Environmental Blog

It occurs to me that there is one issue where I can agree with liberals to a certain extent.  That of being good stewards of the world created for us to live in.  But that is the extent to which conservatives like me and liberals have something in common.  It is in the type of methods they use to encourage this where liberals and conservatives differ as greatly as the distance between east and west.

That being said, I have had the pleasure of civil discourse with known liberals who are truly interested in what kinds of solutions we as conservatives come up with, well, really only one so far, fellow blogger Ms. Lifeofdi.  This proves that if conservatives like me seek to promote their values with love, they will find a wealth of people seeking intelligent and civil discourse.  But in general what I’ve noticed is that to encourage good steward ship of the environment, many liberal seek methods that ultimately serve to increase the cost of living for everyone and encourage even more government expansion into our private lives.  Some even seek to devalue human life as a blight upon “Mother Earth” and seek to control through things like forced sterilization and abortions the rate at which new members of humanity enter the world.  This leads to another subject which I may write about in a future blog.

Conservatives, on the other hand, seek the same thing, but our methodology does not involve increasing government control and therefore increases in the cost of living due to the resultant increase in taxes.  We as conservatives seek alternatives to foreign crude oil that encourage the productivity and innovation and spirit of free-market competition that once made our nation the envy of the world.  One of them is off-shore drilling.  If we have to depend on crude oil at the very least as a backup in case sources of alternatives dry up or come under attack by our enemies, then it should come from domestic sources.  Keep the money here instead of putting it into the pockets of the Arab nations that make up OPEC.  Although I have heard a lot about the prospect of using algae as a biological source of oil from which gasoline and diesel can be made.  From what I have read algae is extremely plentiful and can produce very high yields of oil.  The yield can be as much as around 26,000 gallons per hectare according to various articles I’ve read on this subject.  That sounds like a pretty good yield.  And algae regrows at a pretty rapid rate too according to these articles.  So it sounds like they might be on to something here, esp. since encouraging research into the efficacy of algae as a source of oil would facilitate the creation of desperately needed private sector jobs in algae farming.  I welcome comments from my very few readers as to how effective this method might be.  Another way to be a good steward of the environment is to learn from our Depression Era grandparents.  Some of the methods of doing every day things that assisted them in saving money also have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.  For example it is possible to make your own natural free and clear laundry soap from a bar of Ivory, some washing soda, and some borax, and some water (or no water if you’re trying to make a powder rather than a liquid).  You can also make your own febreeze from 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of liquid fabric softener, and 2 cups of water.  The Dollar Tree in my neck of the woods sells vinegar in 1/2 gallon jugs for a buck a piece, making it 2 bucks per gallon there.  And it is made from alcohol distilled from grain.  Also at Dollar Tree they have available liquid fabric softener that is made with biodegradable surfactants.  So just by encouraging frugality you’re also encouraging small ways in which we can be more environmentally friendly.  And it won’t cost us anything in terms of civil liberties or taxes (well except for maybe local sales taxes…..LOL).

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The Essence of Christianity

There is one question in the world that human beings yearn for the answer to: Is there life after death?  Or in other words: Is there a reward for being the best we can possibly be in life when the mortal shells of our worldly existence fall to the ravages of time?  This is where faith comes in.

In this life we have a wide variety of faiths that explore that two-fold question, and I shall give you an example of some of their answers.  Buddhism says (or perhaps it’s Hinduism that believes in reincarnation…I have a bad habit of getting the 2 mixed up): I don’t know, or that your reward is to be born into this imperfect world again and again.  Some reward, to be burdened with another imperfect life, eh?  Conficius says: I don’t know.  I’m beginning to sense a bit of a theme here.  Other faiths believe that the things of this imperfect world have divine powers.  Say what?  How can an imperfect thing have any divine power over us?  Still other faiths believe in a god or gods upon whom they seek to project their own human arrogance towards those deemed “not worthy.”  And that’s the kind of god some say exists after death?  One who is arrogant?  I say no way!

This is what makes Christianity in general and Catholic Christianity in particular so unique.  We as Christians believe in a God who loves us so much that He created the universe and all life within it so that he could share His love.  We believe in a God who loves us so much that He gave us the freedom to choose whether or not to love Him of our own free will.  We believe in a God who loves us so much, that He allows us to make mistakes and learn from their consequences so that we might grow in understanding.  We believe in a God who loves us so much, that He humbled Himself, became human, so that we might have a reward for seeking to rid ourselves of our darker impulses while we live in this world.  This is the heart, the essence, of Christianity.  We follow God, to seek a personal relationship with Him.  We seek to follow Him into divinity because He followed us into humanity.  And we as Catholic Christians in particular believe in a God who chose a woman and elevated her as a real-world example of the kind of perfect dedication we seek to give to God: the Blessed Virgin and Mother of Christianity, the woman Mary.  Like a mother who, after bringing us forth into the world through her labor, points us in the direction of our fathers, their husbands who create in their wives new life, who say to us “Look upon your father,” Mary brings us forth into the new life we seek in Christ and points Him out to us.  This is why in some Catholic Churches you may see that the statue of the Blessed Mother is positioned in such a way so as to be pointing to the ever-present crucifix and the tabernacle beneath it.

We as Catholics believe in a God who loves us so much that not only did He make Himself into a sacrificial lamb for our sins, but also chose and elevated a woman who He knew would dedicate her life perfectly to Him to be the Mother of all who come to be re-created by God through His sacrifice, the mother of all the truly living, the new Eve who will lead us to our final reward when we die which is to dwell in Christ, the new Adam, for all eternity: Mary.  In this way the Catholic Church, modeled after this woman of perfect love for God, has a much more real connection with the loving God of Christianity, made ever more real by the near perfect re-enactment of the Last Supper through the Eucharist.  In no other church in this world do you see such a real and ever-present connection between mortal and divine.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Protestant brethren to death.  But I choose to remain in a Christian Church whose beauty and richness in the sacred Tradition make the connection between me and my Lord more real.  And the Catholic Church was, is, and forever shall be, this Church of God, the Church that makes the new life we seek more real than it could ever be in any other church, more real than sacred Scripture alone could ever make it.

So when you sail the ocean of life, you need to choose where to set your anchor.  Will you set your anchor in the imperfect and transient things of this mortal life?  Or will you set your anchor in a god who has no mercy upon us in our imperfection?  Or will you instead set your anchor in a God who loves you so much that He would humble Himself, make Himself our loving sacrificial lamb, so that we might have life after death, and who also happens to sometimes reveal His presence to us even more concretely in the form of miracles, events that defy all rational explanation?  And when you choose a church, will you choose one that glorifies the imperfect and transient things of this world?  Or perhaps will you choose one whose rituals and formality remain closed to those who seek mercy?  Or will you instead choose one whose rituals and formality seek to make God more real to us and whose rituals and formality seek to create a more real and sense-perceptible sign of His mercy and love?  Our time in this world is limited, so I recommend making your choice and making it wisely.

The True Value of Life and Liberty

For this blog I aim to talk about the many types of value we bestow on something.  When we buy things in the supermarket, for example, those things certainly have a monetary value for us.  Our property also holds certain monetary value.  But the greatest value we as human beings are capable of bestowing on something remains our willingness to give all that we are, our very being, our very life, in its defense.  This highest of value is reserved towards that which we consider sacred.

As a Roman Catholic, my faith is sacred.  I would gladly bleed and die before renouncing my faith in Christ.  So for me Christ is one of these sacred “things,” for lack of a better term that deserves the greatest value I am capable of bestowing upon it: my willingness to give my own life in His defense.  Life, too, is humanity’s greatest and most powerful gift, for without this gift we would not have liberty, another sacred gift that deserves our highest value.  We risk our lives every day for the innocent.  We even risk our lives to save the lives of those who some would say do not deserve such an honor.  But as a Christian I cannot stand idly by while anyone, for any reason, attempts to gun down someone in cold blood.

Our willingness to risk our very lives for that which we hold most dear to our hearts is the highest value we are capable of bestowing on something that we consider sacred.  It is one of the greatest and most powerful acts of love we are capable of as humans.  It is said in sacred Scripture that “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This establishes sacrifice for that which we hold dear the greatest act of love and the greatest value and the highest honor we are capable of bestowing.  This goes especially so for our children, at ANY VIABLE stage of development (the “keyword “viable” is meant to exclude cases of ectopic pregnancy, where the children are not viable and are most likely already dead by the time the surgeon gets around to removing the ectopic pregnancy) because our children represent the continuation of the human race.  We continue as a race through our children.  And where is our moral authority for risking ourselves for other innocents if we cannot do so for our own children, either inside or outside of the womb?

But sadly we are seeing a devaluing of this powerful concept.  We as a people are learning selfishness instead of love.  We are being taught that risking ourselves for our children is not the act of love that we know it to be.  We are ultimately being taught to have an entitlement mentality towards  commodities like money, food, clothing, health care, etc.  And we are being taught to hate things like love, life, and liberty.  If we are to have any hope as a nation, we must restore the concept that risking ourselves for that which we hold sacred is an act of love to its rightful place.  Our ancestors bled and died because they loved life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  And now we are witnessing their loving sacrifice being taken in vain.  Because either life is sacred or its not.  And if you believe it is not, then you do not believe in liberty, for without holding life as humanity’s greatest gift, a gift that enables human societies everywhere to continue their existence, there can be no moral basis for liberty.  Many people brag about how they say, for example, stopped a robbery or rape in progress, putting their own lives on the line in the process.  But when it comes time to place this value on the life that a woman carries within her womb for 9 months, they are reluctant to do so.  Some even view that child as a parasite.  Where then is the moral authority for these people to risk their lives for other noble endeavors, such as foiling robberies?  Either human life is sacred at all stages of development or it’s not.  We cannot afford to be lukewarm about this.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Today is the day when Christians everywhere celebrate one of our highest holy days ever: the day when we were restored to life by the rising of our Savior, who being the perfect leader He is, gave of Himself so that we might be free of our sins.

Today is the day we celebrate the glorification of the Son of Man as the unblemished sacrificial Lamb sent by God the Father, the Creator, who would take upon Himself our sins and be slaughtered and crushed by their weight, but having done so willingly will destroy their power by His rising.

Some say it is impossible for a human being to free us from our sins because up to that point all human beings had been subject to the original sin of the progenitors Adam and Eve.  But this is where divine intervention came in.

If I were to burden someone with my baggage who was already burdened with his own baggage of the same kind, that person would rightfully say: You idiot!  Can’t you see I’m loaded down with my own burden?!?!?!  So it is that the Son of Man by his very nature would have to be specially created by God to be able to carry the burden of the sins of the people.  So that means this Son of Man, this sacrificial Lamb, would have had to be originally created without sin Himself, for it would make no sense to raise up as the One who saves us from our Sins one who was created with sin himself.  And because He took this burden willingly, and willingly allowed Himself to be crushed by their weight, the power of this burden was nullified, allowing Him to rise to eternal life so that the people might be restored and refreshed by the victory of the sacrifice of this unblemished Lamb of God.  Because God is our perfect leader is how this came to pass.

Happy Easter everyone!