Best of Spirits

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Best of Spirits

Feeding the Cats, Feeding the Dog

Responses Comparative Study

Feeding the cat

Track the cat down, they don't come when called.

Sometimes they don't even react when I wave the bowl in front of them.

Watch them saunter up to the bowl sloooowwwly.

They might sniff at the food, look up and mew, like, wtf is this? (Same thing you always get, kitty!)

Sometimes even turn away without eating. (Oh, have you already eaten someone this morning?)

They tend to leave a little bit uneaten.

Then they wander off and clean themselves.

Sleepy Dog and Cat

Feeding the dog

He's right there on time, or runs to me when called.

As I approach with the food bowl, he dances with delight. He'll wiggle and walk backwards and shake like a puppy. Funny to see in an old dog. It's a great reward for me.

When I set the bowl down - I love this ritual - no matter how late feeding may be, or how hungry he might be, the dog pauses, looks up at me, so I can pet him and say, "good dog," and then he chows down with enthusiasm.

His face doesn't come out of the bowl until it's clean.

Then he comes to me for more pets.

However, he isn't a very good mouser.

Best of Spirits

Gospel Truth

Convincing literature

April 5, Western Easter Sunday, 2015 A.D.

Inspired by OregonMuse's Book Thread for today, at Ace of Spades:

"Read The Bible That's my exhortation to everyone this Easter Sunday. Even if you're not a believer, I think it's important for an educated, informed adult, even nowadays, to have at least a passing familiarity with its contents. …"

I might say, if that's too tall an order to start with, at least read the Gospels.

Many influences, including books ranging from The Passover Plot to Be Here Now, led me to, finally, in my early 20s, during a break from college, sit down in my mother's back yard with the mostly-untouched Bible mom had given me for my mostly meaningless Episccopal "Confirmation," and for the first time read for myself the four Gospels.

I came away thinking, for one thing, "Oh! Now I see what all the excitement is about." For another thing, a feeling something like, "Why hadn't anybody told me about this?" Which is funny, what with my mother taking me to church every Sunday, and growing up in the buckle of the Bible Belt.

Further, by nothing but these ancient, disparate reports, I was convinced of the veracity of Jesus' having lived, died, and risen; that much (not necessarily all) of the miracles happened and the teachings were his; and especially that he said and meant his claims to having lived before and having all power, in short, being the Son of God — it's why they killed him, after all.

I saw the equation that confronted me. If I took all that to be valid as reported, then, either he was just a nice teacher with a messiah complex, or he was telling the truth. As fantastical and science-fictiony as that seems, it really was a no-brainer. Even in the muddied and sometimes conflicting re-tellings by his followers' followers, he was brilliant, impressive, unique in character and solid in his understanding. He was the opposite of insanity.

That left me puzzling, though, what it really meant.

I was "reborn," but I didn't run to the Baptist tabernacle to swear to familiar Fundamentalist Christian explanations, any more than I cared about the attempts of Matthew to convince Jews that Jesus was fulfilling supposed Jewish Messianic prophecy. Seemed to me like there was an explanation not quite made explicit by Jesus.

Jesus went behind the scenes, leaving his followers to their Acts and post-Jesus sequels. In the Epistles, in Apocrypha, in the mish-mash that is John's Revelation, I did not find those answers. I expected I never would fully know in this life what it all really meant.

It didn't matter, though, you see, if I didn't have a perfected personal belief system. Jesus had me from then on, functionally. I haven't been worthy of that rebirth, most of the subsequent decades, but in my worst sins, my darkest trials, my hardest moments, somehow, just remembering what he did and why, what he showed us we could be by enduring in faith, and his representation of the Father's love and promise of life, supplements my poor endurance and paucity of faith.

It's such a tough teaching, though, isn't it?

Love God as your Father.

Love all as your brothers and sisters.


Fear not.

Be of good cheer.

And that toughest one (for me), the basis of all the rest,

Have faith.

Still getting there, but grateful. Hally Loo Yeah.

He IS risen.

Easter Season Webworks

From last year, a mindful cartoon webwork:
Jerusalem Report
If they had TV and cells in 1st Century AD. Sort-of.

Eggshell Art
Vernal celebration tokens

Actual Easter eggshell art
Love one another

Best of Spirits

The Last Good Nights

A long cold winter in the forecast.

The last good nights
of a hunting moon.
The cats will depend
upon us soon.
They trust us as gods,
so they're not scared.
Dear Father God?
I'm unprepared!

Best of Spirits

An Oak Tree Falls

They might be just one miracle, two parts

I got two miracles on Saturday.

"The very hairs on your head are counted," Jesus reassured us in Matthew and Luke.

Kreml Dandruff Shampoo Ad
…I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind.
Image source: Sat Eve Post 1935, c/o Duke University Libraries

Urantia Paper 38 clarifies that the angels don't waste their time pawing through your lice and dandruff to enumerate your follicles; they are math geniuses, inherently capable of such estimations. Sounds right to me.

Which was on my mind early Saturday morning, as I examined the fall of two of the three forks of a once-mighty 100-year-old oak:

Oak tree fallen near pick-up
Click pic for 4x bigger

Knothole Cracked trunk
Squirrels evicted. — The remaining trunk is cracked and rotten, too.

Branches fell inches from the big plate glass window - there were oak leaves caught on the roof flashing above the window, and all through the little cedars on either side of the window. Inches. Very close thing.

The big breakInches from the window.

The power lines to the barn run under a branch of a neighboring pecan, which branch got snapped, but missed the lines.

And big branches fell all around both vehicles, yet only one small twig-end broke against the pickup door. No scratch worth mentioning.angel

And no human or beast got hurt. Not even the resident family of squirrels, I think.

That was the first miracle, the incredibly precise harmless tree-fall. Thank you, hypercalculating chaos-controlling angels!


We were also fortunate that it happened early on a Saturday morning. Within a few hours of the fall, the neighbor's Son-in-Law, and the Son-in-Law's two Sons-in-Law, came over with their chainsaws, a big trailer, and a really sweet little Deere (want!) with grapple attachment. They sacrificed their Saturday morning enthusiastically.

Chainsawing Chainsawing

Chainsawing Chainsawing

Big branch pulled down anim
This may be fake

By two in the afternoon, tons of tree were gone to the South 40, and I was left raking up leaves and twigs.


That was the second miracle, in many ways, more miraculous than the first. Mrs & I stood there mid-afternoon, amazed at our blessings.

There's a big hole in our leafy canopy now, though. Won't be filled in my lifetime.

Best of Spirits

So, Where is Everybody?

Hello? Is there anybody out there?

Dr. Frank Drake conceived an approach to bound the terms involved in estimating the number of technological civilizations that may exist in our galaxy. The Drake Equation, as it has become known, was first presented by Drake in 1961 and identifies specific factors thought to play a role in the development of such civilizations.

The short, common form of expression of the most positive potentials of this equation is: "Odds suggest there's lots of technological civilizations out in the universe, so why haven't they contacted us yet?"

Or, in the other end of the possibility range, "if advanced, intelligent life exists elsewhere at all, it's going to be extremely uncommon." —OregonMuse on Ace of Spades


It's been practically half a century since I read Asimov, but as I recall, in his Foundation and related science-fiction, Asimov projected a creation where the only human-intelligence level reached was earth-spawned humans. Other proto-forms of life were found, but nothing else close to intelligent life. Part of this formulation is the first arrivals (that would be us) interrupt the natural development of any other life form; the "niche" of intelligent life having been filled, we prevent any other. Yay us.

Of course, it makes for easier SF if you don't have to make up a cosmos full of extraterrestrials. Yet some of the finest (and sometimes worst) of science-fiction has been the "first encounter" story, where incredibly different cultures meet.

Galileo suffered from geocentric theology. Pre-reason religionists could be forgiven for thinking geocentrically. The scriptures don't mention that stars are suns with other planets; pre-reason, pre-Copernican people wouldn't've even been able to grasp the concept (some still can't today). The modern believer can't help but put the Drake Equation into the formula. Like the question of why God would allow Evil in the World, the question of Where Is Everybody? can be a challenge for belief.

DNA stretching to spaceI would presume that intelligent life evolves everywhere, yes in astonishing variety, yet along recognizably similar lines as our evolution because it's inherent to the design as light and water and air and carbon. (My Physics 100 professor said something like this.)

I assume life evolves out of mud (possibly with some nudging), that motility induces central nervous systems, which grow brains which look and think and wonder and eventually recognize, "I am me" and "you are not me" and morality and theology derive from that realization everywhere just as they may in the development of any terrestrial.

My view is that Darwinian evolution is really quite predictable, and when you have a biosphere and evolution takes over, then common themes emerge and the same is true for intelligence.

Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at Cambridge University, quoted in 5 Scientific Theories About What Aliens Might Look Like, The Week, 2013 Jul 16.

Therefore, just as we have (rather recently) discovered that galaxies abound and planets are plentiful, we can project that the solar systems of the universe, naturally, will be as teeming as possible with the children of the Almighty.

Even more, moving science under the more general umbrella of theology, the faithful assume that this is not some randomly-fluctuating mechanism in which we are spawned, but that the universe is under the overcontrol of, not the Almighty First Source and Center his own self directly, necessarily, but at least direct and trusted appointees, as it were.

It is, in other words, a grand, well-ordered universe, designed to be inhabited.

So, again, where is everybody?

Legions of angels watch over the earth

Taking the above assumptions, presuming we're not unknown but well-known to the Governors of the Galaxy, what's the deal?

One would pretty much have to conclude our isolation is intentional. In this framework, we might be left alone, the way an anthropologist might try to avoid unduly corrupting a hidden native culture, or the Star Trek reflection of that, the "Prime Directive," (which only seemed to be brought up when it was about to be violated).

Another possibility is that we have been corrupted, and we are isolated the way the body walls off a virus, or we would (back in thoughtful days) isolate a community that had become rife with contagion.

They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.Psalm 82

Andovontia is the name of the tertiary Universe Circuit Supervisor stationed in our local universe. He is concerned only with spirit and morontia circuits, not with those under the jurisdiction of the power directors. It was he who isolated Urantia at the time of the Caligastia betrayal of the planet during the testing seasons of the Lucifer rebellion. In sending greetings to the mortals of Urantia, he expresses pleasure in the anticipation of your sometime restoration to the universe circuits of his supervision.

Spock and McCoy as mobsters
Links encountered while researching the above
Why We Haven't Met Any Aliens, by Geoffrey Miller, Seed — Perhaps our current science over-estimates the likelihood of extraterrestrial intelligence evolving. Or, perhaps evolved technical intelligence has some deep tendency to be self-limiting, even self-exterminating.
Anthropic principle (Wikipedia) — The strong anthropic principle… [states] the Universe is compelled, in some sense, for conscious life to eventually emerge.
Everything Forever — Gevin Giorbran "eloquently explains for the lay reader the governing role a cosmic zero plays in the evolution of all universes and all life"
Physics and the Immortality of the Soul, by Sean Carroll, Scientific American blog — The questions are these: what form does that spirit energy take, and how does it interact with our ordinary atoms? Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics…. [That's true, y'know.]
Does science make belief in God obsolete? — Mary Midgley: "Of course not."