The Government Ain’t Gonna Take My 3-D Printer By Gosh!

You’ve heard that thing people say about guns:  “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.”

Well, now you can add:  “People with 3-D printers who print guns kill people”.

This is crazy.  People now have the ability to PRINT a gun and use it?

Yesterday a federal judge blocked the online publication of 3D printed gun blueprints that lawmakers around the country feared would lead to easily produced, untraceable firearms.  Well, not to be negative here but that’s not going to stop people from doing it.

I did some research on this and surprisingly, it is not illegal to make your own gun.  Gun enthusiasts have been legally making their own pistols, handguns, rifles and other firearms for centuries and there’s not even a requirement to register them as long as they don’t sell, share, trade or distribute their homemade firearms.

So the issue isn’t that people CAN make their own guns, it’s over the technology which can make it even easier to do it – especially to the outlaws who aren’t supposed to have guns.

Not to get all religious on you here but when I saw this story about 3-D printers making guns, I immediately thought of the verse in the Bible that tells us:  “….inventors of evil things…” (Romans 1:30)    People are continuing to think of new ways to do evil and this 3-D printing of guns is just another invention that will fall into the hands of evil people.

It doesn’t matter which side of the gun debate you stand on, this is something that affects everyone.  Even those of you who are law-abiding citizen and using your firearms for what they are meant for should condemn this new method of making firearms.

So what is a 3-D gun?

3D guns are firearms assembled from ABS plastic parts – the same material found in Legos — that can be made with a 3D printer.  3D printing uses computer-created digital models to create real-world objects, from simple chess pieces to more complex objects such as functioning clocks.  The printers follow the shape of the model by stacking layer upon layer of plastic or other material to make the objects.

The next obvious question most people have is:  “Does this 3D gun have the same force as a traditional handgun?”

Most of the sources I have found answer this question with an emphatic “no” and that most models have been found to have very little effectiveness and most fall apart when used.

In 2013, police in New South Wales, Australia, manufactured copies of Wilson’s original 3D gun, known as the Liberator, using a $1,700 desktop printer. They then placed it in a vise and fired it multiple times, using a wire to pull the trigger. Each time, the gun blew up as the bullet left the chamber.

So as it stands now, the one firing a 3D gun is more likely to be injured than their targets.

Okay, so we have a momentary sigh of relief here BUT there are two concerns here:

First, the very use of a 3D weapon by an “outlaw” on innocent people who are unaware of the ineffectiveness of the homemade firearms could still be a threat.  Just having one of these pointed in your face is enough to instill fear.

Second, I’m sure that those who intend to use this to do harm will continue to develop this technology so it will become more effective.  There are some evil geniuses out there so don’t be surprised if this technology gets better (or worse depending on how you look at it).

So how does this fit into the second amendment where people have the right to bear Arms?  Who knows?  I guess if the day comes when the Government is coming down the road to take over our lives that if they take all of our guns then we can still PRINT out some to defend ourselves right?

The courts will reconvene on this issue on August 10th and expect there to be more debate on this issue.  I’m sure there will be that same argument for the pro-3D gun printing side which will say “if you outlaw 3D printers then only outlaws will have 3D printers”.

My friends this is just another example of people thinking of new ways to do evil.

 

 

 

 

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How ‘Bout Them Dawgs, ArenaBowl and Frisbee Final Four

sports
Bulldawgs Win, Washington Wins ArenaBowl, Final Four set in AUDL

This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs.  I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday.  Never heard of these Bulldawgs?  I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed.  Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score.  They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title.  The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football.  I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me.  Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.

The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55.  The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason.  The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format.  Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.

MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery

Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance.  Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18.  The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego.  Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016).  Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).

 

Jesus Is NOT For Sale

img_0243I watched a presentation last week where the presenter was talking about how times have changed in the church and how we must change with it. One of the things that stood about about what he said was that people aren’t going to respond to the Gospel if they see it as a ploy to get them to come to our church. That was NEVER part of the Great Commission. It seems that today too many ministries and churches are trying to “get people saved” in order that they can build their church and get more people coming to their brand of Jesus. We need to stop selling Jesus because people aren’t buying it.

Years ago I was associated with a minister who was attempting to start a church. It should have been a red flag to me when he told me that he had to be a leader and that he wasn’t meant to be just a member. Just a member? You mean like me? When the church didn’t take off, he moved to another state.

So what are we selling here? Some people want to start a church or ministry and when it isn’t big, they lose interest. They think that God is only interested in the big things or the mega church.  We think that large numbers means that we are successful.  We treat God’s work like a business and think that the bottom line is the measure of success.

I’m always suspicious of peoples’ motives. Why are they REALLY doing what they are doing? Why does it need to be big?

Since I left the church I have had some who have come along to connect with me but when they see that I am not going to come to their church, their interest in me fizzles out. So that would lead me to think their interest in me isn’t in ME but in what I can do to be a part of their church or their ministry. Jesus didn’t start this thing so that preachers could have a pulpit to preach from. In fact, if you study the Bible, you will see that Jesus didn’t have a church and many times when He went into the synagogue it was to preach to the religious people. When Jesus went out to the people, He had compassion on them and their needs. He healed the sick and He spoke words of peace to them. The only people He asked to join Him was the disciples.

In Matthew 25, Jesus speaks to the righteous people about how they ignored Him when He was hungry, thirsty, needed clothes, was sick or in prison. When they asked when was it that Jesus was this way He said that whatever you did for one of the least of these that you have done it for Him. So today we should be more than just an advertisement for a church organization. We need to meet people’s needs. If we see someone who is thirsty we need to give them something to drink. If they are hungry we should be willing to feed them. If they need clothes we should help them with clothing and so on. Never once did this say that we are supposed to witness to them. I know that’s a shock to a lot of people out there but witnessing alone won’t get it done. Today if you talk to someone about Jesus and they don’t see action behind the words then they aren’t going to accept it. just saying “God Bless You” doesn’t quinch their thirst and giving them nice, glossy witness card isn’t going to do them much good.

In my years with the church I was always opposed to knocking on doors. To me it was too much like being a door-to-door salesman. That was never a good way to get people to come to church. In fact, I had never seen that method of evangelism – or whatever you call it – work. If it did, it had to be a low percentage. Yes, I know if you reach just ONE person it was worth it but I never saw that selling Jesus that way was very efficient.

Have compassion on people. Meet their needs. You’re not going to do it by having a perfect attendance in a mega church with air conditioning, padded seats and singing songs from high tech visual presentations.

You may be thinking that I’m against church. In some parts I am.  This kind of talk makes us uncomfortable.  We get defensive and protective about our church.  We would rather stand in our Jesus arenas and clap for the Lord than to do something about it.  I lived a miserable life going to church and nothing changing. When you leave church feeling worst than when you came then there is something wrong with church. Sure, I think church is important for instruction and teaching but I think there has been too much emphasis on that than going beyond the four walls of a building. The church still must go out and – not add to their numbers as a church organization – but add numbers to disciples of Jesus Christ. That’s it in a nutshell. I think we’re just often too chicken to do that. It’s easier to stay in the church and TALK about doing it or even giving money so other people will do it.

There are people in need and hurting around us that need help. They need compassion. They don’t need a sermon. If it’s really good news then they need to see why it is good news. They need to see us being an example in actions and not just words.

It’s up to each one of us to do our part. It’s not always fun and it’s not always easy but helping others as if we are doing it unto the Lord is the attitude we should have.

I worked in churches for most of my life. I worked with youth, I taught Sunday School and Bible Studies and I even tried to preach but that left me awkward and miserable. Why is that? Talk wasn’t getting it done. The only thing that really ministers to people is to meet their needs and SHOW them. You show them by doing.

Let’s stop selling Jesus. People aren’t buying it. Jesus doesn’t need us to sell Him, He needs us to BE Him to others.

What In The Sam Hill Are You Doing? (And Other Weird Sayings)

sayingSometimes we say words or phrases that we have either heard or has been passed down to us.  Here are some more of these sayings and why we say them:

“What In The Sam Hill?”

Back when people practiced some restrain in using profanity, some would use substitute phrases such as this one.  Sam Hill was a miner and geologist in the 1800’s in the United States and was known to have a foul mouth.  It is thought that the use of his name is a substitute for using foul language.  (And I had always thought it was SAND Hill!)

“Let’s Bury The Hatchet”

While it sounds fairly violent, it is actually a saying people use to reconcile their differences.  It is thought to have originated with Native Americans as a ceremonial act between tribes when they would come to an agreement by burying their hatchets in the ground.

“Let’s just throw in the towel”

This is usually what someone says when they surrender to a situation.  The term comes from the sport of Boxing.  As soon as a boxer’s coach notices that his fighter had been hit too many times and is no longer able to defend himself, he will throw a towel in the ring to end the fight.

“I’ll be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail”

Although not commonly used today, this referred to the quickness that one intends to do something.  A “shake” is a recognized unit of time in how fast a lamb can move its tail.  So if someone says that to you, that means they will do something quickly.

“We’re gonna have a gully washer”

If someone tells you this I suggest you had better get inside.  The term “gully washer” means heavy rain which originated that any gutter or gullys will be cleaned by a downpour of rain.

“I’m fixin to go to the store”

This is a Southern term which dates back to the 14th century when “fix” meant to set one’s eye or mind to do something.  The meaning of getting ready to do something is American in origin and was first recorded in the 18th Century.  When someone tells you this, it means they are getting ready to do something soon.

“I survived by the skin of my teeth”

It sounds like some kind of dental nightmare.  It means to narrowly escape something.  The origin goes back to the Bible and the Book of Job in the passage “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.”

“They were looking at me like a deer in headlights”

What presenter hasn’t had this experience?   The phrase refers to the behavior of deer who are caught in the beams of car headlights at night and their tendency to freeze instead of running out of the car’s path.  This means people are staring without comprehending what you are saying.  You might want to repeat it again.

“He/she is a brown-noser”

You’ll hear this term mostly in an office environment around the water cooler (or wherever the office gossipers gather).  It refers to someone who is flattering someone for their own interest such as a promotion or favor.  The origin goes to how dogs greet each other and try to be friendly by sniffing their butts.  Yes, the next time you witness this in the office you’ll laughing as you envision them as dogs.

“Not my circus, not my monkeys”

If you hear this one, don’t worry.  There aren’t any real monkeys around but the term does originate from the circus.  When people say this they mean something isn’t their responsibility or that they are not controlling the situation.

 

Can Nashville Support Major League Baseball?

Nashville_MLBMajor League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred recently mentioned Nashville as a possible candidate for a future expansion team.  Nashville was mentioned along with Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Montreal and Vancouver.  It is expected that MLB will expand from 30 to 32 teams in the future but no timetable is set at this time.  The last time MLB expanded was in 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now Tampa Bay Rays) were added.

So what are Nashville’s chances of added yet another major league sports franchise to join the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators and Nashville’s Major League Soccer team?

Nashville continues to grow.  You only have to look around downtown to see the construction and towering cranes at work to know that the growth continues.  Nashville is currently 24th in the United States in population with 667,560 which is larger than current MLB teams in Baltimore, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Atlanta, Miami, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, Cleveland, Tampa, Anaheim, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.  Yes, I was surprised by that too.

The Nashville Sounds average about 9,000 fans per game  but we’re talking about a minor league team so those numbers isn’t the same as if Nashville had a MLB team.  It’s a bit difficult to attract fans to watch the Sounds play the El Paso Chihuahuas or New Orleans Baby Cakes as opposed to the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees.  So, you really can’t determine support for a MLB baseball team on attendance figures for a minor league team.   The Miami Marlins are currently averaging 9,762 per game so I wouldn’t doubt that a Nashville team could exceed that and more.  If the Nashville Predators can average 17,307 per game I am confident that a MLB baseball team in the Music City could average at least 25,000 per game.

The Nashville Sounds issued a statement that First Tennessee Park could not be converted to MLB standards but that statement is in conflict with what was reported when the stadium was initially being constructed.  At that time it was said that the ballpark could be expanded with addition levels to support a MLB team.  Even if that were the case, it is certain that Nashville would have no problem constructing a stadium.  If they can do it for a Major League Soccer team they certainly could clear that hurdle.  I’m not knocking soccer but – seriously – a baseball stadium wouldn’t be a problem.

So what about Nashville’s competition for one of the two expansion slots?

The common assumption is that Montreal is a lock to get one of those expansion slots but I’m not so sure I agree with that.  True, they have a stadium and structure to support one but they have already lost the team that they had so I would be inclined to think MLB should go elsewhere.  Portland would have a natural rivalry with Seattle but I still think Portland is just too small of a market for a team.  Las Vegas is a gamble – no pun intended.  The National Hockey League (NHL) was lucky with the Vegas Golden Knights but I really don’t see Major League Baseball there.  Vancouver doesn’t seem to fit either.  They lost the Grizzlies to Memphis and really don’t have much experience as a major league city.   Charlotte is another good possibility which I think would be a good market for MLB.  Charlotte is 17th on the U.S. Population list.  Of course, market size isn’t the only factor MLB would consider.  They must also consider placement of franchises to fit into any realignment that would be needed.   It is not clear if MLB would realign into two leagues with four divisions or if they would just insert new expansion teams into the currently alignment.  If I were in charge of it, I would place the Nashville MLB franchise in the National League Central Division with Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

So what would you name a Nashville MLB team?   Personally, I don’t see any reason the team couldn’t continue to be called the Sounds.  Some have offered other ideas such as:  Tennessee Banjos, Nashville Stars, Tennessee Raccoons, Nashville Fiddlers, Nashville Jammers or Nashville Pickers.

So what would the standings in the NL Central look like with a Nashville team?

  • Chicago Cubs (58-42)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (58-45)
  • Nashville Sounds (55-47)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (53-50)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (51-51)
  • Cincinnati Reds (45-47)

I like it.  I think that looks right.

I think the Music City has proven that it can handle the big leagues.  An expansion team – or even a relocation of an existing MLB team would be a good fit here.  It “sounds” good to me.

 

 

 

Adjusting To Changes In Life

lifeIn my last check of my work email on Friday, I read an email that announced one of my co-workers was going to be leaving.  This news took the wind out of me for a moment.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I normally don’t have such a reaction when people at work leave.  It happens.  People move on.  New people will be hired to replace them.  The problem is that you hate to see the good ones leave and he was one of the good ones.  I told my wife that it seems the good ones always leave and the annoying ones NEVER leave and if they do they are replaced by TWO annoying people.

That’s how it goes.  You have to adjust.

Today I read a post on Facebook about someone I have known over the years who had been in critical care recently due to heart-related issues.  From what I can tell, the last status is that he is at home recovering.

Life changes.  People leave us.  We grow old.

Sure, it can be depressing if you let it but you can’t stop it.  I told my wife recently that I still can’t believe I’m in my 50s now.  It doesn’t seem real to me.  My mind isn’t there but my body is.  You can’t stop getting old.

So, if you can’t stop it, the only choice you have is to roll along with it.  Adjust to the changes of life.  Adjust to getting older.  Realize people are going to leave your life.  It’s a harsh reality but you have to do it.

More than likely I won’t have another 50 years unless I’m really lucky.  I want to make the most of what time I have now.  Enjoy the now.  Don’t stay stuck in the past and don’t worry about what’s ahead.  Live today.  Enjoy the people in your life right now.

We have all had to make the hard choices in life which have caused us to lose a few friendships along the way or move away from our comfort zone.  I know that I find myself at times on the same treadmill which is work Monday through Friday and then off on the weekends.  I get stuck in that routine.  I could change it except for the fact that I have bills to pay and responsiblities to my family.   We all do what we have to do for that purpose.  There was a time that I was all about my career and what I could accomplish on my job.  I became a known name in my field and was involved in a lot of projects and other opportunities.  I thought that was the thing but all it got me was MORE work and MORE expectations as well as the stress that went with it.  In recent years I have toned it down and have returned to what was truly important.   I figure that I never want to be the person who will wish he had spent more time at the office etched onto my tombstone.

If there is one piece of advice I have given people is that things change.  Sometimes they don’t change as fast as we would like for them to change but it doesn’t change.  The best ability one can have is the ability to adjust to the changes.

When I transferred from a job location I had been for over 20 years, someone asked me how the office would ever do without me.  I simply said that they would hire someone else.  I didn’t mean for it to be as blunt as it came out but it is true.  I moved on and they hired someone else.

The one thing I hate about being an adult is that I have to make the difficult decisions and, ultimately, suffer the consequences of those decisions.  It was easy growing up because I could always blame my parents or my teachers because of the decisions they made but now it’s on me.  I don’t like that part.  I don’t like having to play the $200 electric bill instead of getting a new computer.  I don’t like staying home when I want to go somewhere but it’s just a part of how life changes.  You adjust your thinking when the responsiblity rests on your shoulders.

The value of our life is the NOW.  The present time.  What we’ve done in the past is over.  We can’t go back and change anything.  The future isn’t here yet and it unfolds according to how we live the present.

 

 

The Greatest Show In Church

ringmaster-costume-largeIn the movie “The Greatest Showman”, P.T. Barnum was asked about his show:

James Gordon Bennett: Tell me, Mr. Barnum, does it bother you that everything you’re selling is fake?
P.T. Barnum: Do these smiles seem fake? It doesn’t matter where they come from. The joy is real.

On Friday, I tuned into a religious broadcast where an evangelist was being interviewed.  My first thought was to turn away but I was amazed by his charisma and candor.  He reminded me immediately of the P.T. Barnum character which was portrayed in the movie.

This “man of God” (a.k.a. Showman) was going on about how God was healing the deaf and the blind during his revival meetings.  He said this one person he had laid hands on was healed instantly as the person’s ear opened up and at another service in Utah another person was healed and he didn’t even have an ear drum.  This man was healing people left and right.  Miracles seemed to be everywhere he goes.

Okay, enough already.  I was in a Pentecostal church for over 40 years and I heard this line most of my life.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard that God would heal the sick, the lame would walk, deaf ears would be opened, blinded eyes would see and the dead would be raised.  Folks, I don’t mean to be harsh here but in the 40+ years I never witnessed any of these miracles that was allegedly happening.  So when this evangelist made claims about these miraculous healings, I want names.  Proof.  Who are these people you speak of?  I need some verification of this.

In all of my years I never witnessed a miracle. Not once.  Not ever.  It never happened.  Now this guy is spewing this same old, worn out Pentecostal propaganda and people are+ still buying it.  Yes, this is still the Greatest Show in Church.  I never saw it.  Now, I always HEARD it happened.  This evidence would not be allowed in most courts because it would be considered heresy.  I will be fair and say that I have known people who were healed but I wouldn’t say they were these miraculous healings this evangelist was selling.  I won’t say it wasn’t from God but most of these healings were also aided by doctors and medicine.

I honestly don’t want to be negative but I have heard enough.  It’s time to stop the theatrics and empty promises of these miracles.  I believe the reason we don’t witness legitimate miracles is that evangelists get in the way of it because it inflates their ego.  Then people start following the evangelist instead of recognizing the source of the miracle.  They say that God WANTS to do these miracles but He’s not going to do them to build up someone’s sideshow.  For years, I would often play an old audio cassette tape form a sermon I heard that told of miracles that happened in the speaker’s ministry.  I even asked for proof and never got it.  I wanted to believe.  I trusted these people yet it all seems to have been a show.  Smoke and mirrors.  Like the Great Oz where it was just a man behind the curtain.

I’m not being a rebel or doubter here.  I WANT to believe this stuff is happening and I do believe God can heal people but I’m just saying that as much as people want to sell this idea, I have never seen it happen.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen or it wouldn’t happen.  I’m just saying there isn’t any evidence that there are miracles happening today.  It saddens me.  I want to see it. Enough of these sideshows with salesmen selling fakes. Either God can do miracles or He isn’t for some reason. Someone is lying to people here just to promote a church, a ministry or a preacher.

There was a time I believed these stories without any question but after over 40 years of seeing absolutely NO deaf ears opened, blinded eyes that could see and no one getting out of their wheelchair, I’m calling it like it is.

I often see a young man in the building where I work who has to have a mobile cart to get around.  He’s the nicest man you could meet.  I have thought many times how awesome it would be if God would raise Him up out that cart so he could walk on his own two legs.  I don’t lack faith that God could do it but I lack evidence that He is doing it.  I have absolutely no proof that it is happening today.

My friends, it is demoralizing to have gone my whole life being taught these things only to have never witnessed a single miraculous healing of any kind.  If you’re like me, you have to wonder why this is.  I don’t want stories anymore or a salesman claims, I want to see a God who is all powerful and not just some man claiming God is doing this things only to find he’s just a man behind the curtain making people think that an all powerful God is doing these things when He’s not.

God doesn’t need their help.  They need to stop selling Jesus.