring the premises. They warn the workers to be careful. Workers are instructed to never be alone with a child. All events are chaperoned by at least two adults.

But, they still don’t have a church policy. They think they do, but in reality, they don’t.

A church policy must have, at a minimum, the following features:
  • 1. It must be in writing.
  • 2. It must be designed so as to reasonably protect the children in the care and custody of the church.
  • 3. It must be disseminated.
  • 4. It must be implemented.
  • 5. It must be followed.
  • 6. It must be comprehensive, that is, it must cover all the bases.
  • 7. It must be understood and understandable.
Many, if not most, church leaders assume they have a “handle” on the issue. They presume to understand what it is that the church must do in order to protect both the child and itself. But, far too many do not. Some do. But, many are ignorant of their ignorance.

For example, I recall a conversation with a pastor who was one of those who assumed he had things under control. One piece of the conversation went something like this:

VG: So, if you’re called to the stand, you’d testify that everyone in your congregation knew about your policy?

Pastor: Well, maybe not everyone. But, we did talk about it with the deacons and everyone in that meeting got a handout, plus every Sunday School teacher got one.

VG: So, if you had a worker who wasn’t in that meeting, would he or she have gotten that handout?

Pastor: I, uh, well, I don’t know. I suppose. I’m assuming that the leaders would have made sure of that.

VG: But, you realize that you would be the one on the stand answering questions like that? And you do understand that the old proverb, “the buck stops here” is very much applicable?

Pastor: Sure. I will make sure every worker gets a copy.

VG: Suppose a child comes to the church for the first time with her parent and mom leaves her off in the Sunday School. Now, suppose further that on this particular day, a man comes to the Sunday School class looking for this child. And, suppose that on this particular day, there is a new worker there who didn’t get her copy of the “rules” you handed out. Or, perhaps she didn’t read them if she got them. She hands the child over, but it turns out the man is not her father, nor even a relation. He disappears with the child. Is there any liability on the part of the church?

Pastor: I suppose so, yes.

VG: I can tell you that for certain there would be. But, let me ask you this: Do you have any proof that you gave a copy of the policy to these workers? And if you do, is there any proof they read it? And, that they understood it? And, that they will comply with it?

Pastor: No.

As we talked further, it became clear that the “policy” they had was completely inadequate. There were so many potential problem areas not addressed that any jury would have found against the church because their efforts to protect the children in their care was not “reasonable.” Indeed, they took more security precautions to safeguard their cars and the premises than they did the children. It wasn’t because they were a bad church. They were just ignorant of the large number of areas that must be addressed, some of which are complex, in the undertaking of formulating a valid church policy. For example, they had no policy or even an awareness of the problem dealing with who is able to take a child out of his or her Sunday School class. It was kind of understood that if someone showed up for the child and knew the child by name, and the child went with them, that was all right.

If a church does not have a written church policy that is published to the congregation and followed regularly, then some day, a child will be harmed and the church will be harmed. The harm to the child will be permanent. They harm to the church may prove to be “fatal” in economic terms, and even if not, the reputation damages may have consequences lasting for decades.

Predators are cunning, devious, and able to spot vulnerabilities in a church system. Sometimes, there’s almost nothing you can do to protect against them. A dedicated molester will find a way. But, if a church makes it difficult, and places obstacles in the way, he’s usually going to look for an easier target. He’s got a virtual banquet of churches to choose from, ranging from those who are arrogantly ignorant, to those who are just ignorant. He’s not going to choose the churches that are aggressively establishing guidelines and policies designed to thwart his evil.

There is a book I highly recommend on the subject. It is designed to not merely inform, but to educate and motivate. The book contains some useful forms, but most of all, it contains all the reasons why your church, if it is to survive in the coming days as an outreach to the community, must address the issue of what to do about protecting the children and the church. The book is entitled “Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators.”

I may be a bit biased, but frankly, I think it is a “must read” for every church member, not just the leaders. An informed church is a church on guard.

An ignorant church is a "candy store" for a child molester.

Some day, one will visit your church.

It's almost a statistical guarantee.

copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover

Mar 30, 2008

Parents are Creating Monsters

We all sit in astonishment as predators come and snatch our children from us, wondering why, wondering why no one can stop them, wondering where they come from, wondering if anyone cares, wondering if God cares, wondering if they're truly of the human race.

They come in the garb of humanity, perhaps draped in the robes of clergy, or suits of respect or wrapped in rough working clothing or the attire of a youth. But all of them have the same desire: they want to kidnap, to rape, to murder, to torture, to kill and to hurt. They are destroyers. They are humans doing inhuman things.

They're doing it to our children and to us.

Some of them are mere children.

And all of them used to be.

I'm astonished at the absolute ignorance of the vast majority of Americans. I guess I shouldn't be, but I am. We read the news accounts and creep back into our wall- papered existence, pretending the evil doesn't exist. And, we debate endlessly, pontificating to anyone who will hear our shouts of outrage and anger and frustrations. Opinions bounce around the e-world like ping-pong balls, never accomplishing anything other than to draw the attention of others who may bounce their word-balls against our screen.

We listen endlessly to the babblings of shared ignorance as fools debate one another and display their stupidity naively to the world of Springer-Lativa gluttons. And we wonder why no one can understand the problem?

It is said that sheep are the dumbest animals under the sun. They can get lost in sight of the flock. They really are stupid. Is it any wonder that Christ likened us to sheep? It was an apt characterization. Americans are being shorn whilst they bleat their cries of bewilderment to one another, too ignorant to see that they have bought the shears and trained the shearer.

Our children are trained from birth to laugh at violence, to see violence as entertainment, or as something done to achieve success, or perhaps as something to do to another in order to win. One only needs to watch the cartoons to understand this. As they get older, the violence gets more graphic. Today, the children no longer participate passively in the panorama of death flowing into their minds from the television, or the movies. No more are they merely engaged with their minds, but now their body, hands, emotions, and mind, are engaged in "killing" someone, or something, or destroying someone, or something. The games provided to our children today mesmerize them, and their little fingers are a blur of movement as they "kill" in the games they play.

In their teens, the psyche imprinting moves to another level. Now, they see movies that are far more powerful than the most effective thirty-second advertising spot could ever achieve. Instead of a thirty-second ad, their minds are pulled into a maelstrom of violence that is equal to hundreds of powerful advertisement strung together.

These "ads" are working even better than the commercial multi-million dollar ads work for the giant corporations imprinting us with their messages. Our kids are hooked on violence, desensitized to it, and see life through a screen of interactive impulses they find difficult, and sometimes impossible, to control in real-life.

American parents want the fiddler to play us to the grave. So, we pay our children to go out and purchase music that will sear their minds, that will hypnotize them into syncopates who indeed "march to a different drummer." The Pied Piper appears in garish costume designed to shock and draw attention, designed to excite the "rebel" and invite the devil. And, with a swagger and John Waynesque demeanor, our children leap into the darkness we've helped finance.

We are shocked and confused, and can't understand when they don garish costumes and do goulish deeds. We express disbelief at their deeds. We wonder how such a "good boy" could go so bad and do such horrible things.

Stupidity's sister is Ignorance and we've dated her too long.

We'd best come to understand that our children are being programmed. We're helping finance that programming. A growing number of our kids aren't able to cope with the programming. Stresses come into every child's life, especially as they reach the teen years. Years ago, most all of America's kids were able to deal with the usual stresses, and even to emerge at the other end stronger. Now, they're cracking. And, instead of working through it, they're dealing with the stresses the way they've been trained. The thousands of hours at the "death games" and the "death videos" taught them how to solve a problem.

We've taught them well. And we financed it.

Will the sheep ever awaken and realize that once they quit paying the producers of "scare movies" and "death games" and "hate rap" and music that glorifies evil and glamorizes death, the predators amongst us will diminish? These producers operate under the banner of "free speech," but their "free speech" is costing us all dearly. You see, once we take away the program, we, the parents, become the programmers. And, once we take over the role of parenting and emerge from our stupidity, shedding our ignorance, we will begin to see children growing up into healthy adults instead of bizarre beings we hardly recognize.

It really is your choice.

It is your choice to give that child the money to attend the latest "gore" movie or "horror" movie. Go ahead and give money for the music that rips the soul from your child and gives it to a man with a painted face who is placing words of hate and evil into his or her head. But, don't weep for that child when his mind is bent by that powerful force. Don't wonder why. Don't blame him. Don't look at her and say "How could you?" Don't look at the dead bodies and become angry at him, wondering how he could shame you with such a despicable act. He was just doing what your education taught him to do.

Don't wonder why your child is an addict when hundreds of hours of music glorifying drug use was pumped into that child's mind–music you paid for, maybe even purchased.

Look to yourself.

You are the blame.
You were ignorant.

And you chose to be ignorant.
You chose to ignore the danger.

A bad date can be dumped, you know.

For a look at a related topic, see the book "Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators"

copyright 2007 Voyle A. Glover

Mar 15, 2008

Heparin: The Road to China has Potholes

On November 2, 2007, I underwent open heart surgery. During the surgery, I was administered the drug Heparin. I had an "allergic" reaction to it. Subsequently, my recovery was pretty dicey. I had days in ICU where I suffered from extreme bouts of heat, so much so I had to have a fan blowing directly on me. That diminished, but a week later, I still had periods of time when I'd go through several hours of extreme heat.

Also, I had difficulty breathing. For days, especially in the night, I'd gasp for breath. I recall one night curled up in a fetal position, so weary, tired of the constant gasping for breath and wondering if I was going to make it.

Now, I've learned that there's been a massive recall of the drug Heparin. It seems the product, made in China, had a bacterial agent in it, or the drug was in fact, a counterfeit! Incredible. I'd certainly like to know whether I've gotten something that, in a dozen years is going to do me in, or turn my skin purple, or cross my eyes. One thing is for certain: the reaction I got from Heparin came close to putting me on the other side of life.

All that to say this: In our society, we routinely expect the roads upon which we motor to be hazard-free. We expect that when we top the rise of a road, that it will continue. And, when we are given a drug, we expect it to be free of contaminants. But, that's a "road" that is becoming increasingly filled with potholes, and roads that suddenly end, with no warning signs posted.

Unfortunately, in the world of "Big Pharm," we are at their mercy. They make a HUGE profit off the drugs they sell to us. If drugs were gasoline, we'd be paying $20.00 a gallon. Lots of money in drugs, legal or otherwise. The Drug Industry is a powerful lobbying group, and it's no wonder that they seem to be able to get away with stuff that makes the tobacco manufacturers look like sellers of cotton candy.

Speaking of "legal," one certainly has to wonder how it is that a drug manufacturer can license a company in a foreign country (like China) to produce any drug that will be consumed in America, where there is absolutely no ability on the part of the U.S. Government to monitor the manufacturer for cleanliness, for quality control, or any of the normal demands made by our government on U.S. companies who manufacture products which we consume, including drugs.

Maybe it's time we begin to put some pressure on that cabal of legislators who cater to these companies who are willing to put us at risk. I say it's time to put the careers of those legislators at risk, be they Republican, Democrat or whatever.

Copyright 2008 - Voyle A. Glover

Mar 7, 2008

Grits 'n Eggs 'n Bacon: A Meal to Die For

I love grits.

Mix it with 2 golden eggs over easy, some thick sliced bacon fried crisp, a couple of golden brown biscuits dripping with butter, and it’s a meal fit for a king.

My Grandma used to fix grits for us when we were kids. She’d fix the grits, pile it on a plate, dip a spoon in the center of the pile to make a little crater, then she’d fill that crater with bacon grease. Next, she’d close the crater, then she’d lay on top of the pile of grits, two eggs cooked medium so the yoke was still runny. Then, she’d take a knife and fork and cut up those eggs into the grits and mix it all together, flavored by the bacon grease she’d put in earlier. Finally, she’d take a piece of crisp bacon, break it up into little pieces and sprinkle it across the pile of grits and eggs. Gran would shove the plate over and I’d grab a biscuit, butter it, spread some jam on it, break a piece of bacon in half and make a sandwich.

I’ve eaten hundreds of such meals as a kid and many more as an adult.

Now, my dear Grandma loved us kids and would never have done anything to hurt us. But, she didn’t realize she was laying a foundation that would one day send her oldest grandson to the hospital on the brink of death. Now, those grits may have even been organic, and the bacon may have been organic meat, but it was killing me and we didn't know it.

In November of 2007, I nearly died. I was rushed to the hospital after I came into the Emergency Room complaining of extreme discomfort. I was on the edge of a major heart attack. They discovered I had two arteries with a 98% blockage and two more with over 80% blockage. I underwent immediate open heart surgery.

Lots of mothers and grandmothers and wives who sincerely love their children, grandchildren and husbands are killing them, slowly, one plate at a time. They cook these delicious meals without comprehending the health hazards of those meals. My dear grandmother had no idea how bad that bacon grease was for me. Further, she did not realize that creating an appetite in a child for greasy, salty, butter-laden foods would train me to eat in the manner in which I grew up eating. I ate all manner of fried food, breads, butter and tons of bacon throughout my life.

I paid a heavy price for it.

In America, we’re paying a heavy price for our out-of-control eating habits. (Compounding the problem is the manufacturers who have infused our food with so many preservatives and dyes and foreign ingredients that the affects on the health of the nation are incalculable.) We are an obese nation plagued with heart disease. Every 20 seconds, a person in America has a heart attack, and 250,000 of them die before they reach a hospital. In approximately 33 seconds from now, someone in America will die from cardiovascular disease. Currently, over 6 million Americans are hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, which has been the number one killer of Americans since 1900 (excepting the year 1918).

We are a rich nation and have been for many long years. We’ve had bountiful tables, laden with food. There isn’t a nation on the face of the earth that has the abundance we have. But that abundance is killing us. We’re getting fatter by the day. It is a medically established fact that obesity contributes to heart disease. And, eating to satisfy appetites that have been trained to enjoy all the wrong kinds of foods, contributes to obesity.

We’re committing suicide, one bite at a time.

Copyright 2008 -- Voyle A. Glover

Mar 2, 2008

Barney Fife - A Real Life Encounter with One

Ever known a real life Barney Fife?

Barney was, of course, the bungling, inept deputy on the Andy Griffith show. He was played so perfectly by Don Knotts and kept millions laughing at his inane attempts to catch crooks, or his exaggerated sense of importance.

But, I really knew a Barney Fife once. He was as close to the caricature of Barney Fife as anyone could come.

I met him in the U.S. Navy. We served on the same ship together and even went through boot camp together. While in boot camp, we were all standing at attention for inspection one morning when “Barney” suddenly grunted after a loud noise came from his position in the lineup. We were all supposed to be looking straight ahead, but some of us sneaked a quick peek his way. The inspecting officer had whacked what appeared to be a kind of night stick against “Barney’s” stomach. But, the sound wasn’t one of wood striking flesh. It had struck something else.

Turned out, “Barney” had hidden a notebook of some sort in the front of his pants and covered it with his jumper. He suffered for that screw-up for a week scrubbing latrines and floors on his hands and knees.

He had several other mishaps during boot camp, but they paled into insignificance against the ones he had once he got aboard ship. I got to be a witness to the first big one. The ship was in port in Seattle, Washington, for repairs and overhaul. Fire drills were held periodically. During these drills, the team assigned to a particular area would grab a fire hose and rush to the site, prepared to put out a fire.

Now, we had a Commander who’d come up through the ranks and was tough as nails. He was built like a pro wrestler, always had a short cigar jutting from one side of his mouth, and had glassy black eyes. His voice was gravely and he could make a sailor lose all desire to go ashore on liberty if the Commander happened to be standing near the gangway.

On this particular day, I was standing on the Flying Bridge, way up at the top of the ship, drinking a cup of coffee when the fire drill started. I stood looking down and saw the Commander, in dress whites, with white shoes, standing on the deck just to the right side of the ladder (stairway). He was there to observe and critique the performance of the team. The sailors came running up the ladder with the large hose. Leading the team was none other than “Barney.” He rushed up the ladder, cut to the right, and ran, nozzle in hand, towards the assigned location.

He didn’t see what I saw. I watched (with a large grin, I must confess), as “Barney” dragged this large, heavy, and very dirty hose, across the tops of the Commander’s white shoes and against the bottom of his white pants. The Commander immediately looked down and then his face flushed red. He didn’t move his feet but his head whipped to the right and he glared at “Barney” in disbelief. He simply could not believe someone would be so stupid. Frankly, I had trouble believing it, too.

“Barney” paid a heavy price for that one. First, he got a tongue lashing such as no one aboard that ship had ever heard in their life. It was an incredible array of curse words strung together like machine gun bullets erupting from a barrel, coupled with a finger that must have felt like a steel rod that was constantly poking into "Barney's" chest. Poor "Barney" was put on bilge duty, cleaning out the nastiest part of the ship, crawling down below the grates at the bottom of the ship where oil and filthy water and who knows what swirls around.

He did a few other dumb things along the way, but the final blow for him came within a month or two after he’d ruined the Commander’s shoes. He’d been assigned to clean the Foc'sle deck, which is at the bow of the ship. Ships that are at anchor or sitting beside a pier (which is where we were), would periodically blow heavy accumulations of soot out the stack in order to clean the tubes. (This was a day in which there were no environmental concerns, and today, it is not a practice that is done in modern ports.)

The ship decks would accumulate a fine layer of soot from this, so it became necessary to swab the decks with a large mop. “Barney” was assigned this task. He’d worked for several hours when his buckets of water became so dirty from rinsing his mop, that he needed to empty the buckets and get clean water. The unwritten rule aboard ship is that you always dump dirty water off the “fantail” (stern) of the ship. “Barney” decided he didn’t want to walk the long distance all the way back to the fantail of the ship to dump two buckets of black water.

So, he walked to the end of the bow and tossed the dirty water over, then followed it with another.

Unfortunately, directly beneath the bow was where the Captain’s gig (boat) was tied up. There was a landing there for the Captain’s convenience, with a small ladder leading to the pier. Also, most unfortunate for “Barney,” the Captain and another Captain from a sister ship had just tied up and both men were leaving the gig, headed for the Captain's quarters for lunch. (Even the script writers for Barney Fife couldn’t have dreamed this one up.)

The dirty water drenched both men (Yes, they were wearing their dress whites.). The sailor who ran the gig for the Captain was also furious because it turned the white canvas covering for the gig into a speckled mess.

There was such a furor over that incident that “Barney” tried to go into hiding. But, they found him and within 3 days, he had orders cut for an immediate transfer. I saw his orders. His orders said: “Midway Island, duration of duty.” If you don’t know about Midway Island, I can only tell you that it was, in the mind of every sailor, the absolute worst assignment you could draw. There was nothing there. Liberty was taking walks alongside the beach. The best times were when a ship would come in and you could get to see new faces, talk to new people, and if you were lucky, walk around aboard a ship for a few hours.

The really sad thing is that many of us are Barney Fifes, albeit, in a little different fashion.

We stumble through life, making stupid mistakes, and sometimes getting assigned to islands of grief from which we feel we cannot escape. Millions are snared by the consequences of their choices in life. So many are trapped by bands of guilt and remorse. We’ve often slapped our foreheads and uttered, “Duh! How could I have been so stupid!”

But the real tragedy is that so many are convinced there is no escape, that they are where they are for the duration of life. Indeed, unless there are substantial changes, that will be true.

But it doesn’t have to be.

There is a way of escape from the islands of despair and grief.

That escape is found here: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” -John 10:10 (The Bible).

However, you must know the way to have that life–that abundant life.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” -John 14:6 (The Bible). That is the only way of escape. There is no other way of escape. There is no way to God, but through Jesus Christ.

We don’t have to stumble through this life filled with regrets and feeling abandoned by the human race, or feeling as though we were on an island all by ourselves. We can be part of a family that is more united than any family on earth. We can actually be kin to God. And as kin to God, we can expect far more than a Midway Island kind of existence. We can expect and receive treatment accorded to royalty. For, if we have turned from our own ways and turned to Christ, accepting the sacrifice made at Calvary and surrendered ourselves to God, then we are children of the most high God, the creator of all the universe.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:16-18 (The Bible).

So, come on aboard.

It beats Midway.

Copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover

Feb 13, 2008

Lose 40 pounds in weeks !! Guaranteed!

I will tell you here, step by step, how you can lose 40 pounds in a few weeks and keep it off!

My weight loss began with a craving. I had a craving for Jello. I didn’t care if it was red or yellow or green, so long as it was Jello. I devoured nothing but Jello for an entire week. After that, I discovered, to my surprise, that my stomach had shrunk such that I could not eat as much as I could before the Jello rampage. My portions shrank dramatically. I’d eat maybe half of what was put on my plate after that. (But, I still ate all the Jello.)

In a matter of weeks, the pounds had melted away. I discovered that I had lost an amazing 40 pounds.

But there is an additional step you must take in order to make this diet work.

You have to agree to allow someone with a gleam in his eye and a sharp, glistening blade in his hand, rip open your chest and play with your heart, then live in a hospital for nearly a month eating the most tasteless food ever cooked.

Now, let me take my tongue from my cheek a moment. There are tens of thousands of Americans who are going to lose weight exactly like I did. They will take the same steps because they are doing the same things I did to reach that Mandatory Diet Program. They are committing suicide one bite at a time. One bite doesn’t seem like it will hurt, and it doesn’t seem to have any immediate effects. But, over the years, the damage begins to accumulate in the heart and the arteries. And suddenly, you wake up on a gurney rolling down a hall with some guy walking alongside you making small talk you will not remember later.

Pat O'Brien, a host on Inside Edition, was recently in the news because of an addiction to alcohol that brought him into rehab. There are millions of Americans who have an alcohol addition (over 23 million according to the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers). But, Americans' addiction to bad food is far worse than alcohol. The addiction to sweets, greasy and salty foods and pop, affects most Americans. We begin that battle as children and often, by the time we’re adults, we’ve lost the war. We’re addicted, not to apples and squash and beans, but to bacon and fries and pizza and coffee and a host of other such things.

We’re literally eating ourselves into the hospitals (unfortunately, also into the morgue) by the millions.

Surely there’s a better way to lose weight than letting some guy with a bunch of initials behind his name and a sharp blade in his hand slice open your chest and rummage around there playing with valves and tiny arteries. And the bill you get could buy a life-time supply of healthy meals delivered to your door by a valet who will park the meal on your table and do the dishes afterwards.

Some of us are fortunate. We take the journey into the hospital and undergo the surgery. We even lose weight. But, far too many are losing much more than 40 pounds.

They get down to skin and bones.

Mostly bones.

(Click on the link for a detailed narrative of the author's experience with open heart surgery.)