Category Archives: General Observations

Just things I see that make me think.

Imagining the “Copacavaca”

The Name

Deep in the black forests of Romania there may live a scary animal. The locals have a name for it: Vaca Care Locuieste in Copac. 

I call it: Copacavaca (because the other name is too long).

The Creature

In the early 90’s, shortly after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu, I had the privilege to spend about a month in Romania. There I visited many cities, including Bucharest, Alexandria, Timișoara, Arad, Pitești, etc. The people were more than wonderful. The forests, however, were darker than any I had seen before. Literally, they soaked up light like a sponge.

One day, while walking through one of these dark forests, I was made keenly aware of the possibility of some creature in the trees above me. Being mindful of the legends associated with Transylvania, I could not help but imagine myself as one of those hapless tourists pounced upon by some non-mythical monster heretofore thought imaginary.

I thought to myself, “What could be above me, right now, which I might never expect? What kind of creature would be impossible to believe, therefore capable of living in obscurity, except for when it feeds?” It couldn’t be a vampire or werewolf. It had to be something totally off the wall. It had to be something as unthinkably dangerous as Clark Kent was powerful…then it hit me (not literally)… “Vaca.”

Vaca

Just the day before I had learned the word. “What do you call those big animals in the field that go mooooooo?” I asked.

“Vaca” was the reply.

My mind now imagined an animal so dangerous, so heavy, so tired of being milked and eaten between buns, and in the trees right above me – the Vaca din Copac…

the Romanian Tree-Dwelling Vaca… 

the Copacavaca!

The Horror

Should you ever walk through the dark woods of Romania, be very careful. Just because you can’t see them, that doesn’t mean the Copacavaca aren’t there. They could be. If so, you could be in danger.

One thing you should know about the Copacavaca is that they cannot see very well – they hunt by hearing. It is when you walk through the woods and make noises like other animals (especially humans) that the Copacavaca realize you’re potential prey.

They wait for you to walk under the tree they are in, then fall from on high to crush you beneath their massive weight. Therefore, it is critical you sound like them when walking among the pines (or whatever leafy, woody, thingy that is nearby).

I asked a friend who was with me if she had heard of tree-dwelling vaca. When she told me “no,” I demanded, in order to be safe, that she make a sound to imitate the vaca. If not, the camouflaged, nearly invisible Copacavaca may have mistaken us for dinner.

Computer rendering of a Copacavaca attacking prey.

With a puzzled look she responded to my request with a nonplus “Mooo.” 

“Do it again!” I said. “But louder!”

“Moooooooo!”

“LOUDER!”

“MOOOOOOO!”

Finally, with a tone of quizzical frustration, she asked, “Why am I making the sound of a cow?”

“Because that’s what the Copacavaca is – a man-eating, tree-dwelling cow.”

For some reason the Romanian girl didn’t believe me. Later that night, shortly after she invited me to a knock-off discotheque (a one-room joint with a few tables and a mirrored ball hanging from the ceiling),  I was poisoned and nearly died (no joke – I got sick and nearly died).

Coincidence??

Here’s the Point

The imagination can be profitable, just as long as it magnifies truth.

Used properly, as God designed it, the imagination can help us to see God from different perspectives, in different colors, with different expressions. Just think of what C. S. Lewis was able to do with the Narnia series. But replacing the God that is with a god of of our own creation is more than dangerous; it’s idolatry.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. – Rom 1:21 KJV

Some people say, “My god would never judge anyone.” Others say, “My god understands me…he made me this way.”

Still, others are convinced that “God doesn’t care what road you take, just as long as you’re sincere.”

But what kind of god are they thinking up? Maybe a creature that lives in the woods, but certainly not the God of the Bible.

For More Information

If you want to know more about the Copacavaca, I can think of something. Who knows, we may be looking at the next Dracula, only with four legs and udders (quick, somebody contact Chick-fil-A).

However, if you want to know more about the God who really is, I suggest you read the Gospel of John in the Bible.

And if you’d like, imagine yourself huddled next to a campfire, late at night, as an old, old man shares the amazing story of what he saw take place long, long ago…that you might believe (John 20:31).

I imagine the Truth will blow you away.

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Filed under General Observations, God, Humor, legalism, worship

“What Can I Do to Help Stop [Christophobia]?”

A funny thing happened while I was doing research…

In preparation for an upcoming post, I came across some information on Planned Parenthood’s website. What I found was a list of things one could do to in order to “help stop homophobia.”

That got me to thinking… What if we took out the words homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia and replaced them with other terms, such as Christophobia, Christian, and religious?

What is Christophobia? Well, why don’t we go ahead and practice a little word replacement in Planned Parenthood’s definition of the term homophobia?

“The [Christophobia] definition is the fear, hatred, discomfort with, or mistrust of people who are [Christians]…”

See how that worked? Pretty simple.

Is Christophobia a real thing? I think so, but you can decide. Below are the re-worded suggestions from Planned Parenthood’s website. I think they speak for themselves.


What can I do to help stop [Christophobia]?

No one has the right to discriminate against or bully another person, or to hurt them emotionally or physically. There are several things you can do to help stop [Christophobia]:

  • Don’t ever use negative or offensive language to describe [Christian] people.
  • Be careful of how even casual language — such as saying “that’s so [Christian]”— can hurt others.
  • Don’t believe stereotypes about [Christian] people or make assumptions about them.
  • Be a vocal supporter of the [Christian] community, regardless of your own sexual orientation and identity. This is called being an ally.
  • Let the [Christian] people in your life know that you’re a friend and ally.
  • Educate yourself on [Christian] issues.
  • Respect [Christian] people’s decisions about when and where to come out.
  • Join your school’s [Christian] Alliance, or start one at your school. [Lifeway] can help with that.
  • Remember that being [Christian] is just one part of a person’s complex identity and life.
  • Show as much interest in your [Christian] friends’ or family members’ partners as you would show in [your own] partner.
  • If you feel safe doing so, speak up when other people are being [Christophobic], such as making offensive jokes, using negative language, or bullying or harassing someone because of their [religious] orientation or identity.

Interesting, don’t you think?

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Filed under Christianity, current events, General Observations, politics

Baby, It’s Still Cold Outside

Just a quick thought….

A lot of push back has bubbled up this year from those who are tired of the easily-offended expressing their outrage. Now that the #metoo crowd has angrily entered the political correctness battleground, the whining and complaining has reached a new level of chalk-board-scraping irritation.

That being said, we shouldn’t let the snowflakes of the world callous us to the truth. A snowman may say it’s comfortable in 0-degree weather, but it’s still freezing.

Those who are always looking for something about which to be critical can find racism, bigotry, misogyny, and any number of phobias wherever they search. They are as equally quick to dismiss the mores of past generations as they are to view situations from the past through their own distorted lenses. So, they have no problem with criticizing Charlie Brown for being a racist and Rudolph’s unsupportive social structure for contributing to mental abuse.

But when it comes to how a man should treat a woman, especially from a holy, God-fearing, gentlemanly perspective, it’s never OK to talk her into doing something that might besmirch her reputation, dishonor her parents, or leave her with feelings of guilt or regret. What’s more, there’s nothing loving about a man trying to sweet talk a reluctant female into satisfying his own selfish sexual desires.

And from a Christian perspective, it’s unwise to flippantly toss around a song that glorifies sexual indiscretion, seduction, and using another person against his or her best wishes to fulfill an illicit sexual impulse.

And if that means you need to reevaluate what you listen to the rest of the year, not just during Christmas when “It’s Cold Outside,” then so be it.

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Filed under abuse, Christmas, current events, General Observations, music, Weather

A Sexually Predaceous Christmas Song

The liberal left and I finally agree on something! I’ve been saying this for years!

PC Policing

Just in case you haven’t noticed, everything and its grandma has to be politically correct these days. The whole world (or at least Western society) has become nothing but a bunch of whining victims looking for any reason to get offended.

Last week the offended left expressed their hurt feelings in the Huffington Post as they condemned the 1964 classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Why? Because it supposedly supports the marginalization of people who are different.

But what really irritates me is that the Left-leaning snowflakes have finally caught on to something I have tried to point out for several years, that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” should offend us. And the sad thing is that conservative commentators – folks usually on my side of things – are poo-poo-ing the complaint.

Believe me, I hate to agree with liberals, but I do think “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is offensive.

“No!” Means “NO!”

A Winter Romance album cover“Baby It’s Cold Outside” absolutely disgusts me. Every time I hear it sung on the radio (usually by Dean Martin), primarily during the Christmas season, it makes my blood boil! But what happens when I complain? Nothing; it’s “just an innocent song,” they say.

It’s just a “cat and mouse” thing, they say.

But seriously, would you just consider the lyrics? Have we not progressed to the point in society where we recognize red flags when we see them? Or, are we still in the age when it’s perfectly acceptable to coerce a woman, to interpret her “no” as a “yes”?

Is it acceptable these days to care nothing about a girl’s feelings and reputation all because your pride might get hurt if she says no to your advances? Well, that’s all “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is; an aroused sexual predator pressuring a reluctant date to stay the night, drugging her if necessary.

Red Flags

To make my point, I have included the lyrics to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in this post, highlighting and commenting along the way.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

Up until this point, it’s not that bad. Asking someone to stay the night is not the problem (from a legal sense). But things start to progress from questionable to insensitive pressuring very quickly.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

So, the girl actually cares about the feelings of her parents – imagine that! But does that matter to the guy? No. He cares nothing for her fears or her parents feelings – sounds like a real “keeper.”

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink?No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

Yeah, who cares what the neighbors think? No biggie, right? But isn’t putting drugs in your date’s drink illegal? Isn’t denying your date safe transport home considered kidnapping? Isn’t drugging your date and keeping her against her will the precursors to rape? I guess it’s hard to break the “spell” of a drug once it’s already caused one’s eyes to sparkle like “starlight.”

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

Notice the “no, no, no” followed by the predator’s advancing moves (as a father, I wan’t to beat the crap out of this guy about now). She said “no,” but she also said she “ought” to say no. Well, what do you expect someone drugged to say??? Now you’ve got a girl who’s unable to decide for herself what to do and a guy who’s making her feel guilty for not putting out!! Whatever happened to the season of giving, not getting, hmmm?

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you seeHow can you do this thing to me?

Don’t you just love this? It’s now around the fifth time this girl’s expressed her desire to leave her date’s house, but he won’t give up. Then she appeals to chivalry and asks for his coat, because by now she can’t remember why she doesn’t have one, even though it’s cold enough to be snowing. Does he give it to her like a gentleman should? No, he hides her coat (evidently) and continues to touch her! Finally, she begs him to recognize her reluctance, but all the animal can do is play mind games (a hallmark of predators).

There’s bound to be talk tomorrowThink of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stayGet over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Once again, it’s all “poor me” from the predator, mixed in with a little twist of feigned caring (“Oh, you’ll get sick!”). Does he care about her reputation? Does he care about her at all? Evidently not. Even after she makes one last plea, all he can say is “get over your holding out on me!” Because, after all, it’s cold outside.

 – Lyrics written by: Frank Loesser, 1944

I’m dead serious about this, people. This is no joke! If we will allow every other little thing to offend our sensibilities, and yet allow this song to be played over the airwaves without saying something, we are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

However, unlike the liberals on the left, I don’t think the song should be “banned.” When we start banning things, we start down a dark road. But at the very least we shouldn’t promote it or sing it without considering the message it promotes.

Am I overreacting? What if it was YOUR daughter? 

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Parenting

Don’t Be Intimidated

Some of you might be feeling discouraged, afraid, worn out, or intimidated by the Enemy and his minions. I hope this helps.


Don’t be intimidated… into silence with regards to your faith – share it anyway.

Don’t be intimidated… by those who want to deny the reality or historicity of your faith – their arguments aren’t as strong as they think.

Don’t be intimidated… by politicians and lawmakers, especially those who support every kind of deviancy known to man – they will have to answer to the High King of Heaven one day.

Don’t be intimidated… by unexplained phenomena – the universe and EVERYTHING in it was created by God for His glory.

Don’t be intimidated… by those who believe truth is relative and morality is based on the flip of a coin – they’re afraid of a higher law.

Don’t be intimidated… by children who think they know everything – because they don’t.

Don’t be intimidated… by a lack of experience or knowledge – get it.

Don’t be intimidated… by a mountain – it can either be climbed or tunneled through…or moved.

Don’t be intimidated… by the strength of others – if God be for us, who can be against us?

Don’t be intimidated… by the unknown – it’s not.

1Pe 3:14-16  – But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

2Ti 1:12  – For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Rom 8:37 – Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

I don’t know what you’ve been going through, or what you’ve been facing, but I hope this helps. May the Holy Spirit use these words to minister to you, as they have to me, and give you strength to stand.

Don’t be intimidated… “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, the words of Jesus).

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Filed under Aliens, Apologetics, Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Culture Wars, General Observations, God, self-worth, Uncategorized, World View

What Are You Worth?

What would you die for?

What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? If so, you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Pretty foolish.

What about non-concrete items, such as pride? Some people are willing to fight to the death, or kill others, when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be wrongly perceived.

Is family worth risking your life?

My wife, two of our daughters, and me.

Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society has a difficult time determining the value of life; one life is not as valuable as another if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would risk my life to protect my family, and if you doubt it, try to hurt them – I carry more than a big stick.

Many, however, kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that society values gold more consistently than life itself.

Are you willing to die for what you believe?

Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s OK. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who would rather die for what he believes than deny it.

Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you.

Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s; your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make your worth INCALCULABLE! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilt and failures as His own, and payed the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable; Jesus unique. How many others have done what He did for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that? How wonderful?

Let’s Review

  • Jesus Christ suffered the most excruciating death Rome could conceive, crucifixion…for you.
  • The Prince of Peace was shredded by a “cat of nine tails”…for you.
  • The King of Kings wore a crown of 4″ thorns…for you.
  • God became flesh so the world could know Him…including you.

Don’t believe the lies told to you by Satan, the culture, or your depressed emotions. Your life is of immeasurable worth because of the immeasurable price offered for it.

If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

 

This article was first posted 6/13/2014 and has since been updated.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, Love of God, salvation, self-worth, World View

Cold As Hell

Welcome Winter

If you live in other parts of the country or the world, you may not understand the mind of a Southerner. On the other hand, there’s probably no “may” to it.

Sweet tea in Mason jars. It’s a Southern thing.

You don’t understand why we like sweet tea, grits, cornbread, fried okra (if it’s done correctly), banjos, guns, God, and an occasional jab at the North (those *@!% Yankees). But that’s OK, we love you, anyway, as our typical hospitality demonstrates.

But when it comes to winter… You guys up north REALLY don’t get us. Seriously. Anytime we get excited about snow, you talk about how much you can’t stand it. You even make fun of how we shut down our lives when no more than a quarter of an inch falls on the streets.

You really, really don’t understand.

So, when yesterday morning was the coldest day of the year so far, and when this morning’s temps were all the way down in the high 20’s here in Chattanooga, you folk not from here don’t understand how a guy like me could be giddy over being able to break out a fleece-lined flannel shirt in order to go outside and see my breath as I walked over crunchy, frost-covered fallen leaves.

You see, it’s like this: When you’re accustomed to frying in high heat and swimming in humidity, actually experiencing cold weather in winter is refreshing. And, yes, we are dreaming (and hoping, praying, etc.) for a white Christmas.

Any Cold Is Bad

However, there are some Southerners who hate any kind of cold. Many of them are the poor and elderly who don’t have the ability to fight off the low temperatures. They suffer during this time.

But then there are others who moved to the South to escape the cold winters of the north; they feel betrayed when it gets cold down here.

Finally, there are those who can’t be happy no matter what. They want to complain about anything and everything, hot or cold. As a matter of fact, more often than not it’s that type of people you will hear repeat a familiar descriptor about the weather:

“It’s cold as hell outside!” 

Describing Hell

“Hell” is a word that is used in describing a whole host of things (or, a whole heck of a lot of things… see what I did there?). Things are big as, hot as, loud as, messed up as, weird as, and sorry as hell. But on what do they base their adjectives? How much do they really know about Hell in order to draw a similarity that makes any sense?

I mean, if I was to say, “That ant is as tiny as Mt. Everest,” would that even compute? No, because Mt. Everest isn’t tiny.

Then why say something is as cold as hell? I mean, we know from the Bible that Hell is hot, but how hot exactly is up for debate; therefor describing something as “hot as hell” is within the realm of possibility, at least.

But “cold as“? Really?

On the other hand, Hell is described as a place where the residents will, despite the wailing masses crying out for a single drop of water, be completely and utterly alone. They will reside in a place without love, without compassion, without the gentle touch of a caring hand, without a single, solitary voice ever saying, not even once in a billion years, “It will be OK.”

Does that make you shiver thinking about it? It does me.

Maybe Hell is “cold” after all. 

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Filed under America, General Observations, places, Weather