People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Chronicling One's Life ... & Death

Alton over at ImNotEmeril brought to my attention the death of a Southwest Virginia blogger. Breath of Heaven, written by Julie Whitt, had its last post Monday (read it here). It's an entry composed by Julie's husband, Mark, announcing to the entire world that his wife has passed away, after a years-long struggle with complications from Hodgkins Disease.

As I worked my way back through her thoughts, dreams, aspirations, expectations - her hope for the future - I became mesmerized by the strength of Julie's spirit. By her unbound faith in God. Her zest - a quest - for life. And for health. I was also moved by the profound and unbridled love she expressed for her husband and family.

In Keep The Fire Burning (read it here), I found her epitaph - and a powerful one it is. Included are these words:
This is my time to shine, so whether that light shines on Earth or in Heaven, may God's will be done.
I'm reminded of the epitaph that poet John Keats wrote for himself on his deathbed:

"Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water"
Unlike John Keats, a man of world renown who died a lonely and bitter man, Julie Whitt wanted us all to know that she lived and loved and made a difference. And was happy. Breath of Heaven was written for all time and for all to see and share. Those of us she left behind here on earth are the better for it.

May she rest in peace.


On a separate note: Paula and I decided last week to add St. Jude Childrens Hospital to the list of organizations to which we regularly send donations. You might consider pitching in a few bucks as well. There are so many stories being written. So many battles being won ... and lost.

Judge Puts Faith In ... Darwin

A judge in Pennsylvania has ruled against the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools there:
Judge Rules Against Pa. Biology Curriculum
By Martha Raffaele, Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violated the constitutional separation of church and state. (link)

This doesn't really come as a surprise. Even I don't think the theory rises to the level of science - yet. It is simply a question to be posed to those, like the good Judge Jones, who put their faith in a theory with gaping flaws so large you could drive a truck through them. Archaeologists discover a few bone fragments from thousands of years ago and the world's learned scientists - and judges - know exactly what they represent. They're obviously a whole lot smarter than me.

Either that or theirs is a blind faith unwilling to accept an alternative point of view. A sort of fundamentalism, if you will.

Certain researchers - including some scientists - are trying to tell us this: There are complexities in organisms - human, animal, plant, single-cell, that cannot - under any circumstances - be explained using (in fact they defy) the theory of evolution.

But Judge Jones and Darwin's other disciples refuse to countenance the thought.

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.

The UU's Have Taken Charge

A member of the Unitarian Universalist church was asked:
How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a lightbulb?
The UU answered:
We strenuously object to the term "lightbulb." We believe there are many ways of darkness dispersion and so would not want to participate in an activity validating the lightbulb as the exclusive light and heat source.
Funny, eh? Well, don't laugh. These goofballs have taken over your military. Strange news from The Washington Times:
Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

The hunger strike is intended to persuade President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faith traditions.

Official military policy allows any sort of prayer, but Lt. Klingenschmitt says that in reality, evangelical Protestant prayers are censored. He cites his training at the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, R.I., where "they have clipboards and evaluators who evaluate your prayers, and they praise you if you pray just to God," he said. "But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you."

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added. (link)
Why do I see Bill Clinton's handiwork in this? Christian ministers aren't allowed to pray in Jesus' name?!

For the love of God.

Another Trail To Nowhere

How many hiking trails and bike paths can we jam into Southwest Virginia before we have too much resulting prosperity? I'm beginning to worry.

Now the town of Elliston (just north of Christiansburg) wants to hitch its caboose to the gravy train. I just hope it can handle the surge of tourists that is sure to come its way. From today's Roanoke Times:
County looks at trail, history
Niki King, New River Current

Getting Elliston designated as a historic district and constructing a proposed Ellett Valley Loop Trail wouldn't be free. It would cost cash-strapped Montgomery County plenty of money. Unless, of course, there were outside grants to foot the bill. (link)
If I were with the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, I wouldn't give up on the idea that manna from heaven might be an option to consider too.

I'll at least give the folks in Elliston credit. They don't seem, in reading the article, to have bought into the snake oil that the "hiking trail to riches and rewards" crowd is peddling. They just want to preserve what they consider to be the historical structures in the area, which is a worthwhile endeavor. The fact that they want the rest of the state's taxpayers to pay for it through grants doesn't sit well but they're only in a long line of communities looking to take advantage of that gift-horse.

Anyway, someone wake Congressman Boucher. We need some funding for the Ellett Valley Loop Trail. And he's the guy who knows the guy who prints the cash. If his harddrive has the storage capacity, he'll want to add the EVLP to the ponderous list of hiking trails and bike paths and tourist attractions and scenic sights and local parks and cultural centers and horseback riding trails and music centers he's already dumped tax dollars into, the sum total of which has been the net loss of good-paying jobs in the area and the net gain of nothing but disappointment on the part of local officials who were sucked into this goofy notion in the first place.

On Today's 'Briefly put ...'

Uh oh. The Roanoke Times has another installment of its op/ed page "Briefly put ..." segment this morning. Let's check it out:

Briefly put...
The Roanoke Times

Hard-core Islamic fundamentalist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Iranians last October to desist from listening to Western music, apparently seeking to keep Iranian society pure from outside influences.

Ahmadinejad also ordered all Iranian broadcast outlets to silence western musical forms, from classical to hip-hop to country rock.

Shop owners and young music enthusiasts in the capital city of Tehran on Tuesday, however, defied the ban and went about their buying, selling and listening.

What's the Persian word for "cool"? (

I'd be picking nits if I mentioned the fact that it's actually called Farsi.

But this ain't bad. Kinda good. Not slaphappy good but an improvement over past offerings.

What are the Persian words for "Some editor has been reading this weblog?"