Yesterday was All Hallow’s Eve, or as it’s known around the world, Halloween. And tonight is November 1st or All Saints Day. Or as it’s known in the rest of the world … November 2nd.
I have this theory about goosebumps and of our affinity / draw to the supernatural. I call it my SUN Worlds Theory. Consider this blog the teaser to the longer explanation later (on my videoblog).
Never having been a big fan of horror films, the class I took in grad school about how God can use horror as an effective means of communicating redemptive truth was a challenge for me.
I saw Poltergeist at a sleep over when I was in 3rd grade. Fortunately the tamer “First Blood” with Sylvester Stallone was on afterwards or I wouldn’t have slept a wink.
I still don’t like Horror films. In fact, I think they are corrosive, exploitive and damaging. Which begs the question; corrosive, exploitive and damaging to what? If there is no spiritual realm then the things they are messing with is just for fun. A chance for us to stare death in the face, laugh, scream, experience catharsis and then enjoy the fact we are still alive all the more.
Or at least that’s how the advertising runs. Unless …
There’s something to this. Something super, para, inter … BEYOND our own natural world experiences. Again, the longer explanation of my comprehensive and compelling grand theory will have to wait for later. For now, consider the anecdotal goosebumps that most, if not all, of us have experienced at times in our lives.
What if there are other realms? Other dimensions? Planes of existence? As I type this I’m getting goosebumps just thinking of the possibilities (good and bad) that such realms hold.
Why is it we feel so alive when being scared to death? Why is the paranormal so compelling? Why do vampires, zombies, ghosts, goblins, poltergeist (I know this is just another word for ghost, but I’m trying to make my list longer so it looks more impressive), demons, ghouls, werewolves and the like fill our imaginations and even more so; why do such monstrosities capture our thoughts, creativity and at times worship?
Could it be that such mental entertainments of these super or unnatural creatures gives us a glimpse of these other realms? It gives us goosebumps. An uncanny, eerie feeling that gives even more meaning to our existence. A connection to a higher state that manifests itself as the hairs on our arms, neck and back raising and our mind whirling.
I obviously think that this is the case, otherwise I’m wasting perfectly good transistors even typing this. I’ve also invested a lot of Pepsi and Munchies into this endeavor so there’s that too.
The last few years I’ve been teaching about the sun, earth and moon and their relationship and the properties (spatially speaking) of each. The moon is blamed for many unnatural thing (werewolves, vampires, lunacy, lunatics, etc…), while the sun doesn’t get such slander.
“Oh no! The Sun’s out, now we’ll be able to see clearly and not be scared!!! Things are starting to spring out of the ground from … AAAGGHH Photosynthesis! Now, we’ll all have stuff to eat!” “Just when you thought it wasn’t safe to go outside…” Les Cravin’ presents “The Sun.” A horror film in brilliant luminosity that stalks and slays the night.
A basic truth about the sun and moon is that the sun creates its own light, while the moon merely reflects the light from the sun. What if all this obsession with unnatural beings (see unnecessarily long list above or just review the kid’s costumes that came by your house on Halloween) is a poor copy of the REAL source of light.
I get goosebumps … a LOT. But I don’t get it watching evil, unnatural, demonic, unclean agents of death and destruction – these things get me pissed off because I know their true intentions (John 10:10). I get goosebumps when I’m looking at the sun. Not that Sun!, that would burn your retina. The Son. When I’m contemplating God and His wonders. Singing praise or redemptive songs (even bad karaoke). When I discover some truth in scripture, nature or through fellowship with other believers. Goosebumps galore.
Even now I’m getting goosebumps as I’m making the connection between this line of thought and the dualistic argument that God and satan, good and evil, yin and yang are equally matched. I’m making the connection that the moon and sun are the same size – relative to our position. The truth is that the moon is only 2% of the size of the Earth and a million earths could fit in the sun. So… mental math time (no calculators please)… 50 million moons = 1 sun. Not exactly a fair fight. When viewed in this way it easily debunks most of the false religions, ideologies and heresies of the past 6,000 years.
I’d much rather get my “goosebump” fix by fixing my sight on the true source of life, truth and illumination. The Light of the World.
Another connection: One horror film (and the only one I own – though I’ve only watched it once) is the Exorcism of Emily Rose. In this film they present the argument that “people say that God is dead, but how can they think that if I show them the Devil.” As I was trying to find this quote I read some others from the movies and they too gave me goosebumps. Its just one of those goosebump filled nights … and the fan in my study is NOT on.
The sun and moon: Interesting that much of our knowledge of how the sun works is revealed during a solar eclipse when the sun is blocked by the relatively same sized moon. This eclipse allows scientists to observe, measure and study the sun in ways that can’t be done normally. The evil that the devil authors (dude! The devil is evil with a lowercase d!? – just saw that) while temporarily overshadowing the normal goodness in God’s creation actually helps to reveal attributes of God that we wouldn’t normally see.
Yet another metaphor. The sun holds onto the earth, while the earth with it’s gravity holds onto the moon. The moon influences the tides and some other things but beyond that its influence is miniscule compared to the influence the sun has on our planet and life. Feel free to connect the dots of this information to the role that God, satan/evil and our world plays. I’m just wandering if someday humanity could let go of this encumbering “lord of the tides.”
For those who know me this next section will seem very hypocritical, ne’ertheless I persist.
Food. It’s easier and tastier to get a high from processed sugars, foods and empty or bad calories. While developing a taste for good, healthy foods is more difficult; but in the end worth it (I’m told).
Spiritual connections / goosebumps. It’s easier to make a connection to the spirit realm through horror, witchcraft or even superhero books and movies. However, developing a taste for a true / healthy spiritual connection is more difficult, but well worth it (and on this point I know something of which I speak).
I once told my brother-in-law Logan (when he was much younger) that witchcraft is bad because the power has to come from somewhere. Apparently, that stuck with him. Where does the power behind goosebumps reside? Beware, cause it will stick with you.
So I’ve been reading / watching too many conspiracy theories online and on youtube. Suffice it to say I’m becoming completely paranoid. … Or at least more so.
I know that there is more going on then what we see on the news / news sites. With the bumbling of the Ebola outbreak in Africa and its recent arrival in my neck of the woods (Dallas), the proliferation of a government created outbreak is spreading fear and distrust even faster.
I won’t digress to discuss our president, but suffice it to say he fits into C.S. Lewis’ description of Jesus. Either he’s a liar, lunatic or lord. Jesus is Lord. Obama is not. So that really only leaves too options for him. Neither of which is good.
Anyway, I said I wouldn’t digress and then I did. My bad.
Looking through the conspiracy websites and videos is a trip down some seedy and disturbing alleys. What caused me to wake up was when I saw a video blaming all of this on Israel and the Jews. I knew these videos were out there. I’ve heard some of their arguments but I haven’t been tempted down that dead in street because I know history and I know the Bible.
So about the bubbles.
In college I took a SCUBA diving class and I remember vividly when they talked to us about not panicking while underwater. At depth a diver can become disoriented and especially in less then transparent water finding ones way back to the surface isn’t as easy as it sounds. Light refracts through water and with lower visibility, weightlessness and a dose of panic divers have been known to swim toward what they thought was the surface and find only death. The key, our instructors told us, was not to panic and “follow the bubbles.” The bubbles will always float toward the surface. But to follow them the diver must remain calm, stop stirring the water, and watch the bubbles … and then follow them even if they float away from what we “know” is the surface.
With all the confusion in our world from lack of good leadership, hundreds of media sources, misinformation, disinformation and outright bogus information the ability to find the truth or the surface can be next to impossible. To say things have become muddied is a humongous understatement.
What are the bubbles then? I’ve found that the Bible (especially the 10 Commandments) are great bubbles. Included in this collection of books is a clear story of the Jews as God’s chosen people. As a Christian I feel as if I’m grafted into the vine since, well, since I’m in a love with a Jewish carpenter. I shared this a few times on my recent trip to Israel and most of the Jews looked at me strangely but humored me as I explained the jest. Jesus, a carpenter, was a Jew. I support Israel because I’m a follower of Jesus (plus from history I’ve come to admire them in so many ways).
A good understanding of history and the patterns in society are also smaller bubbles. Though not as big as the 10 Commandments, history (when understood holistically) does support the truth of them and even more so the greatest 2 commandments given by Jesus. Love the Lord your God with your body, soul and spirit. And love your neighbor as yourself (The Golden Rule that I unashamedly share with my students ACLU be damned).
It is true that religious people (including Christians) have strayed throughout history and when they do commit barbaric acts these acts are in clear violation of The Golden Rule and most of the 10 Commandments.
While I’ll continue to click on some of the crazier conspiracy links on Facebook in the future and even create some of my own wild ideas (which I’ll post here of course), the deeper and most important thing to keep in mind is the bubbles that God has given us. In a world full of chaos, confusion and concern isn’t it comforting to know that we have a Christ who has given us clear commandments to keep us from being consumed by craziness.
10 books that have stuck with me. This should be easy since if I can’t remember them they must not have stuck with me.
1. Lords of the Earth – Don Richardson – First three chapters will make you want to be a missionary yesterday.
2. Eternity in their Hearts – Don Richardson (pretty much everything by this man is awesome and deep, currently reading his most recent two books)
3. Lost in Translation (3 volume series) John Klein & Adam Spears. You’ll never read Revelation of any of the scripture the same way once you see it through Hebrew eyes.
4. A Different Gospel – D.R. McConnell – A critique of the Word of Faith movement. Not trying to stir up this kettle, but good critiques are hard to come by.
5. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens – Read this on my trip to Turkey in 1995. Very Good.
6. History of World War II – Winston Churchill – Largest book series I ever read. Shared the experience with my brother Eric. Named my second son Luke Churchill after Winston.
7. Disinformation – Ion Mihai Pacepa – Former Romanian Spy Chief’s take on Communist Disinformation. If you ever wanted to join the 10th man program / not sheeple (ie. us wacko conspiracy kooks, this would be a good entry book).
8 Dedication and Leadership – Douglas Hyde – Short but powerful book on how to lead people. A rare book that is a diamond that the church needs to polish.
9. The Silver Chair – CS Lewis – My favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia. Best reveal ever!
10. Tie: Wild at Heart (John Eldred) and The Science of God (Gerald Schroeder) – I made them a tie because I didn’t finish either of them, but the first halves that I read have stuck with me in many ways for many years.
* The Bible – Multiple Authors, One Inspiration: Not eligible for the list but it is the source that has inspired most of the above books and continues to amaze me with its simplicity and yet extreme depth and breadth of insight, knowledge and history.
Ever been in that position where you have so much to do that you end up doing nothing?
Me neither, or at least I won’t admit it. That would require me to do something.
Not to bore you with a sob story but I finished my first draft of the novel I’ve been working on for 10-15 years. Finished it last Thanksgiving actually.
Now I need feedback. I started with family and close friends and only three people read it (Tamara, my wife, Roberta, my mom, and my new best friend Brian Ambrose). I told them that I’d put them in the acknowledgements if they read it and gave me feedback. I’m still waiting for the detailed feedback about how awesome it is and the one or two errors (probably homophones). But they’ve reserved their place.
Well, now its your turn to read the next great American novel patterned after the Great British novels by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I’m attempting to capture Lewis’ clarity and profundity in the Chronicles of Narnia with Tolkien’s scope and depth from Middle Earth. The only way to see how I did is to read it for yourself (and if I’m not there yet, help me get there).
If you read my novel and give me feedback then I’ll include you in the acknowledgements, and when I publish it you’ll get one of the first, signed copies and an autograph picture of my daughter Anna’s dog Rascal (maybe I’m trying too hard to sweeten the deal). Or if you prefer you can get a “signed” picture of our new collection of pet rats.
Here’s the temporary book jacket cover. Yes, all the pictures are lifted off the internet but it does capture the gist of the novel. Anyway, if you are interested in reading, giving me honest feedback and receiving the above mentioned autographed dog photo then just e-mail and I’ll send you the PDF (which you can read on any book reader like Kindle, Ipad, etc…) My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ironically, for all the things I need to do, this post wasn’t one of them. But that’s how procrastination works. Yeah! Baby, Yeah!
Based on a true story.
Gym be like: What are you doing here? It’s 2 am.
Me be like: Couldn’t sleep. Decided to do something productive besides watch a whole bunch of lame youtube videos.
Me: Thanks for the plug… oh wait a minute!
Gym: Are you falling asleep? Because this is a gym not a park bench.
Me: I need to work out. Want to look less like Pee Wee or Bill Nye and more like … well, a normal 40 year old guy.
Gym: Don’t put yourself down. You’ve been paying your dues every month and have been coming here for years.
Me: Thanks for noticing.
Gym: I’m sorry. I misspoke. You come here every year.
Me: Thanks? That’s not fair, I’ve been coming a lot more lately. Since I turned 40 I …
Gym: I’m sorry, did I ask for a confessional? Or for you to rehash some midlife crisis?
Gym: Save that for your counselor. Besides shouldn’t you just buy an expensive car or something?
Me: Don’t you want me to come to the gym?
Gym: No, the way you’ve been gaming the system – we’re good with that. Keep the card in your wallet and your wallet at home. With you.
Me: You’re kind of cranky at 2 in the morning.
Gym: You would be too if you saw all the losers that come here at 2 in the morning.
Me: (put on ear buds)
Gym: Hello. Philip? Are you there? PHILIP! TAKE OFF THE HEADPHONES!
Me: (taking out ear buds) I’m sorry what did you say?
Gym: You need to turn down the music. It’ll make you go deaf.
Me: Sorry, what did you say?
Gym: Oh, I see what you did there. Clever. Well I’ll let you get back to your work out. You need it.
Me: Thanks, that’s why I came.
Gym: Oh I thought you came to show off.
Me: At 2 in the morning?
Gym: No, when you come during the day.
Me: No, in the daytime I come for the free childcare and so my kids don’t spend the whole day playing video games and watching youtubes.
Gym: Good to keep the kids active. What you listening to?
Me: Besides you? Casting Crowns. Needtobreathe.
Gym: No Keith Green?
Me: No I save that music for when I’m at the hair restoration clinic.
Gym: I don’t get it.
Me: Keith had a lot of hair.
Gym: Oh. I didn’t know you go to the hair …
Me: I don’t. It was a joke.
Gym: Why don’t you just shave your head?
Me: That’s what my wife wants me to do. But I’d look like a skinny bald white guy. With bad posture.
Gym: Why don’t you just work out … Oh, I see. So you want to look …
Me: More like a coach or ex-military dude.
Gym: That’s kind of vain isn’t it?
Me: I bet that’s what you say to everyone.
Gym: Actually it is, but for most of the others it’s a compliment.
Me: (puts the earbuds back in and leaves them in)
Older but newer Pfiles ...
- Antisocial ramblings of a pessimist (you’ve been warned)
- Travel Tips for a Terrific/Terrible Time / Prophetic Ponderings
- Magical “Dark” Science that Matters
- Democratic Dad
- Wo! Men are Weak
- I humbug Santa
- Flight of the Fightless (Carefully Confront or Cowardice)
- Praise be the Power of a Positive Perspective
- Sovereign God, Incompetent Man
- I never met a student …