Thursday, January 26, 2023

Why Do We Throw Up When We Get Dizzy?


I'm breaking away from the norm here.

Very seldom will I devote any space to passing on merely factual information. Truth Is... is devoted to lifting up Truth, not just Facts. (You can read about that by clicking here.) But I found the following quote from New Scientist's Eureka!: Mindblowing Science Every Day of the Year completely fascinating.

"Our balance system is controlled by three senses cooperating in complex harmony. The vestibular system in our inner ear informs us about the position of our head; our eyes tell us how our body is located in relation to the external world; and proprioceptors -- recep­tors in muscles and joints -- help us to figure out how our body is positioned in space, which is particularly helpful if we cannot see. These elements mature at different rates.

"The vestibular system is fully operational by the time a child has reached 6 months of age; proprioceptors need three or four years more. The development of the visual element is complete by around 16 years of age.

"The sensation of dizziness and nausea following a spinning move­ment is similar to motion sickness -- a result of the conflicting information our brain receives from the three elements mentioned above. When our body is rotating at speed our vestibular system and proprioceptors can feel it, but our eyes can't locate the horizon. Our brain is desperately trying to resolve this conflict and, because humans are primarily visual, it assumes that the other senses are hallucinating, probably because of intoxication. So the brain tries to get rid of the assumed poison by provoking vomiting."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...When David wrote, in Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well," he didn't know the half of it.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

So You Want to Be an Alpha Male


You're familiar with the term "alpha male," right?

Think Leader of the Pack, Ruler of the Roost, King of the Mountain, Top Dog, Head Honcho...He Who Must Be Obeyed.

Well, I learned about a different kind of alpha when I read the following quote from Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by Frans de Waal.

"Merciless tyrants do sometimes rise to the top in a chimpanzee com­munity, but the more typical alphas that I have known were quite the opposite. Males in this position are not necessarily the biggest, strongest, meanest ones around, since they often reach the top with the assistance of others. In fact, the smallest male may become alpha if he has the right supporters. Most alpha males protect the underdog, keep the peace, and reassure those who are distressed. Analyzing all instances in which one individual hugs another who has lost a fight, we found that although females generally console others more often than do males, there is one striking exception: the alpha male. This male acts as the healer-in-chief, comforting others in agony more than anyone else in the community. As soon as a fight erupts among its members, everyone turns to him to see how he is going to handle it. He is the final arbiter, intent on restor­ing harmony. He will impressively stand between screaming parties, with his arms raised, until things calm down."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...this sounds a lot like Jesus. This sounds a lot like the kind of person I want to ape  -  er  -  copy.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Why Pray? Part Two


Jesus kind of opened a can of worms when he said this during the sermon on the mount: "When you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:7-8)

You can't really blame anybody for hearing that and then asking...

If God already knows everything, why do we need to tell him ANYthing?

I am encouraged in the midst of this by thinking about Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. Jesus was dreading the torture and isolation ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") that was just around the corner. He fervently prayed for it not to happen. And yet, he knew that it was for this very purpose that he left his home in heaven, emptied himself of his godly rights and privileges, and took on the fullness of humanity's limitations and challenges.

He poured out all his anxiety from the deepest part of his heart until he was able to say "yet not as I will, but as you will."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...A lot of the time, prayer is more about changing us than changing God. If I go to God with a request, it's because I know I am incapable of making the request happen on my own. Prayer is a reminder that It's Not All About Me.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Why Pray? Part One


From the outside looking in, I'll admit that prayer really seems kind of strange.

" do what? You sit in a room and talk to the air? the ceiling for favors?"

So right off the bat, it would be good to ask the simple question posed in this post's title: Why pray?

There are a couple parables Jesus told that will help you understand why my simple, bottom-line answer is what it is.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

The Parable of the Persistent Neighbor

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...We pray because Jesus said so.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Here's to the Good Old Days

(Originally posted December 26, 2017)

This may come as a surprise to some, but Wikipedia really does provide some useful information from time to time. Consider what I recently learned about the phrase "auld lang syne":

       "Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world; its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Scouting movement, in many countries, uses it to close jamborees and other functions.
       The song's title may be translated into standard English as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

This new understanding of what those words mean is helpful to me as I consider Daniel Fogelberg's bittersweet song, "Same Old Lang Syne". It was a 1981 hit for Fogelberg and is still played from time to time, especially here in late December. Not only is it a true story (except, reportedly, for the woman's eye color and her husband's vocation), but its wistful wishing for "days gone by" rings with truth.

Truth is...I think almost everyone can relate to the feelings evoked in this song. What if I had done this one thing differently? What if I had turned right instead of left? Is my life now the life I was meant to live? Am I satisfied?

I hope it's not a sin to feel that way from time to time, and I am overjoyed to know that Yahweh takes the sum total of our decisions, actions, and attitudes...washes them clean...and "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 NASB)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Keep Him Away in a Manger


(Originally posted December 2018)

Keep him away in a manger, no crib for a bed
I'd rather not think of the thorns 'round his head
It pains me to picture his back beaten raw
Just give me the baby, asleep on the straw

The cattle! The wise men from far, distant lands!

The little Lord Jesus who makes no demands
I love the old carols and things in that vein
Just stay in the cradle and don't make me change

Be Little Lord Christchild, I ask thee to stay

The babe in a manger forever, I pray
To die when you're perfect would be such a loss
It's far too disturbing: the blood and the cross

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...this really is the desire of a lot of folks; enamored with the romanticism and fairytale quality of The Christmas Story, but uncomfortable with the grisly necessity of Good Friday.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

You Know That Thing About Beauty Only Being Skin Deep?


So many of us care so much about whether others consider us physically attractive. "Do they think I'm good-looking?" "Is my skin smooth?"

According to The Body, by Bill Bryson, it's kind of silly to put much energy into our outward appearance.

"The skin consists of an inner layer called the dermis and an outer epidermis. The outermost surface of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum, is made up entirely of dead cells. It is an arresting thought that all that makes you lovely is deceased. Where body meets air, we are all cadavers. These outer skin cells are replaced every month. We shed skin copiously, almost carelessly: some twenty-five thousand flakes a minute, over a million pieces every hour. Run a finger along a dusty shelf, and you are in large part clearing a path through fragments of your former self. Silently and remorselessly we turn to dust."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...This seems to make it even more important that God doesn't concentrate on what we look like on the outside, but on who we really are in our heart of hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7  -  "The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NLT)