Saturday, July 17, 2010

About Yesterday's Question

My wife suggested that perhaps Christians could set up a copyright that would expire after five years or so. As it is, copyrights today expire after 95 years, or at times, after the death of the individual copyrighter plus 70 more years.  I guess her plan could work like the medical drug system in America: a new drug is copyrighted for a few years, then the market is opened for generic drugs to copy. 

A friend of mine named Easten suggested another idea:  It's an organization that's worked out riders to tack onto copyrights. You can choose to modify your copyright for free in several ways: to allow others to share it, or modify it, for non-commercial or even for commercial reasons.  Worth checking out.

How selfish is a traditional copyright for a Christian, in light of Acts 4:32?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Christian Copyrights?

My wife has a pet peeve--Christian artists and writers clinging to their copyrights.  For example, Henry Blackabee has a life-changing study called "Experiencing God."  What if someone is overseas and wants to make copies for people interested in studying?  But it's a little hard to get 40 copies of a book overseas.  Or what about praise and worship music?  Should Christian artists and publishers really barb-wire their products as they do today? 

I hadn't thought much about this before. As an aspiring writer, I thought that writers need to make a living.  Still, we would shudder at the thought of making everyone pay at the door to enter a church and hear a sermon.  We've found other ways to provide for a pastor.  And artists like Keith Green, Rich Mullins, and Derek Webb have found ways to get around the worldly money-mongering we do.  Derek Webb apparently gave a recent album away on the internet with just an option for donations (which I think all went to a charity anyway).  What do you think?

POEM: Clutching for Chocolate Grace

My muddy hands clutch for the chocolate of your grace
My black fingernails peeling off the foil
Hungrily with tears this starving street-boy
Sits in the gutter at your feet and eats with darting eyes

But now you lean and grip my shoulder firmly
Here you wipe my grimy cheeks with your smooth skin
Here-I don't understand-you sit down beside me
As the passerbys snicker and grin

And suddenly the world spins slower
Suddenly my worst mistakes, my dirty thoughts
Wash off me bit by bit
As I lean against your beating chest and rest.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Everybody has the Same Great-Grandparents

DNA turns up some interesting stuff. Recently it has informed us that every single person on the earth had a common ancestor, very recently.

"All humans alive today share a surprisingly recent common ancestor, perhaps even within the last 5,000 years, even for people born on different continents" ( This from the evolutionists. They go on to say there was a geneological line leading to this common ancestor that we all have in common too, going back to our first parents, who they theorize lived 50,000-75,000 years ago.

In a nutshell, scientifically speaking, a very long time ago there were these first parents of humanity. They had children and earth's population increased rapidly. Then suddenly a disaster struck 5,000 years ago (scientists theorize a giant meteor or volcano) and only one family survived, the ancestors of all people alive today.

If you ask this wild-eyed Christian, it sounds suspiciously like the story of Noah and the Flood, the disaster the Bible claims happened 5,000 year ago. All right, I know I'm a little wild-eyed and frothy at the mouth. Still.


Darwin and scientists after him generally guessed that humans evolved in different branches all over the earth. Thus, Darwin assumed that Caucasians had evolved on a branch before other races like Africans and Australian Aborigines. In fact, he guessed that one day Caucasians would exterminate the more primitive races as Caucasians continued to evolve.

"At some future period … the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races...The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope … the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla."

--Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed., A.L. Burt Co., New York, p. 178, 1874

This idea that some humans are genetically superior to others supported racism in the 20th century, including some of Hitler's rationalizations for German racial supremecy.

But this DNA discovery turns that idea on its ear. It means we are closely related (relatively speaking) to every other human on earth. Not to sound like a hippie, but we are all one family. There are no branches of various 'homo sapien' species.

I sometimes feel shy of strangers. But this discovery tells me (as the Bible has always taught) that all of us humans are close family. When I look at a Chinese person, squatting strangely on the street, spitting, his Asian face staring back at me, the realization has been sinking in that he is my brother, that she is my sister. None of us are any closer to monkeys than anyone else, as scientists tried to suggest for a while. We are closely related. We are family.

"From one he created all the nations throughout the whole earth....For in [God] we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, "We are his offspring."

--Paul of Tarsus, (circa 40 C.E.), Acts 17:26

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

God, Sex, and Chemicals

I learned something fascinating today.  Apparently scientists are still in the midst of researching neurochemicals--chemicals connected with our brain. Although our amazing brains work generally like a super-computer, they aren't made of silicon and wires, they're made of living cells, which is way more astounding.  But these living cells are susceptible to chemicals which alter the way the brain works, records, and responds to life. Those chemical interactions point to an amazing Design.

For example, today I was reading about four brain chemicals associated with sex.  When someone becomes sexually aroused, DOPAMINE is released in the brain.  This powerful chemical narrows and focuses the mind, tuning the attention to the object of desire.  That narrowed focus blocks out other thoughts, including negative concerns or problems. So Dopamine not only makes you locked-in, it also makes you feel happy, even ecstatic.  In a sexual experience between a husband and wife, this is the drug responsible for those puppy-dog eyes and the feeling that those two people are only people alive in the world. 

As the sexual experience continues, NOREPINEPHRINE kicks in.  This chemical in your brain kicks up your memory, branding small details of the encounter deep into your mind. These may pop up later in flashbacks or vivid recounting of the sexual encounter for years and years.

At the climax of the sexual encounter, OXYTOCIN trickles into the brain. Scientists first discovered this chemical in new mothers holding their child for the first time. It floods their brain, bonding them to their new baby, making them desire to hold it, and conveniently also signalling milk production to begin in earnest.  New fathers also may get a dose when they hold their baby for the first time.  And someone having a sexual climax gets a dose too, bonding them to the object of their desire and increasing the desire to cuddle and hold.  (For that matter, holding hands or kissing may release amounts of oxytocin as well.)

After sex, SERATONIN oozes into the brain's bloodstream.  This better-known chemical relaxes, calms, and gives a sense of satisfaction and well-being.

What's the up-shot?  Well, when we look at a husband and wife, we see written God's good and crafty plan.  At just the right times, chemicals we barely understand are released into our fragile brains. Chemicals to focus us on our mate, to help us remember and cherish every detail, to bond, and to feel satisfied in each other.  In fact, these drugs are powerful enough that some compare them to a cocaine addiction--the husband and wife can literally become somewhat dependent on each other.

But switch the situation. Make it an illicit affair or someone masturbating alone to lifeless pictures.  This person will be obssessed to focus on their desire, these images will be seared into their brain, bonding them together, releasing some of their stress and give them a chemical induced sense of calm.

Insidious.  On one hand, we must admire the good God for his fatherly desire and design for his chilren. On the other we are dismayed at the trap Satan has waiting to snare us.  How little we understand even our own bodies! Praise God and beware Satan.