Saturday, June 25, 2022

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Beauty Contest That Led To A War

I remember reading some of the Greek myths as a youngster, wonderful stories of glory and tragedy, love and war, heroic journeys and despairing loss. It is hard to pick a favorite but I think the one story that has stuck with me through the years is the story of Eris and the destruction of Troy.

Now before we can get to the main portion of our story, we need to discuss the birth of a child named Paris in the city of Troy. Just before his birth, his mother dreamed that she gave birth to a flaming torch. This dream was interpreted by the seer Aesacus as a foretelling of the downfall of Troy, and he declared that the child would be the ruin of his homeland. On the day of Paris' birth it was further announced by Aesacus that the child born of a royal Trojan that day would have to be killed to spare the kingdom, being that the child's birth would implement the prophecy. (Wow, this kid is facing the wrath of the world before he was even born!) 

Though Paris was indeed born before nightfall, he was spared by Priam, his father, who was unable to kill his son. His mother, Hecuba, also was unable to kill her child, despite the urging of a priestess of Apollo. Instead, Paris' father prevailed upon his chief shepard, Agelaus, to remove the child and kill him. (I love him to much therefore you must kill him . . . )

But even this effort would not be successful, because the herdsman, unable to use a weapon against the infant, left him exposed on the slopes of Mount Ida. His plan was to return in a few days, to recover the child's body. Yet to his great astonishment, after returning nine days later, he found the child still alive, and taking that as a sign from the gods, brought him home in a backpack to rear as his own. He returned to Priam bearing a dog's tongue as evidence of the deed's completion and no one was ever the wiser.

Fast forward and Paris has discovered his royal heritage, and despite his childhood challenges and that pesky prophecy, claimed his title as Prince of Troy. He is also known far and wide for his understanding of female beauty and for his fair judgements. (Boy, talk about an impressive skill set . . . ) 

Okay, so now we're ready to rejoin our story of Eris's revenge.

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Lessons of Camelot

Like all entertaining mythology, the story of King Arthur has endured the test of time, reminding us that values of courage and honor still serve to inspire us today. From its tale, it is not always easy to demarcate between elements of documented history and magical folklore, but are there lessons we can still discover that would apply to our world today?

Although of direct royal lineage, it is told that young Arthur was raised in secrecy by Merlin the Wizard, a great teacher. After the death of King Uther the absence of an heir resulted in a period of great dissent and instability. Merlin prophesied that whomever was able to draw out a majestic magical sword, called Excalibur, from a stone in which it was embedded, would be rightfully crowned the next king. Arthur fulfills this prophecy, and is propelled to seize his destiny by ascending the English throne, thus giving rise to an unprecedented golden age of prosperity and culture, fueled by values of knightly courtesy and heroic deeds. These were glorious times of chivalry, when Knights and Ladies are said to have devoted themselves to express noble virtues such as loyalty, self-control, generosity, compassion, mercy, justice, and honor. The age of Camelot. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

What Is The Hardest Thing To Understand About God?

 "What Is The Hardest Thing To Understand About God" - John Ortberg

Friday, June 03, 2022

The Cost of Costs

We recently took a trip to Tennessee to visit family and were distressed to discover the inflationary impact these two costs had on our trip: 

1) The cost of rental cars. For example, in 2018, I rented a car for 7 days at the daily cost of $33.01 @ day. (All of the costs that I will be referencing includes taxes and fees)  In 2020, the cost was $46.38 @ day for a 6 day rental. Compare that to June 2022, where the rental rate was $82.40 @ day for a 9 day rental!

2) Gas prices. Continuing the trip examples above, in 2018 the cost of a gallon of gas averaged $2.52. In 2020, the average was $2.17 (Pandemic + supply exceeded demand). In June, 2022, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $4.96! 

Now anyone who has purchased anything in the last year realizes that these are not the only areas impacted by the surge of inflation that we are currently experiencing. Grocery prices in 2022 are averaging over 7.8% higher than 2021. In fact if you've attempted to purchase electronics, cars, food, and even homes you have been impacted by the product and employee shortgages, as well as the disruption to shipping around the world.  

But let's drill down and take a closer look at gas prices to see what is driving costs so high.