I recently had the pleasure to read the book Alien Intrusion by Gary Bates. It was very well-written, well-researched (without being boring), and well worth the purchase price. It’s a book everyone should read, whether they believe in aliens or think it’s a bunch of hooey.
We live in an age of relativism. Just like Pontius Pilate, many people today are asking, “What is truth?” There is the idea of “it’s right for you, but not for me.” (To a certain extent, I can agree with that — my husband would not be right for you, but is right for me — that sort of thing.) But one thing that is particularly disturbing to me is in the area of changing the meaning of words, or changing what a document says to bend the words to a preconceived notion.
A few years ago, I read a book called The Genesis Flood, by Drs. Whitcomb and Morris, in which they studied what the Bible said about the Flood as described in Genesis. It was very interesting. One of the things they said that stuck with me is that at the time they wrote the book (I think in the late 60s or early 70s, although it has extended up to this day), some people were trying to say that when the Bible said that all the hills and mountains were covered, and all flesh died, and all this and all that… that all didn’t really mean “all.” Now, I know that sometimes “all” can be used in a limited sense — “everybody watches the Olympics” — well, certainly not every single member of the human race does — but that is not the language of Genesis. The authors point out that the original Hebrew terms, specifically the repetition involved in using “all” so many times in such a short space, shows that there is no way that “all” can be taken in a limited sense, without seriously distorting the meaning of the term and in fact the entire Hebrew language. The way they said it was (paraphrasing, because I can’t remember the direct quote), “If this section is not meant to show a global flood, but instead a limited flood, what other terms could have been employed to show a global flood?”
I think about that a lot, as it relates to the Bible, as well as other things. Take, for example, the section of the Constitution that deals with Eminent Domain. Now, it looks pretty simple to me — the government can force you to sell your land if it is needed for public use; however, the Supreme Court has ruled that “public use” includes selling that land to private individuals or organizations for them to build apartment complexes or malls, which will generate more revenue in the form of taxes, which is considered to be beneficial for the public/government. Huh? So, let me ask the question this way: Had the framers of the Constitution intended to restrict Eminent Domain to being used solely to take land for highways and such (what has historically been the restrictions), what language could they have used to delineate that?
I guess that’s why I’m not a lawyer — I like plain English. 🙂
I’ve really grown to appreciate the library a lot lately. We’ve got tons of books–both my husband and I are avid bibliophiles–but the main books I read lately are children’s books. My oldest child is only 3, so I mostly read Dr. Seuss books and others of that level. I can practically quote even the tongue-twisting “Fox in Socks” which was my younger child’s favorite book until a few days ago. His current favorite is an “I Spy” board book with the numbers 1-9. It’s really cute, and he enjoys the bright colors, and even knows most of the numbers in it (he’s 21 months old). Today, out of the blue he counted 1-7 without prompting. Up until now, he’s counted “1, 2, 4, 9, 10!” So it’s good for him to remember those middle numbers. If I say a number, he knows the number after it, so that’s also pretty good. But the library has all sorts of books that we don’t have. Of course, I mainly get children’s books, because if I really want something to read, our personal library affords a pretty good selection.
Yesterday, we got a couple of favorites: “We’re Very Good Friends, My Brother and I,” and “We’re Very Good Friends, My Uncle and I,” by P.K. Hallinan. Since I’ve got two boys, when I saw the first title a few months back, I had to get it, and I was not disappointed. Such sweet lyrics–perfectly encapsulating the brotherly bond (even though “sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye…”).
And we had to get a few “pop culture” books–Barney’s World of Trucks and a couple of Franklin (the turtle) books. We don’t have a TV, and I don’t think my kids have ever seen a Barney tape–it’s possible, but I just don’t think they have–but they love the big purple dinosaur anyway! And they love the BIG TRUCKS, so that was sure to be a winner, even if it’s…well….Barney. When we go to my mom’s, the kids watch a lot of TV–she tapes a bunch of the kids shows on Noggin and Nick Jr., so they’ve seen Franklin.
Then there was a book I didn’t look at while we were there–not sure how my son happened upon it, but it got in the stack so we got it. I read it to myself once we got home, and I’m glad I did. The book is Pumpkinhead, and it was just weird. I’ve linked to the Amazon listing of it, and the first two reviews glow over the book, but the third one could’ve been written by me–“the most disturbing children’s book ever!” Synopsis–a boy is born with a pumpkin for a head and nobody seems to mind (that’s fine)…. and then one day, a big bird flies by and carries off his head (slightly disturbing) to go eat it (very disturbing), and Pumpkinhead can look down and see his body running around headless (and I can picture my child having nightmares about this!) but it’s too heavy, so he drops it and Pumpkinhead expects to go splat (pretty disturbing), but instead he falls into the ocean (okay!) where a big fish swallows him whole (not so okay)….. it continues and Pumpkinhead is finally reunited with his body, which his parents kept “in a cool dry place” for him (that’s just creepy to think about parents storing their beheaded child’s body. It’s just creepy). It may be suitable for some children, but not mine. It’s going back to the library next time I go to town, and it’s going to be kept out of sight until then. Just plain weird–and that’s being charitable.
Still, I really like the library, and it has so many books to choose from that I probably won’t even read them all before my kids “graduate” to Hardy Boys (or whatever the next step is for boys). I get tired of our books, because I’ve read most of them so often that I can quote them, and so can my kids–so I can’t skip anymore without being called on it. But if I get a few new books every couple of weeks or so, then I have an essentially endless supply, and actually have access to more books than I otherwise would. Being frugal, I wouldn’t buy all-new books; and being a stay-at-home mom whose husband is a teacher, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’ve had trouble finding good books at yard sales–either in extremely poor condition, or were books I just didn’t want. So getting books at the library is an excellent way to have a lot of “new” books to read to my kids while not spending a dime! (As long as I can remember to turn them in before they’re overdue.)