Monday, October 29, 2007

The Height of Vanity

It is another 'Dancing with the Stars' family night at the Dear house... So I am aimlessly surfing the world wide web and engaging in the height of vanity otherwise known as 'googling my own name.'

Have you ever done that? It is interesting and sometimes scary what you can find. Here are some of the odd-er references to 'Noel Dear.'

link -- This is a record of a technical problem I had back in 1998 when I owned an internet service provider in Mississippi. That was over nine years ago. I guess some things don't ever get erased from the internet.

link -- This is an article a newspaper did on my views of worship. They really messed up what I said, but that's par for the course with that newspaper.

link -- This is an article that talks about my house burning down a few years ago.

link -- This site says I married a girl from Mississippi State University. If I would have known that before I got married I would have looked for someone from a school with a better football team.

I think every funeral or wedding I've done pops up if you go far enough into the search lists.

It's funny to see sites about people who share your name...

link -- Here is an article that is trying to determine if 'Pastor Noel' is gay. Obviously, he's talking about a different 'Pastor Noel.'

link -- This page has a classic picture of 'Pastor Noel' at the 'Chicken Barbeque.'

link -- Here is a video of 'Pastor Noel', only here Pastor Noel is a Mexican woman ventriloquist.

link -- Here is the real 'Pastor Noel' blog. In this blog I pretend to be a mountain climber. I bet you didn't know I climbed mountains in my spare time.

OK. I can't think of any kind of spiritual point or lesson to make from all of this, but I have successfully waisted enough time for 'Dancing with the Stars' to go off.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Look Mom... No Hands!

From our earliest childhood days, we tried to prove our independence, our strength, our toughness. As we grew from childhood to teendom, we fought with our parents to gain freedom and autonomy. As a society, we believe we have conquered nature and we reign supreme.

For most people today, the mindset is not that we don't believe there is a God, rather the mindset today is that we don't believe we need God.

Why would we need God anyway? We've got advanced medicine, unbelievable technology, powerful machines and engines. We can fly in airplanes; tunnel under mountains; split atoms; build skyscrapers; transplant hearts and lungs... Is there no limit to the awesome power and ability of man?

But this morning, as I read the news, I saw the pictures of the tragic fires sweeping across California. I read that over 700 homes were destroyed just yesterday and no relief is in sight.

A couple of pictures really caught my attention...

This is a photograph of a lady looking at the Santiago Canyon fire from atop the Quail Hill community. In the foreground of the picture, you see the power, might, and ingenuity of man. You see the buildings, the lights, signs of technology and achievement. In the background you see the approaching fire. Man may have great strength, but if the wind blows the wrong direction for too long, the whole city will may be destroyed in a matter of hours, and man will be helpless to do anything about it.

This photo tells a similar story...

It turns out, we may not be as independent as we thought. We may not have the strength and power to shrug off God and call Him a relic of history after all.

As I read the news and looked at the photographs, I thought of something I read in the Psalms...

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:3-4)

Maybe we do need the Lord! Maybe we need Him a lot more than we sometimes think. Maybe we can learn a lesson in the tragedy of the California fires.

Read this passage a line at a time and see if the Lord doesn't change your perspective and focus today...

He looks on the earth, and it trembles;

He touches the hills, and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.

Psalm 104:32-34

Noel Dear

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Middle School Gives Birth Control Pills to Students & Caviar to local Inmates

King Middle School in Portland, Maine has decided to give birth control pills along with other prophylactics to 11-13 year olds who request them. And they plan to do this without the permission or even the knowledge of the parents.

There is something terribly wrong with this and it's probably not what you are thinking. Some will look at this and cringe because 11 year old girls are being encouraged to have sex through the distribution of birth control pills. That should make us cringe, but it is not the fundamental problem here.

Some will express grave concern that potentially dangerous prescription medicine is being given to children without their parent's permission or knowledge. I would share your concern, but that is not the fundamental problem either.

The fundamental problem is that the purpose of the school is to TEACH academic subjects, not to PARENT the children. Handing out birth control pills in PEZ dispensers crosses the line and usurps the authority and responsibility of the parents.

The AP article says the school is doing this because of a surge in pregnancies among middle schoolers in the area. It is very unfortunate that this problem exists in Portland, and something should be done about it, but this is not the responsibility of the school. It has also been brought to my attention that certain inmates in correctional facilities in and around Portland are suffering from a shortage of beluga caviar. I wonder if the school feels a moral obligation to provide this much needed garnish.

You might ask, "How is there any comparison between helping children avoid becoming pregnant and encouraging the reformation of inmates with caviar?" Well, the biggest parallel is this: NEITHER ONE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL. (And, as it turns out, one would be about as effective as the other.)

Two wrongs don't make a right.

It seems there are some 'wrong headed' parents in Portland. But that will not be remedied by adding 'wrong headed' schools.

Noel Dear

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't Teach Your Kids To Spell

It's a family TV night. We're going back and forth between Dancing with the Stars and the Cleveland Indians game. Niether one is very exciting. I'm not a fan of professional baseball or professional dancing. I've never been so glad we didn't have picture in picture on our television. I don't think I could handle watching both at the same time.

Donna wanted to tell me something we just saw on tv was 'dumb.' The only problem is that we don't allow our kids to say that word. (I know that is a silly rule, but I just don't like to hear kids constantly say things and people are dumb.) So Donna, out of habit said, "That was d-u-m-b." Her comment was immediately followed by Emily's (our six year old), "Momma, I know how to spell and you just said a bad word."


Emily is sitting with me, and I can see her little mind trying to process this contradiction. Is it wrong to say 'dumb'? Does mom really think it is wrong to say 'dumb'? Maybe what is right and wrong changes from time to time. Is this a classical case of situational ethics? Have I witnessed a paradigm shift in the ethical mores of my family? What is the epistemological foundation for banning the word 'dumb'?

O.K. Maybe she wasn't thinking all of that, but I do wonder how she processes this.

It might not be such a serious matter if Emily rebels one day and sows her oats by saying 'dumb' over and over and over, but I do wonder if we are sending the same kinds of signals with more important matters. I wonder what messages we're sending about the importance of prayer, the seriousness of gossip, and the value of loving the people God puts in our lives.

Something for all of us to think about.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hannah's Poem

Here is a poem that my eight year old daughter wrote...


Swiftly goes summer,
Soon it will be winter.
If we see the birds fly south,
Our breath will fly from our mouths.
Though it is a while 'till spring,
We still will joyfully sing.
Because fall is very close,
We get our fall clothes.
Even though it is cold,
The sun is as bright as gold.