Praying in Public and the Stink it Causes

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Tim Tebow <a href=

#15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)” width=”584″ height=”405″ /> OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Praying in public has made news headlines recently.

A school in Alabama in the Lee County district received a complaint from a parent through the organization “Freedom From Religion” about a public prayer that was led by a student over the PA system before a football game. The letter detailed some U.S. Supreme Court rulings about public prayers in school.

One of the examples included was the 2000 ruling of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, which concluded that even student-led or initiated prayer over a public loud speaker at football games was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

The area schools decided to stop the practice, but fans were not happy. Friday night at Smiths Station High School, attendees yelled out part of the Lord’s Prayer before the game- the same prayer that was read by a student over the loud speaker to bring this all into question.

A month ago, a high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington tried to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he should have been allowed to lead his players in prayer immediately after games on the field. He failed to convince them to force the Bremerton schools to reinstate him and allow him to lead prayers again.

So why are Christians so upset when they are not allowed to use the schools for their public prayer? The right to pray and practice our religion is not being taken away. I remember my teacher in my high school Government class teaching us that “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” We certainly have the right to pray. We don’t have the right to expect that everyone else should take part in our prayers.

Matthew Chapter 5:5,6 says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Oh, and I used this picture of Tim Tebow, but I’m not inferring that he shouldn’t have been allowed to take a knee and do his thing, just as I support the athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem. The difference is that Tim Tebow isn’t using a government-run forum to lead an audience in prayer.

God doesn’t need a microphone or PA system to hear our prayers. When Christians throw tantrums and yell “persecution” for not being able to use public forums to lead audiences in prayer, they are not shining a good light on Christianity.

 

Will the Church Fill the Government Role of Healthcare?

Many have already heard of the Cassidy-Graham legislation that the GOP is trying to get passed through quickly to try to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. They are trying to sneak it through before the end of the month so that they can repeal it with a simple majority- which is 51 votes. This will kick 30 million people off the healthcare that they desperately need. It’s been said that Christians don’t think that the government should step in to fill the need that the church is supposed to be filling, but will that happen?

There are many medical missions that go out to other countries. There are even medical missions here in the United States, such as Operation Renewed Hope that provides one day clinics through a host church. Many Christians also volunteer at their local free clinics. These programs are wonderful and useful, but they can’t begin to cover every needy person in this country and their medical expenses. Our college town has a free clinic that I know is staffed by Christians, but even they can’t take on all the medical needs of every needy person in our area, and even these charitable places accept Medicaid funding. They can’t run it on volunteers alone. They also don’t provide therapies that disabled people in our area(including my son) need to improve their lives. These programs are going to get cut if this small majority get their way.

Can your church afford to take care of the medical costs of your own pastor- let alone every member or non-member in your community who can’t afford it? I have seen the charitableness of church people, and it is extremely admirable. I believe the people who give their money to help the poor and the sick will be rewarded, but I’ve heard far too many people say that it’s not their problem to be assured that Christians would be able to take over the responsibility that the government has been doing for years.

Jesus did call for us to take care of the sick and needy. Matthew 25 has some strong words about those who do not do so. Nowhere in the Bible does it speak about the government not being able to do so, as well. If the Church stepped up and provided healthcare for ALL- without judgement or strings attached, maybe people would be more apt to believe that we don’t need the government.

The American Medical Association, AARP, and the American Cancer Society are just a few groups who have come out against this bill. Jimmy Kimmel has a lot to say about it

So, you don’t like the ACA, or ObamaCare(as everyone who despises it likes to refer to it), a bi-partisan group of senators are working together to make a better plan- one that does not include ripping out all the benefits of the needy in our country. Please call your senators and tell them you don’t want healthcare to be ripped away from those who need it. Show the nation that Christianity is pro-life for all- not just the unborn fetus.

 

The Pokemon Go Autumn Equinox Celebration!

pokemon_go_equinox2017-600x315I’m sure that I can’t be the only one that feels like they are the only one who still plays Pokemon GO. Yeah, remember how hot this game was in the summer of 2016, but it kind of fizzled out when the weather got cold. Now, over one year later, there is an Autumn Equinox celebration with bonuses for users.

It will start on September 22 at 1 PM ET or 4 PM ET, and according to VG 24/7, users have the opportunity to earn double the normal Stardust for catching Pokemon.

There are also some other bonuses like hatching 2 km eggs that allow the Chansey, Mareep, Larvitar, and much more. I am guessing that you probably couldn’t have hatched those guys from a 2 km egg before, because I think I have only hatched them from 5 or 10 km eggs.

In addition to that, there will be special boxes available at the in-game shop that includes some Lucky Eggs, Lure Modules, as well as some Super-Incubators that can hatch eggs at 1.5 times faster the normal rate.

Then there is another bonus which is that any new registration of a new Pokemon into the Pokedex will earn players triple the normal XP. So if you want to get that Raikou, Entei, or Suicune in your area, you should go an do that.

So if you are the type that is still playing, get in on this before it ends on October 2nd at 1 PM PT (4 PM ET).

I want to see Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Right Now! Darn you, actual release date!

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Wes Anderson, but I love the pastel look of his latest works such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. Then there is his animated masterpiece of Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I feel is so under-appreciated.

If you haven’t seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, it has an all-star cast and a unique style of animation which features a lot of fur and an odd frame rate. Also, if you haven’t see it yet, then you should.

Looks like Mr. Anderson is up to his old and new tricks with Isle of Dogs. The first trailer popped up today, and it is a film that Disney and Pixar would not touch unless there is some post-apocalyptic future that I don’t know about.

Yeah, this film feels very dark, with it taking place 20 years in the future as a mysterious dog flu hits Japan, forcing the government to banish all dogs to Trash Island. From there, it is about a young boy who journeys to the canine penal colony to find his doggie, because I would do that as an adult.

Of course, I am going to have to wait March 23rd, 2018 to see it, and I’m not certain if I will take my kids to see it. According to W magazine, it features “Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Bob Balaban, and several Japanese stars including Akira Takayama as well. The only surprise is that Anderson didn’t find characters for Angelica Huston and Jason Schwartzman to voice, as well”.

Amber Cantorna’s “Refocusing my Family” Tour and Release Date

Amber Cantorna was a daughter raised in a Christian home. Not just any Christian home, though. Her father was part of the Focus on the Family team- an executive for 30 years. When she came out to her family at the age of 27 as being gay, her family was torn apart. Amber has written a book called “Refocusing my Family,” which details her struggles coming out, being disowned by her family, and rediscovering her relationship with God.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Amber talked about her struggles with her faith and being a gay Christian.

” I think right now I’m at a point where I’m questioning more. All that I’ve seen Christians do in the name of God is so disheartening. I think I’ll always be a person of faith and have a relationship with God. But it’s embarrassing to call yourself a Christian with the way that so many people are treating others in the name of God. I still identify as a Christian but very much more on the progressive side.

There are still things that I’m working through and processing. Well what does that mean? Do I believe this still? Do I need to look at this differently?

But in a way, it’s also very freeing. I don’t feel like I need to have all the answers like I used to. Growing up, we had to have the answers. You couldn’t be wrong. There was no room for doubt.

What I love now about my faith community at Highlands is that there’s so much room to question and to doubt and there’s no fear in that. I feel very comfortable living in a space of mystery where I don’t know and I don’t feel like I have to know to be a Christian as long as I have my faith in God. A lot of these other things really don’t matter as much as people make them out to matter.”

Amber’s book is available on Amazon now, and she will be doing a book tour- with her first release event in Denver, Colorado on October 1st. To find out more about her events, you can visit her site.

For those LGBTQ+ people struggling with their own navigation of who they are and coming out process, Amber Cantorna has a non-profit called Beyond.

Our Review of the eGeeTouch TSA Smart Travel Lock

eGee TouchWe really live in an age where everything just has to be “smart”. I honestly believe that there will come a time when if an object can’t connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth or NFC, it will be classified as “useless”. It seems pretty obvious that the padlock will become smart, and we already reviewed the Master Lock last year. For those of you who want to have some kind of padlock when you are traveling, then you should consider the eGeeTouch TSA Smart Travel Lock.

This is essentially one of those padlocks, but without any combination for you to forget. Instead, you just give it a gentle tap on the eGeeTouch lock with an eGee Touch NFC tag or a Bluetooth device. As expected, there is an eGeeTouch App that is good for Apple or Android smartphones and tablets.

The set-up is easy enough, and it can use IDs to identify each paired device. By the way, you can set up the App to deny access of an old ID in an event of losing a mobile phone or a tag. Speaking of a lost device, there is a proximity sensor in the event of unintentionally leaving your bags behind.

By the way, the eGeeTouch is TSA-accepted, which means that it can bypass TSA authorized personnel at your airport. It is also rated for IP43 for protection of water splash.

In case you are worried about the battery, it is protected so someone can steal it and pick the lock. The battery is good for two years, and that is based on 3 time locking/unlocking. If you are worried about it running out, you can use the battery backup USB.

You should be able to get the eGee TSA Smart Travel Padlock on sites like Amazon for about $39.99 on sites like Amazon. You can find out more information about it on the eGeeTouch site, but you can’t purchase it from there.

The Top 5 Worst Ad Campaigns, Because You Just Got to Read This Obvious Clickbait!

Yeah, there are some days where I just write what I want to write, and so I wanted to write about ad campaigns that I am just sick of. Now, I am certain that there are some people who like these ad campaigns, but for me, some are so bad that I would not buy the product even if it were given to me for free.

5. The Kia Hamster Soul/Turbo Ads

As far as I can tell, this ad campaign started in 2009, as this one that I found on YouTube seems to show. The idea of hamsters spinning in their wheels while another pulls up in a Kia Soul makes its point pretty well, actually.

I think the one that most people remember is the one where the hamsters are dancing to the “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, and this one came out in 2012. It features the hamsters showing up in the middle of what looks like to be a video game like Halo and dancing to the tune.

There is now one for the Kia Turbo with a hamster in diapers. Not only that, he is trying to escape from a hospital, and jumps off the roof of it. However, he saves himself by opening a piece of cloth as a chute. Yeah, here it is, and man, it’s terrible, and it’s over 1:40! What the hey?

Why do I hate these ads? Because I find these little hamsters to be simply creepy, not cute. I actually think that they have made several ads by now, with one per year, and they aren’t worthy of being the Energizer bunny for Kia.

Check out numbers 1-4 after the jump.

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The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman on National Geographic; Air Date and Time

Last year, we watched as Morgan Freeman traveled the world, finding out how different beliefs about religion came about, and how religion has shaped many in the world. The Discovery Channel is bringing Freeman back- this time in a documentary to discover the common binds that define humanity in The Story of Us.

According to the National Geographic press release:

“At a time when global events seem to be driving cultures apart, The Story Of Us aims to uncover the fundamental forces that keep our societies together, and to reveal the common humanity that lies inside each one of us. Each of the six hourlong episodes will explore a single fundamental force or topic, including love, belief, power, war and peace, rebellion and freedom.”

Morgan Freeman’s smooth voice makes him the perfect narrator. I would love to have him be the voice on my GPS navigation.

Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production, National Geographic says about Freeman, “It is no surprise that our global audience has warmly embraced Morgan as part of the National Geographic family. The beauty of this franchise is that Morgan represents all of us on his personal quest to understand these topics.”

The first and second episodes will contain an episode with Morgan Freeman interviewing former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, according to Entertainment Weekly. The season will premiere Wednesday, October 11th on the National Geographic Channel.

The Good Place Season 2 Release Date, and Why Does It Have One?

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Most Improved Player" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Most Improved Player” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

It is difficult to be a new fall TV show on the networks, as your lifespan is not going to be long, statistically speaking. Television has changed a lot in the past decade, and how we view it online has affected how shows are marketed and distributed. Most shows rely on being a hit from the get-go, such as last season’s incredibly popular This is Us. However, some shows, like the mediocre The Good Place, somehow receive another season, and this is what is known about The Good Place Season 2 with its release date and why it even has one.

If you aren’t familiar with The Good Place, it is a TV comedy series from creator Michael Schur, who also had his hand on such modern-day hit comedy shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office. The show stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, who ends up being in the highest heaven, even though she has spent her life in constant selfishness. As it turns out, her presence in the blissful afterlife is some kind of celestial clerical error, and the first season was Eleanor facing the truth in this “liar revealed” plot. You can read my review of the pilot on another site here.

I started watching The Good Place last season, and I just lost interest after the tenth or eleventh episode. As I said before, TV watching has changed, and if you just forget to TiVo it or stream it online, you just really forget about it. I didn’t really hear about the show at all last spring, and just assumed that it had been cancelled. When I saw the first season on Netflix, I decided to catch the last few episodes, including the finale, which I assumed was the series finale.

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Accell USB-C to DisplayPort Cable and UltraAV Mini Dual Display MST Hub

It has been a while since I reviewed a good Accell product, and I really liked the Powramid. They make a lot of excellent accessories that are good for the office, and I was pleased to review two of them.

Accell 6-Feet USB-C to DisplayPort Cable

Accell 1This first device takes advantage of two ports that have become very popular: the USB-C and DisplayPort. Since there are many displays that have that DisplayPort port, and many devices with USB C (MacBook Retina, MacBook Pro 2016, and Chromebook Pixel, as well as the HTC 10 that I use and have reviewed), it just makes sense to combine the two.

In this case, this is one nice 6 foot cable made to support 4K at 60Hz resolution, at up to 5.4Gbps per lane, which is good for games, video, or just about anything that you want on the screen. Best of all, it works from all operating systems like Mac, Windows, or Google, provided it will support DisplayPort Alternate (ALT) mode.

All that, and it is compliant to VESA DP Alt mode on USB-C ver. 1.0. If this is something that you want or need (or both), head on over to the Accell site and lay down $31.99 for it.

UltraAV Mini Dual Display MST Hub

Accell 2Now, if you are looking to expand your device into two monitors, you can use the UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to 2 DisplayPort Multi-Display MST Hub. Yes, that is a long name, and this particular device is ready-to-use for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, or Surface Pro 2, but will also work for a DisplayPort Windows PC.

The setup of this particular device is simple allowing you to plug it in to Microsoft’s favorite all-in-one PC/laptop, and there is a scan button that refreshes . It uses a multi-stream transport (MST) protocol, which supports up to 2 displays independently at 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz or 3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz with DP 1.2.

For those that don’t have two DisplayPort Monitors, the MST Hub has Dual Mode or DisplayPort ++. This is where it directly outputs with single-link HDMI, VGA, and DVI signals using either an active or passive adapter.

For those that want to get in on this, head on over to the Accell site and lay down a good $79.99 for it.