Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Imagine yourself getting on an airplane. As you board, you see the stewardess attempting to hand out parachutes to the passengers and instructing them that parachutes are important and they will enhance their experience of the trip on the aircraft. Most of the passengers reject the parachutes, but when you reach the stewardess, you are persuaded by her arguments and take one.
You struggle into the harness and lower yourself into the airplane seat and buckle yourself in. The bulk of the parachute prevents you from leaning back comfortably in your chair, but you trust what the stewardess said – this will make the ride better than if you hadn’t been wearing it.
Pretty soon the airplane takes off and you find yourself unable to just relax the way the other passengers are relaxing in their chairs. You shift one way and then another, but the buckles stick into your back and hurt you. Not only that, some of the other passengers are eyeing you with amusement and snickering at you. Finally someone asks you why you believed that tale the stewardess told you, in a tone of voice that conveys clearly they they consider you a fool.
Finally in disgust you get up and rip the parachute off and throw it away.
Now imagine yourself getting on the airplane again, only this time the stewardess tells you that you need to wear the parachute because it will save your life. You sit down in your seat, and though it is a bit uncomfortable and people are looking at you strangely and mocking you for wearing it, you know that having that parachute on your back will be the means of saving your life when it is needed.
The first analogy is meant to contrast typical mainstream evangelical presentations of the Gospel, while the latter represents a more Biblical approach as taught on a series I have been watching lately called, “The Way of the Master.”
Most Christians are afraid of offending people and so they want to sell the Gospel as a means of enhancing your experience here on earth. “Come to Jesus and get your marriage fixed.” Or “Come to Jesus and be healed.” Or “You have a God-shaped hole in your heart that only God can fill.” Jesus is the big need – meeter.
What does the Bible tell us can be the reality of the Christian life? “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.” When Christianity begins to cost something, those who came to Christ to have their ride through life enhanced will bail, because we are called to suffer with Christ, and no one told them that.
Those who are looking for a more Biblical approach that allows you to give the Gospel to a person in less than 10 minutes, and does so in a way that is Biblical would do well to look into this series. This is not an unqualified endorsement, however. There is a bit of Arminian teaching to be found in it. If you can spit out that bone and the creedo baptist position, it is a worthwhile series for learning to share the Gospel with sinners.
A typical conversation with an unbeliever in the on-street interviews goes like this:
Christian [to man on the street]: Hi! Mind if I ask you a few questions?
Mr. T: No, I guess not.
Christian: My name’s Christian, what’s yours?
Mr. T: “Mr. T.”
Christian: So, Mr. T., do you believe you are a good person?
Mr. T: Yeah, I think so. I do a lot of good stuff. I look after my wife and kids. I pay my taxes. I give to charities.
Christian: So tell me, have you ever told a lie?
Mr. T: Hmmm. Well, yeah.
Christian: What do we call people who tell lies?
Mr. T: Liars?
Christian: Right. Now, tell me, have you ever stolen something, even if it was something small?
Mr. T: [shamefacedly] Yeah.
Christian: What do we call people who steal things?
Mr. T: Ummm. Thieves.
Christian: Mhmm. Jesus said in the Bible that whoever looks on a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Have you ever done that? I have.
Mr. T: Doesn’t everyone?
Christian: Yes, I haven’t met anyone who has said they havent’ done that. Now here’s the last question: Have you ever used God’s Name as a cuss word?
Mr. T: Yeah, I have.
Christian: That’s called blasphemy. Now by your own admission, you are a liar, a thief, and adulterer at heart, and a blasphemer. If you died tonight and had to stand before God who will render judgement, will he pronounce you innocent or guilty?
Mr. T: Well, I think God is a loving God and he’ll overlook those bad things.
Christian: Tell me, Mr. T. If there was incontrovertible evidence that a man had committed murder and was, without a doubt, guilty, would the judge who judged him be a good judge or a bad judge if he let him go without any punishment for it?
Mr. T: Well he’d be a terrible judge!
Christian: But what if the murderer pleaded that even though he had murdered, he had been a faithful provider for his wife and children and had given money to starving orphans in Africa? Should the judge let him go free on the basis of those other things?
Mr. T: No!
Christian: So how can God be a good judge, and we know He is good, and let you off from the things you confessed to being guilty of? You said yourself you are guilty of just four of the commandments I mentioned. I didn’t even bring in the other six. If you died tonight and were judged, would you go to Heaven or Hell?
Mr. T: I guess I would deserve hell.
Christian: Does that concern you?
There is more but that is the kernel of the Gospel presentation. Short, sweet, uses the Law to directly affect the conscience, and bypasses all the intellectual arguments that people like to raise and throw at you.
The Gospel is not meant to make this life easy or to enhance our “ride.” It is meant to save the perishing from destruction.
Show people the real purpose of the parachute, and they won’t mind the discomforts of the ride so much while wearing it.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Electrical Activity in Cells
Ok, I am not a nut. I am not a nut. I am not a nut. I am not a nut. I am not a nut. I am not a nut. I do work with subtle electrical energy at the cellular level and this does impact health in many ways. This article helps to confirm some things I had hypothesized about the use of calcium, potassium and other minerals in the body's level of conductivity.Nature 423, 21 - 22 (01 May 2003); doi:10.1038/423021a
Structural biology: Life's transistors
FRED J. SIGWORTH
Voltage-gated ion channels control electrical activity in nerve, muscle and many other cell types. The crystal structure of a bacterial voltage-gated channel reveals the astonishingly simple design of its voltage sensor.
The membranes of living cells, from bacteria to humans, contain protein macromolecules that behave rather like field-effect transistors. In transistors, the flow of electrons through a semiconductor 'channel' is governed by the voltage applied to a 'gate' electrode. With the protein equivalents — voltage-gated ion channels — an appropriate voltage, imposed across the cell membrane, causes the channels to open and allows a current of ions to cross the membrane. The molecular structures within ion channels that sense the membrane voltage have remained obscure for the 50 years since Hodgkin and Huxley first described1 their function. But the voltage sensors have at last been made visible, in the X-ray structure of a potassium ion channel. Youxing Jiang, Roderick MacKinnon and colleagues present this work on page 33 of this issue2, and in a second paper (on page 42)3 they describe tests of a hypothesis for voltage-sensor motion.
The functional unit of a voltage-gated channel is an assembly of four proteins, or subunits; in each, the polypeptide chain snakes back and forth across the membrane six times. This 'six-transmembrane' structure is seen in the voltage-gated potassium, sodium and calcium channel families, and also in other channel types. As voltage-sensing devices, these channels can perform much better than their electronic counterparts (Fig. 1a). Their high sensitivity to voltage is important, because cellular voltage changes are small.
Figure 1 Voltage sensing in a potassium ion channel. Full legend High resolution image and legend (26k)
A simple biological voltage sensor would be a charged particle within a cell membrane, with an imposed voltage difference driving the particle from one surface of the membrane to the other. Theory shows that, to explain the observed sensitivity of voltage-gated channels, at least 12 elementary charges must participate in the sensing mechanism. Indeed, direct measurements of 'gating currents' confirm that the total charge displacement in a channel's voltage sensors is about 13 elementary charges per channel4.
So where in the channel protein are these charges found? It has been established5 that, in a six-transmembrane channel, the transmembrane segments known as S6 helices — one from each of the four subunits — form a 'gate'. That is, they form a bundle that can pinch off the ion pathway, effectively closing the channel. Meanwhile the fourth segment, S4, has always seemed a natural candidate for the voltage sensor that causes the gate to open and close6. Depending on the channel type, S4 has four to seven positive charges, mostly from arginine amino-acid residues. Moreover, S4 is otherwise very hydrophobic, which makes it likely to be embedded in the oily interior of a protein — or within the membrane itself. Because of these properties, S4 has been the subject of intense study7. Mutation analyses have shown it to be important in voltage sensing; spectroscopic probes have shown that it moves in response to voltage; and chemical-modification studies have revealed that some of its amino acids are alternately exposed on the internal or external face of the membrane, depending on the membrane voltage. So it has become clear that the four S4 segments per channel are the main voltage sensors.
What structural design would allow so many charges to move so far, crossing the 30-Å-thick, electrostatically hostile interior of a cell membrane? Practically everyone in the ion-channel field (including myself) has imagined the S4 segment to be an -helix — a common structural feature of proteins, in which the polypeptide backbone is twisted into a spiral — that is packed snugly among the other helices of the protein. It has been thought that the S4 helix would undergo a shift or a rotation in response to voltage, and that charge transport might even be amplified by 'focusing' the membrane electric field near S4. This model has made its way into the textbooks. But the results of MacKinnon and colleagues show that it is almost certainly wrong.
Determination of the structure of a voltage-gated channel has been long in coming. The five-year effort in the MacKinnon laboratory involved trials of many channel proteins, none of which formed either two-dimensional or three-dimensional crystals. Reasoning that these failures might reflect a particularly loose protein structure, MacKinnon and colleagues decided to use parts of antibody molecules (so-called Fab fragments) as a scaffold to aid crystallization, and also chose a particularly rugged channel protein. Although its origin is the archaebacterium Aeropyrum pernix, this protein, KvAP, has sequence features and electrical characteristics8 that place it firmly in the broad family of voltage-gated potassium channels.
The resulting X-ray structure2 of KvAP shows the expected potassium channel core, consisting of transmembrane segments S5 to S6, surrounded by S1 through to part of S3. What was unexpected is that the S4 helix, along with the second part of S3, forms an -helical hairpin — a 'paddle' that extends out from the channel core into the membrane's fluid interior (see Fig. 3 of ref. 2, page 35). The paddle has a flexible connection to the rest of the channel, as the authors show by comparison with another crystal structure, of segments S1 to S4 alone. This flexibility explains the difficulty that the authors encountered in crystallizing the protein; it also suggests a mechanism for voltage sensing. The paddle is a hydrophobic, charged particle that can move in the membrane interior, transporting its four positive charges from one membrane surface to the other (Fig. 1b).
It is the location of S4 — not embedded in the protein core, but loose in the membrane — that is the big surprise here. It explains an old puzzle, that small lipid-soluble molecules somehow have ready access to ion-channel voltage sensors. Such molecules include local anaesthetics, the alkaloid nerve toxins and the well-known insecticides allethrin and DDT. It is now easy to imagine them diffusing up to the voltage-sensor paddle from within the lipid membrane interior.
An X-ray crystal structure is like a posed photograph; in the KvAP crystal, for instance, the voltage-sensor paddle is held firmly in place by an antibody scaffold. What can be learned about the paddle's natural conformation and movements? A few years ago, Horn and colleagues9 showed for sodium channels that a bulky moiety, attached by chemical modification to an S4 amino acid on the outside of the membrane, can actually be dragged through to the inner surface in response to an inside-negative voltage. In their second paper3, MacKinnon and colleagues show that a much larger molecule — biotin plus a 17-Å linker — flips across the membrane in a voltage-dependent manner when it is attached to an S4 amino acid in KvAP. They conclude that the S3–S4 paddle moves through a quite unrestricted space. They go on to attach this biotin–linker molecule to various other sites in the paddle, to map its position relative to the membrane surfaces at positive and negative voltages.
After all this, MacKinnon and co-workers have still left a few questions to be answered. The actual conformation of the channel in the membrane will need to be clarified, because in the crystal the membrane is replaced by a blanket of detergent molecules. Questions also remain about the disposition of the amino-terminal end of the protein (thought to be intracellular) and of the loop between the S3 and S4 segments in related channels (in the well-studied Shaker potassium channel, this loop is always accessible from the outside surface). Moreover, details of the motions of the voltage sensor — in some channels the charge movement occurs in several discrete steps — remain to be worked out, as does the energetic issue of moving the quadruply charged paddle through the membrane interior. But the structure of KvAP's voltage sensor, so simple and, with hindsight, so obvious, is a wonderful end to a 50-year-old mystery.
Hodgkin, A. L. & Huxley, A. F. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 117, 500-544 (1952). PubMed ISI ChemPort
Jiang, Y. et al. Nature 423, 33-41 (2003). Article PubMed ISI ChemPort
Jiang, Y. et al. Nature 423, 42-48 (2003). Article PubMed ISI ChemPort
Bezanilla, F. Physiol. Rev. 80, 555-592 (2002).
del Camino, D. & Yellen, G. Neuron 32, 649-656 (2002). Article ISI
Noda, M. et al. Nature 312, 121-127 (1984). PubMed ISI ChemPort
Gandhi, C. S. & Isacoff, E. Y. J. Gen. Physiol. 120, 455-463 (2002). Article PubMed ISI ChemPort
Ruta, V. et al. Nature 422, 180-185 (2003). Article PubMed ISI ChemPort
Yang, N., George, A. L. & Horn, R. Neuron 16, 113-122 (1996). Article PubMed ISI ChemPort
Friday, August 27, 2004
The signs are all in place for the end of summer. Yesterday I drove the kids and several of their friends on our yearly pilgrimage to Barkerville, a historic Gold Rush town that is now a restored heritage site in British Columbia. The deciduous trees have that brassy tired look to them, as they wait for the needed signal from the first frost to start unloading the weight of their leaves. I was struck afresh at how beautiful this country is, "where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile." At the same time, this country is showing signs of wear and tear. The rolling hills were dotted with the rusty red of dead pines that were savaged by the Mountain Pine Beetle. It was interesting but chilling to see at the same time. It would take very little to ignite a raging forest inferno. So far we don't have any dead pines on our property, but I don't know how long that will last. I know this, any dead pines will be taken out to lessen the chances of being burned out of our home by a forest fire.
Another sign that summer is coming to an end is the phone calls I am now getting concerning setting up the kids' curriculum and learning plans. I have come into a bit of a windfall and the children will all be able to take music, art, and swimming lessons or karate classes. This thrills me to no end though it means a lot more running around. I may be able to get a proper keyboard and a guitar and we will finally be able to learn more than just the basics. I am hoping to learn to play the guitar along with the kids. The extras are what is making me look forward to homeschooling in a way that I haven't in eons.
I usually just endure summer the way I endure winter, living mostly for spring and fall when I feel like I am truly alive. But something is different this year and I don't know why. I am sorry to see summer go and I really did enjoy it, even the heat. Maybe I am growing up and learning contentment in every season of the year.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
I suppose some people would prefer that I not confess to reading Douglas Wilson's blog or anything else he writes , but I do. When a guy is right, he is right. I just wish we were more like-minded in some other areas. Anyhow, I am linking to this post of his, which is a sort of exposition on Chapter 1 on the Westminster Confession of Faith, because he makes some valuable points, imho. This post as well, is worthy of reading, as far as it goes.
I neglected to mention the other day that Hannah and Ben are home. My house is relatively full again, not only with the returning chicklets, but their friends as well. Hannah is as brown as a nut and I can see a change in her. She is changing from a child to a young lady.
Ben is taller and still has that smart-alecky sense of humor, but his attitude is definitely better than it was when he left. My boy is growing up too.
Many thanks to my long-suffering parents for taking on my kids for the summer. I hope you don't have too many new grey hairs from it. The kids had a blast and enjoyed getting to know some of the extended family.
Summer time is typically a time of the year when I tend to listen to more music than I get a chance to during the rest of the year, due to the fact that I have more time to cruise the backroads and generally bomb around the countryside, unimpeded by snow and ice. This summer has been a summer of music because I have been paying more attention to music and actively seeking it out. I have been enjoying some favorite music over and over again (to the point of driving my kids to distraction) as I milk each song for everything it has to hold. It has also been a time for re-discovering old favorites as well as being introduced to some new stuff.
One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to play some favorite music really loud with all the car windows open and self singing harmony with it. (This can be difficult if the music is strictly instrumental.) The benefit of doing this is that it creates pleasurable memory anchors that come in handy later in the year when I am feeling stressed by something. All I have to do is turn on the music and I am instantly transported to those happy feelings of sunny summer days, the warmth of summer and the joy of being alive.
Music is fascinating to me because of the way it can stir emotions. I find it amazing that a certain arrangement of sounds can cause one to feel joy, sadness, anger, and every shade of emotion in between. It is also amazing to me how musical instrumentation can turn the most banal of lyrics into something that mean something far more intense than the mere words themselves suggest. Of course, when you have powerful lyrics married to powerful music, like the beautiful poetry of a Stan Rogers or some of U2's stuff, you really have something that can get right in between the joints and marrow.
A friend and I were discussing our different approaches to music the other day. She is attracted to music by the instrumentation and hardly notices the lyrics initially. She is like Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy Sayers' noble sleuth: "Peter, she felt sure, could hear the whole intricate patttern, every part separately and simultaneously each independent and equal, separate but inseparable, moving over and under and through, ravishing heart and mind together." On the other hand, while the music itself may draw my attention to a particular piece of music, I tend to focus on the lyrics if there are any. To me, the lyrics are the main message and the musical instrumentation is there to enhance and intensify what is being said. It is frustrating to me how quoting the words to a song in my blog, stripped of the music, makes the words pale almost to insignificance to what they are when they have the music attached to them. (The words of the Psalms are a notable exception to this.)
Some of my favorite cruising music:
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:8-10; 13-16
"I am my beloved's, and his desire is towards me." Song of Songs 7:10
You broke the bonds and you
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Sure was a bitter winter but Friday will be fine
All lies, all those lines are telling wicked lies
Is this the face that won for her the man
So this is beauty's finish! Like Rodin's "Belle Heaulmie're"
Then she shakes off the bitter web she wove
And thinks ahead to Friday, 'cause Friday will be fine!
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Garnet, My Birthday Babesy Boy
Today is my Babesy Boy's fifth birthday.
Garnet was born 8 weeks before my second daughter left home and he proved to be the comfort of my soul at that time. When he was only about a year old, he started waking up in the morning by greating me with a huge hug around my neck and a lovely wet kiss on the mouth. He is still the most affectionate and tender hearted of all my children. He hardly ever needed a swat on the bottom. Just a verbal scolding was enough to stop him in his tracks and make him melt into a puddle of repentance. He would often hang over my shoulder when I sat down anywhere and nearly strangle me with his hugs and cover me with kisses. I often needed those kisses and even now, as a big boy of five, he is still happy to oblige me with a hug and a kiss whenever I ask for it.
At an early age he developed a fascination for super heroes. Before the first Spiderman movie came out he watched an old Spiderman cartoon and from that point on, Spiderman was his favorite hero to emulate. Thankfully he didn't come equipped with spider webs or I am sure the house would have been festooned with them. One of his favorite games to play when he was just learning to talk was to ask me who I was. I was then supposed to reply, "I'm Superman!" to which he would answer, "I'm Spiderman!" Sometimes he would ask who he was and I would say, "You are Super Garnie!" which always netted a laugh.
Sometimes Garnet would get a bit cranky and whiney if he was tired. At that point I would send him to his room and tell him to stay there until he could be happy again. Within a few minutes, he would come out and announce in a sprightly tone of voice, "Mom! I'm happy now!"
Another favorite memory of mine has to do with another question I would ask him. To this day, he still responds to my question of "How much do you love me?" with arms wide open and the reply, "I love you BIG much!"
So here is to our birthday boy: May God grant you and us many more years to enjoy your sunshiney personality! We love you Garnie!
Monday, August 16, 2004
Our son, Nathanael announced the other night that he was leaving home. He’ll be 18 in less than a month and he feels the time has arrived for him to try his wings and see if he can make it on his own.
I have seen this coming for some time. He has been talking about leaving home for the past year or more and speculating on what he will need in the way of housewares and asking tentatively if he could take his bed or other furniture with him. Even though I was semi-prepared I was hoping that he would delay for at least another year and would finish up a few things that I thought he would need by way of preparation for life. But no, it is time to go.
Remember Dawn? I mentioned her a few posts back as a member of my Fan Club. Her son is Nathanael’s best friend and he is boarding with Stefan and his family. They live in town, closer to where he works and all the amenities that aren’t in reach out in the country. It is a good place to be. Dawn and Ivan are responsible people and I know he will be safe there, well looked after, and held accountable. Dawn and Ivan are also on the same page as we as far as the kind of expectations we have for our kids. I suspect that this is one of the reasons why I can face this with as much equanimity as I have.
Is it ever easy to see a child leave the paternal home? The end goal of all the time and expense we pour into our children is so that they will mature to the point of being able to live on their own and establish themselves creditably in the world. But I can’t help but feel a pang as he leaves. At least he has promised to continue coming to church with us. I don’t care if my kids don’t make a splash in the world as far as prestige goes. As long as they serve God, they can dig ditches for all I care.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
“When I am from him, I am dead till I be with him. United souls are not satisfied with embraces, but desire to be truly each other; which being impossible, these desires are infinite, and must proceed without a possibility of satisfaction.” Religio Medici
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. I Corinthians 13:12
I don’t know if it is just me, but I know a lot of frustrated and disappointed married people as well as lonely singles. The divorce rate in the Church matches that of the world, and it has become nearly impossible to find families that haven’t been touched one way or the other by a fractured marriage and the broken dreams and desires it represents.
Sin not only divorced us from intimate fellowship with God, but it also divorced us from one another, and lastly, from ourselves. If this were not so, we would never be deceived in ourselves by the deceitfulness of sin. Yet we find we are constantly having our eyes opened to some character defect and moral lapse that we were previously unaware of.
One of the great longings of the human state is the desire for intimacy – an intimacy that encompasses all aspects of a person: body, mind, and soul. We often seek for this intimacy in marriage, hence the search for a “soul mate.” I have known of some marriages where this felicity is known, but it is more rare than I would like to see.
I don’t think I am unusual in yearning for an intimacy that embraces all aspects of my being, and of knowing. But I think that is the impossible dream in this life. In reality, I think that this yearning is but another sign post pointing us to Heaven and the union and communion that we will fully enjoy with Christ some day. Then we will know, even as we are fully known. Then we will experienced the untrammelled joy of meeting with open face the One who transforms us from glory to glory into all that He intended we should be. And then true and full fellowship will be enjoyed amongst us all.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
"However loudly we may assert our own unworthiness, few of us are really offended by hearing the assertion contradicted by a disinterested party."
Many thanks to Matt for pointing me to the above article by Dr. Val Finnell. Some of you may remember Dr. Finnell as a champion of historic postmillenialism. Dr. Finnell points out the very necessary consequence of working with people's health:
Nowhere do the physical and spiritual meet as intimately, poignantly, vulnerably and commonly as in the practice of medicine. Christian doctors would do well to jettison the left-over, Neo-Platonic “mind-body” dualism and start thinking of themselves as Levites who minister to the whole person.
In the millenium, schools of medicine will not only teach physiology, anatomy, pathology, herbology (heheh, couldn't resist), etc., they will teach theology and biblical counselling, or at least learning when to refer out to pastors, as well. Why? Because of the fact that when you try to separate the mind from the body, you accomplish a very truncated form of healing, if indeed, it takes place at all.
I am delighted to see that a fellow Christian and doctor sees what is so obvious to me.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that I have had an interest in various forms of energy-based healing over the last three years -- so much so that I have taken several courses and become certified as a kinesionics practitioner. Just recently a Christian medical doctor that I know made reference to my "pagan health theories" and other Christian friends have warned me about becoming involved in quackery and are afraid that I am going to fall away into weird esoteric religious beliefs that are heretical.
First of all, I know that without the sustaining Hand of God, I am quite capable of falling into any amount of sin and deception. I know exactly how spiritually strong I am on my own. Not strong at all. It is Christ, first to last, who has saved me, sanctifies me and keeps me. I look to Him alone for my salvation. There is a real danger to anyone who has the hubris to believe that they can pursue a course of study without succumbing to a worldly, false, and unbiblical view of man and healing apart from God. This is a danger that is present, not only to those who investigate forms of healing that are outside the status quo, but also for those who are within the status quo. I am the first to admit that there is a lot of junk to sort through when you start dealing with energy medicine. However, once you strip away the nonsense, you are still left with something viable to work with: the fact of subtle electrical fields produced by the human body.
One of the things that struck me recently in reading The Anatomy of Hope by Dr. Groopman, was the fact that allopathic medical training teaches one to look strictly at reproducible results that come from rigorous testing in the lab. He tells the story of Dr. George Griffen, Harvard professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology. Dr. Griffen was a specialist in stomach cancer, and ironically, he developed a particularly deadly and aggressive form of cancer that was considered to be a sure death warrant. Dr. Griffen was also a Christian. He went through all the various treatments for cancer, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, even though his colleagues believed it was useless and needless torture and it would be ineffective. Dr. Griffen came through the therapy, and thirteen years after he should have died, was still alive.
Dr. Groopman reports at the time that it seemed presumptuous, too much to ask of God, to pray for a cure. Instead, he prayed that Dr. Griffen would not suffer, and told Dr. Griffen this.
"I am a scientist," he replied. "It is hard to be both a person of faith and a person of science."
"I understood what George meant. Modern science made no room for unprovable beliefs."
[taken from page 77 of The Anatomy of Hope]
Now the reason that I quoted the above section is to make a point. Christian scientists and Christian doctors can easily be led astray by the materialistic presuppositions that are held and taught in most schools of medicine unless they are able to identify it and fight against it. There is also the tendency to reject out of hand something that is new and innovative, even if it is introduced by someone of their own ranks. One recent example of this is the way some segments of the medical establishment have gone after Dr. John Holt, a member of the Royal Colleges, and a man with 26 medical letters after his name. He has had the audacity to use radio frequency (think energy medicine) to cure some forms of cancer.
"Dr Holt's controversial treatment works, in layperson's terms, by giving the patient an injection of a glucose-blocking agent. He then shines "radio waves" into the body at a specific frequency. Dr Holt doesn't guarantee it will cure every cancer, but it's not expensive and there's no quackery about it."
Why do I not think that this is weird and is quite workable? I know from other research that has been done that cancer cells have a different frequency from normal healthy cells. I also know that the military has recognized not only the healing potential of this kind of therapy, but also is investigating and using this information as a form of weaponry.
The medical establishment's response?
"The polarisation of the medical and scientific community in Perth over Dr Holt's treatment has been evident since the mid-'70s. "It is an unproven form of cancer treatment and it's not part of the armoury of orthodox ways of treating cancer in Australia," said Clive Deverill, the former boss of WA's Cancer Council. "Equally, there are legions of patients who have been down that track who can't say anything about their position because they're dead."
Acceptance for unorthodox ways of treatment is slow in coming, but it is coming.
"The doctors took up such an action initially, they said the treatment was fake and useless," said former WA Premier John Tonkin. But Tonkin added, "There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this is the most advanced form of cancer treatment in the world today."
How does this tie in with kinesionics? Your body produces energy, much of it electrical in nature. I have this cool hand-held device that is able to trace the body's meridians and find accupuncture points by increasing the frequency and loudness of sound. If I hold it against another person I can't detect the meridians unless I put my other hand on them. Why? The same principle that works in copper wiring. It has to do with open and closed circuits. When only one hand is on them with the device, the circuit is open. As soon as I put my other hand on them, the circuit is closed because the energy is flowing from them, through me and back into them providing the closed circuit that can then pick up the signals from their body. Instead of introducing an outside source of energy through radio waves or other frequencies, I use the body's own energy and balance it around areas of imbalance. It takes a bit of practice, but if you pay attention you can start to detect the feeling of energy in your hands when you do a balance on a person. It employs something called the "reticular activating mechanism" in your brain.
We block a great deal of things out of our consciousness because we would be overwhelmed with stimuli if we didn't. We don't consciously think about the way our feet feel in our shoes or against the floor all the time. Nor do we consciously think or feel about the energy flows we can detect through our hands unless we take the time to cultivate noticing this. It is truly amazing to see some of the things that can be done with the body's inherent energy fields. I have been able to restore significant mobility to a person's arm in less than an hour after their arm had been "frozen" in one position for over a year. I have also been able to straighten out a curvature in the spine in less than an hour, just using these energy fields. There is nothing magical about it, and I wasn't required to become one with the universe or adopt anything but an orthodox and historic belief in the God of the Scriptures. This is a skill that anyone can learn. You just need to know what and where to look.
There is much that we don't know and don't understand about our world and how it works. Science is still in its infancy, especially when it comes to understanding how the human body works. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water or engage in evil surmisings about innovative forms of healing unless it can clearly be proved that one is required to call upon a power other than God to achieve healing.
For further reading, see Applied Kinesiology: A Training Manual and Reference Book of Basic Principals and Practices by Robert Frost.
Monday, August 09, 2004
Cathie jogged my brain the other day. How could I be a fan of the Soles' girls and not be a fan of the mother and father who produced them??!!??
Here's to Cathie and Grant, the proud parents of the Soles girls mentioned in my earlier post of Cheryl's Fan Club. Cathie is one of those people who you don't see for a while, but with whom you can pick up precisely where you left off last time you saw her. She is also the one who has taught me to appreciate animal lovers if not the animals themselves. She faithfully exhorts, encourages, rebukes and prays for me when needed. I need more friends like her.
Dawn -- Dawn has played a very influential role in my life. I am apparently a slow learner. It took me seven births in the hospital before I had finally had enough of the unnatural, sterile, medicalized and sometimes inhumane way they have of helping new little people into the world. I was only 8 weeks away from giving birth to my eighth child when I connected with Dawn. With her help, I had a successful homebirth and went on to have three more with her.
Dawn opened up a whole new world for me. I don't know if it was just me or the circles I had travelled in, but prior to Dawn, I had a very gnostic view of the human body and female sexuality and my experiences in the hospital did much to confirm those views. I have since re-educated myself to a more Biblical frame of mind and my hope is that my daughters will learn this from me and pass it on to their daughters. My granddaughter has already benefited from this since she too was born at home with Dawn's able assistance and Grammy Grenon there to help. Lord willing, she and I will work together again when the next grandbaby is born, hopefully here in my home next January.
With Dawn's influence, I became a doula, or labor attendant, and have assisted other women in having their babies their way. I think it is also safe to say that Dawn's influence has spread so that a number of my girlfriends in the church have either had her or had a midwife and homebirth as well. I and they owe her a debt that is huge. She has been my mentor, my shoulder to cry on, and my encourager. She has empowered me as a woman in the right way, and helped me to see that the role of "mother" is an honorable role worthy of far more respect than it currently receives. I sometimes wish I could become the midwife she would like to see me become, but I don't think that is going to happen. I'll content myself with labor attending when I can.
People I appreciate are not limited to those I know in real life. With the internet now in place, you can now develop friendships or at least come to admire people that you may never meet in real life. Here are a few people I have gotten to know and enjoy via the net and vicariously through othe friends who have actually met them:
Jerry -- We don't correspond and we have never spoken, but I am still a fan of his. Read his blog to find out why. Join his Covenanted Reformation Club and see a good example of how to moderate a Christian discussion list with grace, humility, and humor.
Brother John -- He's exceedingly brainy, has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Covenanter History, and likes bunnies. He writes some of the most thoughtful and thought provoking posts that I have read.
BTW, it goes without saying -- if you are listed in my Favorite Blog sidebar, I am your fan.
Which is more compassionate and just?
a) To promptly execute murderers upon sentencing, or
b) To force society and the victim's family to support them in prison until they are released because of good behaviour or die of natural causes?
I guess you can tell from the way I have framed the questions where I would vote. Those who murder others, whether they are in their right mind or not, have forfeited their own life according to the same Christ who wrote the Old Testament.
It has been suggested that I have a harsh and unloving view of God's mercy and justice when I say that Andrea Yates should be put to death for her crime. I just don't see how continuing the mental anguish of this mother accomplishes justice in either human or divine terms. Even a murderer is made in the image of God, which is why we ought not to torture them but instead treat them with dignity and put them to death.
Misguided compassion that refuses to treat criminals with true justice (as defined by God's Word) in the end is unmerciful and humiliating. It reduces us all to the status of infants and it cheapens life on the horizontal plane. How much are five young lives worth? Only 25 years of a person's life, or less depending on where you are. In Canada, most lives are only worth 5 to 7 years or even nothing. The moral outrage over a dog being shot by some idiot who couldn't hit the side of a barn is worse in our community than the daily legalized slaughter of preborn babies.
I repeat, the mercy of the wicked is cruel. You don't have to take my word for it though. God is the One who originally said it.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Most people know of the placebo effect. Placebo, which is Latin for "I please" is the positive effect that a person experiences based on their expectation that a particular medicine or procedure will work. Nocebo, on the other hand, comes from Latin for "I harm" and it is based on the expectation that something terrible will happen.
Some recent studies on the nocebo effect in relation to terrorist attacks have been released and they point to the fact that the expectation of a highly stressful or fearsome event has negative effects on the overall health and life expectancy of those who live under this fear.
The interaction between the mind and body is fascinating and complex. Our own positive and negative mental processes and emotions can affect our health, as well as be mediated by our interactions with others and our environment.
I often wonder if the nocebo effect is triggered when a doctor tells a patient, "You have x amount of time to live." For some people, this could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For others, it is motivation to do something different and prove the doctor wrong.
An interesting book I picked up recently is The Anatomy of Hope by Jerome Groopman, M.D. Dr. Groopman echoes some of the findings of Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School who runs the Mind/Body clinic in stating that the belief of an individual has a profound effect on their health and ability to cope with life and disease. The field of psychoneuroimmunology is growing and it looks at the way the psyche of a person has measurable effects on the immune system, stress response, and even cardiac output.
When you have been raised to look strictly at the evidence that can be reproduced, it is hard to accept that something as nebulous as a thought can affect the outcome of what happens in a person. The soul cannot be hauled out of the body and examined under a microscope or tested in a measurable way. Allopathic medicine's solution until more recently has been to ignore it for the most part. But the soul cannot be ignored. Those who study the placebo effect now know that the environmental cues and behavior of the medical authorities can alter the neurochemistry of an individual, both in the laboratory setting and in the clinic.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, a nineteenth century Boston physician, poet, and essayist, said, "Beware how you take away hope from another human being." Omniscience is not ours. Closing off options and denying choices is premature and clinically wrong.
On a practical level what this all points to is the importance of doing what the Apostle Paul told us to do in II Corinthians 10:5: we are to "cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Again, God has not given us a spirit of fear , but of power, love and a sound (or disciplined) mind. Our hope must be grounded on that which is unshakeable, unmoveable and unchanging.
Guard your heart. Out of it are the issues of life.
Friday, August 06, 2004
Remember Andrea Yates? She was the homeschooling mother who drowned her five children in the bathtub several years ago. The Texas jury who convicted her decided, in their infinite mercy, not to give her the death penalty. So now she is being forced to spend the rest of her life being tormented by what she did.
I feel a sense of compassion for this lady. I think it is quite possible that she was suffering from postpartum psychosis which led her to do the terrible deed. My sympathy for her, however, does not mean I would have commuted her just execution to a life sentence out of a misguided sense of mercy. If an animal you own kills someone, Scripture demands that you put the animal down, even if it wasn't culpable on the grounds of having a moral intent to kill. I think the same thing applies to people. Insanity is no grounds for commuting a life sentence. If a person kills someone and it isn't accidental, they should be executed, even if they are mentally challenged.
Poor Andrea. According to reports she is suffering from mental breakdown over the extreme guilt of what she did. They put her in the hospital to help her with the breakdown, and she comes to her senses only to realize afresh what she did and be driven back into despair and mental collapse.
This is such a pitiful situation.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
But in pretty rough shape. We'll have to see what constant tlc from his wife can do for him.
I haven't reported anything new about my husband, because there isn't anything new to report. They still don't know what he has, which is not surprising, given the fact that the only test they have run on him has been bloodwork. He has seen several residents over the last days, but while they talk amongst themselves about ordering this scan or that test, somehow they just never get around to doing it, and I have not been there to hold their feet to the fire when they are around.
However, Marc is starting to get cranky and restless, which is a good sign in my opinion. His bowels are also starting to work again which is another good sign. He wants to come home because he isn't getting any rest there. Considering the fact that we have seven kids at home making all kinds of racket, things must really be noisy and disturbing there!
My own testing has shown that he is improving. I have been giving him herbal footbaths twice a day and to give you an idea of how effective it is, he says he has been burping up the herbs that he absorbed through his feet.
I have never been impressed with hospitals as places of healing. The diet that they have been giving my husband is a good example of this. Marc is diabetic and is on a full liquid diet. So what do they bring him? Apple juice for breakfast. Loaded with sugar. Lunch and supper is that fake chemicalized ice cream from Nestle, more sugary juice and a starchy cream soup, all of which will raise your blood sugar levels through the roof quicker than you can say "boo!" No wonder they keep finding his bloodsugars being too high. I have been smuggling in real food like homemade soup broth made from bison bones and vegetables as well as protein shakes the last few days in an effort to get him some real food.
If anything new happens, I'll let you know.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
For the lack of white space in the following post. For some reason blogger won't put breaks between my paragraphs today, even when I try to insert the html tags. Oh well....
This isn't what you think. My fan club is not a list of people who love and adore me. I jokingly said to a friend after the recent church fellowship bash that I ought to start a fan club of people who love me, but that seems a bit too cheeky to attempt and I might be embarrassed by how few want to join. Instead, Cheryl's Fan club is dedicated to a group of people I have come to love, admire, respect, and sometimes even adore. Expect to see people added to list from time to time. If you think you should be on this list and don't see your name, please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and list reasons why I should love you and be your fan. Also, do not despair if you don't see yourself here. I am not intending this to be an exhaustive list. I am just listing off people who have touched my heart in recent days and want to gush a bit about them.
I have an embarrassment of riches in my friends and family. Some foolish person once said a long time ago that you could only have one close friend in your life. I think he must have been a semi-hermit or misogynist or something. I have taken the words of Proverbs to heart: If a man (or woman) would have friends, he (she) must prove himself friendly. I love people. There are very few truly ugly and unlikeable people in the world and everyone has something beautiful about them if you would just take the time to look for it. Sometimes you just connect with people at the level of the heart and soul, no matter what their age or gender. This is a tribute to those who have enriched my life; a sort of reverse eulogy for the living.
Here are some of the people I am a fan of:
Dad -- He's the best father in the world. Any of the things he may beat himself up for with regards to me are actually my fault and not his. If I don't measure up the way I ought to, it wasn't because I lacked a good example to follow.
Mom -- She's the classiest and most beautiful woman I know. I only wish I looked more like her. One of the delights of my life has been to watch my Mom continue to grow in grace.
Dar -- We fought worse than cats and dogs, to my parent's chagrin. But she finally grew out of it [:oP] and became the best sister a girl could have. She still serves to keep me humble, but it is much more fun being friends now than it was being sparring partners as children. Too bad we hadn't discovered that when we were young.
Queen Willy -- What does one say about one of the best and truest friends a girl has ever had? She loves me, prays for me, worries about me, and holds me to the standard of God's Word when it appears I am about to cut loose. She is the one who holds up my faltering arms in the days of battle. She is my Jonathan; my soul is knit to hers.
Cal -- Cal has bound up my bruised and bleeding soul numerous times during seasons of sore trials. He is truly a beautiful soul. He ought to charge for his hugs because I think that is the most effective part of his therapy.
Shelley -- Anyone who shares a love for hemp necklaces, beautiful beads, streaked or colored hair, cool glasses, Great Big Sea and funky clothing is my soul sister. She is spunky and brave.
Allie -- The fair maid of Arkansas. She was both shy and yet seemed so at ease the first time I got to meet her. The little time I spent with her was pleasant and some day I hope to spend a lot more time with her.
Ed -- My Sweet Wooly Baa Lamb. Ed calls out extreme maternal instincts in me and I want to stroke his curly head and kiss his boo boos all better. I adore Ed. And better yet, he adores me.
Nick -- How many ways can you say "kindred spirit?" I have never had a younger brother ( or even any brother), but if I did, I would probably love him the way I love talented, sensitive, witty, intelligent and godly Nick. He, like Willena, blows away the chaff and keeps the good. He, like she, allows me to be transparent without judging me harshly and yet holds me accountable the way all friends should. The kisses of an enemy are deceitful, but faithful and often gentle are the wounds of a friend.
Pastor Greg -- How can you not love a shepherd who loves the sheep? When I look at Greg, I see Christ in him. I will succeed in life if I could have a tenth of the Christian grace and humility that Greg displays.
Lovely Lonna -- Greg's helpmate. Lonna is a delight and part of her magnetic charm lies in the fact that she makes me feel like I make her feel better. Laughing with Lonna over life's trials is always good therapy for the down at heart.
Belinda, Amanda, Tams, Doralynne, and Jody -- all but one, former Soles girls. I have often envied Cathie and Grant for their daughters and wished they were mine. Mander and Tams, I miss you! If I didn't love Josh and Shawn too, I would be writing them nasty notes for carrying you away to foreign soil.
Martin -- If I hadn't already christened Ed the Baa Lamb, I would append the title to Martin. He is deceptively pitt bullish if you dare to defend bad theology or arguments, but in person one of the quietest and most congenial souls around. What a delight to visit with him and I hope it happens again and often.
Trisha -- She was the companion of my youth and the one who wasn't ashamed to be my friend when everyone else thought I was weird and not cool. We did everything together and some of my best childhood memories involve her. She showed me how to be a creative individual at an early age, and I hope if she is reading this she will drop me a line again. (hint, hint)
More to come, but not necessarily tomorrow...
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Psalm 118 tells us not to put our trust in princes and with good reason: fallible humans with power will often abuse that power and violate every one of God's commandments. The Patriot Act in the US and other forms of legislation in so-called western democratic societies will be the club used to beat down all forms of peaceful protest deemed dangerous to the ruling powers, in the name of suppressing terrorism.
What could be more dangerous to today's civil magistrates than to assert the Crown Rights of King Jesus? The Christian Church is due for some severe weeding and pruning in order to start producing the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I predict that day of pruning is not far away.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Ok, I went in this morning and saw my poor hubby. He's not feeling well, but doing a bit better than in previous days.
Like the smart boy he is, he refused Tylenol for his fever. It isn't that high a fever, and when you are producing triglycerides like nobody's business, stressing your liver with toxic drugs that normally take 2 weeks to metabolize is not a good thing to do. Plus fever serves a purpose: the immune system raises the internal temperature in order to cook invading organisims.
In the middle of my putting together an herbal health group remedy for him, an LPN (licensed practical nurse) walked in and wondered what in the world I was doing. I told her and assured her I wouldn't be feeding him any herbs. Instead, I am giving him a footbath with the herbs so that he can absorb them that way. I was also caught doing an energy balance over Marc's abdominal area. This involved sort of getting on the bed and hovering over him as I held my hands on each side of his abdomen until the "pulsing" stopped. He reported a significant relief from pain after I was done. Some may think this is just a placebo effect, to which I say, "So what?" The placebo effect is REAL. Why not use it?
You have to realize that my husband has been somewhat skeptical about my practices, but as I have been able to help him more and more, he is trusting my judgement on these things.
The doctor says the blood work is improving, but still holds that it was pancreatitis because of the blood work. Well, his pancreatic enzymes etc., are always wacky. He's diabetic, you see. The infection in his intestine is coming down but it looks like he will be in for a few more days. I am heading back up to the hospital this evening to give him an herbal foot bath.
First of all, thanks to everyone who is praying for my husband. I am going in this morning to check him over and to see which herbs and supplements I need to be using on him. One of the things I didn't mention in yesterday's post was that I had diagnosed his bacterial infection in his large intestine before the doctor's did with my kinesionics. But of course, no doctor is going to accept my diagnosis.
It was kind of funny, actually. The doctor's were standing around Marc in the emergency ward telling him it could be pancreatitis. Then Marc said very definitely, "No, it isn't pancreatitis." The doctor looked taken aback by the strong positive statement.
"How do you know that?"
"My wife checked me."
I didn't say anything, or make any claims, but the doctor looked at me in disbelief. Then I could see him trying to make out what my kinesionics books was, which I had open and was holding upside down.
"Are you a health care professional?"
"Let's just say I am just very interested in health."
They subsequently ran some tests and did some xrays and came to the same conclusion I had. I had even pinpointed the area that was affected with my testing. It is fairly easy to get a picture of what is going on in the body once you know how.
I was in to see Marc yesterday before church and checked him over. The infection is not as acute as it was in the one area, but it has spread to the rest of the large intestine. Today I am going to check his appendix and small intestine and then figure out if they are being affected and
then get him going on some herbs via foot baths. I'll let y'all know what' s up later on.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Well, I planned to blog a few days ago because I mistakenly thought that I would have plenty of free time since my husband had taken all the kids camping, with the exception of Elodie, and Nathanael, who had to work. However, I ended up doing some cleaning and grocery shopping and doing laundry from the day before they were gone. Then the day after they returned, my husband got sick with some sort of bacterial infection in his intestines and ended up in hospital. He is still there, even as I type, on IV abx and morphine. How fun can that be on summer holidays?
Oh well. It could be much worse.