Now I will make perhaps the deepest public confession in my blogging carreer.
I thought of many strategies to increase the number of visitors. One of the ways is to add a link to my signature in my emails.
Another way to increase visitors from certain countries (to fill my cluster map) is to comment on blogs from blogs from Tuvalu, Central Africa, Kazachstan etc. And the saddest thing is that I would comment on blogs that are not even interesting (comments like: "Wow that's really a great post, ... incredible how so much creativity flows out of boredom"). (Really, I repented!)
But if you thought that was pathetic.... this is how low I can go... the epitomy of pathetic.
Lately, I noticed that people put their links in alphabetical order. And since my blog is called "Yet I will Rejoice", it almost always ends up being the last link. (I assume that first links are more often visited.) So I have been contemplating changing the name into "And Yet I Will Rejoice". I even have thought about changing my blogname into Man-san, my official passport name, since the M is before the S(ander).
But fortunately, I gave it a second thought. And now I decide not to do everything for the stats. Let me end with some tags ;-)
Allister McGrath's "The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief In the Modern World" is a very clear argument and easy to read.
The title might suggest that that atheism is the same as disbelief, so when disbelief is on the decline, so is atheism. However, atheism, as McGrath and many others argue, is a form of belief. Indeed it takes at least as much belief to deny the existence of God, as to believe in God.
Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895), a British biologist and fierce defender of Charles Darwin's evolution theory, distinguished atheism from agnosticism. His stance was that God is unknowable. Or, applied to himself: he does not know, he is an agnost. Atheism, however, denotes a stronger belief that there is no God, sometimes bordering to anti-theism, an active opposition to the belief in God.
McGrath maintains these categories when he describes the rise and fall of atheism. Thus, the object of his interest is somewhat narrower than the subtitle (disbelief) might suggest.
Nevertheless, McGrath provides with a clear clear description of the rise and fall of atheism against the background of societal, scientific and cultural modernization and and post-modernization.
McGrath argues that atheism represented a promise of liberation from corrupted social, political and cultural institutions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The authority of the Church and the nobility in France was increasingly questioned by the upcoming middle-class. The legitimacy of the ancienne régime was further eroded by the deplorable state of the the French economy. The crisis of legitimacy culminated in the French Revolution in 1789... (to be continued)
Alister McGrath,Twilight of Atheism,review,atheism,modernism,theology
Coffee not bad for the heart
WASHINGTON - High coffee consumption is not bad for the heart, scholars conclude after surveying 128,000 men and women for twenty years. The results were published in a scientific journal, Circulation.
Researcher Esther Lopez-Garcia from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid thinks that there is enough evidence to prove that coffee poses no threat to the heart. "We believe that this study shows that there is no causal relation between the consumption of filtered coffee and heart diseases."
However, the research points out that a higher percentage of coffee drinkers are also smokers and alcohol drinkers. The latter do cause heart problems, according to the researchers.
Chocolate does not make happySYDNEY - Popular belief tells us that chocolate consumption correlates with happiness and pleasure. It would help you feel more at rest; it would help against depressions; and it would be as addictive as alcohol and tabacco. However, researchers from the University of New South Wales and the Black Dog Institute in Australia, argue against these beliefs.
Chocolate can help you feel more positive at the moment of consumption, but this effect is not stronger than in other cases of consumption like french fries or ice cream. Moreover, after chocolate consumption, people tend to feel more guilty. This could lead to a prolongation of a depression, according to a publication in the Journal of Affective Disorders.coffee,chocolate,depression,heart diseases,science,anti-depressiva,
Koffie niet slecht voor het hart
WASHINGTON - Veel koffie drinken is niet slecht voor het hart. Tot die conclusie komen onderzoekers die twintig jaar lang 128.000 mannen en vrouwen volgden. Het onderzoek is maandag gepubliceerd in het blad Circulation.
Onderzoekster Esther Lopez-Garcia van Universidad Autonoma de Madrid denkt dat er voldoende bewijs is dat gefilterde koffie bij de meeste mensen geen gevaar voor het hart oplevert. "Wij geloven dat deze studie duidelijk laat zien dat er geen verband is tussen consumptie van gefilterde koffie en hartziekten."
Wel blijkt uit de studie dat koffieleuten vaker roken en alcohol drinken dan mensen die weinig drinken. En die twee zaken verhogen de kans op hartklachten wel, aldus de onderzoekers.
Chocolade maakt niet vrolijkerSYDNEY - Chocolade krijgt van oudsher allerlei vormen van vreugde en plezier toegedicht. Zo zou je er rustig van worden, helpt het tegen depressies en is het net zo verslavend als alcohol en tabak. Maar volgens onderzoekers van de Universiteit van New South Wales en het Black Dog Institute in Australië klopt daar niets van.
Van chocolade kan je tijdens het eten wel positieve gevoelens krijgen, maar niet meer dan van patat of ijs. Bovendien krijg je na het eten eerder een schuldgevoel, stellen zij. Volgens de onderzoekers leidt dat eerder tot verlenging van een negatieve bui, zo blijkt uit hun publicatie in het vakblad Journal of Affective Disorders.
ROTTERDAM - More and more airline passengers choose to compensate harmful emissions when they fly. According to GreenSeat, a supplier of so-called 'green' seats, this is the result of travel agencies integrating a choice to compensate in their booking procedures. Travel agency "Sawadee" is a front runner in this area.
An additional 2 to 5 percent of the ticket price is enough to compensate emissions, through the planting of trees, the conservation of forests, and the financing of sustainable energy projects.
According to Saskia Griep, managing touroperator at "Sawadee", 25 percent of all clients choose a ‘green’ seat. But she expects that more people will choose for green seats. Individual passengers and organizations can turn a "grey seat" green. Every flight can be compesnated with Greenseat, no matter where or when the ticket was bought.
ROTTERDAM - Steeds meer reizigers kiezen ervoor om de schadelijke uitstoot van hun vliegreis vrijwillig te compenseren. Volgens GreenSeat, de aanbieder van zogenaamde 'groene' stoelen, komt dit doordat een groeiend aantal reisorganisaties in de boekingsprocedure de optie om te compenseren heeft opgenomen. Reisorganisatie Sawadee is koploper op het gebied van compensatie bij vliegreizen.
Door gemiddeld tussen de twee en vijf procent van de ticketprijs extra te betalen, kan de uitstoot gecompenseerd worden door aanplant en bescherming van bossen en financiering van duurzame energieprojecten.
Volgens Saskia Griep, manager touroperator bij Sawadee, kiest 25 procent van alle klanten voor een ‘groene’ stoel, maar naar verwachting zal dit aantal snel hoger worden. Particulieren en organisaties kunnen bij Greenseat de ‘grijze stoel’ weer ‘groen’ maken. Iedere vlucht kan bij Greenseat worden gecompenseerd, ongeacht waar of wanneer het ticket is gekocht.
The Netherlands may be part of the rich industrialised western world, but it is performing poorly when it comes to fighting poverty. Around 700,000 families are living below the poverty line or close to it.
Without the help of charity organisations such as the Food Bank in Amsterdam, thousands of families would not have a decent meal every day.
Regina Mac-Nack is a deeply religious woman dedicated to helping the needy. Some ten years ago she started cooking meals for people in her neighbourhood whom she knew could not afford to buy food.
At first, she catered mainly to the needs of the homeless and drug addicts, but in recent years a large number of people who have houses and jobs have come to rely on the free meals provided by Regina and her team of 110 volunteers.
Every Thursday evening, poor families in Amsterdam's southern Bijlmer district can come to collect a box with food in it to help them through the week. On other days of the week she hands out cooked meals in various places in the Amsterdam.
Over the years, Regina has become an expert in collecting free food from farmers, greengrocers, shops and individuals. You would expect most people who come for help would be either unemployed or addicted to drugs, but Regina says the problems are more diverse:
"There's women who were left by their husbands, people who've lost their jobs and others who do work but earn little money."
Regina says it's not just individuals with serious debts or who don't know how to manage their financial situation.
"Some people's income simply stays the same year after year. We help more than a thousand families who live off very little money. They have to take care of their children, but find it impossible with the money that's left after they've paid their rent and bills."
Her food bank not only hands out food, but also clothes as well as advice on how to make ends meet.
Regina works seven days a week, and sometimes even spends her own money on the food. Her Christian faith made her decide to devote all her time to helping people. "I do this because of religion. Once I was very sick. I was in a wheelchair and the doctors said I would not get better. I asked God for help and he did. The doctors said it was a miracle. The miracle of Regina."
One of the Bijlmer's characteristic tower blocks
"It's not because I am so special, but I think people are happy with what I do, they respect that. I am grateful for that."
But in the end, higher incomes for the people who now need her help would make Regina happier than any award.
"I don't see something positive coming. In fact the problems seem to be worse than before. Help from the local government for my project wouldn't take away the cause. Prices are going up, while people's income stays the same. You have to raise people's salaries and help them to learn how to use the money they have. To make the right choice for the future."
God assigned Noach to build the Ark, so he and
his family could escape the destruction by the flood. Five thousand years later Johan Huibers has built his own Ark. Two times smaller than the original, but still seventy meters long. Are we to expect another flood? Between the construction companies and machine factories stands an ordinary grey barrack. We are in North-Holland town of Schage, from the outside nothing extraordinary is visible. Only when you open the doors you see a structure that looks very much like the Ark of Noach. Everywhere, in the hall lies saw dust. Johan Huibers, an enthusiastic building company owner from the town of Langedijk, walks up to us. "Many people ask me whether I expect heavy floods! ... In 1992, I had a dream. I saw the Netherlands disappearing under an enormous flood, not unlike parts of South-East Asia when it was hit by the tsunami. ... Later my cousin had the same dream which I considered an affirmation. Then I had the idea to rebuild the Ark of Noach."
"It sounds like an end time prophecy. Do you - just like in the days of Noach - expect a flood?"
Johan: "People fear when I tell them my dream about the flood. However, fear is not my message, fear is not good. God has promised that He will never destroy the whole surface ot the earth by water again. I believe that. However, I look forward to the return of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it will happen in fifty or hundred years time, nobody knows, but we are near. Moreover, it seems pretty clear to me that our society is not going in a good direction. I don't say that to make people fear and tremble, but my message is clear enough: choose Jesus, since it is still possible!"
noah's ark,flood,ark rebuilt,Netherlands
This sounds very pious and very correct for a Christian. But what do I really mean by saying that I believe?
To believe is:
- to accept as true or real: Do you believe the news stories?
- to credit with veracity: I believe you.
- to expect or suppose; think: I believe they will arrive shortly.
In the Bible it says: "To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see."(Hebrews 11:1)
To be quite honest, I sometimes have severe doubts. Why do I still fear in the shadow of the Cross? Why does my heart not overflow with love for Christ, nor for people around me for whom Christ sacrificed his life? Why do I counteract my belief by my deeds?
I accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ four years ago. I was filled with joy. Although I cannot deny that I am more joyful now than I was five years ago, I still wonder whether this is everything? Hasn't God promised more? Or, something may be wrong with me because I sometimes feel disoriented and disillusioned.
I fear that when I talk about Jesus Christ, I talk from my cultural viewpoint. I fear that Jesus Christ has become merely my cultural constitution.
Yet, in spite of my doubts, the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection is the most powerful and life changing story I know. And yesterday, in spite of my doubts I found myself thanking Jesus when I heard that one my best friends became father of his first born son. Even when I doubt, even when I fail to pray, I confirm that God is good. I don't know whether that is something to be worried about, or whether that is my advantage.
|You Belong in Amsterdam|
A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).
Laughter is the biological reaction of humans to moments or occasions of humor: an outward expression of amusement. Laughter is subcategorised into various groupings depending upon the extent and pitch of the laughter: giggles, clicks (which can be almost silent), chortles, chuckles, hoots, cackles, sniggers and guffaws are all types of laughter. Smiling may be considered a mild silent form of laughter. Some studies indicate that laughter differs depending upon the gender of the laughing person: women tend to laugh in a more "sing-song" way, while men more often grunt or snort. Babies start to laugh at about 4 months of age. Philosopher John Morreall theorises that human laughter may have its biological origins as a kind of shared expression of relief at the passing of danger. The relaxation we feel after laughing may help inhibit the fight-or-fligh response, making laughter a behavioral sign of trust in one's companions.
Airline flights are one of the biggest producers of the global warming gases. But you can make your travel a little greener.
Here you can calculate flight emissions and then ‘neutralise’ them through community projects which save exactly the same amount of carbon dioxide.
Er is ook een NEDERLANDSE organisatie bezig met CO2 compensatie: zie www.treesfortravel.nl! De rekenmethode wijkt ietsjes af, maar je komt op ongeveer dezelfde bedragen uit.
climate change, environment, carbon neutral, travel, trees
Trees for Travel is neither a tour operator, travel agency, nor booking office. You just make reservations and fly with the company of your choice. As an extra, with Trees for Travel you can contribute a modest amount per flight that goes towards neutralising the greenhouse effect. Trees for Travel employs the income for planting and maintaining forest, at least as much as is needed to compensate within one year for all the greenhouse gasses resulting from your air flight.Now I can travel in a more responsible way, which is great news since there are still so many places I woul like to visit.
My top 5 of travel destinations:
4. South Africa
3. New Zealand
travel, climate change, environment, Ecuador, South Africa, New Zealand, Israel, Indonesia, China
The weather was greyish and it was pretty cold. The air smelled like fertilizer, however a city person, like I am, can easily deceive himself that it is all natural. The wind whistled louder than the airplanes flying to Schiphol Amsterdam International Airport, so the illusion of country-side and nature was complete.
I once met a Church leader from the Ukraine who told me about his first time visit in Amsterdam. He cried over what he witnessed: drug abuse, poverty, prostitution, carelesness, extreme individualism and loneliness...
My initial reaction was: "Man, you're over-reacting!" However, on a second thought, I also started to question what we consider 'normal'. It struck me that 'Normal' has nothing to do with morals, rather it is the lowest common denominator of what we consider acceptable. And this normalnacy has indeed become very low in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands have become the "champion" of euthanasia. I acknowledge that the policy is based on humanistic values and many of them are honourable. However, when 'emotional pain' is a legal ground of euthanasia, we have adopted an extreme utilitaristic view of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. One needs not to be a Christian to understand that both pain and pleasure are constitutive elements of human being. Furthermore, the inherent value of human (and other) life, as God's own creation, is brutally denied. This denial is visible, not only in our euthanasia policy, but also in our abortion policy.
Fortunately, there are a few Christians in the Netherlands Parliament (especially from the SGP and the ChristenUnie), who express their concerns at the political level. However, in most churches I visited willingness to engage politically for change is indeed very low. This is the reason why Christian parties, except for the Christian Democrats remain small in numbers. Although I respect the Christian Democrats (CDA) and its predecessors I really think that they have fallen short over the last 70 years. As a party which is almost permanently in office (except for the 'purple years' 1994-2002), they cannot deny responsibility for our policies today.
But there are more reasons for Christians to engage in politics. To name a couple:
The Netherlands have lost their status as a front-runner in environmental politics. For the sake of the idol of economic growth, we compromise on our children's wealth and quality of life.
One of the aspects of our disdain of our lovely created environment is our farming industry. The Netherlands, in spite of its small area, is one of the biggest exporters of agricultural goods in the world. But instead of boasting about it, we should be embarrassed. Because the way we treat animals and soil is a crying shame. We consider ourselves 'civilized', but every 'primal' people would consider our meat industry outright barbarian.
Another urgent issue is poverty. We create poverty in the world through subsidising agricultural exports and we ruin markets in developing countries through dumping over-production. We boast ourselves for committing to one of the highest percentages of GDP for development aid (0,8%) in the world. But with one hand we give a little and with the other we take much more.
Also within the Netherlands we are witnessing a staggering growth of people living in poverty. In spite of "economic growth", more and more people are dependent on "food banks" and more and more people are placed out of their houses because they cannot pay their debts. In stead of teaching people stewardship and modesty, we allow omnipresent advertisements for easy credit and easy loans. And the government earns through state-owned casinos...
The idea that spending more is good for the economy is perverse.
These are but only a few of many reasons, why I believe Christians should engage in politics.
Our Lord is the famous one, the glorious, and his righteousness will shine through us, if respond to his call to act to voice His concerns on every societal and political level.
Christian politics, Netherlands, environment, poverty, euthanasia, prostitution, abortion