Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well I am finally posting something again. I'm sure people are riveted by this blog with the frequency of it's posting. Anyway, I found some cool websites where you can play a free game and they will donate free, clean water for every question you get right. Now clean water may not seem like a big deal, but in 2006 it was said that 1.8 million people die because of contaminated water per year and that 1.1 billion people lacked clean drinking water. We have been in a drought where I live for a couple years and we have to be tight with water, but there is still nothing stopping me from waltzing over to a sink, turning it on, and having clean and cool water. It is something we take for granted, but about 20% of the population does not even have clean water (and I am sure the percent is much larger when it comes to running water). So, take a few minutes, play a game, and help some people get free water!

The websites are...


Have a great day folks!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a big world

I love going to the mountains. I think it is extremely refreshing to be in the outdoors and be a part of nature. My favorite thing about mountains is their size. It always made me think about how big the planet is and how small I am. The size of them just gives me reason to believe there is so much more to life than what we can see. I just feel that there has to be a bigger plan, and one that has been around far longer than I have.

As big as mountains are, they really do not serve as a good testament to the size of the universe. I saw this video on youtube, and it blew me away. Mountains are so big that they can make me feel small, but this video makes mountains look tiny. I'll let you connect the dots about what that says about me. Here's the video, hope you enjoy it. It's really well made and has some sweet music I think.

Here is the actual youtube page, if you want to learn more about the video:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How to Take Good Pictures

I created a video for the website about taking good pictures. It doesn't need much explanation, you just need to watch it. I promise it will be helpful. Thanks everyone, have a great day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Photo Contest Results

Well everyone the photo results are in! It was a great contest and we had a good number of participants. The winners are posted on the website here and I have created a slideshow of all the entries. And that is, right here...

Thanks to everyone who submitted pics!

Everyone, happy new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well Christmas is here. As I write this I am watching Christmas Vacation with my family. What a classic. We just decorated our tree (finally) and the fire is going. Living in Atlanta means a wet Christmas instead of a white Christmas, but it is still Christmas. Every where I go I hear about the "season" of Christmas. It is a time for peace and love on Earth, a time of giving... You know what I am talking about, right? Well it got me thinking, why is Christmas the only season for those things? I know this idea is kind of cliche, but I want to talk about it a little bit.

Everyone knows who Santa Claus is. I am assuming most people have at least heard of the real St. Nick. He was a real person who lived during the fourth century. He was born into a wealthy family, but lost his parents at a young age. This left him with a great deal of inheritance, but rather than squandering it all on himself, he decided to spend the rest of his life giving his inheritance away. One of the most famous stories regarding him is about three poor girls. In that time and place, if a woman did not have enough money to pay a dowry and get married, she would most likely have to become a prostitute. St. Nick wanted to help them out, so each year when one of the three girls came of age, he secretly tossed a bag of gold through the window so that they could have a dowry and be married. For the third and youngest daughter, the father waited by the window because he wanted to figure out who was giving the money. To avoid being seen (St. Nick wanted his giving to be anonymous, he wasn't looking for credit) he threw the last sack of money down their chimney. There are many accounts (and legends) about his many deeds. His giving brought him fame, and so, a few hundred years later, thanks to Macy's and Coca-Cola, Santa Claus became a part of Christmas culture.

But here's the thing: St. Nick did not give things only around Christmas time. He gave to people and loved people and helped them year round. For him, it was not a season of giving, it was a life of giving.

During this Christmas time, think about who the real St. Nick was and what he did. As the new year approaches, remember that giving does not have to be an obligation you have to perform to keep relatives from being offended. It can be so much more. Who knows, if you make giving a way of life, maybe someday people will be calling you jolly. Better yet, you will be bringing people Christmas joy, even if it is the middle of July.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope it's a good one...

(Special thanks to Eric LaMarbe for giving the foundation for my little post here)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Sorry this took so long to write and post, college finals always keep things interesting in life, you know? Before reading this post, I think it would be a good idea to read the previous two posts I have written on bad things happening (forget about the photo contest one). If you’ve already done that, well then you’re in the right place and hopefully they gave you reason to at least believe there is a chance God could exist. Now, as to the question of bad things happening to good people, I have no real business answering this question. Sometimes I think I do, but I really don’t. This blog is probably not the best organized and most compelling argument in the case for God’s existence during bad events. Instead, it is simply a collection of thoughts on the subject I have that may help us understand or acknowledge that God could exist and be in control during bad times.

In beginning to answer this question we must first ask, what is the cause of evil? I argue that people: me, you, our country, and every other person in the world are the cause of evil. Many have tried to incriminate specific groups of people for causing evil, but with every group of evildoers there is also an opposite group of people who are evildoers. For example, I have heard many atheists claim one of the reasons they are atheists is because of all the evils religion has caused. And they are right, Christians, for example, have killed millions since Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. However, I do not think Christian killings occurred because of Christianity, I think they happened because of the people who were in charge of Christianity in the times and places of those terrible murders. Why? Look at what Atheism, the “rational solution” to religious crimes, has done in the past couple hundred years. Both the Chinese and the Soviet governments, two atheistic countries, are responsible for 20-40 million deaths. Some may argue that they did not kill to promote atheism like religious people kill to promote religion (this is highly debatable in many cases I think), but the fact still stands that atheists are responsible for killing 40 million people in the twentieth century alone. It is not a specific people group, then, that causes evil. It is simply people. Religious preference, race, ethnic group, country, none of those things matter. Some groups may be more prone to violence than others, but I think this is a result of who the leader(s) of the group of the people are, not the actual group of people themselves.

So bad things are a result of the actions of people. But do all bad actions stem from bad people? Or could good people cause bad things? What even defines a good person versus a bad person? What about the bad stuff that has nothing to do with people. These are important questions indeed! If there is no one who is good, than the question of bad things happening to good people is a mute point. But I think there are good people, or at least better people. Being a good person, however, should never be confused with being a perfect person. Since no one is perfect, everyone is capable and guilty of doing some bad things. Perhaps a better question than, “why do bad things happen to good people?” would be something like, “how can a loving husband and wife, who desperately want to have children, never be able to have children, but at the same time totally irresponsible and immature people can get pregnant?”

This is where things get really tricky. I suppose the best thing to say is, I don’t know why bad stuff like that happens, but I do believe that God is in control and working for the greater good. Rather than giving an argument, how about a story (and a true one at that)? A couple of friends of mine had been married for several years and really wanted to have kids. For various reasons, they could not get pregnant. This really frustrated them for a couple years, and finally they decided to adopt. They traveled all the way to the Ukraine and found a 3 year old boy and chose him to be there son. Since adopting, he has brought them exceeding joy and they have completely changed his life in a positive way. If they had been able to get pregnant, they never would have had the joy of their adopted son, and he would have grown up the rest of his life in an orphanage. But through a bad thing, a very good thing happened.

Obviously, there are countless bad things happening in the world. Some of them simply cannot be explained and there is no apparent good reason for them. Even if some good comes of it, the good does not always outweigh the bad. But as people with limited site, we cannot always see everything that happens, or the reasons why those things happen. I know this is kind of a cop out, but it is true. We simply cannot always understand why bad things happen.

So the big question: If we cannot always know why bad things happen, what should our response to God be? Should we decide he does not exist? Should we become angry with Him and avoid Him as much as possible? Or should we do both, as C.S. Lewis did in his youth, and be angry at God for not existing? These are all possible answers, but none of them will really help. Rather than being angry about the bad things in the world, we should work to see what we can do to prevent the bad things from happening and turn the bad things that already exist into good things.

This is certainly a huge task. Ridding the world of problems is beyond any of us. I know it is Christmas time and everyone talks about world peace and blah bluh blah, but it is not happening anytime soon. Sorry, but it just isn’t. That does not mean, however, that we cannot make a difference on some level. Every moment of joy we give another person is something, and those moments are always worth fighting for. (Shameless plug: If you are looking for ideas on how to bring joy to people, visit the “Do Your Part” section of the website.

The last thing we should do in the face of bad things is reject and hide from God. This is foolish if God is good, or even if God is evil. If He is good, than we are turning our backs on the only hope we have for peace, true bona fide peace, in our lives. If He is evil, well then, we are screwed either way. But I don’t think God is evil, He has given us far too many good things to be evil. An evil God would not give us love, freedom, creativity, or art. Sure there are bad things in the world, but like I said, those are not from God. They are from people! And if we turn our backs on God when a terrible event happens in our lives, we turn our backs on the only real hope we can have in this world.

I believe there is a day coming when all the bad things will be made right. I have no idea when, but there is a verse from the Bible that always encourages me and gives me hope in times of struggle. It is in Revelation, the book of the Bible that predicts the end times. In Chapter 21:4-5, it says in reference to God, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”

Someday, everything will be made new, and it will be made right. Now we can sit here and worry about why He hasn’t done these things already, or wonder why He didn’t make everything perfect in the beginning. And there are answers to those questions if you really want them and are willing to accept them. But I think the best thing to do is not ask cynical questions or hold grudges against God, the best thing we can do is hope in Him. And if we do, someday, maybe someday, He will wipe every tear from our eyes.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photo Contest

We are hosting a photo contest on the website! It is free to join, and there are free prizes! Some very cool DVDs are up for grabs, so make sure you head on over to The Photo Contest Page and check it out! The contest ends December 16, so submit your photos now!

Examples of Cool photos, just to make this post seem longer...

This picture was taken by Chris LeCraw.