The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, April 30, 2012

SpaceX Testing - Falcon 9 Static Fire

SpaceX has taken its next significant step in sending the Dragon capsule filled with goods for the ISS on May 7, 2012. After a first attempt abort, the static test fire (2 seconds on the main engines at full throttle) on the second attempt went fine, as you can see here.

Good luck SpaceX team. Looking forward to that next big step, launch and arrival at the ISS.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




NASA Transports Space Shuttle Enterprise to New York

My tribute to the end of the Space Shuttle era is lasting longer than I imagined. Here is excellent NASA video of Space Shuttle Enterprise heading off to New York City and its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. What you see here is the only way Enterprise ever flew. She was a testbed model that was launched off the back of the modified 747 to test the shuttle's flight capabilities. Enjoy your spacecraft New York!

I hope you stick around the the later part of this video. One speaker points out that this is not the end for human spaceflight. Both the Orion and Dragon capsules are either under construction or being tested. Dragon flies a mission to the International Space Station starting May 7 if all goes well. Each will be capable of taking humans much farther than the Space Shuttles could ever fly. Given the name of this shuttle, there's another speaker at the end you'll want to see if you're a fan of another Enterprise.

Thanks NASA for some beautiful footage.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Sunday, April 29, 2012

ISS Update: SpaceX Dragon

On May 7, 2012, SpaceX will be launching the fully loaded Dragon space capsule to the International Space Station. If all goes well with this supply run, SpaceX could become a NASA contractor, the first private company to bring materials ... and later astronauts ... to space. SpaceX has big plans for this capsule. They have already begun fitting a second version of the Dragon with everything necessary to fly a crew. The cabin can seat seven, just like the Space Shuttles did. However, with the capsule at the top of the stack rather than on the side, it will be a safer ride. Good luck with the flight guys.

This video, while not compelling viewing from a picture standpoint, gives you a hint at how complex a rocket launch really is. Nice to know they're not rushing things and are making sure they are as ready as they can be.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Sloggin' Thru Blogging: Time Needed for Topical Posts

Unless you run one of those magnificent huge blogs that receives outrageous numbers of hits daily, you need to make plans before providing time sensitive posts. If you are going to announce an upcoming event or provide other time sensitive material (avoid rants as they tend to become outdated extremely quickly and won't serve you well over time ... even if they do feel oh so good in the moment), you are going to need to factor in some lag time. It takes three to four days for material posted to get noticed by the search engines and blog readers. So, plan for the future before making that big announcement. Factor in the delay between publication and reading. It will save you some grief and ensure your message gets out when you want it to get out, and not days later.

Good luck, fellow bloggers!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Friday, April 27, 2012

Wet Blanket Award for Science in 2012 Goes To ...

My friends at Universe Today let us know that two scientists, Astrophysicist Edwin Turner from Princeton and researcher David Spiegel from the Institute for Advanced Study, report that we are overly optimistic about the possibilities of life existing outside of planet earth. They state "damply" that by using Bayesian analysis, which weighs how much a scientific conclusion is based on actual data and how much upon the scientists' assumptions that 
... current knowledge about life on other planets suggests Earth might be a cosmic aberration, where life took shape unusually fast and furious. If so, then the chances of the average terrestrial planet hosting life would be low. For more, read Nancy Atkinson's full article: http://www.universetoday.com/94838/we-really-hope-et-is-out-there-but-theres-not-enough-scientific-evidence-researchers-say/#more-94838
 Using this approach, the team actually doesn't have enough data from elsewhere to support a less than optimistic approach either. Me, I prefer to remain optimistic. After all, when I was a kid (back in MY day, when we had NINE planets ... [I'd tell you where I got that joke if I remembered]), there was absolutely no evidence for planets beyond our solar system and the wet blankets of that day were saying there was simply no evidence that this solar system was not a total freak and that there were probably no other planets anywhere. Well, those guys were proved wrong.

Other wet blankets state regularly (about every 100 years) that all that can ever be learned has already been learned and that after this we are just adding tiny details to the already known. That one usually gets disproved within weeks of the boring statement being made.

Back around the 1820s, the wet blankets of yore stated that the human body could not withstand speeds in excess of 20 mph. They were fretting the arrival of steam powered locomotives and warning of dire consequences for anyone with a need for speed. Of course, the crew of the International Space Station is now moving along at about 17,500 mph, completing an orbit of the earth every ninety minutes.

Based on the evidence of wet blankets past, I think we can pretty safely assume that the more optimistic view might be the better one.  

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good News From Christianity: A Story Telling Challenge

Okay writers, here's an opportunity.  On April 29, tell others about your personal faith in story form online. A classic question to answer is what Jesus has meant to you in your life. What encounters have you had with the divine that changed your life. Here's a little hint: you attract more people with humor than most anything else.If people want to use this platform for taking the challenge, I'll make the blog site available for faith stories I feel meet the criteria. The story I deem best will receive a coveted Digital NO Award!

Out of bounds topics for this little contest through Michael and the New Baby: arguments are out of bounds, telling anyone they are going to hell is out of bounds, making statements that make others want to tell YOU to go to hell are most definitely out of bounds, and opinion pieces/political rhetoric thinly veiled as religious stories. Keep it positive, tell your story, and let God do the rest. As in the parable of the sower, all you have to do is drop the seed. Everything else isn't your business ... certainly not for this challenge. 


As an example of faith experience delivered with humor, here's an experience I had where God communicated with me when I grew impatient with the Almighty's plan ...

Sometimes I pray like a Psalmist. One day it’s prayers of thanksgiving and joy, the next it’s prayers filled with fuss and fury. At the end of one particularly bad day at work I peevishly asked God if this might not be the time to move me from the secular world into more faithful work. After all, this is your idea God. Well, the very next day, the reading assignment for my seminary class was all about how to wait and what God is doing in our lives while we wait. Later, I checked the revised common lectionary online. The reading for the day dealt with the wise bridesmaids who prepared while they waited for their groom to come. Finally, my horoscope caught my eye as I was reading the comics, a very important part of my daily ritual. Now, before I finish, let me assure you the horoscope is not where I look for guidance. After all, would you take advice from a column that described you as a scorpion, a small, poisonous bug? I don’t think so. Small indeed! And yet, something about that first line caught my eye. A little flicker of recognition drew me in. It read, “This is a good time to wait.” God had answered my prayer quite clearly, three times with three different texts. He’d even ended the discussion with humor, a grace note I really appreciated.

Good luck and God bless. 

 What follows are resources available for the challenge of Internet Evangelism Day:

The amazing growth of digital media is transforming the world and changing the way we communicate and even think. There are growing opportunities for digital evangelism. Internet Evangelism Day is an annual focus day, scheduled for 29 April 2012. It creates a space for churches, ministries and individual Christians to investigate the many options for sharing the good news online.
The Internet Evangelism Day website is also a year-round online resource guide to help Christians understand these varied opportunities. Topics covered include: how to build a church website that is 'outsider friendly', using Facebook and Twitter in evangelism, and the growing options for using your mobile phone.
For many of these opportunities, you need no technical knowledge at all. And there are many opportunities to volunteer to be an email mentor to inquirers who have visited outreach sites operated by several online ministries.
Internet Evangelism Day is an initiative of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, based at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton. It is supported by a wide range of Christian leaders and groups. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," said the late John Stott.
More information: www.IEDay.net

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 






Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Opinion Piece, "Requiem for a Spaceship" Presents a Darker Future for NASA Than Is Sensible Given Its History: NASA Heavy Lift

On Monday, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post provided a litany of laments for the American space program as Shuttle Discovery was retired. He stated the mothballing of the shuttle fleet was a sign of American decline as we timidly backed away from the high frontier. Well, not quite. We are in the awkward tween years, that disappointing time when one system is set aside and another is developed. The last time this happened, between Apollo (cancelled too soon) and the shuttle program, the lapse ran for nine long years. This down time occurs largely because politicians who control the purse strings and their constituents back home are unwilling to run two programs concurrently or to allow them to overlap. Such a generous budget has never been provided for NASA, despite the job opportunities such budgeting would provide and the retention of valuable, skilled, knowledgeable employees it would allow the agency to retain. That is a sad fact, but it is hardly a backing away from a future in human spaceflight for the United States, as the commentator implies.

With the cancellation of the Constellation program in 2010 (already over budget, but angering for those who voted for the President and are huge supporters of human spaceflight), the program shifted to a somewhat nebulous goal, that is true. But it did not see the end of heavy lift spacecraft development as the above video shows. The commentator does make a good point in stating that the chances of success depend largely on Congress's continued funding and the support of future presidents, so the end point is uncertain. Such is always the case for NASA however and great things have been and will continue to be accomplished.

This commentator dismisses out of hand the idea that private industry can create and operate a system complex enough to return humanity to space themselves. However, SpaceX is a few weeks away (a week-long delay has just been announced to complete testing on docking programming) from launching their Dragon space capsule to the International Space Station. This capsule is capable of delivering supplies. It is also designed to carry a maximum crew of 7 into space and is intended to leave low earth orbit, a trick to shuttles, for all their sophistication, could not accomplish.

Yes, we have lost jobs with the closing of the shuttle program. But, there are crews at Boeing creating the future crew capsule for NASA and others working out the components for the heavy lift rocket to take it deeper into space than we have gone before.

Have we ceded the Moon to the Chinese, as the author of this article states? Not necessarily. Only time will tell. There has been strong push back against leaving the moon behind. Politicians may yet change their minds and the new rocket system, capable of reaching asteroids, will certainly be capable to returning to the moon.

Yes we are in the painful, troublesome in between years. But with private industry and NASA both striving the create crew capable craft, it may be that we won't have to wait 9 years to see American rocketry take us back to the high frontier. I don't think we have to be quite so pessimistic as the commentator would have us believe we should be.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 





Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day: Give Earth a Hand

A little something worth reflecting on this Earth Day. What will you do to give the earth a hand, every day?

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Friday, April 20, 2012

Sanity Saving Strategy for Driving Insane Highways and Byways

We are overly stressed! Of course, this is no news flash. We all know it. We all live with it. We all respond negatively to it ... and to each other BECAUSE of it. This is particularly true on the roads today, and we definitely take our stress out on each other. Somebody in the car in front of you cuts you off or merges too near your front bumper and you sound the horn in a long blast and flip the person off to make sure that offending driver gets your point. You're under stress, driving angry, and refuse to let another driver into the lane who needs to merge. Now there are two angry drivers. Sooner or later, somebody loses it on the highway and somebody else gets shot (in the most extreme cases).

But, there is a simple trick you can employ to help reduce your stress level while driving. When somebody makes a bad or thoughtless move on the road, resist the urge to write that person off as a total idiot, witless moron, or complete @!#%*!!! Instead, imagine that person is rushing off to a family emergency, flying down the highway with tear-clouded eyes to reach the local hospital. Or, if you prefer toilet humor, imagine that speeding, swerving driver has got to find a toilet NOW! If neither of those work for you, create any scenario that leads you to feel sympathy for the driver who just did whatever they did. It lowers your stress level and keeps you from making an instant judgment that does nothing more than make you angry and leave you with additional stress baggage to carry around with you for the rest of the day. Be generous in spirit with that other driver today. After all, sooner or later we all make bone-headed, thoughtless moves on the road and will need other people's generosity of spirit then.

Seed a little generosity today. It will spread. Maybe it'll keep somebody, somewhere from suffering road rage and doing something truly awful.

Peace.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 









Thursday, April 19, 2012

Expedition 30 Flight Engineer Don Pettit on SpaceX Dragon

On April 30, 2012, the SpaceX team will send their Dragon capsule on its way to the International Space Station. Flight Engineer Don Pettit explains what will happen and puts it all into a really interesting historical context. Near the end, a hint is given to SpaceX concerning what the astronauts would like to have when the Dragon is opened. Take note team. Good luck and Godspeed!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery Final Flight - Flyby and Landing at Dulles Airpo...

My personal favorite video of the landing of Space Shuttle Discovery at Dulles International Airport, on her way to her installation at the National Air and Space Museum Annex. Back in the day, I had my first experiences in volunteer archaeology as a high school student at Sully Plantation, right across the road from Dulles. When I was excavating there, the Concorde was taking off and landing from Dulles and the Space Shuttles had yet to take their first flights (the first one taking off and landing when I was a senior in college, getting undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and History).

Watch this video closely as you will never see this sight again!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Space Shuttle Discovery Flies Over the National Mall

Today Space Shuttle Discovery took her final flight from Florida to Dulles International Airport in Virginia to be installed in the National Air and Space Museum Annex. Part of that flight was a flyby over Washington, D.C. Watch closely as you will never see this sight again!


If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Shuttle Discovery Attached to Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

Today, at 10 am, the Space Shuttle Discovery makes her final flight atop NASA's specially modified 747 to Washington, D.C., to be installed in the National Air and Space Museum's facility near Dulles International Airport, taking the place of the testbed Shuttle Enterprise. The 747 with the Shuttle will make a flyby of D.C. which should provide some remarkable, historic views of this spaceship's final journey. I wish I could be there.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Monday, April 16, 2012

Celebrating Another Milestone: 700+ Posts

J.S. Brooks Presents has passed another milestone. We have just passed the 700 post mark. That's a lot of posts on wide ranging topics for parents, writers, bloggers, movie buffs, sci-fi fans, space exploration lovers, and so many others. Take some time and look over the work. There is something here for just about everyone. Enjoy.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



God Help The Outcasts

Our daughter, who is doing a lot of musical theater, introduced me to this tune tonight, which she will offer up as an audition piece. The sentiment is well worth consideration.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Remembering Titanic's Passengers and Crew on the 100th Anniversary of Her Sinking

Our daughter was among 80 talented high school performers who beautifully executed Titanic: The Musical. Together they remembered and breathed life into individuals long gone, who perished with the sinking of their ill-fated ship. Together they worked to make the audience care for everyone on board from the captain on the bridge to the coal stokers in the boiler room. It was a moving experience for everyone who attended and ending in a much deserved standing ovation. The set was the most complex I've ever seen in a high school production. Kudos to everyone involved and to the talented creators of the original text, songs, and music. And, of course, as a parent there is a great thrill and satisfaction to be found in watching your child excel in a field that thrills her/him.

A tribute to the power of the play was seen on the way out that evening. Three rows back from where my wife, my parents, and I sat, a large, burly man in a tee shirt and jeans was red-faced and scrubbing tears from his eyes with large, unsteady hands. It was a marvelous experience and a moving tribute to those who lost their lives and those who survived the awful events of April 15, 1912.

Rest in peace, passengers and crew of RMS Titanic. You have arrived at a far different shore from the one you intended to reach one hundred years ago. May you know peace and joy in that distant land.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Celebrating an Unanticipated Milestone: Blog Citation!

J.S. Brooks Presents now celebrates the citation of a story on this blog in a paper given at an archaeological conference. The Addison Plantation ghost stories told by two security guards as they quit the night shift in midwinter at the site are retold in this paper dealing with ghost stories on archaeological sites. This subject is little discussed as archaeologists are leery of what might happen to their professional credibility. To read this momentous article, go to: http://paranormalmontana.blogspot.com/2012/04/haunted-archaeologies.html

You never know where your words will appear next. Write often ... but write carefully.

Now, excuse me while I celebrate!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prescription Laughter Yet Again: I'll Never Heil Again

Now I know the Stooges made a lot of short films (190 to be exact), but I never knew they made a Hitler parody. Well done gentlemen, well done. Too bad the actual dictator couldn't have been dispatched so easily! 

Now get outta here ya knucklehead!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Good News From Christianity: He Is Risen, Indeed! John 20: 1-18

John 20: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Freeman's Mind: Episode 40 (Half-Life Machinima)

 Ross Scott reaches episode 40 of Freeman's Mind. Now that's an accomplishment. Enjoy ... but remember, this is not for the kids. Congrats Ross. So, how soon is 41 coming out?

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 







Tennessee Law Would Question Evolution (and Global Warming .... Perhaps Even Whether the Earth Is Round)

According to the Governor of Tennessee, the bill he is about to pass allowing students to critique evolution and global warming in high school classes is an attempt to teach them "critical thinking." Well, let me be the first to applaud the Governor for being willing to add years to the education of the high school students of Tennessee to bring them up to speed on 150+ years of scientific debate and discovery on the issue of evolution and decades of research on global warming. Also, he's willing to send the teachers of the state back to school for years of research on these subjects, along with updates on the reams of material written on "intelligent design" so each teacher will be able to restrain students who head down that path as this is not peer reviewed science. Such dedication to the pursuit of knowledge! Bravo Governor! After all, that is what will be needed to meet the definition of critical thinking: disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence

The last line of this news report is quite important. Wait for it or jump ahead to it. 

Now, let it be known that the vast majority of Christians today have no problem with the evolutionary theory or with climate change. Of course, I'm bold saying that and might be accused of using a broad brush here (something that annoys me when done to me) but I believe I am correct. There are many Christian scientists, including archaeologists, paleontologists, etc. who have no problem with science and their faith. The reason for this is they do not take a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 (as one theologian I know states, these chapters are too theologically important to be literally true). In fact, if you dig deep into your religious history you'll find none of the major religious theologians did until the rise of fundamentalism. Hard to believe this governor and others are willing to pass such laws to pander to a noisy minority of the religious community.  Let governors and legislators inclined to pass such bills know you don't want your children's time in class wasted with diatribes from a small minority of the population supported in a spurious attempt to engaging in critical thinking. 

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




 

Good Friday: Time to Pause, Read, and Reflect: John 18:1-19:42

It is said that the Bible is God's way to open a dialogue between God and humanity. Who knows what God will have to say to you today?

John 18: After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ 5They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’* Jesus replied, ‘I am he.’* Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesus* said to them, ‘I am he’,* they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7Again he asked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’* 8Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he.* So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ 9This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.’ 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’
12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ 18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.’ 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ 23Jesus answered, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.
28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.* It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters,* so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ 30They answered, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ 31Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ 32(This was to fulfil what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters* again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ 38Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I find no case against him. 39But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 40They shouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.
19Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. 4Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ 6When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ 7The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’
8 Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9He entered his headquarters* again and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat* on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew* Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ 15They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but the emperor.’ 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew* is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,* the King of the Jews.’ 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew,* in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” 22Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
   and for my clothing they cast lots.’
25And that is what the soldiers did.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows* that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ 37And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’
38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hubble Space-Shattering Discoveries

Be amazed. Enjoy the show.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 






Good News From Christianity: Encountering God's Kingdom Now


When I was a kid and heard the Bible stories, I was frustrated. It felt like I'd missed out on all the good stuff. If you ever felt the same way, take heart:
“Jesus’ many kingdom parables refer to surprise. When the great pearl is found, everything must be sold to gain it. When the treasure is uncovered in the field, all is sold to gain the one thing of importance (Matt 13:44-45). Thus things must be lost for other things to be gained. Luke’s story of the prodigal [son] (Luke 15) illustrates the principle well. Technically the younger son is alive in the far country living with Gentiles—but in reality he is ‘dead’. He is only ‘alive’ when he recognizes what he has done, repents, and returns to the father he originally offended. Christians too readily view these parables as metaphors for ‘eternal life’. The found pearl includes this but it is more: It is the discovery of the ‘kingdom’, which Jesus sees as something we may encounter even now.” 

The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: I-Ma. Volume 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2008. 

For additional, stirring information on God's Kingdom, follow this link to Tony Campolo's short video on the subject: http://youtu.be/uasjRvevFFo

Now, the question is, what will you do to move the Kingdom forward in the here and now? How can you help? 

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 





Sunday, April 1, 2012

Top Ten April Fools Pranks

I won't vouch for the quality or authenticity of what you see here. However, I provide you with these clips as a public service announcement. Remember, today is April 1, April Fool's Day, and some people take their pranks seriously. Beware.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm