Cancer sucks!

OK, first of all NO, I don’t have cancer, nor does anyone I know right now. In fact, I’ve been blessed to not have to see a family member or friend get eaten up by this terrible disease. I know at some point I may need to walk that road, and I pray that God will give me the grace to do so if that time comes.

No, I say this because of the deaths this past week of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman to cancer. To ME this is a blow because I KNEW these people, loved their work and cancer took them away too soon from the world. I know for others the pain of loss is much closer and much more pronounced that some pop star or celebrity. But allow me to “work with what I’ve got” for a few minutes.

Many people have written lovely pieces remembering and celebrating these men, and rightfully so. Others have written about the pain that cancer inflicts on the world. While others begin to ask the inevitable questions that come with these losses. Why? And especially why if there is a God who LOVES us, does He “allow” cancer to continue destroying and taking lives?

What I offer below is not “the answer” to those questions. I don’t claim to have that. These are things mankind will struggle with until “the end” (whatever that may entail). But let me just offer some food for thought.

How does God accomplish most of the “good” that is done in the world? Is the miraculous supernatural power of God frequently on display for all to see? Or does most things get done by ordinary people, inspired, directed, fueled and led by God, sometimes without their direct knowledge of it, to do good: to help, to heal, to research and learn?

Over the past 50 years, we have made HUGE strides against cancer. A diagnosis used to almost universally be a death sentence but NOW, for most cancers, the odds of surviving are in your favor. Certainly the research and medicine behind this fete was at least partially driven by people’s commitment to God and the compassion He placed in their hearts for people and the knowledge He gave them the ability to learn and expand upon. After all, we are His hands and feet.

So let us not grow weary of the fight. Let us push on towards the goal of eliminating cancer from this planet. Support research. Support science, medicine and education. Encourage young people towards this goal. They can and will tap into the love and strength that God supplies to reach for it.

In the meantime, God co-suffers with us. He mourns with us that we will no longer enjoy the continued musical genius, acting prowess and unique voices of these lovely men (at least in THIS life). He sorrows with you over the passing of your relative or friend from your life. He understands loss. He experienced it firsthand. And He is FOR us – our biggest cheerleader in this fight against all things that harm and kill people. So let’s press on and in His name Mess. Cancer. UP!

Please donate here: American Cancer Society. Every little bit helps.


New Router

Four smartphones

Two tablets

Four laptops

One desktop

Two XBoxes

Two Roku TVs

And a Chromecast

Our old wireless router was struggling when we only had half as many devices. After Christmas it was about ready to give up the ghost. Videos buffering or just dropping out altogether. Long load times. The internet “rebooting” for no apparent reason. It was clear we needed a new router to handle the increased traffic. We HAVE a good ISP connection with Cox (though I found out it COULD be better — a story for another time), but our router was an older model when I bought it a few years ago. It just couldn’t push through that much data.

So, I did some research, some review reading and some shopping and decided on a model that was judged “Fastest router of the year” (in 2014), the Asus RT-AC68U. It’s dual band, so we can have our small devices on the regular 2.5Ghz band, and our gaming and streaming devices on the “wider” 5Ghz. I went and picked it up at Fry’s Electronics yesterday.

Besides the speed, it has a lot more management features and extra options than our last router did. At one point today we had 14 devices connected and no problems/complaints from anyone. Except when I reconfigured the Chromecast and it automatically switched the TV to the Chromecast while Kyle was playing the XBox. He was like “Dad… what’s happening?” I swear I had no idea it would do that. LOL

A Hunger for Violence

So, the family went and saw the final Hunger Games movie yesterday evening, Mockingjay, Part II. As a conclusion to the series, it was satisfying if a bit predictable. After all, we all know the bad guys have to die and the “good girl” lives “happily ever after”. The one “decision point” in the movie was only mildly suspenseful, as they gave a HUGE amount of clues as to what was going to happen. As the remainder of this post is about what occurs at the end of the film, I’m going to give the standard *SPOILER* space in case you’d rather not know. For those who have seen it, or don’t care one way or the other, press on…










So, I found it interesting that the decision was really a choice between two violent acts. Violence is often considered inevitable, especially in movies of this type. Is she going to kill Snow or is she going to kill Coin? Basically, who is she going to take revenge on? The guy who essentially ruined her life, or the lady who (inadvertently) killed her sister and is likely to be as big a tyrant as Snow was. Of COURSE it’s pretty obvious she’s going to do the “right” thing (especially since Snow is going to die soon of a terminal malady anyway). But is it really “right” or is just Hollywood “right”. Do we REALLY have situations where violence is the ONLY answer, or are there ways to think outside the “violence box”, and come up with some solutions that don’t involve killing people? While this is “just a movie”, it greatly mirrors our struggles with terrorists, rampant gunmen, etc. Do we just kill them because “that’s all they understand”, or can there be alternate solutions?

I ran these thoughts past Jen and she gave me some good insights into how Katniss was feeling at the time she made her decision (She’s read the books). Katniss was simply “done” at this point. She was TIRED of the fight, tired of being the “face of the resistance” and always trying to figure out what the “right” thing to do was with everyone pulling her in different directions and trying to make her their puppet on a string. So, yes, she COULD have thought of alternate solutions (rather than just killing one of them), but she gave up. It was too HARD to continue STRIVING for peace.

This brings up a good point. Violence is really only ever a SHORTCUT solution to doing real WORK in people’s lives. It’s easier to kill or “put away” criminals rather than working WITH them (and their victims) to rehabilitate, build and restore relationships. It’s easier to BOMB the terrorists than to try and sit down with them and VALIDATE their claims of how we (our country’s foreign policy) have damaged their lives, and make an attempt to put things RIGHT.

Katniss took the easy way out. Easier to just take out Coin rather than trying to “fight” her over the long term with words and ideas (an area Katniss was never really good at, and was always coached through). Non-violent peacemaking is HARD WORK. Many people think pacifists want to take “the easy way out” by just letting their enemies “win”. But no, that’s not true. We don’t want to take the SHORTCUT, but to do the work to forge peace that doesn’t depend on the destruction of life. That’s NOT easy, it’s HARDER. Violence comes easy to ALL of us, even to noble “heroes” like Katniss Everdeen, who showed over and over she HATED all the killing. But in the end, she just had had enough. She became a bit more like her enemy than she would probably care to admit. Thankfully, circumstances took her out of the political ring altogether (she had played the part they wanted her to play), and so she was able to have that “happily ever after”, at least as far as movies go. But I wonder if she often thought, “Did I really HAVE to kill her?”

We should ask that question BEFORE we agree with policies that kill first and ask questions later. Do we REALLY need to respond this way, or are their OTHER solutions (harder, longer, costlier moneywise, yes) to the violent solution? Will we support the hard work for peace or give in to our hunger for violence?