The Karl Show
A PILGRIMAGE COMPLETED
Earl Bickerton has gone home.
"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die
FORGIVE ME, FATHER
...for I have eaten at Hometown Buffet.
I don't know why I do it. I know that it's wrong. I just...keep doing it. Is it the stale buns? The tasteless macaroni? The old, lumpy spaghetti? Why? Why do I keep going back?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is Romans 7:15 applied to eating out in Turlock. "I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to eat at a nice resturant, but I don't do it. Instead, I eat at the very resturants I hate." Amen to that, Brother Paul.
So is eating at Hometown Buffet a sin? Probably not. Should it be? Oh yes.
In other news, I saw a Gremlin
on the road today. I had to double check in my rear view mirror just to make sure that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. It's amazing to see a car that actually makes me proud to own a Plymouth.
HIP HIP HOORAY
My good friend Kirk is back from Argentina. He has some amazing stories to tell, and I've just begun to hear the tip of the iceberg. I'm looking forward to spending the next month with him and catching up on "old times", by which I mean "the last four months".
Its good to know that God sends us friends, and that God Himself is our friend, even when we deserve so little. Personally, I'm thankful for friends: large and small, earthly and heavenly.
THE DAY AFTER
Thanksgiving has come and gone. It's 7:03 am on "Black" Friday, and my family is already shopping. They actually left at 5:30 this morning so they could Fulfill Their Patriotic American Duty to Consume Products. Hooray for consumerism. I won't have any money this year to buy Christmas presents, which is actually a good thing, in an odd sort of way. I feel strangely liberated at the thought of not worrying about presents, gift-wrap, check out lines and the rest.
Don't get me wrong here, I do enjoy gift-giving - it's just, well, I think we tend to miss the forests for the trees. The gift - the real gift - in Christmas is the gift of the Messiah. The gift of Love, Truth and Friendship. God has become Man, and reconciled the whole Cosmos unto Himself. That "cosmos" includes you and I.
For His Love, for His Mercy and for His resurrection I am indeed thankful. I'm also thankful for all of my friends and family. Each one of you is a gift from God, and I cherish you more than any bauble that I could ever buy.
NEW AND IMPROVED
I decided to change the format around here. I think this "look" is a little easier on the eyes. You'd be surprised how much a reading experience can be influenced by just the typeface and layout.
ALL GLORY IS FLEETING & SO IS UNDERWEAR
I drove down to work yesterday to buy some underwear. They were having a big Buy-One-Get-One-Free sale so I figured it wouldn't hurt. It didn't! I got four nice pair of boxer-briefs for just twelve bucks. Take THAT profit margin! I'm not sure why, exactly, but I seem to go through underwear pretty quickly. I buy them one week, but the next week they are in tatters. Maybe I need to relax or something.
I noticed something strange as I went to pay for my new underroos. The vanity portrait of our General Manager had been taken down from the customer service desk, leaving behind a big empty space where her smiling visage once graced us.
"Odd," I thought to myself, " it's almost like the Soviet Union - back when one of Stalin's lackeys would fall out of favor."
Then I remembered: Maria* (not her real name), our General Manager, really did fall out of favor. Or so I assume, anyway.
We received the sudden announcement last week: Maria is no longer with us. She is being transferred to another store in another town. You may return to your tasks now. That is all.
No explanation, no reasons - just "she's gone". And now her portrait is gone too.
It's so corporate, so businesslike - so Soviet
All glory is fleeting, folks.
Go read Bishop Wright's latest interview here
I feel very odd whenever I read some of his recent material. I don't know why, exactly - but I have this nagging feeling that the good Bishop is saying something that I don't agree with, but I can't imagine precisely what that "something" is. Everything he proposes passes the "orthodox test".
...could it be that I'm slowly becoming a heretic?
In any event, I fear for the day that I disagree with Bishop Wright. I fear for that day because I know that whatever my views are, they will undoubtedly be wrong.
should give us all pause.
What is the message that this kind of behavior sends to our young people? That it's ok to start a brawl - no, start a riot
- because somebody threw a beer at you? It's okay to knock somebody around because they foul your layup?
I think the Fans are also to blame here. When did it become acceptable to start throwing food and beverages at the athletes? I don't care how emotional the game gets - that kind of behavior is just out of line. Athletes aren't the only people called to be gentlemen, you know. Fans bear some of that responsibility as well.
I'm just amazed that people can take a game so seriously. Maybe the NBA needs to stop selling alcohol at it's games. Maybe Detroit sportsfans need to take a cue from us Californians and just "chill".
I just signed up for a two-year contract from a certain wireless company
that I won't name. They offered a pretty good deal - probably better than the deal that I got at the now defunct wireless company
that I won't name either.
Stay tuned as I inform you all of my new number.
TXTOR IS TEH ROXOR!
PORTENTS OF THINGS UNSEEN
I've been having a lot of weird dreams lately. I usually have weird dreams when I'm stressed out - so I tend not to think that my visions are of a supernatural nature (as the title of this post would suggest).
Ever since I was a child, I've had nightmares about Floods. Water rising, tidal waves crashing, big huge Floods. I've been having them since I was little and I'm having them again now. Maybe I have some sort of hydrophobia or something. Maybe "water" represents my unconcious fear. I dunno.
In other news, one of my friends is actually in surgery right now. He's been in great pain for the past couple months and it wasn't until today that they diagnosed him with appendicidis. They're probably removing his appendix right now as I type this. I'm pretty sure that he'll pull through, but still - episodes like these serve to remind us of our mortality all too well.
I'm tired. See you all tommorow.
DEPARTMENT STORE DIARY
We had already finished the hard work for the day: unloading dusty cardboard boxes from the semi-trailer. Now the slightly-less-hard work would begin. All the clothes and doodadds that we had just unloaded were covered in a thin plastic film to keep dust from settling on them. The plastic's job is over, however. Off it goes! This job - called "stripping" - is probably the best part of the night, aside from actually going home, of course. It's not difficult, as even a monkey could do it, and it's somewhat relaxing as well. More relaxing than the slave-driver pace of the Truck, anyway. Often times we talk as we strip. It's difficult at first, but soon you discover that your body does the monotonous work on autopilot, leaving your mind and mouth free to wander.
We talk about all sorts of things. One of my coworkers is actually a college graduate. He has a degree in Administration of Justice and is working on his Masters in Public Administration. He's also unloading a truck for seven dollars an hour. Thanks, New Economy!
Two of my other coworkers are Juniors at Stan State. They are working on Degrees in Political Science and History, respectively. One wants to be a lawyer, the other a History teacher. You can imagine that conversation with these fellows is interesting, especially when politics comes up. I don't have much of a head for politics, but religion, on the other hand, is my forte'.
It turns out that all my coworkers are Roman Catholics, but not Christians.
We were discussing the recent Presidential election, and how some Evangelical Christians had apparently tipped the scales in favor of Bush.
"I can't stand those people," my skinny Poli-sci coworker said.
"Yeah, no kidding. I'm glad were Catholic and not Christian." the college-graduate coworker snorted.
"Uhhhhhhh?" I uttered, voicing my displeasure with the conclusions being reached.
Mr. College-Graduate, sensing my displeasure, tried to reassure me with some infallible logic: "Well," he said, "Cathlolics are different than Christians because Christians take the Bible literally. We don't."
There were visible nods all around the Loading Dock.
Well! There you have it, folks! St. Francis, Thomas Beckett, Patrick of Ireland, the Venerable Bede, St. Boniface - none of them were Christians. They obviously didn't take the Bible literally. But us "Christians" obviously do.
Now, the Roman Catholic Church has made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I'm not above pointing out those mistakes once in a while. I don't think, however, that this level of theological ignorance can be blamed on that old church. I believe that the sentiments of my Catholic (but not Christian!) coworkers is a very American phenomenon - one that "we Christians" are partly to blame for. The truth is, there are a lot of Protestant (read: Christian) Americans who would fully agree with my coworker's sentiments.
"Of course Catholics aren't Christian," the Christians say, "they don't take the Bible literally!"
It's amazing how ignorance on both sides can play into each other's hands. It's amazing how willingly we seperate ourselves from those who act, think or believe differently. Its amazing how two different groups of people with two different understandings can claim the very same Lord and God
, but be enemies of one another.
Maybe religion really is the root of all evil.
Theology is meaningless to the truly born-again Christians!!!!!!
Let's play a game:
1. Go to Amazon.com
2. Do a search for "Theology"
3. Scroll down to "Sponsored Links"
4. Click on the link that asks "Is theology biblical?"
5. Be amazed at the 10,000 word theological argument against predestination.
Surprisingly, my dad was actually released from the Hospital this afternoon. They couldn't find an open bed in Modesto, so they sent him home to recuperate until they are ready to run the tests again. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I'd like him to be in the presence of doctors and nurses, on the other hand, I'm glad that things are somewhat normal around here.
Anyway, thanks for your prayers. I don't feel too emotional right now - I think I'm still in shock - but I'd give each of you a hug if I could.
Regular posting should resume shortly.
Well, my dad is in the hospital, and probably will be for a few days. He's not having a heart attack according to the enzyme tests, but those tests have been wrong before. Tonight he's being transferred over to Modesto so they can run some more tests. They wont be able to do much more than that, however. The doctors said that my dad's body couldn't take another surgery - which means.....what exactly? They're just going to let him die?
I saw him earlier this morning and he was really groggy. They've been giving him Morphine to deal with the pain, so he wasn't too lucid. At least he was feeling better.
So how do I feel about all this? I don't know. I don't know anything.
I just drove my father to the Hospital. He's been having chest pain for a few days and may actually be having another heat attack. I covet your prayers.
TWO NATIONS DIVIDED?
Sad, but probably true.
FOUR MORE YEARS!
Just in case you're wondering - no, I didn't vote for the President.
He is my President, however, and I intent to support him prayerfully as he once again takes the reigns of government. All Americans, Left or Right, would be well advised to do the same.
KARL DECIDES '2004!
So, here are the Presidential canidates that I'll be choosing between tomorrow:
1) Leonard Peltier
(Peace and Freedom Party
) - as many of you know, Mr. Peltier is currently serving two consecutive Life terms in Leavenworth for the execution-style murder of two FBI Agents back in 1973. Of course, Mr. Peltier continues to claim that he is innocent and cultivates a very large following of people who believe him. The Jury is still out, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not God, I don't know what happened out there; but I do know that anyone who says that "this country has engaged in genocidal policies to exterminate virtually every minority..."
probably won't get my vote. I feel for ya, man; but most of us white folk aren't really genocidal maniacs.
2) John F. Kerry
) - Ahh...Monseur Jean Francois Kerrey! Le homme d'peuple! In all seriousness, I find it difficult to believe that a Boston Billionaire believes that "[the] middle class is in danger because of leadership in the White House that doesn't share their values and won't fight for their way of life."
C'mon John. The last time you interacted with a middle-class person he was spit-shining your $2,000 Armani dress-shoes.
3) David Cobb
) - Ralph Nader isnt on the Green Party ticket this year, and it's a shame. Ralph is never afraid to tell it like he sees it, even if it gets him in trouble. "Ralph Nader's Mouth: Unsafe at Any Speed" might be a good title for his memoirs. In the meantime, Mr. Cobb has taken the helm and promises the following:
"We oppose all forms of anti-LGBTIQ violence, and support legislation against all forms of hate crimes, including those directed against LGBTIQ people.
We support the rights of artists and performers to free expression. We welcome art and performance that provokes thought and discussion of sex, gender, and sexual orientation."
Now hold on a second. What if I wanted to put on a play about how evil the homosexual lifestyle is. Maybe a response to "Angels in America" or something. Would they consider that to be a hate crime? Probably. Would they support my right of free expression as an artist? Probably not. Sorry guys, but until you come out in favor of "Liberty for All - including those crazy Christians", you don't got my vote.
4) George "W" Bush (The Patriotic God-Fearin' Terrorist-Killin' John Wayne American Party
) - Truthfully, I've gotta hand it to Our President. He's taken the Republican Party and changed it from the Party of Rockefeller and New York to the Party of Bubba and the Trailer Park. Not that I'm against Bubba or the Trailer Park (or Rockefeller and New York, for that matter) - it's just that Mr. Bush has changed everything. Is this good, or bad? I don't know, because History hasn't quite played out yet. What I do know is this:
"Of course, we're going to find Osama bin Laden. We've already 75 percent of his people. And we're on the hunt for him. "
Wait a second. We've got %75 of his people, that we know of
, so that means that we're going to get him? Sorry, Mr. President. Your logic does not follow. My vote goes for somebody else.
5) Michael Badnarik
It's too bad that his first name isn't "Boris" and that he's not running on the "International Worker's Liberation Party". This country could use a good Eastern-Bloc canidate. Here's a little gem from his position on "Parents Rights":
"As president, I will direct the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to sue states which attach criminal liability to child support obligations and, if necessary, to charge government officials who administer that unconstitutional criminal liability with violations of the civil rights of non-custodial parents."
In other words: dead-beat dads get out of jail for free. And not only do they get out of jail for free, the President will personally prosecute anybody who tries to make them pony up with child support payments. Imagine that! A Libertarian President using the power of his office to interfere with State legislation. I think Mr. Badnarik probably didnt flesh out all of his positions very well.
6) Michael Anthony Peroutka (American Independent) - Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be a Christian. Whenever I hear that a self-proclaimed "Christian Candidate" wants to return America to "Biblical Values", I die a little on the inside. I'm not against Christians running for office, mind you. No, I just think my "Biblical Values" are a little different from Mr. Peroutka's. From his website:
"...both major parties are committed to the agenda of the New World Order..."
"...It is the God-commanded order that men are to fight for and protect women and their country. Women are not to fight for and protect men and their country. If I'm elected President, I will do everything within my power to see that women do not serve in the Armed Forces --- at all,anywhere, period."
This kind of thinking - this mindless John Birch society agitprop - is so far from anything that I recognize as Christianity that I can only wonder how my brothers and sisters can vote for this guy. Nevertheless, Jesus loves Mr. Peroutka, and he is my brother. Being related through Jesus Christ, however, does not guarantee my vote.
So there you have it. These are the fine folks that I will choose between.
I will admit, however, that having a choice between terrible, stupid, greedy, lying and paranoid politicians is better than having no choice at all.
So tommorow I'll vote for one person that I really don't like, but I really be voting for one thing that I really love: Democracy.