Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

Archive for April, 2007


Posted by Vogeler on April 30, 2007

There have been many changes in my family in the last two weeks.

My father-in-law started his church in Ft. Wayne.  We really like it.

I got all of my papers done.  Now all I have left is one multiple-guess final and a 15 minute oral final.  Sweet.

Luke has graduated from the 1 year-old room to the 2 year-old room at his daycare.  He turns two on Sunday.

I was promoted to full-time status and received a considerable raise at work.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  God is doing some cool things.

I need a nap, though.  🙂


Posted in Announcements, Ramblings | 2 Comments »

The Return of the Potty-Mouth

Posted by Vogeler on April 20, 2007

Before I was saved (four years ago), I used an awful lot of profanity.  Every other word out of my mouth was obscene, it seemed.

But when Jesus rescued me, the urge to use that kind of language was gone.  No desire, no habit, nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  Zip.

Well, the last several months, I’ve been struggling with it again.  It’s a nearly-constant effort not to use that kind of language.

What is going on with me?  I’m honestly baffled with this.

Have any of you struggled with this?  What worked for you?  Any advice is welcome.


Posted in Announcements, Questions for Debate | 6 Comments »

My wife’s car and other pieces of junk

Posted by Vogeler on April 13, 2007


My wife bought her car in February 2006, before we were even dating (she and her dad did ask me if it was a good price, though.  I work in the car business.  Not sales, though.  Yuck!).  Well, in the eight months we’ve been married, we have spent around $1000 dollars on it.  My little Malibu, though two years older and with 20,000 more miles, still runs like a top.  I love that car.

I’ve been driving the Impala (my wife’s car) because it (in theory) gets better gas mileage, and my wife likes smaller cars.  This morning I when I was leaving for work, it wouldn’t start.  So now I’m having it towed from Auburn, where I live, to Angola, where I work.  About 23 miles.  At least I get a discount on parts and labor.  It really sucks, though, because we’re trying to save for a house, and stupid little bills keep cropping up.  Although small themselves, they add up fast.

The semester is almost over.  Two more research papers, and two more take-home final exam essays.  Sigh.  Why do all professors think that theirs is the only class in existence?

Bethany (my lovely and wonderfully Godly wife) went to see a specialist Tuesday.  He said that she did not, in fact, have ovarian cysts.  He ordered another pregnancy test to make sure she wasn’t still pregnant.  Nope, she lost the baby.  What a rollercoaster.

So, with all of this stuff going on, I’ve been kind of waspish and short-tempered, especially with The Boy (my soon-to-be-two-year-old Luke).  He’s at that Stage, and he and Daddy are working on getting some things straight.

I was praying about this stuff this morning, while thinking mean thoughts about the driver in front of me.  I said, “C’mon God, enough already!”  But as I was thinking and praying, I thought about how small all of these issues really were in the face of things that others had to deal with.  A man who lost his job and doesn’t know how he’s gonna feed his family; a woman with three kids who lost her husband to cancer and has a ton of medical bills and no money; a child whose parents were killed in a car accident.

I could hear God speaking to me (no, not audibly).  I’ve been so caught up in creating the nice little life that I wanted that I’ve been neglecting Him and His plan.

C.S. Lewis once said that, “Pain is God’s megaphone.”

I encourage all who read this to take a step back and see if you’ve fallen into the same trap I had.

Posted in Ramblings | 3 Comments »

An excellent look at early church relations and discipline

Posted by Vogeler on April 11, 2007

Click here for a really neat article about moral integrity and relationships in the early church.

Posted in Announcements, Questions for Debate | 1 Comment »

This is exactly what I’m talking about

Posted by Vogeler on April 11, 2007

Click here for an excellent article about consumerism in North American Christian churches.

Posted in Announcements, Questions for Debate | Leave a Comment »

“Despite All My Rage, I Am Still Just A Rat In A Cage”

Posted by Vogeler on April 6, 2007

Sometimes I feel like this.  I do today.  But I have to ask myself, who built the cage?

Posted in Ramblings | 2 Comments »

A Rather Disappointing Debate

Posted by Vogeler on April 4, 2007

Before you scroll down, read this article first.  Its a debate between Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church and a renowned atheist, Sam Harris.

I was rather disappointed by Pastor Warren’s performance (not that I think I would’ve done much better).  First, he failed to address many issues raised by Harris, for instance the validity of evolution.  Harris’ entire worldview is based upon the THEORY  of Evolution, and Pastor Warren’s on the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible.  Sam Harris several times questions Warren’s belief in the validity of the Bible, yet Warren never once questions the validity of evolution.

Another disappointment was that Warren allowed Harris to fully dominate the conversation.  Indeed, Warren was reactive during much of the debate, rather than proactive.  And, Harris was using philosophy, logic (albeit flawed), etc. to make his points, while Warren seemed content to answer with opinions and experiential evidence.  While both are important, they failed to neutralize or even begin to counter Harris’ assertions.

Although Pastor Warren makes some excellent points, such as on the bottom of page four, he allows Harris to carry much of the debate.  Were I scoring this debate, Harris would be the clear winner (although I believe he is desperately and eternally wrong).

This wasn’t so much a debate about whether or not there is a God as it was a debate about the validity of Christianity, or religion in general.  As such, I would have expected more depth and reasoning from Pastor Warren’s responses, and a greater familiarity with the philosophical concepts used by Harris.

In my opinion, Pastor Warren came off not as a skilled apologeticist, with a “ready defense”, but as  one whose only recourse when faced with difficult questions is to retreat to the realm of accusation.  This may serve only to reinforce the belief that many non-Christians hold that Christianity is only for the backward, uneducated, and superstitious. I felt that had Pastor Warren presented a more reasoned, philosophical response, citing evidence, etc., then atheism might have received a significant blow.  As it was, atheism has possibly been reinforced.

Stand To Reason also posted about this on their blog, but with a different take.

What are your thoughts?

(Disclaimer:  my disappointment with Pastor Warren’s responses are in no way an indictment of his spiritual life, sincerity, or genuine call from God as a pastor.  They are simply my reaction to an instance in which an atheist proved to be superior at debating a pastor.)

Posted in Questions for Debate | 9 Comments »