What's interesting to me about this is to see the customary liberal hauteur expressed by Lennon accompanying what is now considered a conservative point of view.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Basking in newly installed internet freedom this morning I spent time browsing the Christian Pipe Smokers forum. Dug, a fellow piper, tipped us off to a First Things blog post entitled, "Colbert: Defender of the Gospels!" featuring a video where Stephen Colbert, a Catholic, takes on famous atheist Gospel scholar, Bart Ehrman. Of course it's not serious but it is interesting to see Colbert poke obvious holes in Ehrman's methodology.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I as have ventured into business for myself, I am proud to report that I now have individual health insurance for my family. Fortunately, my family has always been insured, but up until now, it has always been provided by an employer. As I shopped for insurance amongst that nationwide debate on healthcare reform, the topic really hit home.
For my family of five, I pay $280 per month for a decent plan. There were options both more and less expensive, but I was able to choose what best fit my concerns. Admittedly, I did become frustrated with the complexity of the insurance plans, and do believe the system as a whole is not user friendly and generally too expensive.
For $280 a month, 5 people are covered in case of medical tragedy, let's assume that is average for most households. Granted, $280/month is a lot of money, but not the travesty that some are making it out to be. Especially when you consider we just came off a government sponsored program aimed at people buying brand new cars. The program catered only to those who drove so called "clunkers" and helped them get into a brand new car. Now, this is pure speculation, but I'm guessing very few of those individuals bought their new cars with cash. They got a loan, to pay for one of the worst investments a person can make - a brand new car. I don't know what the average new car payment is these days, but I suspect $280 would be fairly reasonable.
So, it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged by our government to go into debt on an material item that is rapidly depreciating in value, but outrageous that we should have to pay the same amount to protect the health and well being of a family of 5? I know that car is only worth $20 - 40K, but how do you put a value on the health of your family?
I pay about $140/month to insure two 5 year old vehicles worth a combined $25,ooo. So is it really that unheard of to pay $280 for myself, my wife, and my three kids?
I don't write this as a proponent of our health care / insurance system, as it certainly has some issues, but merely to put the issue in perspective. Those shouting the loudest are generally those wasting the most. The last person I heard griping in favor of ObamaCare, and that they couldn't afford health insurance, was a smoker who spent around $300/month (between them and their spouse) on cigarettes!!!! What?! Another proBama and raging democrat was all for social programs and high taxes, but regularly works jobs for cash to avoid actually paying taxes. They also voluntarily take regular "layoffs" so they can draw unemployment. I'm getting off topic....
Anyways, our government should be focusing on lowering debt, lowering taxes, and allowing Americans to prosper based on their own ingenuity.
Posted by Dennis at 8:46 PM
Rebecca, featured in this story, is one of Mendy's clients. In fact, she came to Mendy to help her get ready for bootcamp. She has spent the past several Wednesday mornings training at our house at 5:30 am. In addition, my oldest son and one of her kids play on the same football team.
Although my political views vary quite a bit from hers, I have a lot of respect for what she is trying to do. I spent some time scrolling through the comments on her story, and am saddened by some of the crap that people are saying, both about her -they obviously don't understand her story - and about our country. The derrogatory comments and anti-American sentiment amazes me.
Posted by Dennis at 5:04 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Before Midnight Mass Christmas Eve Sparky and I watched a film called Into the Wild. It's directed by Sean Penn and based on a biography of the same name by John Krakauer about the life of Christopher McCandless. McCandless is a bright, A student who upon graduating from Emory University decides to donate the $24,000 left in his college fund to charity, ditch his car in the desert, burn his remaining cash and identification, and hitchhike across the Unites States to his final destination - the Alaskan wilderness.
I can't remember when a film had such a lasting impact; it was a bit of an emotional and spiritual time machine for me. Watching the film had the effect of zooming 33-year-old Chad back 10 years and putting on the 23-year-old Chad suit, complete with my 23-year-old worldview. It’s an odd thing to have two worldviews you’ve maintained at different times in your life meet face to face, especially since there’s obviously been a lot of water pass under the bridge between the two.
Even though I experienced some cognitive dissonance while hearing Emile Hirsch, who plays McCandless, voice opinions filed in the dusty archive of my mind, I was surprised to find myself identifying as much as I did with McCandless. In fact it brought back a lot those old feelings of exhilaration and joy that only letting go and taking off can do. That being said my identification probably has more to do with feelings of a spiritual kindred-ness rather than a shared view of the world alluded to above. The roughly 10year age difference between my current age and Chris’ in the film might account for those occasional warm feelings of embarrassment (“Oh no, that was me”) at his wide-eyed expressions of idealism.
But it’s this spiritual kindred-ness I felt towards McCandless that provoked my sentiments of defensiveness as I read reviews of both the film and the soundtrack for the film. Most reviews were by in large positive while maintaining a degree of aloofness regarding his search for meaning. This was mostly expressed with adjectives describing him as “reckless” or “naïve.” What irritates me about this is that…why can’t they just take him on his own terms without imposing their ideas of normalcy upon him? In affect they’ve reduced the spiritual dimension of his life and subordinated it to his physical preservation (the result of a materialist mindset?), which to me is what is often wrong in this age. Not that physical preservation is bad just that too often it needs to take a backseat to more ethereal matters. What’s the point in living if life is parboiled down to mere safety and preservation?
Of course it’s risky to hitchhike; of course there’s uncertainty in having no cash; of course it’s jeopardous to walk into the wilderness in the middle of winter with little experience and no map – but this is the point. It’s about facing the seeming absurdities and contradictions in life head-on and doing something about it, even if it means death. It’s the hope of peace in the answer that is the motivation.
His NASA engineer father was married to both his mother and another woman at the same time. Given this utter phoniness he grew up in - a sham of marriage disguised by bourgeois pretensions - should he have taken the safe road? Would it have been less risky for his soul to simply not ask questions, to follow well-worn paths of convention? Would it really have been more responsible had he done what his parents told him…followed their footsteps? Granted, there were other options, but would they have been better for him? Physically the answer is obviously, yes. But spiritually?
A scene towards the end of the film struck me where McCandless writes in his journal the words, “HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.” A short time after writing those words he would die of malnutrition. The deceptively simple truth of these words indicate to me that Chris’ trip into the wild, far from being a reckless and naïve pursuit, was an act of bravery that may have saved his soul. This is not a fruitless pursuit in my book.