Sunday, March 31, 2024


 For the past week or so I have been blocking stuff that has just suddenly appeared on my Facebook. It's not stuff that I would ever want to be exposed to, and yet it has somehow appeared of its own accord. It is as of some evil entity has looked into everything that I don't like and then bombed my Facebook feed with it. Admiring cult crap about Trump, for instance. Multiple posts about trans kids or sexual identity issues featuring people who are huffing and puffing about how you can't do that, a man is a man and a woman is a woman and blah blah blah. Tedious. And then there are sites championing the Confederacy and the heroes of the Confederacy. Where the hell did that come from? I mean, I've always been interested in the Civil War, but the war is over, okay? Do we really have to point this out? The South will not rise again. And oh by the way, the war really was about slavery. Sorry, that's just a fact. What else? Ah, many posts featuring screaming Palestinians and outrage at the evil nation of Israel. I do sympathize with the Palestinians and with the suffering that is currently taking place, but I don't need the propaganda and the ear shattering chants. It is not a solution. The trouble is, the more I block all of these posts, the more they continue to appear. It's like a virus on my phone. But I am as stubborn and as persistent as these cyber intruders, and my fingers can still do the walking, or rather the blocking, as long as it takes.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Rapture Exposed

 If i knew the world were going to end  tomorrow I would plant a tree. 

--Martin Luther 

I came upon this quote from Luther the other day as I began to read into Barbara Rossing' s The Rapture Exposed, and although I had known of the quote beforehand, I found that it inspires new rumination. What it says in essence is that hope springs eternal, that ends are always beginnings, that the spirit never dies but always answers by going forward, living anew. God is good, and God is forever and will forever be with us. 

In The Rapture Exposed, Rossing carefully and succinctly dissects, dismantles, and refutes the end times fantasies so popular in certain parts of the church for the past half century and more, as typified in books by Hal Lindsay and the widely read Left Behind series of novels and so on. The rapture! The tribulation! Pre-, mid- and post tribulation. Take your pick. Whatever flavor of falsehood suits you, because it is all falsehood, a hodgepodge of cherry picked verses, all out of context and purpose, designed to arrive at a scenario conjured up in the late 19th century. But, as Rossing says, God saves us

 ...not by snatching us out of the world, but by coming into the world to be with us. This is the central message of Jesus's incarnation and of the Bible.

I noticed a religious debate on Facebook a few days ago concerning the so-called rapture, and in particular a comment from one person who had confidently laid out the whole floor plan of the rapture scenario, having obviously lifted this straight from the pages of one book or another on the subject.

I decided to reply to her comment, and to ask her whether it bothered her at all that the rapture she was talking about had gone completely unnoticed through 18th centuries of Christian theology. How is it that our most distinguished and honored theologians and philosophers had missed this for so many hundreds of years?

"I don't care what they say," the woman answered. "I rely on what the holy spirit tells me."

Well one can hardly argue with that. Or with the holy spirit, I mean. My goodness. How are we to refute what the holy spirit says to this random woman? Eighteen centuries be damned.

So I wished her a good day and went on my way, despite several additional extra-Biblical instructions and lessons that showed up in my feed.

There was a time when I also believed in the rapture, simply because I was a new Christian and this was what I was being told. I attended an Assemblies of God church at that time and heard about the rapture every Sunday, either in sermon or in song.

Ultimately, I was disavowed of this belief by actual knowledge of scripture--what it said, what was meant. I saw where things had been twisted and tortured, misinterpreted, and then all scrambled together in hideous disregard of orthodoxy to build the ramshackle platform of modern end times theology. And it hurt me. Because God himself is misrepresented, from the pulpit to the rooftops, from the TV screen to the big screen and on the printed page. The great majority of churches reject rapture theology as non-biblical, nonetheless these teachings ride on the wings of popular culture and reach both believers and non-believers through the modern electronic media so that Christianity is now seen through this distorted lens. And I for one don't know how this can possibly be undone. It is the central heresy of our time, it is epidemic, and though the antidote, scripture, is readily at hand, people refuse to take it. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn't it?

Nonetheless, I plant a tree, and I do so daily.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Things of Little Importance

Just thought I would stop by briefly to mention a few things that will be a little importance to those not living in Indonesia.

I learn today in reading the Sanur Weekly that a large number of people were caught ignoring Nyepi, the Balinese day of silence when people are expected to stay indoors, make no noise, and use no lights. The majority of violations were committed by Indonesian citizens, although a number of foreigners were also found to be at fault. Most were merely told to go back to their hotels, although some were detained and later question by Indonesian immigration authorities. One Russian woman decided it would be a good idea, for some reason, to wander the streets even though she had already overstayed her visa by more than 60 days. No doubt she will regret her excursion, as she will soon be deported. A family from Jakarta enjoyed a drive in their car on the completely empty roads, saying when caught by the police that they had not realized they were supposed to stay inside. Given that there is no such thing as empty roads in Bali, this excuse is fairly hard to swallow.

In another article, we are told that tourist arrivals in Bali are up by 21% from the same time in 2023. During the first two months of 2024, a total of 3,550,108 domestic and international tourist arrivals were recorded compared to the 2,933,636 arrivals during the same period in 2023. So much for the dire predictions of ruination of the tourist industry that would follow COVID.

Speaking in terms of millions, it is forecast that some 190 million Muslims are expected to travel throughout Indonesia during the upcoming Idul Fitri holiday season at the end of Ramadan. Hopefully most will be headed for domestic destinations other than Bali. Nothing against Muslims, just people in general, for, as Mark Twain said, "The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog."

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Feelin' Groovy

 I am waiting today, as I did yesterday, for the Wi-Fi guys to come and fix my Wi-Fi. I'm finding that it is really boring to be without a TV. Lol. Or rather, I have a TV but it will not work without the Wi-Fi. So I've been amusing myself somewhat by reading a novel called Tragedi Pedang Keadilan, by Keigo Higashino. That doesn't translate very well to English. Something like The Tragedy of the Sword of Justice. Anyway, it is a rather entertaining murder mystery type thing. Other than that, since I can't go anywhere, which is because the wi-fi people never give you a heads up on when they might come to the house, I am variously sitting around or walking around in circles wondering what I should do. So I decided to dictate a little bit here on the blog. I guess I have mentioned that I use voice type now rather than typing with my fingers because my right hand just doesn't work very well anymore. Voice type is much easier than trying to use my hand, but it does require proof reading and editing as the program gets things wrong often enough or misunderstands my pronunciation. Of course I cannot use the internet on my phone very much because it eats up my pulsa. They call it pulsa here--the phone time you pay for. I would like to post some new pictures on the blog, but naturally one needs the internet for that as well 🙄

Friday, March 15, 2024

And The Next Thing I Knew ...

 I was just writing earlier today about the toxic nature of election season as expressed through Facebook comments. Later on in the day I posted a comment on an article about a speech Biden had recently made. I expressed my opinion that Biden speaks with wisdom, compassion, and just plain common sense. And my goodness, as if to prove my point, a torrent of poisonous replies arrived over the next couple hours. Most had nothing to do with the article at hand but were of a personal, insulting nature. You make me sick, for instance. You are a complete idiot and a liar. How is your mail order bride doing? You are a pedo. And so on. These are voters, folks; and not just voters, but Trump voters. That ought to tell us all something. They are of a type. I have seen it again and again. Like Trump himself, they revel in personal attacks and in childish name calling punctuated by poor spelling. It is certainly discouraging. It is, as Hillary once said, deplorable.

Here And Gone

 Another Nyepi day has come and gone. Evelyn was here, as I have mentioned, and we were able to see a few of the Ogoh-Ogoh in Sanur. I had read that there would be no parade this year, but it turned out that there was just no Ogoh-Ogoh competition where prizes are awarded from entries all over the area. There was a parade here in the evening which we could have gone to, except that it was pouring down rain. So we were able to hear the parade, which is on the main street just close to my house, but could not go see it.

We are now entering the season of online hate, by which I mean election season. The usual comments stream in following any statement I make, and have of course nothing to do with the post at hand but much to do with the by now very familiar accusation that I am old and that my girlfriend is Asian and surely a mail order wife and that I am a pedophile. These are so common that it begins to seem that there is a Trumper playbook from which they are extracted. Because they are always the same. How is one to reply to such things? I may point out that what they have said has nothing to do with the post we are discussing, but that elicits nothing other then more of the same fixation with colored women, old age, and pedophilia. I guess it is best to just not comment at all. There is no serious discussion, there is no meaningful debate. That said, my 50-year-old girlfriend is always flattered at the thought that she could be young enough to be the target of a pedophile 🤣

After having my recent problems with eye infection, and going through multiple vision exams, I was told that I would need new glasses. After the problem cleared up, it seemed to me that I was seeing pretty darn well. Nonetheless, I dutifully went out yesterday to the optical store to have yet another exam and order new glasses. My usual optician, which is called Retro, was closed. I don't know if it is permanently closed or if they are just on vacation. In any case, since I had already taken the trouble to go to the mall, I decided to drop in to another optician called Optic Seis. I vaguely remembered having some kind of problem with this store, but I couldn't remember what that problem was. So anyway, I went into the store, had my vision checked, and went through the process of ordering the glasses. In this process, one is continually directed to the most expensive option for new lenses. One keeps saying that one just wants the basic lenses, but one is aggressively encouraged to buy the most expensive ones, twice as expensive as the basic ones. Ah ha. Now I remember what the problem was. Anyway, the man took down the order and was ready to receive my payment when I suddenly remembered to ask a rather essential question. 

"How much different has my vision become? How different is this new prescription from the old one? What is the change?"

"There is no change," the man says. "It is the same."

"Well then ... why am I buying new lenses?"

"I don't know."


So the end result is that I did not buy new lenses. My goodness, why would i?

Today it is raining again and my Wi-Fi is not working for some reason, and I cannot watch TV, and so I am writing down these unimportant thoughts just for something to do.