Wednesday, October 17, 2018

For RagingMoon1987

RagingMoon is a doll blogging friend, but there were a couple of non-doll things I wanted to show her, so I'm coming over here to post them. Long past time I put up a post here, anyway.

First one is a Pepsi can that I brought home from a college trip to Germany, since RagingMoon has an interest in soda containers.
Licensed from PepsiCo, Inc.
Soda containing caffeine. Apparently Limonade has been expanded to just mean any carbonated sweet drink.
Secondly, a really blurry shot of a group of tom turkeys taking their sweet time crossing the street. The lighting wasn't that great, since it was around dusk, and I was several cars back from the turkeys. This was taken in 2017, in Bay Village, Ohio, on the westside of Cleveland.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lunch by the River

Last Friday, I met a friend of mine for lunch at Margaritaville in the Flats, in downtown Cleveland.
The Flats are so called because they're lower than the rest of downtown. They're the shores of the Cuyahoga River. For a long time, the Flats were mainly for the loading or unloading big cargo ships that still traverse Lake Erie and dock at the port of Cleveland. But a few decades ago, developers started putting restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in. The Nautica Queen is a pleasure boat that cruises up and down the river, and can go out on the lake when the weather is appropriate. The Dancer had her senior prom on the Nautica Queen.
Parking is convenient, and was only $4 for the lunch crowd.
Down the street from Margaritaville is the river.
On the west bank of the Flats is one of the older bars, Shooters.
I have no idea what it costs to be able to dock your boat or jet ski in the Flats. You can see the Nautica Queen side on and head on in the two pictures below.

This is the best shot I got of the Nautica concert stage, and the Powerhouse building, which now contains several restaurants and entertainment venues, plus the Cleveland aquarium.
I think I need to get Mr. BTEG to take me down to the Flats again before the bad fall weather sets in. :)

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Grass Is Green, Water Is Wet, Cleveland Gets Midges

Apparently, the yearly infestation of midges is important news this year. Is there an unusual amount of them in 2018, or something? I don't really get that from the article. I spent most of my childhood years living two blocks from Lake Erie, in the 1970s. The outdoors would be crawling with those things for a little over a week. You kept your mouth closed and dealt with it. For that matter, it's difficult to drive your car in NE Ohio during a summer evening, or ride a Cedar Point roller coaster as dusk settles in, and not encounter a few bugs, even once the midges are gone. Take your car to the car wash, and as for the roller coaster, well, it's sometimes hard to keep your mouth shut, so be prepared to pick a bug out of your teeth.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Would Catholicism Save America? Discussing the Concept of Why America Will Perish Without Rome

I picked a bad time to try to start being consistent with my blog posts. Life has gotten super chaotic here at Casa BTEG, and I've neglected blogging as a result, especially since it's hard to even get to my personal computer at the moment. However, I think we're approaching the end of the current difficulties, and also, I found something that I really want to blog about! The subject today is two videos on YouTube from the channel of Milo Yiannopoulis, concerning a new book being released by his new printing company, Dangerous Books.

I've been reading and watching Milo's content since before he left Breitbart. I've never been an enormous fan, per se, but his take on conservative life and culture in America, as a Catholic gay man from the UK, comes from a very different place than other prominent conservatives, which makes him interesting reading and listening. Also, he's a lot of fun, which is refreshing.

Since I follow his YouTube channel, I saw two interviews Milo recently did with a man named Timothy Gordon. He is publishing a new book through Dangerous Books entitled Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome, to which Milo has written a forward. I'm definitely not going to touch on everything in the interviews, as the two videos together are almost an hour long total. If you want to watch them, they can be found on YouTube here and here. But there are a few points that I wanted to make, and hopefully discuss. I'll only be covering one today.

The most important issue I took from the videos was the idea that Protestants, from Luther on, do not believe in free will. Therefore, their thinking, Gordon argues, is antithetical to a country like the American republic, which was founded on the idea of Americans using their free will to make, for the most part, their own plans about how their lives should be arranged, with as little government coercion as possible. One of the most important values of the Founders was the right to individual liberty. Protestants therefore, who deny the existence of free will, cannot co-exist with a country of individual freedoms, or so Gordon posits.

From a theological standpoint, the concept of humanity and free will has been argued for centuries before me, and will probably continue to be a point of discussion until Christ's return. For Lutherans, our concept on free will, at least from the point of view of becoming one of God's redeemed creatures, can be found in our catechism: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and keeps me in the one true faith." So in this sense, Luther certainly does not agree that Christians become so merely by personal free will. Rejection of God is another matter, and one on which I am not as well versed. I do know that we do not follow Calvin's doctrine of people being foreordained to go to either heaven or hell. Modern day Protestantism, however, certainly does seem to follow the idea of free will, with the idea of "making a decision for Jesus." For whatever reason, Gordon seems to discuss only the early Protestant leaders like Luther and Calvin. I would like to know what he would have to say about the current views of the many Protestant denominations that do emphasize making a personal decision.

However, is the eternal different from the temporal? Is being unable to use my free will to be redeemed by God, mean that I am unable to use my free will to decide who to marry, for whom to vote, what type of government I want, or even what I will eat for breakfast? I was going to develop this idea more today, but this post has already gotten longer than I intended it to be! Hopefully I'll get some comments to draw on for my next post, and if not, I'll still keep going with the idea of secular free will, for a Thursday post. Maybe I'll be able to find some reading about Luther's views on the role of free will in our earthly lives in the meantime. There are also a few more things from the interviews that I wanted to go over, so be looking for that as well.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday Already?

To be fair, I had a really bad day yesterday, and I never even remembered my resolve to blog on Thursdays. But just keeping at the blogging is important, even if I do mess up, so here I am. I'm so glad that spring is on the way, even if winter decided to remind us that it's not quite gone yet yesterday. Anyone else have Seasonal Affective Disorder and have a rough winter this year? Of course, I didn't use my light box as reliably as I could have, so it's partially on me. My psychiatrist gave me an article recently about a light box being more useful to bipolar people if it is used around noon, so I might try that as March slowly winds away.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Where Have All the Lutherans Gone?

Talking with Scottius led me to blog today about something that I think about a lot, which is why there doesn't seem to be a strong conservative Lutheran community. The church Mr. BTEG and I currently belong to is a good distance away from our home, to begin with. While I suppose it would be asking too much to have a solid church actually in my community, it'd be nice to have one closer by. I don't feel any sort of connection to anyone at my current church. In addition, there's not really much of a strong Lutheran presence online anymore. Not only are bloggers gone, but people that I used to see on Google Plus aren't there, and Facebook is dying all on its own. When you don't have a church family, and you don't have an online church family, you can start feeling pretty detached from your church.