There are only a few airplanes (that we know of) that can fly at 70.000 feet or above. The SR71 Blackbird has logged at least one flight at just over 85,000 feet (July, 1976)  and the The X-43A flies at 100,000 feet while still using an air-breathing engine (not a rocket) . But only one plane routinely flies to the edge of space and back, and it’s actually a relic from the 1950’s. Although each plane is periodically stripped completely, x-rayed, and refurbished, the design has remained essentially the same over all these decades. Why? Because it works. Continue reading “The Airplane That Flies At the Edge of Space”
In Matthew 23 Jesus launches into a verbal assault on the Pharisees and scribes: the religious leaders and lawyers (interpreters of The Law) of the nation of Israel. He calls them hypocrites (several times) and blind guides, saying they would strain out a gnat and swallow a camel: meaning that they pick at details but ignore the main concept of faith. His most striking analogy, however was to call them ” whitewashed tombs “: painted and pleasing to the eye on the outside, but full of death and decay on the inside. Continue reading “Whitewashed Tombs”
You are probably familiar the story of Christmas, at least as presented in countless school plays about the birth of Jesus all across the world: the virgin Mary has a baby, angels tell shepherds to go see Him and sing of His glory, wise men arrive from far off with gifts to offer in worship to the King of the Jews. Today I’d like to take a closer look at a few details of this account from Matthew chapters 1 and 2.
The Genealogy of Jesus
The account opens with a genealogical listing of the ancestry of Jesus, from Abraham to Joseph. This listing is meaningless to us in the sense that, in our understanding of genetics, none of the people listed are genetic contributors to the baby Jesus because Joseph was not His father: the Holy Spirit was. The only person listed who may have contributed anything genetic is Mary, and that is uncertain. Continue reading “Examining the Birth of Jesus”
About two weeks ago I engaged in a discussion about evidence that Jesus lived with a fellow through social media. Because it was on social media I was able to record our back and forth verbatim. It was a good discussion: he made some good points and it never degraded into mean-spirited argument (as so many do).
This topic branched off from a discussion with others about how silly religion in general is with all its rules and clouded, conflicting information. Here is our discussion: he is Bruce, I am Doug.
Bruce: So how do you know which parts of the bible, if any, to believe? Perhaps all of it is a creation of men. After all, there is not one single contemporary account that Jesus ever existed, not one. Continue reading “Is There Any Evidence That Jesus Lived?”
In Hebrews 7, Paul discusses a fellow from ancient Hebrew history: Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the king of Salem (later to be called Jerusalem) and the first priest of the Most High God. Paul opens the discussion with:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
The “slaughter of the kings” was the time Abram (later called Abraham) and 318 of his trained servants went out to rescue Abram’s nephew, Lot, from the combined armies of 5 kings who had invaded their neighbors and carried off the people and possessions of many cities including Sodom, Lot’s home (Genesis 14). Continue reading “What of This Melchizedek”
As a kid, the highlight of my week was laying on the floor of our living room and watching the weekly episode of Lost in Space. I thought that was the greatest show ever made! Many years later I revisited a few of those episodes and came away wondering, “What was I *thinking*?!” By modern standards the classic version left a lot to be desired. Still, I remember it fondly as a major part of my childhood as my love for science fiction bloomed. Continue reading “Lost in Space: No Place to Hide”
Maybe it’s all the goofiness that’s going on in the world today, but lately I find I’ve been feeling drawn to historic living topics. Today I encountered a blurb about a chuck wagon school and it set me off on a search to learn about and understand what life for a trail drive cook was like. This is not because I want to become a “Cookie”, but just because it’s fascinating to see how people coped with having to do everyday things without the conveniences we enjoy today.
The name “chuck wagon” was derived from 17th Century England meat merchants who referred to their lower priced goods as “Chuck”. By the 18th Century, the term “chuck” was taken to mean basic but hearty food.
The chuck wagon became an indispensable tool on the cattle drives that took place between the end of the U.S. civil war in the 1860’s and the 1890s, when railroads began being built. During this time a massive expansion of settlement moved westward across the North American continent. This expansion created a large market for beef. Beef that existed, on the hoof, in the southwest; primarily in Texas.
To meet this need, dozens of cattle drive operations were moving millions of cattle from Texas to markets in the mid-west. This resulted in a shortage of cowboys and there was tremendous competition in recruiting good trail hands. Continue reading “A Little History on the Chuck Wagon”
In Greek the word for disciple is “mathetes” meaning a “learner” or “follower” and refers to the accepting and following the views and practices of a teacher.
In Greek the word for apostle is “apostolos” meaning “one who is sent out with a special commission as a fully authorized representative of the sender”, like an agent or ambassador.
Early in His ministry Jesus chose twelve men as He encountered them in their lives. The list of His inner circle is mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13. These twelve men were hand picked for special training to carry on His ministry and spread the Gospel after He ascended back into Heaven.
In this bible study we will list the names and meaning of these apostles of Jesus, their occupations, and relationships. At least, as much as is known. Continue reading “The Apostles of Jesus: What Do We Know?”
Every generation looks backward as the world marches resolutely forward and pines for The Good Old Days. However, those old days were not always as good as we like to think. Even modern Good Old Days had their drawbacks, but as we go further back we find life was not always as pleasant as the romanticized books and movies make them out to be. Here are just a few examples of life in the 1500’s which explain the origins of some of our idioms. Continue reading “The Good Old Days”
Celebrate National Mutt Day in the USA on July 31 and December 2. This is a fun celebration of mixed breed dogs. Created in 2005 by celebrity pet and family life expert, Colleen Paige, National Mutt Day brings awareness to the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the country and encourages people to adopt shelter dogs rather than buy “designer dogs” from puppy mills.
Did you know that mixed breed dogs: Continue reading “National Mutt Day”