(Cross-posted at ClobberBlog.)
I woke up sick. Lightheaded, nauseous, my neck aching and throbbing like it needed to be popped. I almost never throw up. It’s like I have a high fortitude save, so I have to roll a 1 to throw up. In nine months of being pregnant with my daughter back in 2005-2006, it only happened once. Yet, on Saturday August 4, I threw up.
My summer had been pretty awesome up to that point. Scratch that, my entire year had been mostly awesome. I had completed 19 credits with nothing lower than a B (hey, it was Calvin—what do you want from me?), I had switched my thesis topic to something that I am zealously passionate about, I was eating healthier (thank you pescetarianism), I had kicked my dependency on caffeine, and I was learning to cook and losing weight. I had co-organized a new Mormon studies blog with the help of 24+ people much smarter and sexier than I am, and I’d had a blast at the 2012 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. John Dehlin called me a “rock star” after one of my sessions, so it must be true. I seemed to have my depression and anxiety under control, and it dawned on me that I felt happier with my life than I had been in years. I didn’t remember feeling so happy since my mother was alive.
My guilty secret was that I was finding all of this wholeness and balance and happiness without God.
John Constantine descends into Hell in Constantine (2005). © Warner Bros. Pictures.
The doctrine of Hell has come under considerable fire in recent years.  One need only browse the rumblings on religion-themed Internet discussion forums and Web logs to glean that the notion of a God who eternally disciplines sinful humans in the afterlife is about as popular as parents who spank their children.  Over a year ago, popular author and pastor Rob Bell sparked intense debate amongst evangelicals with the publication of Love Wins, a book wherein Bell speaks favorably of universalism, saying: “Whatever objections a person might have to [universalism], and there are many, one has to admit that it is fitting, proper, and Christian to long for it.”  Bell insists that he is not a universalist, but many within the evangelical community raised their voices in protest of this apparent attack on Hell from within our own ranks.
For my own part, I affirm the existence of Hell. I believe the Bible teaches that Hell is a real place, that it will be occupied, that those who go there experience anguish, and that assignment to Hell is permanent and based on one’s actions in this life. Furthermore, I believe that the alternatives to Hell—namely, universalism and post-mortem salvation—create more problems than they solve. A belief in the possibility of negative eternal outcomes as well as positive is the only option that validates our free will and grants meaning and purpose to our mortality.
My new “steak night.” Photo by aquabounty.com
Vegetarianism vs. Omnivorism: A Brief Summary
A few weeks ago, my younger sister was visiting from Seattle with her boyfriend wherein she surprised me with the announcement that she is a vegetarian now. Fried chicken wings, corn dogs, green beans with bacon cooked into them, and sloppy joes were all staples in the household where we grew up, so this struck me as a pretty big change from how we were raised. My sister was nonchalant about it. She said that the switch had not been hard at all, though she did miss seafood.
I read a good deal of omnivore vs. vegetarian arguments years ago, and it did seem to me that vegetarians had the better arguments for healthy eating. I was less attracted to arguments centered around preventing animal cruelty, not because I am in favor of excessive cruelty to animals (duh), but inasmuch as “excessive cruelty” is defined as “any act of killing animals for use in food or other animal byproducts,” I fail to see why animals are worthy of our compassion and protection when other forms of life (such as insects) are not. Personally, it strikes me as a little on the arrogant side to make calls like that. If the issue is only the inhumane treatment and deaths of animals, then one can simply buy organic meats approved by farmers’ humane societies.
Bottom line: I had vegetarian envy for health reasons, but not animal rights reasons.  What I lacked was the discipline to switch to a vegetarian diet. Then my sister got me re-thinking the issue.
So, why pescetarian? Continue reading
(My belated Mother’s Day post)
Stop. Before you read any further, you and I need to be on the same page.
So, drop what you’re doing and go watch this 4-minute 42-second video review of Salt (2010) starring Angelina Jolie.
Done? Good. Now on to the post.
Isn’t it awesome how I’ve been neglecting this blog for over two months?
Anyhow, my review of the 2011 update of the New International Version was published in the Winter 2011 issue of Priscilla Papers. That article has been made available online as one of CBE’s free articles:
“Book Review: 2011 NIV Bible”